• Liv Appleton

10 Thoughts from the practise stand


There's a lot that goes through our mind during personal practise from counting beats to internally swearing at ourselves when we make yet another mistake on the section we've spent the last hour practising. So, I thought I would compile a list of ten common things that frequently pop up in my internal monologue during practise!




1) 'Right I'm going to tackle the fourth movement of 'Carnival of Venice' , that new cornet solo for band, a load of Arban technical exercises and finish with five studies from the Herbert Clarke book - this is going to be fun!

Ah, pre-practise optimism, isn't it marvellous? Many a time I've dumped a load of music on my practise stand without any plan or thought to how long I will need to work on them to achieve the results I desire. Fast-forward 15 minutes to me getting bored and just playing through everything on the stand before putting it away without actually working on anything. Planning practise sessions are a must if you have the attention span of a toddler on blue smarties.



2) 'I can't be bothered warming up, I'm just going to jump straight into this piece that has a load of high notes, my lip will be warm by the end.'

Result: a knackered lip and everything being played with the tuning and tonality of a bagpipe.




3) This metronome keeps going out of sync - must be a dodgy app'

No Liv, you just can't follow a metronome because you are either too busy milking whatever melody it is that you're playing, that you end up a beat behind the metronome or panicking over a technical section and rushing ahead.



4) 'I AM SICK OF THIS PIECE!'

This thought seems to appear more frequently during contest week...



5) 'This sounds rubbish - my instrument probably needs a clean'

After cleaning the cornet, I then discover that it had nothing to do with the instrument...but hey, I've got a clean cornet now - silver linings!



6) *15th attempt on the tricky section of a piece* - 'This is the time I'm going to get it right - surely after fifteen attempts, I'm going to get it right now?!'

It was not the time. Nor were the next 15,578 attempts. Much swearing ensued before throwing the offending piece across the room, cursing the composer and proclaiming how 'it's a crap piece anyway', before stomping off to pour a gin.




7) *Makes mistake* - 'Oh for *****'s sake!*

Repeat as necessary for the duration of the practise session.



8) 'In the next life, I'm taking up a less stressful hobby like crochet'

I've taken up crochet during the lockdown and I can confirm that it is just as time-consuming as playing an instrument and has caused exactly the same amount of frustration and swearing.



9) *Starts learning a new piece*- I wonder if there is a recording of this on Youtube?'

This roughly translates into, 'I don't trust my sightreading.' It is rather frustrating when you find a recording and discover you've been playing it right all along and slightly heartbreaking when the recording is of some ten year old virtuoso playing the piece better than you, probably, ever will.




10) 'I think I'll just give my lip a short break.'

This is a lie. Disney+ is turned on and the instrument is not taken out of its case for the rest of the day.


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