I just finished my first day in a chamber music course, and already I'm playing violin, viola and piano in different ensembles.
Now...back to viola...or piano....or...maybe my violin solo for tomorrows masterclass?
I had a violin lesson yesterday. It was the first in just over a month. It felt good to play Bach, Paganini, Stravinsky and sight-read a Wieniawski Caprice. I'm playing the Bach Preludio in a masterclass on Tuesday. Should be interesting! I'm excited about playing it, I love performing, but it's still relatively new to me and playing it and playing it well will be a challenge. I'll probably be having some private lessons with the violinist who's doing the masterclass, so I hope I learn a lot! Should be a fun and interesting week anyways!
Next week is a chamber/orchestral music program that I'm taking organised by my teacher and another teacher I know really well. Sadly there aren't many very advanced players (all around suzuki book 4 or 5 I belive with the exception of one person who's about book 6) so music wise it probably won't be the hugest challenge, but it will be fun! My teacher said she was going to string up her viola for me so I can play viola in a string quartet, violin in another, then possibly even piano in another ensemble. It will be nice to be able to do some chamber music even if it's not quite the intensity and difficulty of what I did last summer in Kincardine. (Brahms String Sextet No. 1)
I finally have received my history exam! I knew that I had passed thanks to marks being posted 6 weeks or so after the exam, but I really wanted to see where I got my marks and lost them. I scored almost perfect on all the True and False questions and scored pretty high on all the piece questions I was asked. The outline of Carmen and Haydn's detailed bio, composition style, contributions, genres, and everything else about the man, is where I lost marks. Overall though, I did well on the exam, and got a fairl decent mark for it! Yay!
Sometime today or tomorrow I need to phone Sound Post (in Toronto) and get some more etude books ordered. Rode, Gavinies, Dont. The ones of theirs I've done I've borrowed from my teacher, but I need to order the books myself. I'm trying to think if I can splurge (apparently that is a word) on another piece of music and if I do, what piece should I pick? Maybe the Janacek Sonata? Ah well, we'll see!
We have an organ that is now a resident in our household here. It's an old pump organ. It's quite the work out to play on! (probably a good thing) I've been enjoying playing Bach on it. The voicings come out more clearly and it feels strange but somehow more natural well maybe not natural when you put in the swells and continious pumping, but more authentic playing Bach on the organ. He was afterall a great organ master and virtuoso!
It's been really really hot here (in the high 90's F) and without air-conditioning, it has been TOO HOT, but I'm surviving. I can live with it if it gets cool at night but last night it didn't cool off. I left my window open to try and keep the air circulating...I ended up closing it at 3am because of the birds, but then my room heated up a bunch again so my sleep was pretty much done and over with by 6:30 or so. Hopefully I'll get more sleep tonight...so far it's not looking too promising.
I had a bunch of work done on my teeth today, to do with my braces. They had to pop off a few brackets and re-position new ones on so that my teeth would space out right. My mouth is pretty sore. :( Right after my appointment (which lasted nearly an hour!) I went to my granparents place and had some ibuprofen and then practiced for a while, to try and get at least some done before my face started hurting too much. I worked mainly on studies but managed to do some work on the Bach E major Partita.
After practicing I lounged in my grandparent's living room with my homework and the satellite was turned onto a classical station and Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite came on. It was kind of neat to hear! I had never heard the suite, just the full ballet score, so it was really neat to hear the original version of the Suite Italienne in it's fully orchestrated version. I was like...oh! So that's what played that part, I always thought it would have been this instrument.
Not too much is new and exciting. Just same old, same old!
On Monday I, for the first time ever, set foot inside a school building to actually go to school and be part of a classroom. I'm taking a math course this summer! I've pretty much taken the past year off of school to take advantage of some musical opportunities that were a once in a life time thing this year. I've been homeschooled up until now, and that has been a big blessing, but now I'm deciding that maybe I should at least do some stuff at school. So that's what I'm doing, found a scheduel that will work and get the school done, but not take away too much of my practicing time. This summer course is to prepare me for grade 11 math. Because I haven't done grade 10 math, or much of it, so this course is covering grade 10 and intro to grade 11 in 3 weeks. Not half bad....
