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Mendy Smith

A Lesson to Last All Summer

June 27, 2013 at 2:34 AM

Tonight I had my last lesson until fall. Bye Bye etudes, scales, and vibrato exercises. Instead the lesson was all about putting together everything I was taught in one movement of one piece in preparation for Interlochen (the adult version).

After a few false starts, I started to get my groove (typical for after-work lessons - it takes about 10 minutes to shift my way of thinking). My teacher did stop me a few times, but not too many. Mostly it was to get my ear back on track (did I mention how playing in a pit ruins intonation?) and correcting a mis-count. I stopped myself with a questions to ask. Would doing a particular phrase sul G would work or not? How to execute a ritard exactly? Or how exactly do you do that gliss without it sounding cheezy? All in all, I got two thumbs up on improvement, a request to record me playing it with a pianist this summer, and a reminder to "sustain, sustain, sustain" (and "color color color"). She also encouraged me to get pointers from the Interlochen viola faculty, especially on vibrato.

We very quickly ran through the last movement of the Sonata to give me something to work on over the summer. Afterwards I got a tour of her new studio that is being constructed from an old detached garage. We tested the acoustics of the space by clapping and singing. By the time we resume in September, the space will be done. I can't wait to give the acoustics a whirl.

The most interesting discovery was learning that she and my former teacher from Oregon have a week of overlap at the Grand Tetons Festival this summer. Oh my! I hope the stories traded will be good ones!


From Christina C.
Posted on June 27, 2013 at 1:44 PM
I'm just back from 1 workshop (with a couple of Interlochen regulars) and cannot wait until it's time to take off for the next (just a little woodshedding to be done first, though). Have a blast at Interlochen... from what I recall Elise is going too? Is that the Bowen sonata you're working on? What are your group pieces?
From Mendy Smith
Posted on June 28, 2013 at 1:14 AM
Elise will be there this summer. I' working on the Sonata in C minor. So far I have one coached group pre-arranged. We are debating RV Williams or Shosty. I have other informal groups lined up for late Beethoven, Schubert, and some Hindemith.

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