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Andrew Paa

About my first semester.

December 15, 2009 at 8:22 PM

It's been one heck of a busy first semester of grad school!!  I can't believe that classes ended last friday and that I'm in the midst of finals already.  If feels like just yesterday I was starting my first day of classes and finding out that I was in the Sioux City Symphony.   For the most part it's been a  great semester, full to the brim with music and traveling.  I happy to report that it has been a semester of musical progress as well.  Two weeks ago was juries and I received my first overall "A" for juries ever!  It was quite exciting to get the comments from the faculty back.  While they noticed improvment from earlier in the semester, there is still much to be worked on.  My teacher seemed very happy with how it went and the cello professor commented that it was my best performance to date.  However, I still need to work for intonation stability.  While it has improved significantly, it can be a lot better.

According to my teacher, it's not that I can't play in tune, it's that it is unstable and inconsistant.  Some weeks I'll walk through her door with nearly perfect intonation and then the next week, it'll have gone completely out the window.  We have made it our goal to develop a consistant and stable intonation by the end of this forthcoming semester.  So, scales and Sevcik it is.  I'm also working on getting intonation aboslutely right the first time on my solo literature I'm working on.  It's quite the list actually, but I'm going to be learning it in smaller chunks.  We're also already thinking ahead to my future auditions for a DMA program.  Basically, all of the DMA programs want a complete concerto, complete bach sonata or partita and another complete work of the applicants choice.  So, my teacher and I have decided that a good concerto for me to work on now would be Vieuxtemps No. 5 in A-minor, I'm going to continue my work on the Bach G-minor Sonata and I'm going to start the Prokofiev Solo Violin sonata as well.  In addition, I'm going to also work on Beethovens Sonata for violin and piano no. in D-Major.  The sonata has a two-fold purpose; to give me futher experience working with piano and to begin building up a sonata repertoire.  Unfortunately, I don't have much in the way of collaborative work with piano, so I need to start building that rep now.  I have a lot to work on before DMA auditions, but I'm also very likely to spend an extra year here.  However, that still remains to be seen and it mostly has to do if i can afford it because my fellowship only lasts for two years. 

If you're curious, the schools I am looking into for the DMA are:  Peabody, University of Michigan, University of North Texas, Arizona State University, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Ohio State University, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, University of Oklahoma, University of Kentucky and University of Connecticut.  I assure you that I wouldn't actually apply to all of these schools, but will select 5 or 6 of them. 

I will more than likely also be pursuing a second master's in music history if I do in fact stay.  My violin teacher really highly encourages this course of action because she herself got a duel MM in performance and music theory from CCM.  If it does not work for me to stay an extra year, I will most likly apply to some schools for an extra MM in performance.  I would likely be applying to UMN, Bowling Green, UW-Madison, UNI, UofI-Urbana/Champaign and perhaps some bigger schools that I haven't decided on yet.  Many of these are aslo schools to which I woudl also apply to for a DMA.  I'm sure this sounds absolutely ludicrous to some people but I have given this a lot of thought.  It has been suggested that I take a year off from school to get more orchestral performance experience and to study privately.  However, if I were to do that, student loans would start to come due and I would have to work a 40 hour a week job to begin paying off my loans.  I would probably be in two orchestras as well and studying privately.  Also, with the economy the way it is now, I highly doubt I could get a job I would enjoy doing...especially in South Dakota.  As such, I don't think this plan would work, so that is why I've decided on a second degree in the same area if need be. 

 Next semester, I'm also taking conducting to not only become a more competent conductor, but also because it will help me develop a better sense of rhythm and timing. So, suffice it to say that this past semester I've been busy and I will continue to stay busyin the forthcoming semester.  However, I've been banned from being in a string quartet...which is probably a good thing, because I have a lot to work on anyway. 


From Anna Meyer
Posted on December 16, 2009 at 6:32 PM

It sounds like you habe had a really fun semester :) Your intonation problem sounds just like mine. It´s quite crazy how one week my intonation is just fantastic and the next I have my teacher sighing and making me play slowly.

I wish you best of luck in the new year!

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