January 2008

Taking Lessons from the Singers

January 27, 2008 20:24

As a violinist, I think it is important for us to listen to as much much singing as possible. So here are a few treats:

Bernadette Peters "Being Alive" (In my opinion, Barbara Streisand does a great job, but Ms. Peters is fabulous as well. Ms. Peters has a technical proficiency in her voice that I think is valuable for violinists to listen to when trying to sing on the violin. Same with Streisand.)

Barbara Streisand "I'm the Greatest Star" (Of course, I had to put this song down because of the use of colorful timbres. Timbres should sound human as well.)

Jill Scott "The Way" (Too much vibrato is not always needed to create a perfectly human voice and be soulful at the same time. Soft and piano is beautiful, too. But you can have a strong piano, just like Jill Scott.)

Erykah Badu "Didn't Cha Know" (It's okay to be unique. Once again, beautiful, yet strong piano singing. Also, please add flavor the Badu way.)

Maxwell "This Woman's Work" (Be sensual in the higher registers. Nobody will laugh at you. They didn't laugh at Maxwell. Well, maybe a little.)

India Arie "India Arie" (I love her vibrato. Amazing. Not too fast, not too slow and even. Otherwise, she's individual and true.)

Whitney Houston "I wanna Dance with Somebody" (You should remember to be a colorful powerhouse in the alto registers as well--dynamics, dynamics, dynamics. My poor Whitney, I can't until she comes back! Don't do drugs.)

Bette Midler "I Look Good" (Step out of your usual styulistic box and do something new. Add different characters to your playing. Be broadway star, ballad maniac one day, and hip hop diva/divo the next, for goodness sakes. And always interact with the audience through your performance. Practice....)

Judy Garland (Talent)

Alanis Morissette "Hands in my Pocket" (Powerful voice in a different way than the above, but still powerful. Also a greta sloppiness to her singing that says reckless abandon. You don't have to be so neat when playing the violin. Sometimes a violinist will play a piece so clean that I totally miss the point like a recent rendition of Ysaye 2nd Solo Sonata first mvement Obsession. It was so clean that I did not feel obsessed. Also listen to Alanis'"Ironic--go crazy....)

Sarah Brightman "Think of Me" (Good stuff)


You will all gain inspiration from your own set of singers, but the above only represents a small few of the different types and genres of singers I love and take tips from for my own violin playing!!!

Biggest lesson of that whole list: do not be afraid to listen to all types of music!


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What a Dream...

January 24, 2008 16:57

I moved to a new dorm with my Japanese friend Megumi because my old roommate and I could live together due tot he fact that I was allergic to her and she was allergic to me. Literally, we would sneeze in eachother's presence all the time.

So, last night, in my new dorm, I had a fascinating dream.

I woke up. I walked over to the music building. I took my violin out of "his" locker and went to practice. When I began to play, something did not seem right. I sounded good. Really good. Like Milstein good. Like Anne-Sophie Mutter good. Like Sarah Chang good. Like Ricci good. You get the point.

My eyes widened in amazement. I feared that if I stopped playing, my new amazing sound would disappear. So, I kept playing no matter where I went. I walked out of the practice room down to my teacher's house and played for her. She was amazed, of course. Then she drove me to Eastman to show some of her friends my newfound talent. I did not stop playing; I continued to play even when I was in the front seat of the car. I never tired or ached. My energy was amazing. Many years passed, and I was known as "The Violinist Who Never Tires." I was about 30 years old and pretty with a nice 36 24 36 figure (At this point I was aware this was just a dream).

One day, as I played my violin in the grocery store, a man walked up to me and told me to shutup. I ignored him even as the steam was coming off his face. I noticed him, how could I not with those chiseled features and (sigh)...

Everyday, this man would come to my house or wherever and tell me to shutup. I started to fall in love with him. Since it was my dream, I made him fall in love with me, too.

One night, as we ate dinner at a restaurant, and I played my violin, he said, "Jasmine, we cannot get married and you continue playing that violin 24/7. You're going to have to make a sacrifice." I did not say anything, I just continued to play the Tchaikovsy. He rose out of his seat and began to walk away. I knew he was leaving and would never come back. So, I stopped playing. Everyone stopped chewing and stared at me. Someone started to dial the news station. BBC, CNN, New York Times, so on and so forth all arrived and stared at the woman who had been playing the violin 11 years straight, sitting silently as the table glancing at her love.

