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.

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!