April 2006

April 28, 2006 16:17

Just recently, one of my compositions, Una Principessa, was selected for a Composers Resource session where a number of musicians from the Philharmonia Orchestra get together to workshop some new compositions.

The videos of this session are now available.

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The search for a new bow

April 24, 2006 19:29

Having finally sold my violin a few months ago (after about 2 years of trying to sell it), the search is now on for a new bow. My teacher has his contacts, and is getting me a couple of bows to try out in my range, and they should be along fairly soon - hopefully by my next lesson (otherwise I will have to wait until my teacher gets back from his orchestra's tour to China).

In the mean time, I've been sourcing out other places. I've tried out a couple of bows at Zeniths and my boss (I work at a music store) is also going to source out some bows for me, so I will end up having quite a few options. My boss is also going to try and get a Coda Conservatory over for me to try out as well, as I would like to try at least one carbon fibre bow.

So anyway, that's how the search is going at the moment, I will let you know more when I know more.

Ben

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Martens, Heifetz and Technical work

April 14, 2006 22:14

Last night, my internet wasn't working, there was nothing good on TV, so I decided that I'd have a read of some of my eBooks that I had downloaded a while ago, but never really got into reading.

I had a bit of a browse of Mozart and Beethoven's letters, but settled on Frederick H. Martens' Violin Mastery. Basically it's summaries/quotes of Martens' interviews and discussions with various violin virtuosi/masters.

I decided that I'd start in the middle - with Heifetz' section. Heifetz pointed out something that I had never really realised before, about the importance of Technical work. He said that technical work was very important - more so than practicing your pieces. The idea behind it was that if you were technically sound, you don't need to practice your pieces as much.

For example, if I was to tackle the Tchaikovsky Concerto - there are a number of technical issues that I haven't attempted at this moment in time. Now, I could start the concerto and learn each technique as I come to it on the page, and it might take me a year or so to get it to performance standard. But, If I delay starting the concerto to work on technical issues specific to the concerto, I may spend three months getting the technique downpat, but after that, I might only need 3 months to get the concerto up to performance standard.

It makes sense - and it has made me more focussed on doing my technical work. Now I'm not going to spend 3 months just working on technical work and no pieces - but I am going to be more regular in my practice of technical work and be more effective in how I practice it.

If you want to get this book (and it's a good read) you should find it at Project Gutenberg. I really do recommend it.

ON other news - I just bought a pair of shoes at a real bargain. They were $139, I got them for $49. Bargain!

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I am only 19...

April 6, 2006 05:48

And the Anzac legends didn't mention mud and blood and tears.
And stories that my father told me never seemed quite real
I caught some pieces In my back that I didn't even feel.
God help me, I was only nineteen.


A part of the Redgum classic "I was only 19"

Aussie Hip-hop band The Herd have recently covered this song, and is getting massive airtime on Australia's youth radio network, Triple J. I've heard it many times before, as I always listen to Triple J when I'm in the car, which seems to be fairly often these days.
But today when driving home, it kinda struck something deep within me, and I have no idea why.

I've thought about this song a lot, and think it's a great message in it. In Australia, there's the ANZAC legend, the story of the ANZAC's at Gallipoli (where we got slaugtered because the english gave us incorrect co-ordinates), about the heroic deeds that were done there. But it doesn't mention the thousands killed, it doesn't mention the atrocities that occured in Vietnam (which is where most of the focus is on in I was only 19).

I think the reason it struck such a chord with me is that I'm 19 (if only for a few more days), and thinking back over the year that I've had, I can't imagine what it would've been like had I been conscripted to go and fight in a war somewhere. I can't imagine what it would be like, the intense noise, the chance of injury or death, or major psychological damage upon return.

For me in my life, it has hardly begun. I haven't even finished Uni, and I want to study more. To have that all taken away because of a war is... dreadful.

And as I was driving home, coming near to where my parents live (as I'm house-sitting a few suburbs north from there), I was just so happy that I have a lovely family, a great group of friends, and that I am able to do what I love. I thanked God that I'm healthy, that I'm safe, and that I'm free.

So I ask, or remind you, to think about all the wonderful things we have in our lives - Family, friends, music. These are joys that sometimes we don't think about enough, don't remind ourselves how important they are, and how lucky we are to have them.