My man came back tot he table and sat down next to me and smiled.

And then, I ignited into flames.

Moral of the dream: Do not fall in love. Or do not become too attached to the violin. It could be either one.

Jazzy

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The Busy Times are Upon Us

January 24, 2008 16:20

My life is about to get really busy.

Concertmaster in Orchestra
Jazz Violinist in Jazz Ensemble
Intern Adult Beginner Violin Teacher
Intern Twinkle Class Teacher
Intern String Coach
News Editor for the Fiat Lux
Freelance Writer
PR Writing and Program Coordinator Intern for the Women's Leadership Center
Dog Walker/Sitter
Babysitter
Triple Major Student...
Intern for Local Newspaper
Frequent Blogger on V.com, of my own accord.
Monster practicing on the violin, of my own accord.
And other personal stuff I do outside of my academic life, such as religious lifestyle and familial devotion.

Wow. I do not know what to say; When you make a list, it looks pretty bad.

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My Title for this Blog is Below

January 23, 2008 22:38

My Day Encompassed Shocks and Locks with Many Tick Tocks as Jeffrey Haner, My Imaginary Friend Once Said in a Relatively Unknown Universe Upon the Planet Bederfiedopadia Where the Stars Do Not Show Their Faces Because They are Afraid of Getting Sun Burn, Yes I Know This Title is Long, But They Were Even Longer Sometimes Back in the 1500s/1600s Where My Ancestors Laid Upon Wooden Piles of Sand Like the Stones Before them Which Had No Hair Upon Their Foreheads, But They Defintely Lived Day by Day Where Simple Girls Lie in the Green Fields of Arcahiosmemaistilopea and I Finally Discovered the Lost Ruins of Land Which No One has Found Since the Green Field Lady-dwellers, and There was Buried a Violin like No Other and I Acquired Great Skill Until the Violin was Crushed Under a Chubaka like Animal named Chubaka, and My Mother Told Me My Father Once Lived on the Moon and Came Down Where He Instantly Fell in Love With Her and Many Years Later, Alien Pregnancy is Longer, She Gave Birth to a Girl Who Liberated the Moonafickleteedum People and All Moonafickleteedumians Would Live a Long Life Upon the Earth Breaking All Laws of the Once Forbidden Marriages of Humans and Moonafickleteedumians...I Apologize. It is 12:22am. I Am Writing an Essay. I Am delirious. Please forgive My Childishness, But My Teacher Says Whenever You Get Writer's Block You Keep Writing Whatever Comes to Mind Until Which Time an Idea Pops Within Your Head Like a Balloon Which an Anxious Child Persistently Huffs in Until All Their Hardwork is Nothing but Dangly Pieces of Plastic Trashing Their Mother's Floor.

Oooh, I got an idea. Goodnight Everyone!

And if you think that was hard, read "Finnegan's Wake."

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Listen, and then, 'Cry Me a River'

January 23, 2008 19:39

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TA6LQmP0ec

With my new found love for Jazz violin, I will try to sing this song on my violin just as beautifully as Barbara does.

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My Email Account Exploded into Itty Bitty Pieces...

January 23, 2008 19:24

Blogging is a therapeutic way for
us violinists to release our
violinistical frustrations and happinesses
and to analyze and process our concerns within our musical journey, which is why I silently thank Mrs. Niles everyday for the v.com blogging system.
Whenever I write a blog, more recently, more frequently, it is okay to say, "Oh, oh. Jazzy's gettin' all emotional again," because that is exactly what I am doing.

Which leads me to a rather interesting evening of flurrying emotions and spontaneous oppotunity seeking moments.

Today was the official day that I began my position as concertmaster, with my eye glasses and all. The night did not go well, in my opinion. Everyone said, "Oh, Jazz. You did fine," but I, however, knew what I sounded like in my new bedroom when I was practicing over winter break. I improved, but tonight I lost all signs of any improvement.

Why? Well, thanks to the blogging process in which I try to think before I write/type, I pre-analyzed the possible causes of my lapsed abilities. I will share them with you tonight.

