Milan Davidović

https://anchor.fm/struggling-upward, Toronto (UTC -5)

2020 December 30 (Wed) – on indefinite hiatus 25 (Fri) – Went down to the HL and played Christmas tunes. Nap. News – lead item is Nashville; hmm. Brazilian tapioca crepe mix must be refrigerated; Plan B: regular pancakes, but from scratch as we have no mix in the house. We do, however, still have more whisky-infused maple syrup. Watched Season 9 of Letterkenny. 24 (Thurs) – Practice. Nap. A bit of housework, then to the local grocers for some last minute things. Egg nog. Christmas cake. Other food. An online event from Koerner Hall. A reading of A Christmas Carol by Crow’s Nest Theatre . Dawdling over tonight’s SU upload. No blog post. 23 (Wed) – This napping after practice thing, I could get used to this. Check this out: <a href="https://smarturl.it/cominoverhere">https://smarturl.it/cominoverhere</a> 22 (Tues) – Got up early and practiced, as usual, but then came back upstairs and slept for two more hours. That was nice. Then, a relaxed day, much of it at the computer listening to this morning’s practice, editing an upload, writing a short blog post, and (as is my habit) opening more browser tabs than I close. 21 (Mon) – Good practice this morning. No day job for the next two weeks, so my time is to do with as I please. First up, my friend Gillian has her Monday morning show on <a href="https://www.cfcr.ca/">CFCR</a>. Then, a Christmas countdown podcast from @upinthisbrain. A new batch of cold brew coffee started last night and finished this morning. And then, mysteriously, the rest of the day vanished in a fog. 20 (Sun) – I took <a href="https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?R=1043195&Entt=RDM1043195">Practiceopedia</a> back to the library. I found it too much work too much work to get past the presentation (i.e. for children) to get to the ideas (some of which may actually be useful to adults). 19 (Sat) – A busy day yesterday, but now it all subsides for a couple of weeks. Shall I be productive? Shall I rest? Shall I give myself a haircut? Let’s start with the haircut. And then <a href="https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2020/old-vic-in-camera/a-christmas-carol-5">an Old Vic production of A Christmas Carol</a> (man, that was so good). Also, throwing out files and forestalling the inevitable purchase of another hard drive. 17 (Thurs) – I could be thought of as a fan of Stewart Lee (I don’t feel “fan”, but I’ve bought his stuff and follow what he’s up to). Recently I’d read that he has a connection with a band called IDLES, so I started looking into their stuff. What I like about it is how much the music seems to be based on lines and riffs as well as chords (perhaps even more). Check out this: <a href="https://youtu.be/-5Kjolg-HlY">IDLES - Grounds (Live on KEXP)</a> 16 (Wed) – The 12-tone row thing worked out well this morning; it scratched the creative itch but also showed me some things that I could work out on the technical side as well. Once again tomorrow morning for sure, and then I’ll see how I feel about Friday. 15 (Tues) – I listened to some Scott Walker interviews today, and now I feel like doing something creative. So tomorrow morning I’m setting aside the embouchure building (maybe just for one day, we’ll see). I generated some twelve-tone rows; these I will take down with me tomorrow to play with. We’ll see what comes of it. 13 (Sun) – now that I think about it more, I’m thinking of two buckets of things to be done: “do it and done” (e.g. empty the dishwasher) and ongoing (which can be broken down into “do it and done” chunks, but I intuitively perceive them as tasks without end, e.g. reading, building my list of ear training tunes). Also, there’s chores vs non-chores (those examples also fit in those buckets, respectively). 12 (Sat) – auria has got me thinking -- not so much about tracking my time but looking at my day from the other end: what if I were to plan it in advance? Sort of like my practice sessions. Or, pick a dozen things on which you would like to spend 15 minutes each that day (total three hours, yes?). The rest of the day is whatever it is. See if you can get them all done. In any case, I expect it’s easier at the end of the day to log how you spent it if you run your days according to a plan. 11 (Fri) – It’s weird to be so mindful of my embouchure after having taken it for granted for so long. It could almost be one of those Oblique Strategy things: pick something you’ve long neglected and focus on it. Only not in so many words. 10 (Thurs) – In the morning, I wonder how I will feel at the end of the day about how I spent the time. It has yet, however, to lead to me looking back on the day with satisfaction. That said, practice this morning was good. 9 (Wed) – Tomorrow morning I’m going to set aside Adeste Fideles and try out some ideas I had after watching the first part (Week 1) of <a href="https://youtu.be/RrIbU_LDneo">this youtube</a>. 