With so much to do and so much going on (not to mention that I haven't had great internet access for a week), I've again neglected my blog!! So much has occurred since my last update that I could fill page upon page as I write. I’ll try not to ramble too much though. Let’s just travel back in time a little bit to July. After I played for all three candidates looking to be the violin teacher at USD, I realized that I would happy if any of the three was chosen to be my teacher. All three were very knowledgeable and genuinely seemed to like teaching. After the master classes, I eagerly awaited to see who my next violin teacher would be. As a week turned into three weeks, I began to get frustrated by the lack of a signal that a new violin teacher had been picked. However, as my patience was wearing thin, I received an e-mail stating that the hold-up was clearance from the government on the new teacher’s visa. So, I would not know my new violin teachers’ name for another three weeks. A week ago, they were finally able to reveal the name of the teacher, on the first day of classes at my new Grad School. Thus, my new violin teacher is Dr. Eunho Kim.
While waiting to hear back from USD regarding the status of the violin teacher, I was still preparing for my auditions and getting ever more frustrated with my lack of ability to play my excerpts better. I was running out of time to practice for both orchestra’s (a combined excerpt packet of 27 pages), so I ended up choosing to audition for only one of the orchestra’s. I decided to audition for the Sioux City Symphony only. In the end, this was an excellent decision because, as of this last week, I’m a member of the first violin section. Really, I’m not quite sure how I managed this feat, but I am quite pleased with the results of this, my first professional audition. The audition went really well according to my teacher, who is concertmaster of the orchestra. My Mozart was quite good as was the more difficult excerpts that I had to perform. Really, this is all due to the fine teachers I had over the summer, Dan Auerbach for my solo lit. and Sonja Bundy for my excerpts. I couldn’t have done this without their help and constant pushing of me to the next level. It was because of winning this audition that I realized the line between me as a student and professional violinist are much more blurred; also because I’m looking to teach students here.
I’ve already had one week of graduate school under my belt and I must say that it’s quite different from undergraduate work. For one, I have much more time when I don’t have anything actually going on. It’s really different but it gives me more practice and rehearsal freedom than I’ve experienced before. However, my schedule is about to get a lot fuller because ensembles will be added in this week. I’m signed up to be the first violinist in a new string quartet, I’m the violinist of the Townsley Duo/Trio, I’m also going to do Chamber Orchestra and I’m concertmaster of the USD Symphony. One top of that, once a month one week will be filled with long rehearsals for the Sioux City Symphony. It makes me wonder when I’ll have time to practice my solo literature! While this is a lot of ensembles and playing, I’m doing it to get used to a lot of rehearsing, playing and performing. It’s what I’m here to do and if it turns out to be too much, I can get rid of something next semester or next year. Plus, my academic work is reduced because I only have two actual classes, so I don’t have to spend as much time reading and studying, which is actually a nice change.
On this last Thursday, I had my first lesson with my new teacher. I found her to be an exacting but polite teacher who expects a great deal out of me. It makes me quite happy to have a teacher who will push me at every lesson to play at the highest level that I possibly can. Over this last year and a half, I’ve become pretty used to being pushed and I’m glad to see that I can continue this tradition. I’m working on some very difficult repertoire this semester, including St. Saens 3rd Concerto, Bach G-minor Sonata-Fugue and the Wieniawski Polonaise Brilliante in A-Major. Also, I will be heavily working on technique as well, which pleases me to no end. I think I’m going to finally fill in all those gaps in my technical training because I believe she is going to have me work through most, if not all, of the Kreutzer this year. I really enjoy technique work and have begun to reap the benefits of doing a heavy dose of technique. I’m a much more secure violin player than I was even a year ago. I’m able to learn notes more quickly and to be much more musical with phrases. Also, I’m becoming better able to come up with my own fingerings and bowings…though they often look like something Galamian would have written.
Well, I could go on but I won’t. Suffice to say, I’m going to have a very busy semester full of making music and really going into the technical and musical depths of the violin with the pieces of music. It’s my goal to learn those three pieces fully by the end of the semester. I’ve already begun planning on auditioning for music festivals including Killington, Brevard, Aspen, Chautauqua, Rocky Mountain Conservatory and Rocky Ridge. If anyone has any insight into any of these programs, I would be happy for any information.
Have a great rest of Labor Day!!
Andrew Paa is from Kent , Ohio. Biography
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