Our brain is like an email account. Our brain sends, receives, processes, and files information. When I practiced everso happily within the confines of my wonderful bedroom, my brain was receiving, processing, and filing everything I learned and improved upon. But what I failed to realize is my brain separated this new information into a totally separate file. My brain not only recorded the new things I learned, but also the environment, mood, and physical positions I was in at those times. So, with what result? When I went back to school, to the old practice room and the old orchestra, my brain opened up the old file which was recorded before I went on break. Therefore, I played with the old violin technical file in my mind, instead of the new file. So, how do we, as musicians, delete old files and read only the new without a loss to certain skills? I decided to keep a journal. Oh wait, blogging is like a journal. Well, I mean an actual hand notebook. During each practice session, I need to automatically record any improvements, and then imput my notes in my memory bank. That way, my brain will never close an important file. Well, you might ask, what about the old file? Can you still open it? Well, not at the risk of opening it and closing the newer file. In order to get to the inbox, you have to close the "sent items," right? So, I need to record items from my old file that I like particularly about my playing and continue to improve upon them within the newer and future files.

I will probably start to hear and see the newer file that I created over winter break in a couple of weeks. But it is such as hassle to have to work for all of that again. And it was truly frustrating to discover that all my improvements had suddenly disappeared. So, hopefully, my plan above will prevent such file closing, psychological meltdowns in the future.

Also, tonight was my first rehearsal with the Jazz Ensemble. I am the only violinist. I figured, the school did not specify instruments for the course, so I have the legal right to join. I also want to learn the Jazz genre, so I said "what the hay?" and pushed the register button. We did not play anything tonight but Monday we will. I am so excited to learn Jazz violin. Any suggestions????


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Saint-Saens Devoured My Rosin!! Ahhhhh!!! Help!!!!

January 22, 2008 21:17

So, yeah, like, I need to buy some new rosin because everytime I practice the first part of the first movement to the Saint-Saens concerto, all my rosin disappears. I guess, I need stronger rosin. Any suggestions as to what rosin worked specifically really well for you when playing the Saint-Saens Concerto? I know, this could be in the discussion board, but I figured since rosin was recently discussed, but not in the same context as I am asking it in, I should just put it here in my blog.

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Back-to-School

January 21, 2008 22:25

I'm back at school, but first I got lost in Pennsylvania.

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Cloverfield Interrupted My Practice Session!

January 18, 2008 21:41

Well almost...

For the past few weeks, my pants have trembled in juvenile anticipation of the Cloverfield movie. My little brother busted into my room every evening with an update on recent news of what the "Monster" could possibly look like. I kept reassuring my family and myself that J.J. Abrams wouldn't dare produce a corny movie when he has had such a good record of award winning films and T.V. "He is brilliant," I said. "He will not let us down."

Of course, living awfully close to Hollywood for most of my life, seeing a movie on opening day is kind of a big deal in my family, and we often feel regret if we miss a movie during the first week of its opening. We feed off of the adrenalin rushing sensation of crowded concession stands, people bustling to scarce seats. But the best part is the packed theatres; we love the roar of laughter, pouts, or bouts of anger; it's, oh so contagious. So, of course, we wanted to see Cloverfield tonight, knowing that the top secretiveness of the film would bring in the crowds.

However, on this very night, I also received my sheet music for the Saint-Saens Concerto and Intro Rondo and Capriccioso! And, I did not hesitate to speed upstairs to my practice/bedroom to test it out before the movie was due to start in a couple of hours.

Oh, it sounded so good. I did not believe in myself. I told my teacher, "Do you think I am ready to tackle the Concerto or Capriccioso?"
She answered that she would never assign me a piece she did not think I was unprepared to play effectively. Her statement was confirmed tonight when I discovered just how much my sound and overall technique including musicality has matured. The beginning of Intro R & C is a little rough because of the beautiful quality, but I believe by August it should be in ship shape condition.

As I neared the fun part on Intro R&C, my mom knocked on my door to let me know we were leaving. I sighed, and suddenly I felt a hesitation that I usually do not feel on movie nights. "This movie is interrupting my Saint-Saens. Do you know what I am sacrificing Mr. Abrams and Mr. Reeves? Tomorrow, I could come back to this music and sound totally awful. But I am stopping anyways for what I hope to be a good movie. It better be good...."

So, I set my violin back in its case, and walked off into the uncertain future of movieful experience.

Now, I will take a few minutes to tell you my take on the movie, without spoiling it, as best as possible. (There might be small spoilers in the next elaboration, but I do not think it will ruin anything, so read on if you want.)

