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View Article  Update

Lots of practice on Deh vieni non tardar today. Listened to a few versions. Wanted to hear what kind of cadenzas, if any, were being done at the end. Very few. Really liked Diana Damrau. There are a massive range of speeds out there as well. Wonder which one Mozart would have liked?

Read 'The Sensuous Voice' recently. Really good factual read. So straight forward with some handy teaching tips.

Been doing some research on the Arytenoid Cartilage. A new area to my knowledge.

Just completed ABRSM Examination entries for the Summer.

Waiting for a delivery of duet music. Some easy pieces for pupils for the Festivals.

Went to see 'I am Love' at HMV Curzon today. A great film in Italian. Tilda Swinton was amazing. Really enjoyed it.

View Article  Wedding photos

I received my wedding pictures the other day. They are amazing. I love them so much. They are much more flattering than anticipated. So natural and artistic. So much sobbing has occurred since.

Lots of teaching today - however some frustrating pupils and parents!

The weather is picking up. Finally some sunshine.

 

View Article  Lancashire

At present, I'm in Lancashire for teaching and visiting. The wedding photographs arrived from the Singleton version the other day so I spent most of today sobbing (with joy) at the sight of myself and my friends and family. They are so natural and modern - well worth the money.

This weekend I will be working on Fleetwood Music Festival material with my pupils. I have a record number in it this year. There are quite a few first timers. Sadly, the festivals are slowly dying on the Fylde Coast as there are a distinct lack of singing teachers and participation from local schools. It's such a shame. So I feel like I'm doing my bit to keep the festival movement going because if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be a singer now. It's not just singing though, it's instruments and drama too. Teachers just can't be bothered to do them and the pupils aren't so enthused.

I have done lots of singing in my spare time. All is going well.

I've had some interesting meetings about the new academic term ahead. More ELMA classes and some exciting proposals on other projects

Turkish is going very well. More memory work needed though. I'm still enjoying it.

View Article  A Summer of Self Discovery

Marriage- done. All went well. Enough said.

Due to the Summer hols the teaching has dropped off a lot so more time for practicing and reflecting. Some encouraging singing in the last few weeks from very focused rehearsing. Things have really slotted into place on the voice front. Practice has become really effective and I now know exactly what I can get out of myself. A firm technique has FINALLY been established. Thank God. Consistency is prevailing.

Some hard core self promotion has gone on which has proved successful already. A concert with Kingston Chamber Orchestra for example. We are doing Barbers Knoxville:Summer of 1915 and Beethoven's Egmont. The Barber, at first glance, looked to be very difficult but I'm slowly getting to grips with it. I'm actually really enjoying learning it. The Beethoven will be fine. Definitely my bag.

I started a Turkish Course which I'm getting to grips with. The others in the class are very friendly.

Lots of new rep learning with a friend-Parry, Handel, Wolf amongst other things.

Things are on the up.

View Article  Wedding buid-up

One week to the day until I get married in Turkey. Major. Don't think about it. I've never seen such hysteria about it. That's what makes me nervous.

Not much singing this week due to wedding overload also a mysterious tender throat. However, on reflection, that could be due to the excessive belting at my karaoke hen night!

I went to see A Little Night Music last week. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was at the Garrick Theatre - a small theatre where you can hear the tubes rattle by. I never realized that Send in the Clowns was from there. I've never liked that durge of a song. Mostly due to Judy Dench. However, it was a delightful musical with some clever songs and a chorus that could truly sing. 8/10.

Much teaching this weekend

View Article  Update

Thoughts of late have been taken up with wedding plans. 3 weeks to go. Music, clothes, receptions etc. All of which are costing a fortune.

I have been looking at quite a bit of new rep in preporation for a few recitals in the Summer months. One at RCM, St James' Piccadilly and All Saints in Fuhlam.

At RCM I have to do some songs for voice and clarinet by Spohr. They aren't very interesting. Very repetative and dull.

