I said no more music-learning notes, but given I’m learning to be circumspect about my language-learning and reading, I can likely do the same here. Ergo, not listing everything I’m learning. At this stage it’s so unnecessary anyway given I’m hyperfocusing on exam pieces.
I have two music teachers right now, the same one for classical guitar for nearly a year now (the composer, performer and music publisher Stephen Kenyon — since I’ve already outed him as my teacher, I’ll namecheck him here as well, poor man), and a new one for both piano and music theory. I found another, highly qualified (Cambridge-trained w/ a masters in music) teacher who is flexible enough for fortnightly lessons so every fortnight I get around 40 mins of piano and 20 mins of music theory plus all the extra stuff you need for the ABRSM practical exams inc. aural training. I really appreciate everything I learned from my first piano teacher who is a brilliant pianist and who gave me a good foundation but we weren’t a good fit. Still, it was a good boost to my learning that is being amplified by my current tutelage with a teacher who’s really very motivated and keen on upgrading my music theory. I really like that she makes a lesson plan for every class and is very systematic. It also helps that like me, she’s a multi-instrumentalist!
I think it’s really helpful to learn all these things from scratch via the piano so I can focus on performance etc (but also guitar-specific theory and composition elements!) for classical guitar. So, I’m taking ABRSM for piano (grade 2 next year) plus music theory (grade 5 next year), and Trinity (grade 5 this year) for the classical guitar. Suspect I’ll only resume violin lessons after I retire as work’s getting intense (the violin I bought via lazada last December remains a goddamn disappointment with no working bridge and plastic pegs). Maybe after I have reached grade 8 for both instruments and music theory. Though I do want both ABRSM and Trinity diplomas. Yes, in the plural. By the time I retire in fourteen year’s time.
Everything needs to be carefully planned and juggled with my academic deadlines and responsibilities. It’s probably going to get really rough but, I’m mostly around 60-70% ready for practical exams, I reckon. Although I hope I gain my Uni of Edinburgh Coursera music theory cert FINALLY by year’s end.
As I mentioned in previous post, proof’s in the pudding and it’s far more beneficial to work on these things than talking about working on these things.
Composing is happening and is improving because of all of the new knowledge, but far from a finished product. Will likely want to study composition more formally at a later stage, if I live that long. Transcribing and notating is another thing — and remains a pain in the arse. I’ve done my research last night and noted that there are diplomas in music composition so I’ll need to figure out how far down the timeline this will be, probably after my performance diplomas but maybe in the same year as a music theory one? Don’t know. I have some hazy aim of reaching FTCL for CG but I know it’s not very realistic given my age and life expectancy. But, reach for the stars, hey. Don’t be afraid to aim for the best, even if I’ll likely be very happy just to reach ATCL. I know ARSM for piano is probably as high as I’ll get there with LRSM as an extremely optimistic goal, but I have been playing classical guitar since 1994. At any rate, it gives me even more of a motivation in my current fitness plan because the classical guitar is a very physical instrument and physical agility helps.
I’m not superstar performer material in either instrument (with my piano playing muddling somewhere between Grade 1 to 2, that’s obvious) though I do enjoy playing and I think I’m improving a lot. But I’d like to leave something behind, as one of the many obscure women composers that walk this earth. Even if it means self-publishing. It’s good enough for me. I’m a professional author, I don’t crave publications in the big music publishers’s catalogue. From what I read, there’s not much money in that. I earned way more publishing short stories. By no means does it mean that music is merely a hobby. A lot of people have said that and I always bristle when they do even if they mean well — You don’t compose pieces and songs since childhood if it’s a hobby. It’s because it’s vital. It’s oxygen. But these are the things you have to contend with as an older lady returning to music learning after a very long pause. But it does mean I have mature and realistic goals for my music (I mean, apart from having already curated a goddamned FTCL repertoire because I’m extra like that). Though it would be nice if people performed it. And it would be nice to pick up a third instrument (aka, back to violin) because I’d really like to write pieces for trios and quartets.
And that’s my music notes post. Probably for the year. I’m thinking once or twice a year should suffice, as a milestone of sorts. Just so I don’t, on my own websites, lose my identity as a musician and composer — though I have removed the info from my main author bio because it does feel rather gauche given I haven’t got my chops yet, and I know that musical gatekeepers can be even more brutal than literary gatekeepers. Anyway! Onwards and upwards!
*updates because I’ve found a few diplomas in music composition with exciting specs. Woohoo! I’m definitely going to want to do diplomas in music composition and theory, then! I’ll never enter a conservatoire — too old and it might be hell on my nerves — but this is a good way of ensuring I gain the tools and tutelage I need to become a better composer. This has made my weekend 🙂