"Cloverfield" began slow. The dragging and dragging on of endearments and character relationship building moments were annoying and cute at the same time. But, I will tell you, right from the start, that stupid shaking camera annoyed me to death. I just wanted to make the camera stay still and focus on the characters and eventual action. The whole documentary effect added nothing except for the urge in audience members to yell out, "Wait, what was that? Can you please stop moving the blasted camera?" So, needless to say, I was starting to regret having left my stationary music stand, possessing Mr. Saint-Saens.

Finally after a slightly comedic and tedious ten minutes of complete fluff, the action came, and when it came it hit hard. So hard, in fact, that I could not help but say to myself, "Okay, this might turn out pretty good." The city darkening and bombs exploding seemed to give the movie more of a doomsday feel, instead of the typical corny monster movie aura. The audience was immediately thrust into a profoundly scary mood; the kind in which one asks him or herself, "What if that really happens?"

Now, my family and I have categories for special effects, cinematography, acting and all that jazz. For horrible computerization/acting/effects at the worst level, we put movies in the SCI-FI CHANNEL category. For moderate, we put them in the MODERATELY STUPID AND DISAPPOINTING STAR WARS EPISODE 1 category. And great computerization is the SO DISTURBINGLY REAL LOOKING, IT'S GREAT (KING KONG/TRANSFORMERS, JUST TO NAME A FEW) category. At the start of the action, Cloverfield seemed to be in the first category. My mom even whispered, "Oh no, we've got a SCI-FI." But as the movie progressed, it ended up at the 2nd level and pretty much stayed there until the end, in regards to the flying Statue of Liberty head and the "Monster." I will give the bombs, jets, and toppling buildings a category three rating.

The acting was a category two. The guy holding the camera--I can't even remember the poor chap's name--saved the movie in the content respect. He was funny which gave the movie some much needed balance. If it weren't for him, I probably would have left the theatre for all the constant and badly acted screams, bursting forth from the unconvincingly terrorized extras.

So, for all you v.commies, I would say this movie is not worth leaving the practice stand for, but I would go see it after you feel you have had a nice, focused practice session.

RATING= B


Can't wait to get on the Saint-Saens Concerto tomorrow!!!!


Jazzy

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Reflecting Back

January 16, 2008 20:59

I read my first blog, from back in 2003. From 14 year old, self-concious puberty victim who just began the violinistical journey to blonde bombshell, just kidding, to a person who has been playing the violin, for like, forever (five years). So nice to see how much v.com has grown, and I am so happy I grew up with it! (My five year anniversary was Nov. 27th.)

I will be 20 next year--what is happening to me??!!

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Confessions: I Learned From a DVD...

January 15, 2008 21:58

Well, not really...

The recent thread,You Can Learn From a DVD partly inspired this blog.

As much as I love v.com and all the other online, video, dvd, tape, and cd aids out there, I must say I can not wait to get back to my real life, in the flesh, violin teacher at the college. A whole month without her has taught me the negatives, as a student violinist, of only using the above mentioned aids. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy all the advice that I receive from this site and all the techniques I learn from other guides, but there are three reasons why a "in the flesh" teacher is better.

First, and a more obvious reason as to why a "in the flesh" teacher is better is because of a little thing called discipline. If I just left it up to myself, I would have already played every concerto known to humankind pretty darn poorly. I would have skipped to DVD number 10 on my first lesson and then tried to go to Carnegie Hall to talk to the managers about when I could get my first performance date. I would not have been self-disciplined, and I was homeschooled, so I know a thing or two about self-discipline, but because I love the violin repertoire so much, I just would not have been able to refrain from playing everything I have heard. So, it is a good thing I have had a teacher right there to smack me everytime my eyes and hears started to wander to off limit areas...

Secondly, when I visit a site on the internet or read books, I start to gain an unrealistic view of professional violinists and life as violinist. It is the same way a child will idolize a pop star and make them out to be a God or Goddess. V.com is pretty good about portraying the real lives of violinist and the violin career path, but many sites are not. (However, I cannot help but think that Buri is the god of prunes...) With my in the flesh teacher, I get first hand view of how a violinist really lives his or her life. They are normal people, despite a wonderful gift, who need to make money, who have husbands and wives, who get angry and cry, who have off days in their violin sound. When I see my teacher being a human, with human imperfection, I am further encouraged to pursue my dream because I can relate to him or her. Whereas on a dvd, the teacher always sounds nice, and what they say is scripted and not from the heart. I hate those videos that say, "You are doing great!" when they don't even hear you. How do they know I got that bowing right??!! Can they see me? In that case, that is some scary stuff.... Furthermore, I do not take the video person's comments to heart because I have not built a true relationship with them. (Or I start to believe the "you are doing great" comments and end up looking like those bad singers on American Idol, except for, I'll be auditioning for Julliard.)