Anne Marshall and I recently did a recording of Faure, Schubert and Quilter. We were so pleased with the result after quite a rushed job. I finally feel like I am getting nearer to my real voice. I can hear flashes of the future in it which fill me with optimism. We work really well together and seem to bring out the best in each other.

Lots of teaching at the moment. St Cecilia's has picked up dramatically and lots more at Imperial. Good news.

View Article  Flute and voice combo

Back to teaching this week after the Christmas break. It was a bit of a shock. I still can't get bad into waking up early. I was also back to the gym today after a very long time. It wasn't easy! Started teaching at St Cecilia's. Hopefully the list of pupils will expand.

Had a good weekend. Met up with a friend to talk about a possible collaboration. Also had a phone call from a flute playing friend up north. Discussed future repertoire and concert ideas. We were thinking about jazz and folk ideas for a change in order to per from to a wider audience. The voice and flute combo actually works really well. It went down a treat in our last concert. They are so easy to arrange and also to improvise.

 

View Article  New Year

It's a New Year and the good intentions are starting again - eat less, exercise more, don't get depressed. Strangely enough, the latter is the hardest to conquer. And I have already had the January blues. So much so that I could hardly sing on Sunday. It's amazing how your emotions affect your voice and there is no disguising it. Fatigue, anxiousness, sadness - it's so obvious.

I have quite a big year coming up which on the whole is very exciting. I shall try and stay focused on the good bits.

View Article  Working on the stamina.

The weekend was great as I had no plans. I went to Foyles bookshop and was amazed. How did I not know about this place? I bought quite a few books and bits and bobs. Then to a favourite Turkish restaurant of ours, off  Oxford Street. I was so busy. It seems that people are not put off shopping - even in this economic down turn.

Sunday was a lazy day. The weather was dreadful.

On Monday I got the train up to Thornton. Both trains were packed.

Today it was so cold that we had some flurries of snow. I did a lot of  practicing this morning. I'm in the middle of  learning  Da Tempeste. It's a killer. My body really felt it. I was singing really well as a result. I love that aria. I'm also getting much more on top of Tornami a vagheggiar. It's coming so much easier now. I have to really work on my stamina now though. My body knows what to do but it really lets me know when it can take no more. That's a bit frustrating when I am so on top of my technique. I am tremendously pleased with how it's all going. All credit to my teacher.

View Article  Untitled

Another illness this week. On Monday, on the train back to London, I got a really sore throat. I felt dreadful. I even know which child I got it from. Grrrr! Thank goodness on Monday night I got a phone call from school saying that I didn't have to go in the next day. Good timing. So I stayed under the quilt throughout the day.

On Wednesday, ELMA started up again. This time at St. Philips' on Earls Court Road. It's a beautiful church with two new studios which they rent out. It was good to see the babies again. How they'd grown! The afternoon was spent teaching at Imperial College. I had a new student today.

Thursday - teaching in Sloane Square. Then a rehearsal at RCM with my friend (a pianist). We are doing the Thelma King Award. We were deciding upon rep. We have given the Faure the heeve-ho and are keeping Thiman. We just need one more for the recording. Then we met up with another friend (a singer). Collectively, the three of us are now known as Continental. The thinking behind it is because we are all from different continents. We were scouring the library for rep. In the evening, teaching at home.

 

 

 

View Article  Hot pot...mmmm.
Today I was up very early to catch the train up north. It was very cold. The train was delayed as usual which meant that I missed my connection. After having a hearty hot pot out of a plastic tray (only available north of Crewe), I went to see Grandma and Grandad. After a quick catch up on the gossip of the Fylde Coast, I spent the afternoon teaching.My new music stand had arrived which I ordered off the internet. It's fab.Does the job spiffingly!
View Article  A psychic encounter

Tuesday was a bad day. I had a really grotty day at School. One thing after another went wrong and I was took the brunt of other peoples frayed nerves. Then the children at the Belsize group were really naughty. More than usual. The day ended nicely though with dinner in Wagamamas with a friend in Leicester Square. A very large ice cream sundae was had in an ice cream parlour and then we moved on for coffee. Bumped into one of my bosses and a colleague.

