Keep calm and….panic!

So, a little update on progress with my competition pieces. This assumes of course, that I have actually made progress. Some days it’s a case of 3 steps forward, 2 backwards. And if I’m honest, sometimes it’s 3 forwards and 4 backwards. At least that’s what it feels like. Updates in red:


  • Own Selection – not yet decided a.k.a. ‘what can I dredge up from the past and polish up quickly.’ I have a two-page baroque piece (but new!) that might do the trick. Decision to be made this week.
  • French Art Song – Mandoline (Faure) – completely new. Still a lot of work to do, but starting to get a feel for it. 
  • British Art Song – King David (Howells) – at performance level. Refining.
  • Oratorio – With Verdure Clad (Haydn) – well on the way. Almost there. Feeling a lot more comfortable with it. 
  • Lieder – Nacht und Traume (Schubert) – prepared last year, but not sung. Pretty good, but need to get it fully from memory.
  • Operatic Aria – Batti, batti o bel Masetto (Mozart) – completely new. Getting to grips with it but still a lot of work to do.
  • Scholarship – Spring Goeth All in White (Caskie) – test piece, completely new, don’t even have the music yet now I have the music and it is straightforward, so lots of emphasis on accuracy of time and dynamic markings and Les Filles de Cadix (Delibes) – contrasting piece, slowly getting there. Need to start letting myself go and let it trip off my tongue, not to mention learn the second verse from memory.
So here we are, less than four weeks to go. Looking at that list I’m am vascillating between ‘there is no. way. in. hell. I am going to get all that up to performance standard in the time left’ and ‘sleep is over-rated anyway’. Procrastination is a terrible thing isn’t it? (I’m looking at you, Sarah-in-Yepoon). There’s always an excuse to put off practice – the evil Facebook full of kittens doing cute things and killer quotes that have to be shared, food to be eaten (which in turn renders us incapable of singing due to a stomach so full we can’t inflate our lungs – oh, is that just me?) and, inexplicably, housework that suddenly becomes a great attraction “Look at that great pile of washing that needs to be folded and put away, I have ignored it for a week but it simply has to be done right now”.

And then I think back to last year, pre-Competition, and the words ‘Groundhog Day’ spring to mind. You’d think I’d learn, eh? I’ve tried to do some headology (that’s psychoanalysis for plebs) on this trait of mine and all I can come up with is that I’m afraid that even if I do 6 bajillion-kadillion* hours of practice, I won’t actually get any better – evidence to the contrary – and so I avoid failure by not actually doing anything. So this really is more than you wanted to know about the inside of my head. Feel free to tell me about the inside of your head in relation to singing practice. I might just learn something. 

* This is a bona-fide measurement of quantity. My 8 year old says so.
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