practise examples

tips on how to rehearse your instrument

okay, so, after ages of procrastination, here it is. My rehearsal tips for classical music. Mostly for piano, but also other instruments, especially woodwinds, since i’m also playing the flute! If you have anything to add to the list, just don’t hesitate :)

1. Prepare yourself. Yep. Even in music, this is an important step. Turn off your electronic devices, they’ll only distract you and you won’t need them - at least not for classical piano rehearsal. Get all of your sheet music together! You can also get yourself a glass or a bottle of water (Especially for wind instruments!), but make sure that the instrument won’t get any damage!

2. Warming up. This is so important and it’ll help you to improve your tone (winds) and your style. I recommend doing scales and arpeggios in different versions - you’ll always need them. Also, try out different breathing techniques if you’re playing a wind instrument, such as circular breathing. However, try to mix it up. Don’t do the same stuff every day because you’ll eventually loose interest in what you’re doing. Be creative! Don’t forget that music is art!

3. Don’t try to play all of your pieces in one day. What I wanna say is: If you have 3 pieces to practise - for example a Bach, a Beethoven sonata and another piece, don’t do all of them in the same day. Practice two of them the 1st day after your rehearsal, then two the next day and the day after that another two. This way, it’ll be a nice circle and you still practiced everything in the end. It’s the same with studying, really. Try to make a rehearsal plan. Also, if you only have to practise one piece, don’t just play it from the beginning ‘till the end. Do the same. Play 3 lines the first day, maybe 4 the next and maybe 2 the day after that. Divide the work in small chunks. It’ll be much easier to keep track of what you’re doing. 

4. Analysis. Most people don’t believe me this, but analysing your piece of music can be really helpful. Especially if your teacher just gave you a new piece to practise and you think it is way too difficult. It is not! Try to find out where the melody is. Is it in the left hand or the right hand? What is the form of the piece? Where would you play forte, where piano? Where do the notes come from, where do they go? Where are the important parts, the climax of the piece? All of these are important information that, if done right, transform the notes on the sheet into actual music. However, you may check the details of this with your teacher. They often know a lot more about music - and asking questions won’t be wrong. 

5. It is very important to practice the nuances and the intonation from the first moment on. In every instrument. Don’t try to make excuses as to why you would add that crescendo later. Do it now! To memorize the nuances easier, you can sit down for 5 to 10 minutes before your practice and just look at the notes, trying to memorize the small details that you added. 

6. Start slowly. You don’t need to be able to play a piece of music in the original tempo in one week. Getting to know your piece, feeling the music, takes time. It often takes a semester to remember 3 or 4 pieces by heart - depending on their seize as well - but that was at least the case for me. And most of the time, i was just too lazy and i could’ve needed two or three more additional weeks ‘till the actual exam. I had to memorize like 20-30 pages by heart for my last two or three exams and it really takes a good amount of work and practice!

7. So now to the actual rehearsing. Again, it is important to chunk down the piece into a lot of small pieces. Start with the right hand first, then do the left hand on its own. Or start with the melody first. Go slowly - it is better if you can play without any mistake, than playing 15 wrong notes in just one line. Also, especially for piano (and violin?) - write down the fingerings. This may take some time, but it’s so important to play everything the same way. Try to find a fingering that suits you, if they’re not included already!

8. If the piece has a lot of chords, you should play the chords first. (I’m talking about Rachmaninoff here, that little bitch!) Try to get the connection between two chords right, then add a third one, and so on. Before you notice it, you can play the whole passage already - congrats! Again, prefer going slowly and with the right notes to going fast with a lot of wrong notes. In classical music, precision is really important. And precision starts the second we start learning a new piece of music. 

9. Memorize the parts you played wrong, mark them, so you can go back later. For the very start, just try to get into the feeling of the piece. Then, take one section and play that 10-15 times. So slow, that you don’t play any wrong notes. Just 10-15 times, then go on to the next passage. At the beginning, you may repeat them more often, but as you’re already into the piece, don’t repeat the passage more than 15 times. Let it rest, go on to the next one - and only repeat it again the next day. This is also a great method for rehearsing if you don’t have a lot of time. It’s better to play just 10 minutes a day and just a passage than to not play at all! 