8 (Tues) – Today I got to try out the nasal spray flu vaccine on account of Ontario not having obtained enough of the conventional flu jab. At least I managed to get something, and all I had to give up was a morning’ practice (i.e. to avoid messing up my day at the job too much). 7 (Mon) – I can manage three different barre chord forms on ukulele, based on A, F and D. Of these, for making a dominant 7, D is the worst, F is middling, and A is easiest. But for minor chords, F is the worst. Mind you, this comes from me poking at the fretboard and making no reference to chord charts at all. Reinventing the wheel, perhaps, but I’m working from the assumption that at some point this will all pop into place and I’ll be able to read the fretboard as easily as a keyboard. 5 (Sat) – The day was sort of a blur; I can recall enough things I did to know that I did something, but not enough of it to really give a good account of the time. One thing I did was to watch <a href>the new Zappa documentary</a>. That was time well spent. 4 (Fri) – I may have been a bit overconfident in skipping forward to the full version. But in the course of discovering that, I came up with a few ideas. All the same, I just might cut back to smaller chunks – not as small as those I started with, but something less than the full version. 3 (Thurs) – Good practice this morning; I’ve memorized something faster than I thought I would, so I can skip forward to working on the full version of it rather than incrementally building up the chunks. Meanwhile, where did the week go? 2 (Wed) – I used to sing in this non-auditioned choir, and we had a few people who came in not being able to read music at all (no requirement for it, turns out), so the beginning of each rehearsal was spent on some sight-reading (easy at first). The conductor would write out an exercise on the whiteboard and we’d sing it. Then they’d have us sing it backwards. Turns out this is an interesting thing to do with Arban exercises. 1 (Tues) – The first go at Adeste Fideles: I should have spent more time on the weekend listening to that accompaniment part. But that’s okay: I’ll get it eventually. I was also thinking about how many methods, sets of etudes, etc. could be presented and largely learned by ear. Which makes me wonder what thoughts teachers have about the balance of learning things by ear vs. from ink. 2020 November 30 (Mon) – And that’s it for November. Tomorrow I start on Adeste Fideles. The news says that snow is coming. 29 (Sun) – And that’s it for the weekend. Got outside for a walk; a bit more housework, another podcast upload. Tomorrow morning is drones, and the rest of the week Adeste Fideles. 28 (Sat) – Apparently I’ve been preoccupied. Anyway, a nice day away from the Mon-Fri day job, doing a bit of housework, making a bit of podcast and blog, enjoying some wine and cheese. November, I see, is almost over, and December will be mostly locked down here in Toronto. 25 (Wed) – Good practice this morning, and some ideas I used with the Arban book will now help me with Shuebruk. Some new play-along tracks for Adeste Fideles (duet version in Arban) have just arrived, so that’ll be next week’s work. The first of two videos I made for this work thing went out today. Hoping and not hoping to hear from people about it. 24 (Tues) – this morning, first 10 exercises from the Shuebruk articulation book. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Arban book, but the change is refreshing (and it gives me a chance to work on getting my breath attacks cleaned up). Also, I haven’t yet been out in the snow, and I have a feeling it might disappear again before I get the chance. On the other hand, winter’s coming, so there’ll be more. 23 (Mon) – Back to the drones / long tones; after that, I was thinking of going back to <a href="https://www.encoremupub.com/arban-complete-method-for-trombone-and-euphonium/">the Arban book</a> but then remembered my <a href="https://www.carlfischer.com/wf73-complete+shuebruk+tongue+trainers+for+trombone.html">Shuebruk articulation book</a>; that might be good for working on breath attacks. 22 (Sun) – Should have gone out to check out the snow today. Stayed in, did some laundry, watched The Last Waltz and Once Were Brothers. The first one I liked because it focused on people playing. I guess I stuck with the second one because I had enjoyed the first, but if I had watched it first instead I probably would have quit it early. 21 (Sat) – The weekend. Or as I like to think of it, a mini/temporary retirement from the day job. I think the trick to retirement (not imminent, but visible on the horizon with a good pair of binoculars) is to not get old before you get there. Anyway, I recorded videos for that thing I mentioned on Wednesday: two songs, three takes each, and the organizers of the online event can choose which takes they want to use.

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