Sunday, 10 March 2019
1) Music doesn't have to be "trial and error" all the time.
If nothing else, my teacher Kristian has opened my eyes to the science behind trumpet playing. We can learn so many things from studies and research around the body and how we use certain muscles in playing. These, when combined with simple physics of airflow and pressure, make for firm foundations which can then lead to rapid learning through application. I've really learnt to be critical of everything I'm taught, finding out if it's trustworthy, and I've seen the benefit of this in my first semester here!
2) Music is a gift from God.
Psalm 96 "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day."
This knowledge keeps me joyfully rooted in my identity, particularly as I realise more and more how unsatisfying music can be (think of the unsuccessful audition, the less-than-perfect performance, hours alone in a practice room etc). I'm so grateful for this perspective.
Monday, 8 October 2018
Working backwards, the last few weeks have progressively improved as I've got more stuck into Danish and student life, learning and improving my trumpet playing and settling at a church and meeting new people – thanks all you who have been praying for me! I still have various residency things to sort out and the Danish language speaking is still quite limited, but I’ve had my first speaking practice session with one of my dorm mates and he says I’m doing quite well so there’s hope yet.
I think the sense of community within the department is demonstrated well by our trip to Aalborg for the rare opportunity to see Mnozil Brass perform live in Denmark - they were SO good! It was fun to have a look around the town too, taking in the classic Danish architecture and fun pub names...
|Pub: Pigen og Trompeten/|
The Girl and the Trumpet
|Looks like someone turned 25 recently...|
The Danish tradition is to coat the birthday girl/boy
in cinnamon if they are not married by 25!
Monday, 27 August 2018
Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Yes, I brought my trumpet.
Bit of a different vibe on this trip, and to be honest it's exactly what I needed. The daunting prospect of a new year and worrying where someone hid my 4 years of degree has been sufficiently counteracted with some productivity doing a postgraduate audition and time enjoying some really fresh air. As in, feels like -4 degrees celsius plus a sea breeze level of fresh. But my, I've not felt so at ease for quite some time, even with the purpose of my trip being for an audition, and not even whilst in my homeland of Yorkshire. How bizarre. Well not really, when you look at how gracious God is. Only he could provide such peace and serenity in such a beautiful creation.
|Look at that sky!|
In addition, it's been my third experience of Airbnb and I would really recommend it to anyone who likes a homely (and cheaper) stay. It's such a great way to really see how the locals live. It's also been part of the whole peaceful feel to this trip. The neighbourhood in Åbyhøj (good luck pronouncing that, I still can't) is so quiet and has an almost village-like style to it. Excuse the book-like description but seeing it frosted over with the orange sun rising over the hills is literally like something from a postcard (not that I've been able to find any postcards here either). "Quaint" would probably be a suitable description from us Brits.
I'm sad to have to fly home tomorrow, but so grateful for this lovely experience and time away. Until next time, enjoy these "documentations" of some aspects of my trip!
|Dokk 1 - Library on the harbour which parks your car for you|
|Had time for some skating and thought the set-up was cute.|
Saturday, 6 January 2018
In preparation for this particular audition I've been reading Kristian Steenstrup's book "Blow your mind", which explores Arnold Jacobs' and Kristian's approach to playing a brass instrument. I've found it enlightening to read about the physiology of trumpet playing alongside how we think about our practice and what takes our focus. Highly recommend it to any keen brass players, it's not too long and I found it a very accessible read (any jargon is well-explained). By the way, it's almost half price if you order from here: https://www.speedyhen.com/Product/Kristian-Steenstrup/Blow-Your-Mind/21185209
Through the toughest patches of last year, I found comfort and hope in my Saviour, Jesus Christ. "He is my rock and my fortress." (Psalm 18:2) Nothing else comes close to the satisfaction he provides and particularly when I look back, I know how he has used my trials to bring me closer to him. My prayer is that others would acknowledge his awesome power and turn to him. Not only in the hard times, but in committing their life to him. He changed my life, he could change yours too.
