June 2006

Apathy

June 21, 2006 20:01

A great friend of mine, a jazz pianist, told me to avoid apathy at all costs. "It can sneak up on you, and must be avoided." How true. I've seen apathy in other musicians. I've seen it in myself. And it must be avoided.

How does one avoid apathy? That emotionless state that knows neither pain nor passion, the black hole of the soul, that safe place we all run to at times of frustration and fear.

Stay passionate. That is the key. But can love be forced? No, but it can be nurtured. And it should be nurtured and cultivated, and cared for like the most delicate flower.

In music, it is easy to do. Or at least it should be. One lesson. One conversation. One recording. One phrase. One great instrument. One live performance. One great glass of wine. One candle. To hear the sound of wine being poured into a glass in a candle lit room with a great recording in the background while having a meaningful conversation with the one you love. That is passion.

Then why the apathy? Is it an age thing? Does it come at a certain age because by then many paths have been followed to their own dead end? That's no excuse in my book. The roads are endless. It must be fear above all else. Fear that one isn't good enough, fear of not fitting in, fear of hard work, fear the hard work won't pay off. It's fear, and fear comes from ego.

Why not just stay focused and positive and loving? Listen to music, practice music, and perform music. It's that easy. And do so with everything you have. Don't hold back. Lay it all out there. And at the end of the day, say "Today I tried my very best. I am one step closer..."

Oh yeah, Mr. Fodor had some good advice concerning the Paganini 1st Caprice today. "Base the tempo off the passage in thirds, keep your thumb bent and don't worry about playing loud."

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Exercise is good

June 19, 2006 06:46

I went to the gym yesterday for the first time since sometime in April (before my recital). I'm out of shape. It can happen so quickly. And I'm a big proponent of cardio and light weight lifting for fiddle players. It helps me so much. And stretching, of course.

Going to the hall tonight to record....Chaccone, Pag. 5, Pag. 1 (caprices). Just going to see what happens, experiment with mic placement, etc. Should be interesting.

Oh, and happy belated Father's Day to myself and every other father! My son's name is Leo. He's two! And to brag, he has perfect pitch. It's crazy. And....he's now identifying major and minor triads perfectly. It's actually a little scary. He's 2 and 3 months....


http://www.violinist.com/blog/wwolcott/Leo-02.jpg

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Finding a purpose....

June 15, 2006 19:34

I want to record. This is the single greatest thing a musician can do to improve. It offers honesty, sometimes brutally. However, it can also be used positively, to help shape and mold musical ideas.

Glenn Gould used recording perfectly, like the finest sculptor, piecing everything together in such a seamless way down to the most subtle nuance. What a model of pianistic perfection!

Recording also gives the opportunity to capture that brief moment in time, like a painting, or a photograph. Without recording, music is lost as soon as it's played. A recording can capture and leave something forever.

Recording allows the musician a chance to leave his legacy, his imprint. So can teaching, no doubt, but it's different. And in my opinion, the finest teacher is the one who never stops learning, never stops playing, never stops dreaming, never stops living, never stops growing. Otherwise, what is there to give? That's just me though. I'm sure there are many (I know of one in particular) who don't play and are incredible teachers. And someday, I may not be able to play, so..... But since I can play, I must play, I must learn. For me, teaching and playing are connected.

But what to record? That is the question. It is my (long-term) goal to record all 24 Paganini Caprices and the Unaccompanied Bach. People always laugh when I mention it. It's like climbing Everest, I suppose.....but it can be done, and I intend to do it. Even if it takes me the rest of my life...

I have played most of the caprices and the Bach already. But to record them? What a task. And there are other recordings I want to do as well....

So I start this blog to help hold me accountable to my goal.

I think I will start with the Chaccone. I know the piece well. I have the equipment. I have a space. All I need to do is experiment with the mic placement and learn how to edit. I know someone that can help with that. In fact, I know two people that can help with that. So let it be done!

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