In at the (sort of) deep end

First day at school.  As I suspected it's sort of awkward joining at this point in the course.  Technically the courses here work on a monthly basis with everyone signing up at the beginning of the month.  Because I'm not a total beginner (though not far off) they were happy for me to join in the fourth week but as I feared it means I've joined the fourth week of the beginners.  It's not too bad because I'm not starting from scratch though having never had formal French lessons there are gaps in my knowledge and in my confidence as well.   The others have had three rather hard core weeks so I feel a little daunted!  On the plus side it gives me a week to hopefully get enough under my belt so I don't then have to start at the beginning come next month.  On the plus side the school seems very very good and I'm very impressed with the teacher.  There's only 8 of us in the class and it seems to be a good mixture of speaking, writing, grammar and listening which I'm glad of.  I was speaking to a colleague who had gone to another language school in Paris and I was a little surprised when she said it was really only conversation.  Though that's probably one thing you can't do on your own I feel as if I do need to have all the other building blocks going on to get somewhere with this!

Having had a fair workout at the school I came home to get cracking with the Gallay.  Didn't quite get as much practice done as I had scheduled - partially due to having not played this instrument for a few weeks and needing to get a different sort of stamina going again - but wasn't far off.  This week is mainly about getting the Caprices going again having had a break from them for a couple of months.  But I'm also trying to formulate different approaches to them, thinking about whether to play them in the order in which they were published, what crooks to use etc etc.  One thing I played with today was pairing them up with some of Gallay's Unmeasured Preludes.  Here I'm working on the premise that "preluding" was one of the many skills wind players were expected to have.  Dauprat is rather snide about it (annoyingly I don't have the quote to hand... the tome is back in London...) saying something along the lines of some players ruining performances by endless and needless preluding.  I'm quite a fan of the Gallay Préludes non mesurés  (Op. 27) and I'm wondering whether pairing a prelude with each Caprice might work....

Once it had all got too much I strolled down to the Buttes-Chaumont which is not so far away from where I'm staying.  Hopefully I'll get more opportunities to explore this park.  A friend of mine described it as more of an "English" than a "French" type of park and justified his view by saying the the Tuileries is all manicured and lolly-pop bay trees whilst the Buttes-Chaumont is more wild and romantic.  One thing I've always loved about London and missed in most other big cities is the big green royal parks where you can escape city living so it's very nice to discover the Buttes-Chaumont.