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Hi John, this all makes a great deal of sense. I don’t think I’m at that stage yet though. I’m still working on low-mid register consolidation, so I’m not consciously trying to push my range higher – my upper register (when I do check it) is improving as a result of the technical work I’m doing, so I’m quite happy with that!

My current goals are to be able to play within the stave with a consistently clear, strong sound and without getting tired after just a few minutes. I can “sing” short phrases, even quiet, high phrases, but string a few together and everything starts clamping up. So there is very little repertoire I can play that sounds as I want it to.

Any musical “square” playing that I do will either end up back in the technical “circle” or not be musical. This limits the “square” part of playing to either revisiting the music I played in my early teens or playing the pieces I want to play (and could once play well) really badly, or in short bursts. Neither of these fulfils the aims of what Greg describes in the “How to Practice” lesson about getting immersed in the music and really enjoying it.

I really get how important the square part of playing is. For months (because of what I describe above) all I did was technical exercises but that strips away all the musicality and creativity from playing. It was a happy revelation when I got to the “How to Practice” lesson and was told I MUST start playing real music again.

Greg talks about focal dystonia, which is far more extreme than my slightly-crap-work-in-progress embouchure, so when someone recovering from focal dystonia gets to the point that they start playing again, what kind of repertoire do they play and how do they practice it?

I want to achieve my current goals as quickly as I can and am prepared to do whatever is needed to make sure that happens. I’m just very unclear as to how I should tackle it!

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