Wednesday was also hectic. A full day of teaching in Ladbroke Grove then Imperial College. It was pouring down and my sole came off my shoe. Great.

Today I went to the gym in the morning. Whilst in the changing rooms, I had a very bizarre experience. A random girl came up to me asked if I was a singing teacher. I asked her how she knew and she said she was psychic. Seriously. Very weird. She said that she also was a singing teacher. We got chatting but I didn't know what to make of her really. I thought I was being stalked or something.

Anyway, the afternoon brought teaching in Sloane Square. Then a new pupil in Kensington. However, when I got there, she didn't have a piano or a keyboard! I said I couldn't possibly teach without one. So I postponed it and left. Another new pupil after that. She came to my home.

View Article  The weekend

On Saturday, I coughed my way around Portobello Market. The weather was beautiful. I found an original copy of 'Hello Young Lovers' in Oxfam for 99p which was exciting. I'm easily pleased. The streets were so busy. I get really grumpy when I'm in crowds. So we gave up and went for a lovely lunch. In the evening I avidly watched Strictly Come Dancing. Don't you just love John Sergent? I had a great day.

After a slow start on Sunday, I went swimming. I went in the sauna in an attempt to clear my chest. I can't help having a sensation of panic in those things. Then food shopping and manic cleaning. I don't know what came over me but I started weeding the drive on my hands and knees. Then I went hoovering crazy - even doing the stairs. People that know me will be very worried.

Today I made a few phone calls and replied to a few emails. Teaching this afternoon. Still coughing.

 

View Article  You can't please everyone.

Yesterday I was still barking like a dog. However, it didn't seem to affect my voice. Just my breathing slightly. I went to sing for a conductor in Sheen near Richmond. He was very pleasant and liked what he heard. He asked me to sing some Bach, so I did. Then he complained that I didn't know any 20thC oratorio. He didn't asked me to bring any. Frustrating. Then I did some Messiah. It went well. I don't think it did me much good though. We will just have to see if any work materializes.

Today a bit of teaching at RCM and discussions on the Thelma King Award recording.

View Article  The respiratory system of an 80 year old.

Saturday was Fleetwood Festival. I was so pleased with how it went. Everyone of my singers did fantastically well. I had one first-timer in there who was only nine, and she sang so beautifully. Definitely a natural singer with bags of musicality. The rose bowl was won by one of my young singers. I couldn't have asked for more. It was a very tiring day though and I was completely exhausted by the end.

The next day I had my singing lesson which went a treat. It gives you such a lift when you're being reassured that all is going well and at such a rapid rate. Caught up on some teaching in the afternoon and then I went down hill from there. I got the most stinking cold and was in bed by 9pm.

The next day I awoke to the most awful ear ache. I felt terrible. There was no way I could get the train back that morning. So I left after lunch feeling slightly more human. Cancelled my teaching that evening.

On Tuesday I had to go to school having taken a day off two weeks previously. I got through it but had to can cell my class in Hampstead. I just wouldn't have had the energy for that. Met up with a friend in Victoria for a catch up before heading home.

Today I woke up wheezing like an old fella. It's obviously moved onto my chest and left me with the most eye wateringly rancid cough. Attractive. Teaching all afternoon in Kensington until 7.30pm. Lets hope I last that long.

View Article  Purchase sweats

Today I was up early and having breakfast outside a cafe on Kings Road before 9am. At 9.30am I was teaching someone on Sloane Square. Then, as a reward, to Oxford Circus. I bought some Bobby Brown products, an investment skirt at Coast and some investment boots at Clarks. The word 'investment' gets rid of any lingering guilt. Possibly the most money I ever spent in one day. Hey ho. I must say that I have never sweat as much in one shop as I did in Clarks. Lets hope it's worth it.

Then lunch in Holburn with the lovely Abel Tao. Covent Garden and Fulham, then home. Packing for Thornton tonight.