And I ask you to think about all those places in the world that are in conflict at the moment - Iraq, Afganistan, Sierra Leone, Israel and Palestine, India and Pakistan, Indonesia and West Papua. Think about all those places where poverty is rife, and people are unable to do what they love. Where disease takes away their family and places unwanted burdens on children too young to have them.
I don't know what we can do about them, but I pray that one day everyone can have what I have.

I am only 19...


(You can find the lyrics of I was only 19 Here or listen to a Podcast about The Herd's cover of it (plus other info about the song) by Triple J's Hack Current Affairs Program)

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Long Day

April 5, 2006 07:48

Ok, so it's 10:30pm, and I've just gotten home. I've been at uni since 8am. Long day.

But a productive day.

I got some practice done on my Prokofiev. I still don't like it as much as my Beethoven. I guess I'll have to find some way into it, but I really don't feel motivated to do it.

I actually had 3 hours practice, and another 4 hours rehearsal today, for a grand total of 7 hours of playing the violin. As you might expect, I'm kinda exhausted, so will be heading to bed once I've finished this blog.

I also had a chat with the person I wanted to be my accompanist. He agreed to do my recital, so I'm really happy about that, to get that sorted this early on.

I think i was going to write more, but my brain has decided that it's not going to work anymore, so I think i should take it to bed.

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Learning Strategies

April 3, 2006 18:44

Well I think I've figured out a way to get the Prokoffiev ready for this Monday. I'm dividing the entire movement up into 5 equal sections of 26 bars. Why you may ask? Well, we're often told of this guy who went to a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire and asked a teacher if she'd teach him. She asked "Can you learn 2 bars a day?" He said of course, and she accepted him. Now, in a 130 bar movement, 2 bars a day isn't going to do me much good when I have a week. But, I decided that in reality, I have 5 days to practice it, and one extra day to put it all together. So if I divide the 130 into 5 days, I get 26 bars. So, I'm only focussing on those 26 bars each day. 26 bars a day isn't too hard, and I can worry about the other bars later, and then on Sunday, put it all together so that Monday my teacher is impressed (hopefully) with my progress, and I'm happy :> YAY!

I also figured out that there's 227 days until my recital (Including today). So that's 227 days to memorise all my pieces. But I don't want to be memorising the last bars on the day of my recital. I've already set myself the goal of having my recital completely ready a month beforehand. So that's 197 days to learn all my pieces. I counted up all the bars in my pieces (including the ones that I probably won't do) and it comes down to 5.5 bars a day. Pretty easy hey? What can you do with 5 bars a day? You learn every note, you learn every dynamic, you learn what's in the piano part, you learn the harmony, you learn where you are in the form of the piece. So I'm going to start memorising 5.5 bars a day, and have my entire program memorised a couple of months out from my recital (because I'm going to make sure I memorise my recital pieces first, because they're more important), and then I can start putting on Pre-Recital recitals, where I can run through my pieces in performance settings, and not have to worry about if I stuff up that I will be marked on it. This way, by the time my recital eventually comes around, it will be excellent!

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Great lesson

April 3, 2006 00:41

Had my lesson today. Decided that I was going to do the first movement of my Beethoven Sonata. See how it went.

And it went FANTASTIC! My teacher was so suprised and impressed at how well it was going. It's up to concert speed, there's not all that many mistakes (still a few to work on, but that's good because it's far too early to have it perfect). Unfortunately, because he heard the Beethoven so good, he wants to hear my Prokofiev up to the same standard next week. My Beethoven at the beginning of last week was far ahead of where my Prokofiev is today, and being a busy week I'm going to find it hard to find time to practice. But we'll see how it goes.

Work today went fairly well. I'm doing so much preperation that when we eventually get around to sending the e-mails out, I wouldn't be suprised if I was working 2-3 months ahead of the e-mails I'm sending out. But oh well, it gives me time to make sure that what I send out is actually the best material.

Anyway, I've got stuff to do, so I'm going to head off now. Hope you all enjoyed my April Fools Joke :) If only it was real...

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Oh. My. Word. This is an April Fool's Joke

April 1, 2006 00:17

I've just been offered a place in the Berlin Philharmonic!

I leave tomorrow!!!

Yes, this was an april fools joke. /me points and laughs.
Thanks for all your kind comments though (Pauline :> hehe)

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