10. Get a metronome. Seriously. Metronomes are so important because it is literally so so so annoying when a musician can’t keep it’s tempo. And you need to be able to do so - even in difficult passages. Also, for pianists and basically every other instrumentalist (except for drummers maybe!) DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT TAP YOUR FEET TO THE BEAT OF THE PIECE. DON’T DO IT. IT’S THE WORST THING EVER TO DO ON STAGE. Also, in orchestra, it’ll most likely annoy a lot of musicians around you. Just get a metronome. 

11. Don’t skip difficult passages. Don’t do it. Practice them excessively - with the method that i described in step 9. 

12. Listen to yourself. Record yourself if you need to. Criticise yourself. Don’t say “Yeah, I know i played that wrong.” Stop playing. Repeat the passage 5-10 times until you won’t get it wrong anymore. Then move on.

13. Enjoy yourself. Music comes from the heart. Try to talk to your teacher if you don’t like your piece or if you find it too difficult to practice and concentrate. I’m sure they can give you different exercises that are perfect to help you improve as an individual. 

14. If you have an exam coming up, listen to different youtube versions of the song. Get inspired - but don’t freak out. It’s okay if you don’t play Chopin as fast as Yuja Wang or Lang Lang or whoever is THE GOD in your instrument. Judges know and mostly respect that you’re a student. You’re still learning, and you’re nervous. They’re humans too and they know this. I also recommend to play the songs in front of people, for example your friends or family - often, music schools offer mini concerts for students so that they can play in front of other students who’ll take the same exam - before your actual exam. It helps to get used to the situation and it’ll be really helpful because you know what passages you have to practice more so that they won’t go wrong in the exam. 

15. Try to find out which way to play your pieces. One may requires more strength than the other, or a lot more concentration. Do you play your best piece at the end or do you choose the order by music eras and music styles? If you are not sure which way to play your pieces, ask your teacher for advice! 

16. During the exam. Don’t stop if you played a wrong note there. Please don’t try to correct yourself, that only disturbs the music’s flow. And the judges will notice the wrong note more likely if you stop playing. Mostly, they won’t even hear a wrong note. Just continue playing as if nothing happened.

17. Last but not least, if you have to audition for an university, it is important to know why you choose that certain song. Be prepared to explain what the song means to you or why you thought it would be good to play it in this setting. Also, be prepared to do an improvisation. Don’t freak out if they ask you to do something differently - they often just want to check if you’re able to change things up immediately, if you’re open to new things. Also, it is often required to play songs from different eras. Do it! And be sure to be in the required time limit as well! Mostly, they send you a list of things you have to be aware of when you register for the audition. 

18. As for the practicing times, it’s up to you. However, I recommend not playing a full hour at once - especially for piano. It’s easier to squeeze in a quick 10-20 minute practice between your study sessions. If you do that 2-3 times a day and practice the right way, you’ll be surprised on how your productivity will evaluate! Also, this method will make it easier to concentrate on your studying afterwards again, because music frees the mind from stress, relaxes your body and is good for your soul! 

MASTERY IN CALCULUS

I know that many of you are struggling with calculus. Since I study Mathematics and calculus is one of my favourites I decided to share with you some tips on learning and understanding it.