Monday, 2 January 2017
|Vienna looking marvellous!|
In preparation for the Varasdy Frigyes National trumpet competition I learnt skills that before embarking on this trip I'd have never thought I could accomplish and along the way I made friends closer than I ever imagined possible in 4 months. Although having friends from all over the world could be seen as difficult, I'm very excited in that I now have many countries where I can have my own personal tour guide! Speaking of the competition though, that was an experience and a half - I was privileged to perform in front of Hungarian trumpet legend, Gábor Tarkövi. Having learnt from memory 2 movements from each of the Haydn and Böhme trumpet concertos, nerves were racing high as I took to the stage. I was pretty pleased with how I played but with over 20 competitors, the competition was very strong. There was a real sense of pride when students of the Liszt Academy achieved 1st and 3rd place!
In my last few weeks there were some really lovely things that happened, particularly as a great way to say farewell before flying home. Other than getting all my courses signed off with good marks, Dad and older brother Jonny managed to come for a weekend visit in early December, ice skating in Europe's largest outdoor ice rink at Heroes' Square with my brilliant Bible study friends was great fun and a "Tim-Tams" party with all the Erasmus students ended my time in Budapest with excitement and a great send-off! Going to miss all you people a lot...
|Christmas Markets with the boys!|
I now don't think it's possible for me to even nearly sum up my whole time on Erasmus so you'll just have to get me chatting if you want to know all the in between bits... I hope you've had wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations, I'm certainly looking forward to what 2017 has in store!
Friday, 7 October 2016
Luckily after a few lessons I'm pleased to say I can now keep up with the pace of the BA2 Music Theory class, just about! We've covered harmonic analysis of Classical and Romantic styles of music and now we're learning how to analyse the form - binary, ternary and rondo so far. Sounds a lot like stuff we already learnt at school right? I thought so too but was proved very wrong when we used terms such as "periods" and "sentences" to describe shorter passages and even discovered mini ternary elements within a piece in ternary form - composers continue to amaze me. They are so much more intelligent than we realise when we just scratch the surface in listening to a piece!
Did I tell you students can get free tickets to ALL of the concerts held here at the Liszt Academy? Pretty cool right, so obviously I've been making the most of the opportunity. The highlight concert so far is definitely Máv Symphony orchestra when they played Dvorák symphony no.9 "New World". What a fantastic piece, especially when preceded by Elgar's cello concerto, what a wonderful evening! As we had bought tickets for this concert we had the privilege of sitting behind the stage so I rather enjoyed peering over the woodwind and brass section's shoulders to follow their music...
Oh also, how could I forget to mention the beautiful Grand Hall and its attention to detail? I noticed during the interval of the last concert there are paintings depicting musical terms, as you can see here with "Scherzo", built into each corner for those in the balconies to enjoy! Student seats really are the best sometimes.
So last Friday we had a trumpet masterclass with Bruce Hellmers, former Principal trumpet of the Australian Opera and Ballet orchestra and fortunately for me, it was all in English hooray! I'm not sure how much some of the Hungarian students got out of it but I'm hoping they understood at least some of his expressions and the slightly odd accent... It was really nice to meet some more trumpet students anyway since I had only met my teacher's 3 other students up until then. Although I didn't play in the masterclass, I still benefited greatly from hearing other people play as everyone seems to be playing the same 2 pieces in preparation for the competition in December, myself included. I'm going to be sick of hearing the Haydn and Böhme trumpet concertos by the end of this term!
Other things at the Liszt Academy you might ask? They're all pretty cool too, I just can't go into detail about them all or we'll be here all night. Trumpet lessons are kind of important though and the delights of having 2 a week mean I tend to put in twice as much work as I normally would! They're good fun and generally consist of me playing something (not up to standard 90% of the time) followed by my teacher playing it perfectly and giving me direction to improve combined with mutual translation lessons of a variety of words! Teaching him "diaphragm" was hilarious.
Time to go and practice again and then watch the Budapest Gypsy Orchestra in concert, have a great weekend!