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July 2006

Jazz and Practice

July 31, 2006 17:36

My concert on sunday was a huge success. We had about 110 people come, raising $1130 for overseas aid through the Christian organisation, Christmas Bowl.

Now I promised Pauline that I would talk about my hidden talent of Jazz.

When I was in about year 8 or 9, I stopped enjoying classical violin. My teacher, being wise to this, decided to introduce me to a number of other types of violin music, namely Irish Folk, and Jazz. I really took to these two types of music, and enjoy getting out my session book, or my small book of jazz tunes, and playing. However, I got interested in classical music in a big way, so at the moment, I don't have much time to get them out and play, there's too much else to do. Generally, I sometimes get them out during the holidays.

But when an opportunity came to play some jazz at this concert, I jumped at it. A good family friend was available to accompany me, and the drummer of the salvation army band that was also performing, joined in and we played three songs - Take Five (Which I hadn't quite memorised, so I messed the middle bit up), Tuxedo Junction (which went down a lot better), and Good morning Blues (for which I love playing, and improvising around).

When I was introduced to jazz, I really got my mind into it. A read a really detailed jazz primer, which gave me a lot of theory into jazz performance, improvisation, and the chords. As such, if someone shows me an A9b5 chord, I know the notes would be A C# Eb G B and that you'd want to take it to somewhere like a D7 chord. When I improvise, I don't plan anything out beforehand. I just go, thinking about the chords, and listening to the accompanyment. The great thing is if you hit a wrong note, it's dissonance that is resolved when you move to the next note. I have a lot of fun improvising.

Yesterday, I had a really good lesson. I mean, Really good. We spent the entire lesson on my Bach - G Minor Sonata, Siciliano and Presto. We delved into deep musical issues with both, and identified some places for me to practice. We talked about making really good starts (especially seeing as the Siciliano will be the first piece i play at my recital), and articulation for the Sicialiano to make it sound like a Siciliano. There was one chord which I just couldn't get. It's a Bb dominant 7th chord (Bb F D Ab) going to Eb D G. I just couldn't get it in tune. Either the movement from Bb-F down to Eb would bring my Ab past the G, or I would ge the G but my finger wouldn't move far enough to get the Eb. I was also having trouble forming the chord to make it sound joined in the musical line.

I went back to uni, and practiced after my Choir rehearsal. I did maybe about an hour just on that chord. I realised that I was using a second finger to hit the D in the arpegiated chord just before the actual chord, in which I'm using a third finger. I also realised that this arpegiated chord is the exact same chord as the actual chord, just that because it's arpeggiated, there are two notes on some strings. This allowed me to figure out a different fingering than what I was doing (which in turn allowed me to get the Arpeggio and the Chord in tune), and then practiced moving to the next chord. It was all very slow, very short repetitative work, and my sister would've shot me if I did that kind of work here at home (but she's going to have to get used to it). But I got it worked out, so hopefully with a bit of practice on it today, I will have it cemented in my hand and it won't be a problem any more.

I've also given myself a challenge to have the Siciliano memorised by the end of this week. I'm using the Flesch edited Peters edition, and the Siciliano is spread out over two pages (due to a rather large editorial comment on the first page. I'm going to try and memorise the first page today (8 bars), then half of the next page tomorrow, and then the rest on THursday. Then on Friday, I'll work from the back to the front to cement it, before performing it in String class with our awesome new tutor, Michael Goldschlager. I think that's an achieveable goal, and a good one for me to have so early before my recital.

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Program finalised... happy happy happy

July 25, 2006 06:06

I've been organising a concert, in aid of a charity. I think just about everything that could've gone wrong has gone wrong... but it will all work out in the end.

First of all, I received the date in April, and almost immediately asked two friends who I wanted to perform with. They agreed, and seeing as the concert was in July, I just assumed that they had put it in their diaries (which is something that I would do if asked to be in a concert), and left it at that.

I got around to organising an accompanist. My first choice wasn't available. My second choice completely dissappeared. My third was on holidays and only got back a week and a half before the concert - thankfully she was willing to do it.

I went to remind one player, and tell the other of the accompanist. The pianist (who obviously didn't need a rehearsal with accompanist) had just recently taken a job that worked Sundays (the day of the concert) and needed two weeks notice to get a day off. She hadn't given the notice (She obviously didn't put the concert in her diary. Oh well), so I made other arrangements. I added an extra piece to my program, and figured the vocalist (the other person whom I had arranged to perform that day) could add a piece or two to his program.

