Wednesday 21 October 2020

Photo of the day - 21: At Cherry Pie Music for my first clarinet lesson

Cherry Pie Music School for clarinet lessons and various other instruments 

This quaint looking place near South Wimbledon is a music school. That's where I went for my first clarinet lesson. I figured that if I have an exam in a month's time it would be good to get in a few lessons and to have an expert assess my playing. I have self-taught myself over the years, using a mixture of You Tube, and years before that ever existed, the great KlosĂ© Method Manual with its gazillions of drills. Recently, I thought it would be a good idea to formalize my level by doing the grades, so in the first instant I am starting at the very beginning, a very good place to start! My Grade 1 exam syllabus seems fairly straightforward with short basic tunes and easy scales; the whole exam only lasts 15 minutes, so I am feeling pretty relaxed about it. I wasn't best prepared when I arrived at the place. I was a little hot and bothered from having done the one-mile brisk walk from where I'd parked at the shopping centre. Then I had to put on my mask on my arrival, which made me quite hot. So I spent a few minutes stripping off my layers of clothing before I could take out and assemble my clarinet. Given that this was only a half-hour lesson I didn't want to waste any more time so I got straight into playing without properly dampening the reed. I was also a bit nervous, and hadn't practiced for a few days. I'm sure I didn't sound that good. However, to my surprise the teacher said that I had played well enough to pass the exam. I would need to do more breathing exercises to support the higher notes better and give fullness - but for Grade 1 that's more like the cherry on the cake. That's very reassuring. I look forward to having more lessons; as it is classed as a school it may well remain open even if London moves into Tier 3 lockdown. The place is set up with social distancing taken into account. You wear a mask until you enter the tuition room. The tuition room is divided into two, with a perspex glass to separate the pupil from the teacher. The teacher has a mask and a personal protection perspex face covering, though she removed it once behind the perspex. So it all seemed pretty safe.  Here's hoping my clarinet playing doesn't get too disrupted.

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