View Article  The aftermath

Sunday - A visit from my cousin and an afternoon of teaching. I was so tired. The weekend had caught up with me. I just about made it to 10pm.

Monday - In a bad mood. Again, very tired. Up early to catch the train and got there by lunch time. The London train seems to get busier and busier. Nearly every journey I go on now, people are standing up all the way. It's very irritating to see 4 empty 1st class coaches. I even attempted to up-grade to first class. It's £15 to up-grade at the weekend but about £100 on a weekday. So I didn't bother. An afternoon and evening of teaching. Didn't make it to 10pm that night.

Tuesday - I hate Tuesdays. The weather was awful. Constant rain. Up at the crack of dawn again to get to Flora Gardens. It was Ede(sp?) so 75% of pupils were not there. No choir again then. I had been given my own room though for the first time. No more singing in the corridor but I have to put up with a keyboard instead of the piano. It's nice not to be disturbed like before. Then I went to Hampstead for the music group. Only 3 children that day. That made life easier.

Today, I feel a bit more bright and breezy. I was contemplating going to the gym but I have nothing to wear. So I have been learning new rep in my PJ's. 'My Heart is Like a Singing Bird' by Parry. Very me. Also on the cards: Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal by Quilter, Widmung by Schumann, Tornami a Vagheggiar by Handel and Da tempeste, also Handel. Bit of a challenge there. This afternoon, teaching in White City then Imperial College. Finally dinner in Fulham.

View Article  The big event

What a relief. The concert went really well. There were lots of friendly faces there and the atmosphere was buzzing! It was so well attended and we raised a great deal of money. £628.10 in fact. Not bad at all. The weather was beautiful and sunny - a perfect Autumn day. There were no major slip ups throughout and it was all really well received. But the best thing of all was that I was WELL!!! I didn't have a sneeze or a croak in me. All that OCD behaviour payed off.

At the end of the concert I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a balloon sent by Interflora. After reading the card I discovered that they were sent by Zaf - who couldn't be there. They were gorgeous and I was so thrilled. He is so thoughtful. I know that he really was sad that he couldn't attend. I was also presented with flowers by Charlotte and a bottle of wine from the church.

Of course Lilly, my niece, was there - for whom the concert was really for. She was so good throughout the concert. She listened to the music and drifted off now and again. She smiled when she was being prodded at by admirers and was the perfect baby!

After the concert we went for a drink with some of the people who were at the concert. So thank you to everyone that helped with the organisation and running of the concert. It was much appreciated.

Saturday was spent teaching. I was very tired and could have done with a break really. Today I have to catch up with more teaching that I missed on Friday. I also seem to have developed a sore throat. It's the type I get now and again after stressful occasions. It is sore down the right side of the throat. Doesn't hurt to sing or speak - just when I'm singing. But who cares! I have a while without singing engagements.

View Article  D Day

It's D Day. Spent most of the week avoiding germs. I was washing my hands like someone with OCD all week. My antibacterial gel was working over time. I could spot somebody sneezing or coughing at twenty paces. Everywhere I went people were telling me of their infectious ailments. Why don't they tell me these things before I see them so I can avoid them. However, life had to go on. I barely breathed on the tube but then after 30mins I started to get light headed. But the day has arrived and I'm germ free. 5 hours to go. Nothing can develope in 5 hours surely. Here's hoping.

Had a last minute rehearsal last night. It was ok. Nothing horrendous but equally nothing outstanding. Heard that a few important figures aren't coming. That puts me at ease a bit.

Yesterday I was recording a CD for ELMA of childrens songs. At 8am in the morning. I could hardly see the music with my eyes all puffed up with sleep. We did it at the RCM, London. It went smoothly and lasted for about 2 and a half hours. Then I dashed to Euston to get the train.