  1. Listen carefully during lectures and classes - This may be pretty obvious, but it is such an important part. I know that a lot of people just zone out during maths lectures and just write notes without any consideration. Try to use little breaks f.e. when the teacher cleans the blackboard, to process what you wrote down. This will help you keep up and focus on what the teacher’s just said.
  2. Keep your notes as pretty and clear as possible - Maths can be a bit complicated, especially proves to theorems so you need to arrange your notes in simple and understandable way. Decide in which colour you’ll mark specific parts. For example I write every new term in red, and every theorem in green. Colour, underline, mark! Trust me it’ll help a lot.
  3. Come back to your lecture notes after practical classes - It’s amazing how some of theorems become understandable after actual using them to solve problems. Also proves will be easier to understand.
  4. Learn basic formulas as soon as possible but don’t memories them, learn them by using - It’s crucial for efficient calculating derivatives and integrals. Firstly do simple exercises just to learn specific formula. Do as many examples as you need to use the formula without looking it up. 
  5. Exercise - write everything down! Don’t expect you’ll learn how to do integrals by simply looking at them. You have to practise. Do as many examples as you can. The more you’ll practise, the more patterns in your calculations you’ll see. Also check your answers - there’re many free programmes where you can do that f.e. Maxima or compare results with friends.
  6. Read some calculus handbooks - I highly recommend “Problems and Methods in Analysis: Volume 1 and Volume 2″ by Włodzimierz Krysicki and Lech Włodarski (it’s almost like The Bible for Maths and Engineering students in Poland), also “Differential and integral calculus“ by G. M. Fichtenholz. Sometimes it’s good to look at some theorems and their proves from a different perspective or in a different form.
  7. Give yourself a break from time to time - everything might become boring when you focus only on it for a long time (trust me I know), everything gets mixed up and you can’t move forward. Then do something else for a little while and afterwards get a fresh start.
  8. After the test analyse what you did wrong - do it and you’ll never make this mistake again. It really works.

There it is. 8 steps to calculus mastery. Good luck guys!

Headcanon 34

Viktor’s scent is one of the things Yuuri finds most comforting in life. It’s a beautiful mix of vanilla, ginger and cinnamon; to Yuuri, Viktor smells like home- the one place and person he will never leave.

Yuuri’s scent is addictive, in Viktor’s opinion. There’s a faint smell of katsudon, possibly from how much his mate loves it, and it’s combined with the sweet fragrance of newly bloomed cherry blossoms and coconut.

What both of them love more than the other’s smell is when their own is noticeable amidst it. Yuuri regularly nuzzles into Viktor’s scent glands, especially when the two are embracing. Viktor, on the other hand, marks him more discreetly- for example, in practise where he can run his nose and lips over Yuuri’s neck and play it off as simple coaching.

anonymous asked:

I was wondering: Ethnicity is where your family comes from. (Norway, Zimbabwe, Greece, Thailand, Etc.) Race is your skin tone (in its most simple terms.) Or at least, that's how I've always seen it (once I figured out what race was-I didn't know until I started crying to my mum worried that I was different from my friend because she had pointed out that we are of different races). But what do others think, would you know? Because I get a lot of pissed off people when I them my ethnicity.

Hello! These concepts are complex, and the conflation between them often leads to a lot of misunderstandings. I’m guessing people get pissed off because you don’t look quite like how people of that ethnic group, country or culture are expected to look, due to the strong hold of stereotypes. Here’s generally what I think about what is ethnicity and race- and how they’ve been conceptualised by people -kinda long, btw:

1. Firstly, just a clarification, ethnicity doesn’t quite correlate with national boundaries all the time. While in some countries, the name of the country is also an ethnicity (German etc), many other countries have multiple ethnic groups because of immigration or colonial-era drawn state boundaries. Because of this, in many countries today, nationality: the country you were born or are a citizen of- (like yes, Zimbabwe, Greece, Thailand, China) isn’t synonymous with ethnicity. Due to how increasingly cosmopolitan our world is today, ethnicity as used today usually refers to shared ancestry- and has come to mean shared genetic heritage and is usually quite specific. I.e Not just “Asian” but “Han Chinese”.  

(Names have power- is it also fair for people in the US to be called “Americans” when it’s the name of two giant continents? Some people in Latin America don’t think so.)

  • Both ethnicity and nationality are good indicators of cultural identity, compared to race. For example, ethnic groups often have specific cultural traditions. The Chinese diaspora has differences, but they celebrate Chinese New Year etc. The presence of multi-ethnic nation states means there are also larger cultural identities shared by all the people in a country across ethno-religious lines (i.e American culture).
  • Today, ethnicity alone could, but doesn’t always determine identity- nationality has implications on a person’s identity because people of the same ethnicity living in different countries aren’t exactly the same. For example, a person of Han ancestry (ethnicity) from mainland China and a Han Chinese from Indonesia are culturally rather different in many ways even if they share some commonalities by virtue of a similar origin. China itself has many other ethnic groups- minorities like Uighurs, who practise mostly Islam, for example. So that’s why nationality isn’t always synonymous with ethnicity today.

