Tag Archives: advent 2012

Playing for ballet class: a page of tips

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In December 2012 I posted daily articles about what I’ve learned about playing for ballet classes over the last 25 years or so. This is a page of links to all those articles, with excerpts from each. Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #25: respect the ritual

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Class has a ritual, liturgical quality to it, particularly in a company. It is daily, it happens at a particular time, with such religious regard for punctuality that a teacher will begin class without music, rather than be late. It … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #24: Speak up – don’t act the pianist

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I can’t remember when exactly I discovered this, but it was life-changing. If you’ve got a question in class or rehearsal, speak up, don’t act the pianist. If you’re going to ask a question at all, ask it loud and clear. … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #23: Watch the teacher

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The advice to ‘watch the teacher’ is so obvious, it should have been one of the very first tips. But if there’s a reason I’ve hesitated so long, I think it’s because like many  apparently simple concepts, ‘watching the teacher’ … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #22: With harmony too, less is more

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If you’re improvising or harmonising a melody, there’s a lot to be said for just sticking to simple harmonies, and avoiding chromaticism or excessive modulation for the sake of it. It’s not a competition to see who can fit the … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tip #21: Make friends with a notator

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If there’s one kind of person in the ballet universe who can really understand where you’re coming from as a musician, and where you need to go, it’s a notator, whether the system they write in is Labanotation or Benesh … Continue reading

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