Off To A Flying Start


This week has just flown by, with plenty of rehearsals, performances in class, researching and collating information for my essay, coaching, music calls for my opera scenes and much more.

However, the most important thing I have learnt this week was being self-critical and setting myself ‘micro-goals’ during my independent study time. I saw this fantastic poster in the practise room and it really connected with the projects I have undertaken at the minute.


I realised that I have to give myself time for the process and that something which can begin as (seeming) impossible can be overcome. By breaking the impossible goal down into achievable smaller goals you can improve your motivation, which can then provide you with the ability to process the task at hand.

It may seem simple when you first read it and I have used the idea before when revising for exams, or preparing an essay. But often when taking on a much bigger project I find myself continuously working hard focusing on the conclusion. This can often pressurise my learning environment, rather than congratulating myself for the small achievements, which day by day can add up to the larger goal.

For example I was tripping over fitting in a mordant in a piece I have been practising, so I took it apart and practised the notes outside of the rhythm, then I worked out all the different ways that I could rhythmically fit the ornament in so it worked with the accompaniment. Finally I brought it all together by practising the different options until I picked one that suited the drama of the phrase.


At the end of the week I had the lovely treat of attending two birthday parties and a fabulous concert at which the Kilmardinny Music Circle presented the talented and lovely Ayoub sisters, Sarah and Laura. Sarah recently graduated from the RCS and as I consider her a friend it was wonderful to get to see her perform. Together they have recently won β€œThe Big Music Project Classical Competition” as a duo and will soon be performing at the Royal Albert Hall! I hope I can get tickets! My favourite piece of the evening was a set of Spanish pieces Malaguena – Playera – Habenera by Pablo de Sarasate. They really transported me to a Spanish villa at sunset with the smell of wine and olives in the air. A truly splendid week!

52 thoughts on “Off To A Flying Start

  1. Good Job, Always an Inspiration for us. Best Regards and wishing you the very best. Douglas

  2. I do so agree with you that breaking a task up into achievable small goals is such a good way of dealing with a big project and I also agree that it is much more difficult to do than it seems! Both my daughters have problems with this and become so despondent when they see the amount of work to do before the ‘conclusion’. They try to break the task up but easily get into a panic when they think they aren’t getting anywhere!
    I am glad to see that you have taken time to enjoy yourself at the end of the week. The only way to excel is to make sure you have enough rest and leisure time.
    Best wishes, Clare x

    1. Hi Clare, I always find the hardest part is when you reach a moment of stillness. I like to think that when this happens your body is taking in all the information you are trying to memorise. I wish good luck to your daughters, I’m sure they will find their own methods of success πŸ™‚

      Best Wishes,

  3. I like that quote, which recalls a statement by Victor Hugo, who was once asked if it is “difficult” to write epic poetry. He said, “It is either easy or it is impossible.” This is of course a slight oversimplification, because there is hard work between “impossible” and “easy.” But the road is there for those who choose to follow it! And congratulations on your new insights.

    1. The similarities between the two quotes are very interesting. It is definitely the process that is hard but with a little application it can become easier. The extra hard part is that I find myself using a slightly different method every time for each project I encounter πŸ™‚

      Thanks and Best Wishes,

  4. Similar to a quote attributed to golfer Gary Player with variations by a number of others: Watching golf shots, a spectator commented, ‘ I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in my life.” And he shot back, β€œWell, the harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

    1. It’s very true! My dad has always said to me it’s amazing how hard-working lucky people are! I think it’s about preparation and being able to take charge when an opportunity presents itself. I think it’s interesting how core skills spread across so many different disciplines.

      Best Wishes,

  5. Nice share, thanks Charlotte – a big project is simply the mix of small projects and good and joyful rest, gives happiness that food energy for good work πŸ™‚ – All the best for you

  6. Thank you for the wisdom of how to eat an elephant.. one bite at a time! πŸ˜‰ Here’s to a wonderful January and beyond!

    1. Hi Annette, when I read your comment a fabulous image came to mind. That’s a very colourful way to describe a big project. Thank you and may your January be fabulous too!

      Best Wishes,

  7. I love this approach–it can apply to anything. I love your description of the Spanish pieces and how they took you back to a Spanish villa with its wine and olives. Makes me think of Spain too πŸ™‚ It sounds like you had a wonderful week!

  8. Sounds like the holiday is over and it’s back to work. Also sounds like you have been very busy and have busy time coming up. I like the sign but whilst practice is necessary, don’t forget to factor in to your plans some “self” time..

    1. I feel very much like a little worker ant at the minute harvesting for the months to come. But as you say it’s so important to factor in relaxation too. My brother has let me borrow his Sherlock TV series so I may watch some of them!

      Best Wishes,

      1. Sherlock is good but I prefer Lewis. I have all the episodes but have not seen the present season since it’s a birthday present and it’s not my birthday yet but I think I might get to it after Melbourne :o)

    1. That is so true Marie and I think that is why it also so satisfying when you complete a task or a project that you thought so difficult at the beginning.

      Best wishes

  9. I used to do something like what you described. I would break down some basic elements in manuevers and do them over and over in blocks. Then I would do another block where I would do all of them and put them in the place where it made the most sense.

    I guess some approaches are just universal. No matter if the tasks seem to be in completely different realms.

    Have a great week!

    1. I think that no matter what you do if you have a passion to improve then practice and hard work will help you achieve your goals. It was great to read how you apply these techniques to your surfing. Thank you for sharing Steve πŸ™‚

      Best wishes

  10. “By breaking the impossible goal down into achievable smaller goals you can improve your motivation, which can then provide you with the ability to process the task at hand.”

    Really wonderful words to read this morning!!!

    2015 was super busy so I didn’t hit reply very often – but I do enjoy your posts when they land in my email.

    The wands you and your brothers made were awesome!!!!

    All the best for 2016


    1. Hi Michael it is so encouraging to see that you are still reading and thanks for taking the time to leave comment. Making the wands was great fun, just to chill out and do something completely different was a real treat πŸ™‚

      Keep well in 2016 and I hope that it brings you plenty of smiles.

      Best wishes

    1. It is definitely worth giving it a try Cheryl, I found it a great help and it is really working for me. Let me know how it goes if you try it out πŸ™‚

      Best wishes

  11. Sounds like you can handle any piece given to you with that method. Keep practicing and you will one day be famous! Best wishes & hugs! Xx

    1. Hi Janice, as the repertoire becomes more adventurous it is great to find ways to help improve the techniques needed to perform them πŸ™‚ I am working hard but enjoying every minute of it. Have a great week πŸ™‚

      Best wishes

  12. This is great advice that you pass on, Charlotte, and it is never too late to learn. I used to think of it in a different context – if a task looks overwhelming I visualise a room full of rubbish, if you keep your eyes down and pick up the pieces one by one, you will eventually get a clear room, if you look up, you would never start. Recently I have forgotten this and keep looking at the size of my tasks this year, you have reminded me that picking up a single object is no problem at all. Back to work and thank you.

    1. Thank you Hilary, that is a fantastic way to visualise a difficult task or complex project and is something that I must try out myself. I always find that visual reminders such as pictures or illustrations really help me memorise things and your idea fits with my way of learning perfectly πŸ™‚

      Best wishes

  13. Charlotte, years and years ago, a director of a play I was in, gave us this piece of advice: “Play the moment,not the results.” I have used this as my mantra ever since. All we have is this “now” moment that we must use to produce the “future” moment.

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