Which brings me to my third point --I love the relationship I have with my teacher. She makes me angry, mad, happy, jubilant, sad, energetic, and much much more. All those emotions are what I need to play music. In the flesh teachers foment musicality. My old violin teacher was from El Salvador. I learned so much about her culture and her life here in America. She and I became great friends. I went to her house for dinner and watched her little children. I saw her being human and at the same time, being human to me and with me. Through human experience, I can give my music the human quality--I can even add a little culture to my sound, heaven knows, there was never a day when I would go to her and El Salvodoran music would not be playing. Although, I put my teacher on pedestal because she is a great violinist, and teacher, who, I might add, can play classical, jazz, mariachi, hindu, and pop violin, she never made me feel hopeless. In fact, one day I was so discouraged because of visiting so many violin sites, and seeing that all the violinists had started at three or newborn, and they were so great, I just wanted to quit. But it was my in the flesh teacher that made me realize that they were human and they all played because they love the violin and I should do the same. If I get discouraged while learning from a dvd, will the dvd person be able to encourage me to keep going? No, in the end, it will be a "in the flesh" family member or teacher.

I start school on Tuesday, so I will not have to suffer too much longer. The teacher I have right now is so wonderful as well; she can get a little grouchy. But hey, like I said, I need that pure unadulterated emotion in order to play musically! :) Oh, but the yells and screams...I cannot wait.

This blog is in no way intended to bash or put down DVDs and so on, I just am warning against letting the above mentioned REPLACE a private teacher. I like DVDs and other aids as added information for what I already receive from my teacher.


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Reverse Hickey

January 14, 2008 09:19


Everything was fine when I had the hickey on the bottom of my chin. When I started playing without a chin rest, it started to fade. But now, since I received my new violin, and I was afraid to take off the chin rest since it is not officially mine, and since I play with left hand support (violin resting on my left shoulder, my left holding the violin up), I am starting to get a reverse hickey. It's forming on the bottom part of my neck, a few inches up from my chest.

How am I suppose to explain two hickeys to all my non-violinistic friends? They will never believe me now.

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Woah Doggie!!

January 11, 2008 21:48

WOAH, Doggie! My practice seems to be so much better these days. Every practice, I feel better and better about my results and my overall sound. WOOOHOOOHHOOJHHLO!!

I owe it all to Madeline Bruser's, The Art of Practicing. I read it when I was 14 years old, but not with much focus sense my attention span was a lot shorter and I had a endearing loyalty to everything Jane Austen. However, I passed that stage and was able to read it with an open mind. There are two things I am applying to my practice now from the book: Stretching, Posture correction, and making a performance ready practice room.

Let me tell you how applied the last one: Making a performance ready practice room.

I set my practice time. Tuesday at 4:30pm. I intentionally started to stir my nerves by telling my mom she was invited to my mom room at 4:30pm on Tuesday to listen to me play. I cleaned my room, as Bruser says should be done, a cluttered room makes for a cluttered mind. I ate some bananas and stretched and went to my performance ready practice room. I warmed up with some scales which took about 3 minutes. When my mom came up stairs, I played Bach's Partita in D minor Sarabande. I made a mental note that when I am nervous my double stops/chords get a little shaky. Otherwise, what a great practice session!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was like, "Mom, that was great! Don't you think?"

"It was okay. Why can't you learn hip hop violin or some rock or something other than classical? I mean, this Bach guy is just not my style. Maybe one day, I will know how to listen attentively to classical music," My mom said.

"You know what, mom..." I wasn't even going to go there with her.

I mean, I think the day I am really good I will be able to make even my mom enjoy classical music. (We were watching Joshua Bell's New Year's Eve Concert and my mom kept trying to turn the channel every time I left to use the restroom. I stared at her in amazement because obviously I do not undertstand how she could resist Joshua Bell, but at the same time it made me happy to know that she just hates classical music, and when she tries to avoid listening to my playing, it's nothing personal or against me specifically. She just doesn't like classical.)

Maybe she will turn around with time like I did from when I first read the Art of Practicing to now.