I'm really enjoying my math class! It's starting to become quite challenging, as most all of the stuff we are working on I'm not very familiar with or have never done before now. The teacher is really awesome though, and his thing is that "music will be played during class time. If you don't like my music, bring your own!". We listened to an ecletic mix of 80's dance and rock stuff, I could have sworn that there was some Blondie in there. The second day I brought music, I subjected the class to Stravinsky. Another day it was some really rocky stuff, today a combination of heavy rock, Jamaican stuff (to encourage the appearance of the sun), and country. Hmm.... The class is great though! I love the bonus questions that are more like trick questions, that we get everyday!! Everyone knows that New Years Day is the week after Christmas in what year did they both happen in the same year? E-mail me if you are stumped. hehe
Musically, I've been working on as much as I can this week. I've been not feeling well on the days I've had lots of time to practice, so haven't done much, and then I've spent a couple of days after school with friends from out of town, so that cut into my practice time, but I've managed to keep a little bit of technique and studies going. Today I dug out the "Bach Preludio and worked on some of that a bit. And some other pieces I've dabbled on bits and pieces of. This weekend I hope to get some more serious practice time in and I look forward to re-aquainting myself with some of my pieces. *sigh* I should probably go and get back to work.
In the past week alone I performed Lark Ascending at one of my teachers recitals, accompanied my student at the same recital did a Canada Day Pops Orchestra concert then tonight I'm playing at the highland games as some of the evening entertainment. That's all in the last 5 days. When do I get a break? Actually, after tonight, other than starting at school on Monday, I'll be off from performing more or less, until the end of July. It will be nice to have that time to do some more focused technique practice and get some more of this repertoire down better.
I'm really in love with all this repertoire I'm working on right now. Such a wide variety fo styles and eras. The Ysaye sonata is starting to finally come along, I still have a bit of trouble hitting the tenths in tune all the time but I'm finding practicing some of those harder sections as double stops is helping get my precision and speed down. The Bach is coming along pretty good too. I love the E major Partita but was a little leary about learning the Preludio because it's such a popular one to do. I'm learning it for a group performance of it, it would be unlikely that I'd do it in an exam though, just because it is so popular and I don't feel as passionate about it as the other options I have to pick from. I'd rather do the Largo from the third Sonata or a Double and it's preceeding movement from the first Partita. All in all though, it is a fun piece and it's pretty! It's also probably one of the least intense of the solo Bach repertoire. It's kind of interesting learning it alongside Ysaye No. 2 and seeing how Ysaye uses the Preludio in the opening movement.
For my exam repertoire I've learnt a lot of pieces from all the lists, except a concerto. I've been doing the Mozart but it's from the next grade above. If I want to I can play that concerto but I don't feel it's the greatest representation of my playing and it's not really a "me" concerto. I was pretty set on doing the Korngold concerto (first and 2nd movements) but then I thought...maybe I should do Barber, it would show my musical side, but then I've been thinking wait, this exam is the one where they want to see your technical level and Korngold would be a bit more of a technical display. I'd have to pay extra to sub the Korngold as it's not in the syllabus but my teacher is alright with that the Barber is from the next grade up but you are allowed to play one selection from the following grade if you want to. The repertoire choices for this particular exam aren't very big, concerto wise. Their's a Viotti concerto, Bruch G minor a Mozart concerto, Sphor, Conus and that's it, I think with the acception of maybe one other concerto. Compare that to the next grade that has Bruch 2, and the Scottish Fantasy, Elgar, Sibelius, Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Khachaturan, Prokoviev, all the biggies and some of the lesser played ones, there's tons to pick from. So Barber or Korngold? hmm....I'm thinking Korngold would probably be a better choice for this particular exam. I just really don't know. It would depend entirely on if the examiner wants to hear what you can do technically or musically but I won't know that until 6 weeks after I've done the exam and have a results sheet back.
I think my break from practicing Kreutzer should be up now.
Enter to win Leonidas Kavakos' recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto.
Kelsey Zachary is from Vancouver, Canada. Biography
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