  • Here’s an example: Kirsty Coventry- she is a Zimbabwean Olympic champion swimmer. Yes, ethnically she is of European origin because she’s descended from Zimbabwe’s white minority. But she was born in Zimbabwe, is a Zimbabwean citizen and huge numbers of black Zimbabweans- not just white Zimbabweans- crowded the capital welcome her when she returned from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. To them, she is one of them, even if yes, racially, she’s “white” and they’re “black”. Blackness as we use it is synonymous with “African origin”. Would it be accurate to say there is no “black” influence at all on her identity or nationality? 
  • Nonetheless, compared to the colour-conscious definition of race in the US, most historians, scientists and anthropologists regard ethnicity as a good and accepted way of classifying someone. Because it speaks of specific geographical origin and genetic haplogroups- a sound basis in biology and history. Homogenising and defining people by their skin colour ALONE makes little sense as it glosses over far more important things like language, cultural ties and geographic origin- and actual genetics.  

2. Furthermore, race is an artificial social construct. It has always been more about Othering rather than truly classifying humans biologically. It arose in the era before modern genetics revealed that it is very likely all humans originated in Africa. It sees our species as a narrow, rigidly-defined palette instead of a gradient and spectrum. Race fails terribly to classify the fluidity of identity and has almost no biological basis at all- you do not suddenly cross into an area of “whiteness” to “none-white”. You just have a gradual diffusion of genetic haplogroups which are kinda like a mosaic in your genetic code. As you move further away from Europe towards Asia, people in Eurasia are neither wholly “Asian” or “European”. The presence of European genetic haplogroups extends far BEYOND the political boundaries of what we call “Europe” today. Central Asians for example, simply have other haplogroups in addition to European ones. 

Scientific racism thought Africans were less evolved than people of European origin- we now know it’s nonsense as we’re all Homo sapiens. It also reflected rivalries and faultlines in Europe- Irish were for example, seen as “less white” a century or so ago. 

  • The reason I get uncomfortable when people say “white people have no culture around the world” and I downright scoff when white supremacists say “white civilisation has invented so many things” is because they homogenise and group together people who do not see themselves as whole.
  • What on earth is “white” culture, for example? Europe? But Europe isn’t homogenous (look how much they fought each other for centuries) and has had many non-European influences on its culture throughout history- like from North Africa and the Middle-East. Reducing things to terms like “white culture” is ahistorical and narrowly assumes cultural ties were forged based on skin colour alone- completely ignoring the cultural links between various civilisations that bordered the Mediterranean, for example. Like when they were all part of the Roman Empire.

Or part of other empires. Like the largest empire in the ancient world, Achaemenid Iran (yes, it’s bigger than the Roman Empire) I’m pretty sure that’s a chunk of the Balkans and modern Greece I see coloured Green too. 

  •  And the link to the Mediterranean, for example, definitely left its mark culturally- for example, Carthage. That’s modern day Libya in North Africa. There are plenty of Roman ruins still there! Using the term “white people” outside the US or modern-day context is pretty illogical and distorts human history precisely because they are social constructs. And the outlines of our world were completely different 2000 years ago. Sure, Italians and Germans are both racialised as white in the US today. But 2000 years ago? There were PLENTY of African legionnaires serving the empire- fighting the Germanic tribes who were the primary enemy of Rome, for example! So lumping the Romans as “white civilisation” and “white people” also erases the role of non-Europeans in the empire.
  • And today? Even the European Union isn’t some harmonious whole and doesn’t see itself as “collectively white”:

In the UK:

In Greece, because of austerity imposed by the EU:

3. Skin tone is the most common way of “distinguishing” between “different” races in the US and many parts of the world. But it is not the only way humans have racially othered one another throughout history. Look at this girl. Fair skin, blonde hair and light coloured eyes, no?

  • But she’s  Hana Brady, a Czech Jewish girl who was murdered in the Holocaust. Her story became famous after a Japanese teacher examining children’s effects at the Holocaust museum found her suitcase, because she’d written her name on it. It didn’t matter to Hitler that she had looked more “Aryan” than even he himself. Many Jewish people looked like her- but that wouldn’t save them if their ancestry was discovered. 