View Article  No going back
Traveled back to London today. The train was packed as usual. It went smoothly though. When I got home I had a quick run through words that haven't quite stuck in my brain. In other words Count Your Blessings. Then I wrote my biography and finished the programme. There is no turning back with the rep now. I emailed it to Ros who will print it. Then I went out to teach a girl in Kensington and a girl in Southfields. The weather is definitely colder now. I needed a scarf today.
View Article  The first rehearsal

On Thursday, I had my first rehearsal with Steven and Martin. It went really well. The flute sounds great -especially with the more jazzier pieces. It gives the concert more of a relaxed feel and breaks up the focus from me a bit. We went to the church and played with the electric piano. It wasn't as bad as I expected it to sound. I felt quite excited after it. It should be good.

The weekend was spent teaching in Thornton. Fleetwood Festival is coming up so lessons are hotting up. A lot of memory work still needs to be done with most pupils.

Went to a wedding reception on Saturday night. It was good to have a dumby run before mine. Consequently very tired today! Back to London tomorrow in the morning.

View Article  Teaching

Monday - an early start at the gym. I have changed my usual regime for a bit of variety. Really starting to get into the gym thing.

More practicing for the September Songs concert. I have an up and down relationship with Puccini. One minute it is on the programme, the next I never want to sing it again. I'm so hit and miss with it. That's it - it's been dropped. I think. Can't embarrass myself as the audience consists of some people that need impressing from the past and the present. Might stick in a couple of folk songs to pad it out a bit.

Later, some teaching off Gloucester Road and then in Southfields.

Today I had a very busy day. I was up at the crack of dawn because I was worried about the day ahead. Taught at Flora Gardens today. Finished off the auditions for choir and took the first choir practice off the academic year. Some good voices have emerged. Then I razzed across town to Swiss Cottage to teach a new class of 5 'musically gifted' 5 and 6 year olds. It was quite a challenge. Enjoyable though.

View Article  The weekend

Yesterday I went to Oxford Street for some retail therapy with a very close friend. She is also my chief bridesmaid for my wedding in May/June. So we looked at bridesmaids dresses. So many colours, but actually I wasn't keen on any of them. So I decided to splurge £31 on makeup instead. It made me feel good. And I got a free bonus bag full of exciting things. It doesn't take much.

I also splurged on a ridiculous dress. It's gorgeous but uncatergorical. It's too much for school but not enough for a night out . I had to remind myself that I am only 24 and the years are slipping by when I can get away with such a short dress. So I went for it. Will it ever see the light of day? Let's hope so. The night ended with Dominoes Pizza. The dress know looks more unlikely.

Today I was up at the crack of dawn. Zaf and I went to the gym. It was the first time we have ever been there together. I think he was impressed. We then went swimming. After the weekly shop I did some manic cleaning and music filing.

I had a call from a new student today. I was recommend by a current student. I phoned Martin, the flautist, to arrange a rehearsal for September Songs. Tricia called with news of the new venue for ELMA. As a result, the start of term has been postponed for a week.

View Article  Composers Deaths

Today I had a slow start. This was mainly due to the effects of yesterdays 'Dance Fusion' class. My whole body aches but particularly the inside of my elbows. That's weird.

I continued with some work on the programme for the 'September Songs' concert on the 26th September. It's harder than it seems to get a flow of  rep so that they are somehow linked with each other. Especially when I chose the pieces, I didn't think about that at all! I was looking up dates of composers and became particularly interested in their deaths. Why and where did they die? Puccini died of throat cancer. How unfortunate. Madeleine Dring died of a cerebral heamorrhage at the age of 54. One day, Bach asked his wife, Anna Bach, to sing his work 'All Men Have to Die'. On that day he did just that. Died. Sometimes, the circumstance of the composers death is more interesting than the works themselves.

Anyway, I received a phone call from my mum telling me about the traumas of the last 24hrs in Thornton and then I ate a tin of sweetcorn.

This afternoon, I will have a saunter to Wimbledon Village. This evening, Zaf and I are going to The Olive Garden for dinner.

 

 

View Article  Mind games

A dry day today with some sunshine. I had a rare sleep in this morning. Did the ritual Friday morning trip to Morrrisons with mum and grandma and had my brunch in the cafe.

