You guessed it, I've been one sick puppy for the last few days. This year's influenza is a nasty bug, and I'm sure any of you who have had it can testify to this. It all started last Thursday, which happened also to be my 40th birthday. Many thanks to all of you that sent me your wishes -- on that day I couldn't even look at a computer screen because my eyes were on fire and my head felt like it was about to explode! But I did read them!
Being too sick to even walk across the room without having to take a rest made me think a bit. I'm juggling so much, as all musicians do. Teaching, playing, being a mom. On about Friday, all the balls I'd being throwing up in the air this year started coming down, with no one to catch them. Boing, boing, boing, boing....Cancel this class, and that lesson, and forget about the kids' basketball practice, and nope, won't be teaching tomorrow either...At least it didn't happen during an orchestra week.
Despite all the things you miss, you have to take care of yourself when you are sick. Otherwise, you just get more sick, spread your sickness to others, and you're no good to anyone. It's okay to take care of yourself, in fact it is a most important responsibility. I think Americans especially miss this point, as if killing yourself with work is a virtue. It's not.
Have you been sick this year? And what have you had to miss?
And for those of you who answered "Yes":
These feelings can be quite passionate; I have a few ideas why: A beautiful performance can feel sublimely graceful and satisfying, thus the happiness. :) But that kind of performance is hard-won, often requiring not only hours of hard work, but also usually critical evaluation from one's self and possibly a teacher or mentor. That critical evaluation becomes a habit -- maybe even a personality trait in some musicians. It can spill into other areas of life. If you constantly beat yourself over the head for your lack of perfection, you're very likely to end up with a bruised noggin. And that can make you stressed. :(
I'm interested on where you fit on the spectrum today: what is your gut reaction today to this question, and why?
I was amused, and inspired, by the Sportsline story on Juilliard getting a football team.
It got me thinking. What if music schools really did have football teams? Which school would end up in the...Prodigy Bowl? Could my schools strings overpower your school's woodwinds? Could your school's brass beat my school's drummers?
I've compiled a list of possible contestants. None of these schools currently has a football team.
That anyone takes seriously. ;)
Which school would have the better football team?
My first reaction is, on the outside, of course. When you are sitting on the outside, you get to play the top part, which is very often the higher, funner, more melodic part. It also means that your stand partner turns the pages, relieving you of that worry. Usually in a violin section, the outside person is on the right, so it also means you get a fairly unobstructed view of the music.
Sitting on the inside, which is usually the left, your stand partner's scroll can often be straight in your line of vision. You play the bottom part when it is divided, and it is your responsibility to turn pages. I can remember this being a big problem for me, a leftie, in my early days of orchestra playing. I kept trying free my left hand to turn the pages, and that's not easy. I'd remove my violin from my shoulder, hold it with my right hand, then reach WAY over to turn the pages with my left hand. This took way too much time: the page was always turned late; and it was ridiculously awkward. I still remember when a stand partner and good friend, Margaret, frustrated with me but patient, gave me a turn-paging tutorial:
"Like this," she whispered. Keeping the violin on her shoulder, she fanned her left fingers and placed the middle of the bow stick between her index and middle finger. She let go of bow, freeing her right hand. She turned the page with right hand, and then grabbed the frog of her bow again and was ready to play. She made me practice doing the same.
It was one of the most useful lessons I ever had.
After that, I could turn pages expertly, and sitting on the inside became a lot easier. Playing the bottom part can be quite fun, too, especially in something like, oh, Petrouchka, where your one little inside-player second violin note is what changes the entire harmony of a passage. And in many first violin parts, the inside part is just simply way easier, often an octave lower. Not bad, if you're having a sleepy day!
By the way, in some orchestras, the second violin section sits to the right of the conductor, and thus the outside player is the one on the left, and the inside player is the one on the right!
So which do you prefer, sitting on the outside or the inside? By the way, I resisted the temptation to call this one "do you like being on top or bottom"? ;)
[Sorry - the poll host ate the original poll question, then substituted some random poll for a while. We've replaced it, but the votes reset to zero, so please, do vote again if you did earlier. Sorry for the glitch.]
The Weekend Vote is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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