Ironic, much?

  • That is why race is artificial. Jewish people were Othered because of their religion and culture- and to an extent, Jewish people can be seen as an ethnicity because the community often intermarried. But many European Jews were actually very heavily related to the surrounding European communities they lived in. Although eventually they tended to marry within their community, it seems that for centuries before that, Jewish men who originated from the Middle-East intermarried with European women to the extent that up to 80% of Ashkenazi Jews can trace their maternal line to prehistoric Europe. Are there cultural differences and unique things about the Jewish community? Definitely yes. But pretending that made them a different “race”, that biologically they were so distinct from their surrounding communities was just a lie to feed Nazi nationalism. 

4. As artificial as race is, it is a social construct that has entrenched itself because of scientific ignorance and colonialism. So I understand why people have to use terms of “white” and “black” to understand Ferguson. Because these terms are how the power structure in say, US society, organises itself and it is necessary to use this terminology to deconstruct and understand modern racism. I understand African Americans identifying with “black culture” because that common cultural identity did grow out of the solidarity they formed to fight slavery and Jim Crow, and this history still affects their experiences today. 

  • However, I would think it would be good for people to not feel they have to identify themselves racially if it is very, very difficult for you to classify yourself. Identify yourself by your ethnicity, by your culture and nationality instead. I mean, what does skin tone say? Nothing much, honestly. A person from the Yoruba ethnic group found in Nigeria and Benin is hardly the same as a Xhosa from South Africa.

Nelson Mandela was a Xhosa, an ethnic group in South Africa. One challenge he spoke about fighting apartheid in the 1950s was overcoming the ethnic rivalries and cultural differences between various African ethnic groups in South Africa.

A fair skinned person could be Greek. They could be German. Hardly the same culturally and even ethnicity wise even if they’re both from Europe (their genetic haplogroups wouldn’t be EXACTLY the same). A fair skinned person might not even be European- a Punjabi from India. Or a Persian from Iran. Or a Pashtun from Afghanistan. Or a Syrian, or Turkish. 

Afghan women participating in a civil society discussion before the April 2014 elections. 

This is Nazanin Afshin-Jam. She is Iranian- she lives in Canada because both her parents fled there with her during the 1979 Revolution. 

5. The fact that race is very political is obvious from how, in the US, whiteness is usually understood to be synonymous with European origin. It’s allegedly a descriptor of skin colour- but light-skinned Indians, Afghans, Syrians and Turkish people are often racialised as non-white even if they’re fair- much fairer than many Europeans sometimes. They’re seen as “white-passing” and many white supremacists would say they’re not really white. Even though guess what? The gene for fair skin found in most Europeans originated in India or the Middle-East. The first white person wasn’t even “European” at all. Fair skin is not exclusively owned by Europe. Many light-skinned Indians look the way they look PRECISELY because some of them have this gene too.

  • Latin@s are a good example of one group of people who show the artificiality of race in the US context. Because their nationality and culture is often neither wholly “white” or “non-white” but a fusion of European, indigenous American and African influences. Ethnically, Mexico, for example, is as diverse as the US- there are people European, African and indigenous ancestry and far more people are mixed-race. Saying they have to be “white” or “non-white” assumes “whiteness” is a default- and makes quite little sense in Mexico when the heart of Mexican national identity is seen as being a fusion of both European and indigenous influences. “Mexico” itself comes from the Aztec name for the centre of the Aztec empire.
  •  A Mexican of predominantly European origin would still likely celebrate the Day of the Dead- which may have Catholic ties today- but is really a reinvention of an ancient Aztec celebration that honoured the Aztec goddess of the underworld, Mictecacihuatl. Despite colonialism, the culture of Mexico and many Latin American countries is very, very steeped in the culture of the original Americans compared to the US, due to the fact that much more people there have indigenous ancestry. Colonialism couldn’t erase all that.

