The competition last week went really well overall. I played a rather large program, as mentioned before, but I, on a whole, felt very comfortable with it and just had a good time playing. I got some really good feedback and some things to work on, so it was a constructive few days! It's nice to know I'm able to play that much stuff and still feel comfortable, confident and prepared. It was also good to be able to perform all this repertoire that I've been working on for the past while. It's a great sense of accomplishment to have been able to do that and then to have my teacher and other mentors there to support me and encourage me made it all the better and more exciting for me!
Now that the festival/competition is done and out of the way, it's back to that lovely technique and vibrato practice. I've got a lot to work on, but it will definetly be worth it. At my lesson on Saturday we covered a lot of things and I'm not in the process of picking some new repertoire to help aid in all this technique work. It's frustrating in some ways that the more you learn the more there is to learn but it's exciting too. At least I won't be bored, ever, with there being so much to learn and grow on.
It's nice to be off now from school and teaching (for the most part). I can get caught up on music history for my exam and enjoy a couple weeks of a less hectic schedule in general! I might even have a chance to go and get my driver's license :O!
Nothing too amazingly exciting new.
Things have been rather busy and hectic, as usual as the music festival competition fast approaches. I've still been teaching and doing school and I'm all signed up for my grade 5 music history exam from RCM so now I have to get through that heavy course load of composers, terms, outlines and styles and absorb it all for an exam on Friday, May 13th. Good thing I'm not superstitious otherwise there could be a problem.
Most of "my" students have been turned back over to my teacher who's now able to teach again. I really miss teaching as much as I was, but I am still doing enough to be really enjoying it! On Feb. 27 the music school that I teach at had a student recital and being a student of one of the teachers there, I got to play and being a teacher there a couple of my students played! I requested to play near the beginning of the program this time around as I'm usually towards the end and most people have left and I'm not warmed up which makes things hard to play. I ended up playing first. I played the Souvenir d'Amerique. It was so much fun! It went really well overall and it was nice to get a chance to play it in public before the competition next week. I just had a blast. I wasn't really nervous at all, just excited and anxious to get up there and play it! It was a lot of fun for me and for the audience! I got to sit and relax for a few players and then my students both played back to back. I accompanied them. It was the first time for both players to play in front of an audience like that aside from a suzuki group performance at Christmas time. They both did really well! For some reason it's always scary to watch your own students play and you wish you could somehow make them not feel so nervous because you know just how nervous they really are and what it's like, but yet you are powerless to do any more than just give them an encouraging word and let them know that no matter what happens, you'll still be proud of them. I was excited for them that they did so well!!
As I mentioned above, I'm signed up for my grade 5 music history exam. It's the last history exam required for my ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto). It's a big course that ranges from the 1900's right through to present day. The composer list, ( Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Smetena, Dvorak, Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Ravel, Barton, Prokovieff, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Messiaen , Ligeti, Weill,Joplin, Ellington, Crumb, Lansky, Gorecki, Copland, Shostakovich, Cage, Lutoslawski, Reich, Glass, Gershwin, now for the Canadian composers, Champagne, Willan, MacMillian, Coulthard, Pentland, Somers, Hetu, Schafer, Vivier, and Hatzis.) is quite huge. You have to love that terms that you "define" are things like "Nationalism in music" Is that a term or is that an essay in itself? If you look up Nationalism in musc in my textbook it's a few pages worth of writing. It's an interesting and varied course though which is nice. I am familiar with a lot of the pieces on the list which heps a lot and because I'm a big new music fan getting to do so many contemporary composers and learn more about electro-acoustic music and Cage's prepare piano works (check out his sonatas for prepared piano - they are awesome!)is going to be really neat!
Yesterday was the school talent competition. That was fun. There were 3 other acts who played. All played guitar and/or sang. I played violin. What else? I had specifically actually learned the Souvenir d'Amerique for this particular event thinking it was probably about the most accesable to high school students in a community where classical music is barely heard of in people under the age of 50. So I actually had a couple people scream my name when I walked out on stage, which was cool! My Dad was with me and got to play the 9ft Steinway my school has in it's auditorium. I played the first chromatic scale of chords and before I played that "A" that follows it I heard a "Cool!" and a "Holy!" come from the several hundred teens. When I started in on the artificial harmonics I heard "Ouch" from somewhere in the hall and when I started in on the tremolo people started cheering. By time I hit the last chord people were starting to get on their feet and were cheering! I've NEVER in my life had so much cheering for my playing. It was a cool feeling and I had so much fun playing!!
Starting Monday the music festival competiton begins. Monday night I play Souvenir d'Amerique, followed by solo Bach, followed by my Beethoven sonata and the evening ends off with sightreading. Why they picked that order for me to play, I'm not sure, but what can you do? Tuesday evening I play Sid Robinovitch's Adieu Babylon and then Wednesday I play the Barber concerto and Kulesha Caprice. So a busy few days for me, performance wise! I think it should be good though. I've really enjoyed working with a different pianist on the Barber and Robinovitch and to have everything memorised is a good feeling. I'm quite excited about getting to play so much stuff and such a wide ranging program in styles and eras.
After music festival I'm down to Vancouver again!
I should probably consider studying for my test in German now. So friend who wants me to update my blog, is this good enough??? ;)
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Kelsey Zachary is from Vancouver, Canada. Biography
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