The search continued for the balero. This time in Blackpool. I bought a waist belt, a pashmina, some shoes and I got an existing pair of shoes heeled. No balero. I have decided to use what I already own.

Later, I taught 3 pupils. It had been 3 weeks since I saw then last.

Then a dress rehearsal for tomorrows concert. I will be wearing some ancient shoes that my mum bought about 10 years ago. I shall be having an early night tonight in preperation.

Phantom throat has gone, due to some mind games I have played on myself. I decided to draw my attention to my hands in the pretence that I am going to play the piano tomorrow. Now I have stiff hands and no sore throat. Fine by me.

View Article  Phantom throat tenderness.

Yesterday was very busy. I was up early and in the Post Office queue by 7.45am. I was there to pick up my new watch. The small watch came in a mammoth sized box. It's lovely. I was struggling so much without one.

Then I took the train from Earlsfield to Gloucester Road which was a change instead of the tube. I taught two full classes at ELMA. Next, I had four pupils back to back at Imperial. Very draining. Two of which were new. Didn't get home untill 9pm so an Indian was needed.

I woke up this morning feeling very rough after the Indian last night. I had an early start as I had to catch the train from Euston to Poulton. The train was 45mins delayed and very busy. Thank goodness for the ipod.

Thornton was cold and wet but lunch at Grandma and Grandad's soon cheered me up. Taught a new girl this afternoon. Finally, I went on a hunt for a balero to go with my dress for Saturdays concert. Non to be had in Fleetwood. The search continues tomorrow.

Doing a lot of gland prodding in a panic over my voice. There's nothing wrong with it but I'm convinced I can feel tenderness. I always have phantom throat problems before something major. No singing today, just in case.

View Article  Storm

Yesterday there was a storm. I got caught in it twice. I even had to teach with soaking wet jeans. I felt horrible. I was soaked to the bone.

I taught at ELMA in the morning, a private lesson in Wimbledon and two pupils in the evening.

Today the rain has stopped but the wind is wild. Fortunately I was in school all day. That was pretty hectic today. We finally managed to have our first full choir rehearsal. It went so well. The headmistress came in to listen and started weeping with joy. I was so proud. Then teaching at Imperial. Very tired.

View Article  Another First

Another first today - I roasted a whole chicken and successfully made gravey. It was a cracker! So delicious! It's amazing what impresses my mum. She would not be more pleased if I had won a gold Olymic Medal. At least she knows she's in for roast diners when she's old!

Today, we went shopping and read the paper in Starbucks. A relaxing day. Normally I'm tormented on a Sunday. But because I went for a day out yesterday, I feel contented to be in the house.

I went over a couple of awkward phrases in the Mozart and tried playing some accompaniments for my pupils. Very frustrating.

Weather was a mixture of sunshine and showers.

View Article  Tuning fork madness!

Today we had a day trip to Guildford on the train. Even though it was raining, we had a good time. We had a look at the castle and it's gardens and sampled the shops. It's a beautiful Medieval town with little narrow alley ways. We even had a look at property prices because we were so taken with the place. It's just a 30minute train ride from Wimbledon.

Received a letter from Rossall today stating the rehearsal times for the Mozart. Worryingly, it's a full day of singing. I'll have to pace myself. I must also remember NOT to over analyse. Especially the tuning. (I have images of myself wacking my tuning fork on my head and listening intently with one finger in the other ear! How sad.)

View Article  Untitled

A lovely day today. A walk down Oxford street in the sunshine. Went in most of my favourite shops and bought nothing.  Stopped off at Fulham on the way home for a coffee. Reading 'Elegance' at the moment. So any chance I get to have a drink and read my book is great. Such a good read for women of all ages. As I always say to Grandma - Accessories make all the difference, not matter how old you are.

Sang some Faure instead of Mozart for a change. I love 'Les Roses d'Ispahan'. It's so beautiful. From the first time I heard it performed, I knew I wanted to sing it.