  • Insisting Mexicans are uniformly “non-white” or that light-skinned Mexicans can’t be real latinos completely conflates ethnicity and nationality- which CANNOT be done in multi-ethnic countries. It’s their nationality and culture- Mexican- that is the basis for this shared celebration of the Day of the Dead, not even just ethnicity and definitely not “race”. Like how so many Americans celebrate the 4th of July. So, because this Othering of Mexicans as “non-white” is motivated by sociopolitical factors, it oversimplifies mixed European and indigenous heritage at the heart of their national identity- which is intended to embrace ALL Mexicans no matter their skin colour. 
  • Latin America is often racially Othered in opposition to English speaking North America as “non-white”, and this isn’t really based on proper anthropology or genetics. Why this Othering? Because for example, the US fought wars and had a rivalry with Mexico. The Mexican-American war anyone? The Spanish-American war? Where there was a lot of white saviour complex about the horror of Spanish colonialism in Cuba (like, I mean, pot, kettle, black?) Language. Society. Politics.

6. Ultimately, we should recognise the entire US construct of race (the most commonly used one I see on tumblr) and its terms has a whole crapload of limitations because its formation wasn’t based on an earnest, objective attempt to biologically categorise the diversity of humanity. It was tainted by bias and scientific racism, that sought to draw a dichotomy between people of European origin and the rest of the world. It is not an honest descriptor of even skin colour but loaded with sociopolitical divisions. In other countries, racial categorisation operates differently also because it’s a social construct. 

^ 2010 US Census form: How about having a  box when you can fill in your ethnicity or previous nationality? Not your “race”. Because it looks like many Latin@ Americans and Arab Americans have no box to check and are ostensibly “some other race”. Because…”Arab” and “Latin@” are also cultural identities because people in the Arab world or who speak Latin American Spanish aren’t even all uniformly the same colour. “Arab“ is quite a panethnic group and identity.

  • That is why I feel people should not keep on insisting people should be categorised by race if they don’t fit neatly in a box. It’s a damaging concept that makes no sense biologically, that has Othered and demonised people for centuries and distorted the origin and links between various cultures. Identify yourself by your ethnicity, culture and nationality- unless say, in whatever country you’re from, your skin colour has led to a unique, shared culture and heritage experience that it makes sense for you to identify with because it’s part of your identity- like black people in the US, for example. But terms like “white”, “brown” (and even “black”, when used to refer to the diverse African continent itself) just egregiously homogenises diverse groups of people and really, IMO, the entire concept of “race” needs to die. 
It’s Been About A Year...

So, it’s been roughly a year (14 months to be exact) since I rebooted this blog and started working a bit more seriously towards helping others with starting out in the CD world. Since the reboot I’ve come out to my friends, improved my make-up game, and roughly tripled the contents of my wardrobe.

However, I think my proudest achievement of the last year is the amount of newbie Crossdressers I’ve had the good fortune to meet and assist. When I started this blog back in 2010 I didn’t really have much of a purpose for it, I just wanted to put pictures of myself online. I look back at that time now and realise how much easier it would have been to speak to a more experienced Crossdresser for little hints and tips. 

Now that I’m verging on 8,000 followers I’ve come to the realisation that I’m one of the experienced now, and I would like to do anything I can to help out anyone who is just getting started in crossdressing. I’ve had several people come to me in the past with questions ranging from help with make-up to dress choices, or even questions as simple as ‘I want to try it, how do I start?’. It’s been great knowing that others are getting the help I so badly wanted when I started out.

If there’s anything you can take away from this, it’s simply a lot can happen in just a year. In November 2014 crossdressing, for me, was still something I kept relatively hidden. Now it’s something that is part of who I am.

I’m not alone in this. I have a lot of people saying things like ‘I wish I could look as good as you’ or ‘I’m no where near your level’. I appreciate the compliments, but there is no reason why you can’t do what I do. I’m nothing special, I put my heels on one foot at a time. All you need to do is make time for it, and practise practise practise.

As an example, here’s how far I’ve come in just a year.

November 2014

November 2015

It might not look like much, but there’s a lot of subtleties which make a big difference in not just how I look but also how I feel. Also my style has moved away from just black so that’s good :P

Either way, sorry again for the lengthy post. I hope you all have a great 2016 and if you need help you need only ask!