Five Years Later
September 30, 2012 at 7:34 PMHere, on the last, rainy, day of September, well into the thick of back-to-school madness, I was thinking about my goals for the year. I was also browsing violinist.com as an excuse for not practicing, and I came upon an old blog from a little over 5 years ago: Goals.
It was a long and sprawling list, and people gave me some good feedback.
I'd like to update where I've gotten with these plans from 5 years ago, and think more about why I'm here and where I can go. I've copied the old list in italics, and will add comments without italics.
My ability to learn pieces by ear has not improved at all.
I think I can be happy with my progress in many areas. I'm doing, and doing well, the one thing I most wanted: playing in an orchestra. I've made technical progress on improved vibrato, more precise intonation, and higher position work. I have a new violin. All these things add up to sounding better and being a better player.
But I also did a lot of what I had already done before. I knew I liked classical music. I knew I liked to play in an orchestra. I haven't branched out much into fiddle or folk, I haven't learned to play by ear. And I've given up viola altogether. So perhaps these are things I can do in the next 5 years!
From Francesca RizzardiGood going, Karen! I set long term goals, myself,
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 4:57 AM
but tend to put them aside when my teacher reveals HER goals for me. At least she's showing me the big picture.
I belong to a Scottish fiddle club and know I would be better in it if I learned to play by ear. There is a fiddler (Laura Risk) who made two CD's for learning Scottish fiddle music by ear, if you ever decide to take the plunge. I borrowed one and listened to it a couple times, but I think I would go about it by learning the melodies first (that is, be able to at least hum them from memory) and I didn't even get that far.
From elise stanleyCongrats Karen - terrfic for another adult amateur to read what can and is achieved over a 5 yr period. I think my progress is simular except I'm probably 4 yrs behind, more fond of solo playing (also in quartet) and of course I don't play viola. The main point is that regardless of age one really can make significant progress with determination - and I know how much of that is necessary with the emotional and time demands of our common career field.
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 9:16 AM
From Karen AllendoerferElise, what was especially interesting about my viola sojourn was that it was really the viola that got me more interested in solo playing. I still, and probably always will, prefer 1st violin orchestral parts. But when I was first starting up again, I was playing relatively simple, straightforward solo tunes and they all sounded better to my ear on the viola. In particular I found the viola transcriptions of the Bach cello suites to be more accessible to my returning student abilities than the Bach S&P for unaccompanied violin. I worked through most of the first suite, some of the second, and then smatterings of others, and I just never got tired of it. Then orchestra started to pick up and I got more into violin again and here I am.
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 1:07 PM
I found that my newfound comfort with solo playing did at least partially transfer to violin. Recently I played a movement from one of the suites in church from memory, a 5th up, on my violin, closing my eyes and pretending it was a viola. And it helped to find some violin solo pieces to play that weren't concertos.
From Paul DeckKaren, congratulations not only on accomplishing so much but on *remembering* what you accomplished!!
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 2:37 PM
Every time I think about joining the local orchestra I have to think -- that's one less evening per week that I can practice the violin. Not sure I'm ready to make the trade yet. Also rehearsals start at 7 PM, kind of cuts into family time. Maybe when the kids are a little older.
From Francesca RizzardiElise, I agree. I'm way behind both of you and possibly older (pretty sure I'm older than Karen, at least) and even though in general I sometimes get anxious about what I'll be able to accomplish before age becomes a barrier, on a week-to-week basis nothing seems worth hurrying.
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 3:59 PM
From Karen AllendoerferPaul, I remember you writing that in another thread, that going to orchestra rehearsal would cut into individual practice time. To me, getting a night off from practicing on my own is not a bug, it's a feature ;-)
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 4:38 PM
I know what you mean about the family time, though. :(
From Karen AllendoerferFran, Did I ever tell you about the previous concertmaster of my orchestra? When I worry about age becoming a barrier, I think of her. She was in the orchestra for 77 years, beginning in 1934, the year after its founding. She retired from the first violin section last fall at age 94. I can't fill her shoes, but I want to be like her when I grow up.
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 4:42 PM
From Francesca RizzardiYou have a chance, Karen. But really--still a first violin when she retired is remarkable, let alone having the energy to practice and get to orchestra practices at that age!
Posted on October 1, 2012 at 7:29 PM
From Paul DeckKaren, actually on further thought I guess I was a bit disingenuous because I play the piano with two different jazz groups and that means I am playing four or five gigs a month, mostly later in the evening which cuts right into my violin practice time. So I guess it's really not about cutting into practice time, it's really just about having too much to do (which is a good thing in my book -- better busy than bored) and therefore some choices to make. I played with a community orchestra when I was a high schooler and I found it fun but not really that stimulating, even though technically the parts did require a fair amount of work. Probably it would be different now. I do sit in with my daughter's orchestra, because otherwise I would just be sitting there waiting for her. Now THAT is fun, playing in a orchestra with a bunch of middle-schoolers.
Posted on October 2, 2012 at 3:05 AM
From Terez MertesFun to read, Karen. : ) Thanks for posting it!
Posted on October 2, 2012 at 6:06 PM
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Karen Allendoerfer is from Belmont, Massachusetts. Biography
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