Sitting here listening to Janine Jansen's performance of the Britten Violin Concerto...which Blackerby Violin Shop has posted on their facebook page. Violin soloists are so fascinating....is there any other instrument that a soloist has to put so much physical energy into....and at the same time have to be so finessed and delicate...all in one piece ? To switch back and forth like that is fascinating to watch...the intensity and concentration......yeah...I suppose cellists like Yo Yo Ma come pretty close....but THEY get to sit down !
I just had a great lesson yesterday with the concert mistress of a nearby city's symphony orchestra.....what an interesting person she is...and so energetic and full of enthusiasm. It was a "meet and greet" session so we did a lot of talking for most of the hour and it was quite enjoyable. She had me so relaxed and comfortable that when she finally asked me to play something....I was so ready. I showed her my violin...she played it and liked it right away...(oh my goodness but her small living room has fantastic acoustics ...I almost didn't recognize my instrument when she started playing on it...but of course...she's "Good" !) We chatted about the violin some then I pulled out my concert repertoire and chose one of the more interesting pieces that I thought I could do a decent job on. While I played she was busy typing things out on her laptop....checking the wood in the fireplace (yeah...it's still cold up here in New England)...and generally fussed about...not 'obviously' looking in my direction. Now...being smart like I am....I realized what she was doing and very much appreciated it ! She was making me comfortable by NOT hanging over my shoulder...she was certainly listening as I would see her out of the corner of my eye... hesitating when I faltered at a spot...and then slightly nod to herself when I straightened it out on my own...or not. Halfway through she said very enthusiastically..."GREAT !..."Play something else"....so I riffled through my stuff and pulled out something with some other technique or other...and that's how it went for about 10 minutes....meanwhile she was jotting things down on her laptop or fussing with something over by the fireplace....listening and watching...but not in an obvious way.
After we finished....me playing my pieces and she sizing me up....she gave me some recommendations for some books she thought would be a great help to me which would address some of the issues that she saw I need work on......we chatted some more...she recommended a good luthier that she trusted..which I could take the violin to. She was very interested in me getting it checked out and suggested that perhaps I could get a 'verbal' appraisal and a general checkup...just for good measure...which I will do.
Anyway....yadda yadda...that was my visit with a professional soloist/concert mistress/violin teacher/cyclist/spincycle instructor/bass fisher woman...and aquarium geek (she had one in her living room...I immediately knew this was going to be a good meeting!) lol... it was fun and I am hoping that she enjoyed the meeting as much as I did. I will get in touch with her in a couple of days to let her know that I am interested in continuing...if she would be interested in teaching me. BTW....there was no charge for the meet-N-greet and she scheduled me in at the end of her day so that we could take our time and not be hurried.....she's a true professional !
One of the members of a violin site I visit had this to say about the meeting......."She must be an earthy sort to fish for bass! I'd be wary of the dry-flies-only-cast- to-rising-fish type!"
And then added as an explanation...."I don’t want to offend any fisher person out there BUT there are people who may liken bass fishing to fishing for catfish with worms or chicken liver as bait… something only a very down to earth person would do. Some would call a fly fisherman a purist. However, among fly fishermen, purists are only those that fish for trout and do not use wet flies or nymphs, only dry flies. The ‘dry-flies-only’ type would probably consider themselves higher on the evolutionary ladder and they may view those who fish for bass as lower life forms, like some violinists view viola players. Who would want to take lessons from such a person? An accomplished violinist who fishes for bass, IMO, is a rare individual well worth investigating." :-)
I'm excited ! We'll see how this all plays out ! :-)
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