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Mendy Smith

2014 Review / 2015 Preview

January 2, 2015 17:39

I had to do a search on this site to remember exactly when I started doing this yearly blog entry. Turns out I started my New Year's musical resolutions back in 2006 when I was still living in California. It was interesting going back and reading my previous goals and how I met or did not meet them over the years.

So, onto this year's entry...

2014 Review:

My main goal was making my music, well, musical. To do this I selected pieces that "spoke" to me, and much work with my teacher on phrasing. The biggest challenge for me was actually identifying a musical phrase, and then from there being able to tell where that phrase was going musically. The next challenge was developing musical "tools" to put into my "toolbox" that I could use to make those phrases. The final challenge was taking a piece of music and identifying all the phrases, where they were going, where they changed and choosing the tools to use for each one on my own. It finally came together at the end of the year culminating in the best Vieuxtemp's Elegie I've ever played - and in front of a small audience (my mother and a few musical friends).

My 2nd goal was a few pieces I wanted to work on: First the Hindemith viola/cello duet. I did practice it over the year and started making some sense of it, but neither my cellist friend nor I ever got around to studying it together again this summer. Well, there is always next year. The York Bowen never made it to a Master's Class due to one of our violists not being able to make it to camp last year, but I did spend quite a bit of time on that piece with my teacher and figured out the shifts and how to play those harmonics (which still need work). I did get to play it over the summer at Interlochen and had a wonderful time at it. I plan on playing it again next year at camp. The third piece (a quartet a friend wrote) never happened - not sure why.

Some things I didn't plan on doing that were notable: I gave a violin lesson (I'm no teacher and not a violinist). I got to try out a viola da gamba (boy was that hard to play!). I got a baroque bow and started to learn how to use it (inspired by the da gamba). I performed a movement of the Schumann Piano Quartet, video taped it and lived to blog about it (and share it)!

So, onto 2015:

The piano quartet group that I spoke about is still in action for 2015 with renewed energy and a desire to do more than just simply play through pieces after our success in the Schumann Piano Quartet 1st movement recital. This year, we will be working on the other movements with more focused intent for another informal recital later in the year.

I plan on playing pieces that I'm working on with a pianist more frequently. Luckily for me, I have another pianist friend that recently retired who wants to make music with me and is willing to come to my house to do it! It is one thing to learn Sonata's, Concerto's and other pieces all by my lonesome, but add a piano and a whole new view on the music comes to light. I think that is why my "music-making" had an "aha" moment at the end of the year - I started working with a pianist.

One of the pieces that I want to start working on this year is actually a violin piece from Bach's S&P's - the Fugue in G minor. I've already started working on it a bit on my own this past year to get past the "how the heck to I play THAT chord!". It would be nice to be able to make it all the way through and musical by the end of the year.

Finally, I'm going to get very serious about intonation. I have a tendency to play just a hair flat and it is now officially driving me bonkers. Time to fix this once and for all.

That about sums it all up. In 12 months, we'll see how I did.

Archive link

Previous entries: December 2014


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