I am planning to sit Grade 8 (traditional fiddle) which relies on a choice of repertoire that has a sufficient level of difficulty. So I have to pick things that will meet that aim as well as to perform. But if its really all about the performance then maybe I need to revisit this.
Anyway, my lessons are going well. I am currently playing a couple of tunes in G minor, one Strathspey and one a reel which goes up into third position with a lot of string crossing. They are challenging and its difficult to get them clean. I am trying to discipline myself to pay attention to every single note and to practice more slowly. I find this quite difficult. I am also trying different bowings.
I have also been working on one of my own tunes this last week. I wrote it in the summer and I made contact with a brilliant musician Nick Pynn. He plays in the Edinburgh Fringe every festival but lives in Brighton. He has recorded it for me on mandolin and various other things (he plays practically everything).
He sent the rough track back to me about a week ago and I am really thrilled with it. It is quite amazing to hear your own composition played by another musician - especially one as good as Nick. I have been recording a couple of fiddle parts and then they will be added soon. It has been a great learning experience. Its been a challenge to play at the standard required for a recording.