Anyways...

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Likeable Humans’ Realm of Peaceful Worldness

January 9, 2008 19:17


I could never see myself becoming an arrogant person because I never view anything I do as perfect or even close to it. Ms. Self-criticism can be a real horror, but despite that, she kind of keeps me in check and pops whatever bubble that starts to inflate on my head.
Which leads me to the question, how do some artists, who are amazing, stay so humble? With all the attention they receive and their own playing as a testament to their special abilities, I am so surprised when I come across such humility. I think these “humble giants,” as one might call them, deserve praise, not only for their extraordinary awesomeness, but also for their capacity to remain within the likeable humans’ realm of peaceful worldness. :0)

(May they never deviate from that beautiful characteristic in their personality, no matter how good they get, or how much attention they receive. In Madeline Bruser's book The Art of Practicing, it says once an artist loses the humble quality, they immediately misplace a big chunk of their ability to communicate MUSIC effectively to the audience. I would hate to see artists who could once communicate with an audience through music lose that ability just because Mr. Ultra Rays of Magnified Ego enters their lives.)

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What I Missed and Dancing

January 8, 2008 22:41

Krzysztof Penderecki came to Saratoga Springs, NY and I missed it. Where in the world was I? Daydreaming? I am disappointed.

saratogian.com

Well, life goes on.

Recently, I put up a video on the discussion board talking about how I really enjoy athletic violin playing, i.e. sweating, hair boucing around, flips and kicks, triple-double axles...

Today, as I watched Leila Josefowicz play the second movement of the Shostakovich Violin Concerto again and again, I noticed that I was dancing. Well, okay, I didn't notice, I actually dance to classical music quite regularly, thank you very much.

And I am not talking about swaying back and forth, or tapping my foot to the invisible metronome of the music. I mean, full on dancing i.e. "the butterfly", "the tootsie roll", "tick tock", "the walk", "lean wit' it, rock wit' it", "moonwalk", "swing", "tango", "flamenco",
"head bobbin'", you name it!

To Shostakovich's Violin Concerto, I find myelf clappin' my hands to the beat, bobbin' my head, and twisting my stomach to the rolls and twirls of communication between the orchestra and soloist.

I sat down at the computer with my headphones on. My mom, curious to see what new beat I was dancing to, came over and was disappointed to find out that the assumption that her daughter was extremely weird was true. "How can you dance to classical music like that? I mean, I can understand ballet or simply swaying your body, but Jasmine, is 'the walk' and 'the butterfly', hip-hop moves mind you, really fitted to this type of music?" My mom asked, clearly amused.

"Mother, hip hop, pop, rock, all got their rhythms and beats from earlier music. Why do you think Alicia Keys used the theme from the Brahms Violin Concerto, or the Black Eyed Peas used a theme from a symphony?! So, clearly, it is appropriate for me to dance this way."

Of course, I was right. I mean. just try it. Dance to Shostakovich, or to the second movement in the Prokofiev violin concerto no. 1, or Bach's Solo Partita in E major, and you will find that some of the "beats" are not all to unfamiliar. I mean, the 3rd movement in Bach's E Major Partita starts out with a very typical hip hop rhythm. Or should I say, baroque rhythm which is used by smart recording artists of the future? So, really I can dance to this music if I want to.

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to..."

So, if I ever become comfortable enough to step out of my shoes during a performance and just relax and be myself, my involuntary movement will probably be a dance of some sort. Can't wait to see whether it is the "butterfly" or "the walk"...

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Random Stuff, but Good Info!

January 6, 2008 12:46

There should be a section on v.com strictly for students to upload videos of them playing a scale or piece of repertoire to receive advice from Mrs. Niles, Buri, Mr. Steiner, and all the amazing educators/violinists on this site. I guess like online lessons, but in reverse because the student places their video online and the teacher gives an analysis. Just an idea. Another one of those things just flashing in my mind that I had to let free...or else.

I wanted to add something else that I have been adding to my practice sessions. Recently, I had a crazy dream where I woke up, and my room, all around me was pitch black. I jumped out of
my bed feeling for the light switch, but it did not turn on, so I thought maybe there wwas extreme power outage in the city. I opened up my bedroom door, trying to guide myself to my mom's bedroom. "Mom, wake up there was a power outage again."