I called him, and couldn't get through. Left a message. Couple of days later, no return call. I placed a new call, left a message. Still no answer. It seems that he also has dissappeared. Very odd.

Added another piece to my program. Gave the accompanist the music - she doesn't think we can get it together in time. But we'll see. Maybe just one, maybe two movements.

Called a friend, asked if he'd like to play some jazz with me. Said he was busy. I said ok, I can add an extra unaccompanied piece to my program. Tis ok.
He called back, had mixed up his dates, and was able to accompany me. Yay! 3 jazz pieces added to my program. Oh I do like Jazz.

So, the final program stands as
Meditation from Thais by Massenet
One, possibly two movements from Dvorak's Sonatina Op. 100
Good Morning Blues
Tuxedo Junction
Take Five

(THere's also a Salvation Army Band who will be performing.)

The theme of the concert is Inspiration, so I'm really glad to be able to include some jazz, which really inspired me, meditation - which everyone loves, and the dvorak which kept me going in my final year of high school.

So all is good.

I should probably also mention what happened to me on the weekend. I was on a training camp for a christian retreat that I'll be attending, and was collecting firewood for a bonfire. Me and a mate were lifting a large-ish log. He lost his footing, dropped the log, and the log rolled. Unfortunately, the log rolled the wrong way, and brought it smack bang onto the left side of my neck. Painful, and I didn't realise the repercussions it would have. I was due to play violin later that day, so stayed on, and tried to play. Ended up fudging the posture, as I couldn't hold the violin up to my neck - too much pain.
As it is, I haven't yet practiced my violin since - though I'm hoping tomorrow I should be able to. The muscular pain has subsided, and the pain that is there when I apply pressure to my neck is diminishing as well, so hopefully all is good.

I'm back at uni now as well. I wish I had an extra week of holidays, but it's nice to be back as well.

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Sheet music... or Alcohol...

July 11, 2006 02:14

I ended up getting a nice little bit of spare money in my account, and decided to treat myself.

But what to treat myself with. Obviously one of my two passions - good music, or good alcohol.

I had been eyeing off a nice bottle of Johnnie Walker Green, at about $90. A very smooth scotch that should only be drunk over ice, preferably with a good friend.

But I decided instead that a trip to my local music store was a better option. I picked up the first five Beethoven Sonatas, plus Two Sarasate Spanish Dances, Romanza Andaluza and Jota Navarra.

On my way home, I analysed the choice, and came up with some reasons for it.

Sheet music will last me a life time if looked after well. Alcohol, if looked after "well" will last a week, maybe two. Winner: Sheet Music

Sheet music has the possibility to bring joy into thousands of peoples lives through the performance. Alcohol can bring a little joy into 12 peoples lives, some joy into 6 peoples lives, a lot of joy into 3 peoples lives, or so much joy that one person can knock themselves out and possibly wind up in hospital. Winner: Sheet music... just.

Sheet music can keep my mind active for many years to come. Alcohol diminishes brain cells. Winner: Sheet music.

Good Sheet music can make me very happy. Good Alcohol can make me very happy. Winner: Draw.

It is said that good music satisfies the heart, mind and soul. Good alcohol satisfies the toungue, brain and gives work to the liver. Winner: Sheet Music.

It's a pretty clear win, though of course one day I shall get that bottle of JW green, and when that happens I shall enjoy it while listening to a great CD of classical music. In the mean time, I Think I shall pour myself a glass of red wine, and stick my nose into this new sheet music. Heaven!

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Exam Results

July 5, 2006 18:38

Well I passed my technical exam. All well and good, however I was assessed as an ADPA 2, when actually I'm an ADPA 3. No big deal I hear you ask? Well hopefully not. I've got to give the Uni a call probably tomorrow, just to make sure that everything will be ok. See, the ADPA (Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts) is assessed on Outcomes - a number of different targets that I have to show that I am competant in before i get my award. For Principal Study, There are 4 outcomes that are assessed for ADPA 2, and 3 for ADPA 3, and one of the ones for ADPA 3 isn't applicable for the Technical exam because it relates to the recital at the end of the year. The outcomes for ADPA 3 and ADPA 2 Principal Study are different - they basically say the same thing, but they are different. Now, hopefully, I am still able to pass everything that the ADPA 3 requires, as I don't particularly want to sit the exam again.

Now I hope they will figure it all out, as when they try and put in the results for ADPA 2, they will find that I am not enrolled in those outcomes, and instead I am enrolled in the outcomes for ADPA 3. It's all very complicated, and would be much easier if i was studying a bachelors. Sometimes I think you need a bachelor degree just to understand how the ADPA works...

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