Woke up, got outta bed, dragged a comb across my head

I recently got yelled at for missing a post on Wednesday (ahem)... So although I didn't think I had anything to say, I guess I have to come up with something! This part of my trip (i.e. three weeks in Matsumoto) is not really about seeing historical Japan or even really getting a cultural experience. I have eaten in two restaurants, both soba noodle houses and both with Mr. Takahashi. I've gone on a few walks and to the sheet music store (yes, for you, Howard). Tomorrow it is supposed to be the last sunny day for awhile, so I plan to do my practice in the morning and then go to Matsumoto Castle in the afternoon. (If I do, I'm sure you'll get a better post tomorrow) Of course, one could argue that I'm probably getting more of a taste of a true Japanese life (or at least an 80+ year old one) this way - I figure, Mrs. Ishii is cooking and it's good, I might as well eat it! So, here is my typical day (I am also including a typical lesson for those students who are reading and think I'm too hard on them!)

My day:
  • 8:00 - breakfast. Usually with indecipherable morning news on in background
  • 8:30 - out the door!
  • 9:00 - practice begins (except on Wednesdays when Mr. T has his Music al Expression Class)
  • 9-10 or 10:30 - tone exercises. First I do the stretches Mr. T wants me to do (body then face). Low register first, full range. Dynamics in a few different forms, then low register melodies. Then middle upper, always softly and full range. Also some dynamic exercises and high register melodies. If I do everything in the order Mr. T wants me to do it in and including the new things it takes about a hour and a half.
  • 10:30 - Usually a short break, 15 minutes?
  • 10:45-12 - Practice repertoire pieces. Usually whatever the piece or two that I'll play for the next lesson. The bulk of this time is usually spent on the one main piece I know I'll do for the lesson.
  • 12-13:30 - This is lunch time, if I were hungry enough to eat after Ishii-san's ginormous breakfasts, so I usually just get a tasty beverage from the vending machine (Milk Tea today!) and drink it while I transcribe the recording I made from my lesson (these are usually over 2 hours long, so if usually takes me two lunches to do this.) If I have nothing to transcribe then I'll sit an listen to the pieces I'm working on with the music in front of me.
  • 13:30-15:30 - Practice! (or, Monday, Wednesday, Friday lessons) Usually two breaks are in there because I'm usually pretty tired already from the morning practice. I'll do the same stretches and possibly some warmups. I'll review what I worked on in the morning and spend more time on the secondary piece. If I have time I will either review a piece from a previous lesson or look ahead to a tricky spot in an upcoming piece.
  • 15:30-19:00 - This is anyone's guess. If I have a lesson, it usually goes until about 14:30-14:45... Yesterday Mr. T interrupted my practice and took me to tea and then we went to the Cello recital. If it's not too hot or rainy I might spend some time in the park, or I'll go back to Mrs. Ishii's and blog or email or read a bit (or be forced into bathing). I'm actually backlogged with stuff to do.
  • 19:00 - Dinner!
  • 19:45ish - I often excuse myself to practice in my room for another hour or so. This is generally review from the lesson or frantic practicing on technical stuff for the lesson the following day. Twice I've stayed and watched videos on Kyoto with Mrs. Ishii.
  • 21:00 - Sit. Blog for certain complaining students ;) Start getting ready for bed and getting my stuff ready for the next day.
  • 22:00 - Bed. I'm still waking up a couple times in the night so I doubt I've gotten 8 hours yet.
So, see? It really is a flute spa. Yes, it's another country and important to see, but if Mr. T were in backwater Mississippi, that's where I'd be this summer.

Here's a typical lesson:

  • 10-15 minutes on stretches and face warm-ups
  • 30 minutes on tone, sometimes more, sometimes less. There have been lessons that have be a full hour +
  • a gruelling 45-60 minutes on my main piece, generally worked on phrase by phrase
  • break! 5-10 minutes
  • 30-? minutes on whatever is secondary. This may be talking through something or a full-on lesson.
Mr. T made a comment that he always liked observing Moyse more than taking the lesson because usually he was so nervous in the lesson that he didn't play his best and he was concentrating more on that. I can totally see that and in many ways wish there was someone else here to observe. It's not so much that I'm nervous as that I'm constantly unsure where I'm going to be stopped or whether I'm on the right track. Sometimes, too, the trick is getting used to the language that a teacher uses; it took me a week to realize that what he was referring to as "whistle attacks" were what a former teacher called "breath attacks."

I am having a good time. Moreover, I am learning (I think! Despite the sinking feeling that what choose to apply from a previous piece isn't what Mr. T wants and I miss what he does want!) One week 'til Kyoto!