Well, yes. I did not cope well this time round. Too many things, not enough energy, not enough time, ended up not doing prep, doing things last minute, and so on. Even ended up going to the school counsellor…
One thing which kept me ‘happy’ and going, if you may say, was the music block. What could be more fun than playing an out-of-tune grand piano in the morning, blasting out Ravel, Chopin, and goodness knows what else? Perhaps even a bit of “Blueberry Hill” or “Merry Christmas Everyone” could do the trick.
Or the joy of setting up chairs before chamber choir. Even attempting to sing tenor part in Handel’s ‘Messiah’ practice because none of the tenors were singing. Or blasting the trombone in swing band, playing “In the mood” or “American Patrol”.
If I can remember at all what happened during the halfterm –
– Played Chopin’s Scherzo No.2 in B flat minor in the evening recital. Pianos should have warm air vents above the piano keys! Playing in the lodge in winter is crazy, your fingers just freeze. Halfway into my piece, my mind just *jammed* up totally, my fingers going to the totally WRONG place, ended up playing the wrong bar, and I ended up skipping an entire SIX bars of music. Worse was that I made a face when I slipped up. I guess many people must have noticed that. Especially Mr. Barker, my teacher. Wasn’t the end, though. My LAST note, which is held on for a few good seconds, I hit wrongly. Ended up ending with this weird chord because one of the notes was wrong. Never had such an experience in my life, skipping some music during a recital.
– Strings and singers – Went to a church in Somerton. Played Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B flat major (can’t remember which Opus) on this really really dead piano. It just sounded terrible, the piano. No dynamic range, no colour, no character. Went okay, though. Also sang “O clap your hands” and “Blueberry Hill” in chamber choir. Somehow ended up singing without a score for “O clap your hands”, had to do it from memory. Could have been worse, I guess.
– Recorded a piece for Strawberry Wang (violin). The day before she asked me to accompany her on the piano, so I had one day with the score before doing the actual recording. ORTF setup again, nice violin, horrible piano.
– Didn’t go for the Upper 6th ball, I was the only Upper left at home.
– Sat for the SAT again, because I did horribly first round. Hopefully I’ll do better this round.
– Got a *new* piano in my boarding house (actually just an old piano from the music block), which is at least better than the old piano. At least it’s in tune. Had house christmas party – the lowers got a bit drunk, and I played “merry christmas everyone” with Alex Neville-Payne playing his alto saxaphone. Was quite interesting, especially when everyone joined in the choruses, all out of time and out of tune. Also played Debussy’s ‘Tocatta’ from Pour le Piano. Made hundreds of mistakes, but I think no one really noticed (Hadn’t played that piece for about a year)
– Advent concert day (Wednesday 7th Dec). Had practices in the morning, I was supposed to be involved in 9 out of 11 items. First was brass group practice, me on trombone. Mr. Austin (my trombone teacher) would not be there for the rehearsal… so everyone heard my mistakes. Mr. Rhind-Tutt forgot to rehearse ‘Hark How the bells’. Next was wind band. Somehow, Mr. Sheills got me to play trombone, I’d never been to a single practice, nor had I ever seen the score. So I sightread it. Wasn’t too hard, luckily. Had Orchestra next, playing trombone (again). Pieces were ‘Sleigh Bells’ with the interesting percussion section, William Tell Overture and Pomp and Circumstance. Irritating trombone part. I think it was swing band practice after that, again on the trombone. The swing band parts were the most challenging of all the groups for the trombone. In the mood, Cry me a river and American Patrol was what we played. Finally after those 3 hrs of practice, my trombone was done for the day and I could rest my lips (which were numb). But there was still Chamber Choir practice, singing ‘Christmas Alphabet’ and ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’. Need more tenors!! After that was lunch break, before carrying on with Percussion Group (playing ‘Some Uptown HipHop’). Katy Hebditch kept on making weird mistakes on her marimba (very unusual, normally she gets it correct) and I couldn’t help laughing…but she did do very well later that night in the concert. After that I could at last take a break, since I was not in String Orchestra. Had a short piano lesson with Mr. Byrne, after which it was raining, and I couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere else. Popped up at couriers for a while to drop off some forms for US uni applications. Went for supper later, before I was forced to go back to house (to change for the concert). Concert started then (Mr. Austin came, luckily!) going quite smoothly. George Dye was like “wow” when he heard Mr. Austin playing trombone in swing band (really low notes, really loud). The percussion group could not force me to wear this silly (but cute?) looking christmas ornament on my head. They were short of one, anyway. Well done to Laura, Tim&Nick for their solos in swing bands. Lost my pencil somewhere in the Meyer Theatre. Oh well. A grand total of approximately 5hrs of trombone that night. Lips were… numb and dead by the end.
But that’s not all. The day after – Had to go to Wells Cathedral to rehearse for the Carol service. ‘Away in a Manger’ dropped a whole semitone (unaccompanied choir) by the end; we started in B flat minor and ended in A minor! It was horrible, I was making faces while singing. Also sang ‘Tomorrow shall be my dancing day’ and ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ (sp?). Had to play trombone for the carols, too.
And the last day (Friday 9th Dec). Had fun in the music block in the morning. Played some piano, talked with some friends, and some other weird stuff. After that was off to the cathedral, with my lousy trombone playing and all that. Got back, took lunch (which nearly caused me to be late for my bus, didn’t have much time!) and off to Heathrow. And back home here, to hot weather, delicious food, more friends.
Even though there are not many things I enjoy about millfield, I can say that I really miss the music block this time. No more piano trio, percussion group chamber choir, swing band, brass group, orchestra, st. cecelia singers, Main choir, Horn trio for a month. And I’ve made a few more friends this term… Oh well.. So it’s a one month break from music.
That’s about it for now, then. It’s coming to the end of 2005. I only have 6 months left in Millfield. What happened?! More later then.