"Jasmine, what are you talking about all the lights are on?" I heard my mom say behind me. Then, that is when I realized that in actuality I was blind. I screamed so loud, that I woke myself up. It was a very painful dream, that gave birth (I love that phrase) to an intense paranoia. I figure I had this dream because I was just talking to my mom about John Milton who had lost his eye sight and had to have his daughter scribe "Paradise Lost" for him. We also talked about numerous other people who had lost a sense or limb, but still worked through it somehow. Also, the other day, we went to go see a movie, but, oh yeah, I still do not have my glasses, because the doctor in California is not allowed to release prescription information without a real life person being in the office. So he had to send it out via mail and I still have not received it! So, the fact that I can not see anything unless it is two inches near my face contributes to the whole blindness paranoia!!!!! Also, a friend of mine recently went blind over the summer due to diabetes. I was devastated for her. But she continues through life with a smile. And naturally her other senses have become stronger. I don't know how she does it, but I know this sounds mean, but sometimes I try to sneak past her because she can talk a long, long time, and I could be a couple of feet away from her and she'll say, "Hey, Jasmine!"

"What? How? When? Where? Oh, nevermind. Hi!" I respond. She's amazing. How does she know it was me?

Well, I added to my practice ear training. I have always had a good ear, but since starting classical violin, I must say that I have become a little dependant on sheet music. But, I figured if I ever did go blind, the only way I would be able to learn new music is if I had an extremely good ear and of course good memory for the braille manuscripts that I am sure exist out there. All I do is listen to youtube videos and play back what I hear. This is going pretty good. I think in a year or so, I should be able to just hear something and play it back pretty speedily.


Anne-Sophie Mutter is my favorite violinist player, Leila Josefowicz is my favorite violinist performer.

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Today's Practice

January 6, 2008 12:24

So, after a few uneventful days of no practice, I finally had the chance to have a focused practice today. When my violin and I got back together the other day, I was still PMSing, so practice wasn't helping and I was just sawing at the violin.

Well, I started today's practice with the Francko Cadenza of Mozart's Third Violin Concerto. I worked on phrasing, touching on dynamics, bow distribution, and vibrato. I sounded great, no arrogance intended, not great in the Heifetz way, but you know, I was happy with myself. Which was pretty unusual, since for the last few days, I have been watching all these youtube videos of great violinists, amateur and professional. Usually after I watch a whole bunch of videos like that, I pick up my own violin afraid to hear the fact that I sound like crap in comparison. But today, even though the beautiful sounds that those wonderful violinists on youtube were making was still echoing in my head, I actually enjoyed my own sound.

Of course, today's practice gave painful birth to many questions. You know, the kind of questions that keep flashing in your mind, and if you continue to ignore them, the flashing only gets brighter and brighter. So, I am aware that the reason I sounded good today is because I had not practiced for a few days, besides intense mental practice. I watched all those videos of the greats. So, I wonder, before a performance, should I take a few days off to allow everything I have been learning to fully cement in my head? And, only warm-up on the performance day, or is that too risky?

Also, I hate it when I sound good for a couple of days and then all the sudden Ms. Negative Self-Criticism busts open my bedroom door and walks in with a grin on her evil face, snatches my violin from my hand and smashes it on the ground like some heavy metal rocker...or Jimi Hendrix. Then, I sound horrible again because my violin is all cracked and demolished. How do you keep that new refreshing sound? How can I take the results form today's practice present in every practice from here on out? I am so scared to wake up tomorrow and find that the old horrible sounding Jasmine is back with Ms. Negative on the side teaching me.

Besides all that, I must tell you, flat hair on the strings is way better than a tilted bow. I played today, making sure that I kept my bow flat on the strings and my sound was even more powerful than usual, not sure my mom will like that, but I did.

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Huge Fight!

January 5, 2008 09:12


My Violin (Anakin) and I had a huge fight, which is why I have not written for a few days.

Yeah, when I say fight, I mean full on argument. I yelled, "You know what buddy, if your going to keep screeching at me, you can just pack your bags and leave."

So, I picked him up and put him in another case, the cheap kind that are lighter for shipping. I took him downstairs and announced to my family, "I am quitting violin."

My mom glanced at me and pooched up her lips, then turned back to her computer. She turned towards Megumi and said, "Megumi, every month, around that time (if you know what I mean), Anakin is going to pack up his bags and come to my house because my daughter always does this."

I screamed, "Hey, this fight was not my fault, first of all. He started scratching his fingers at me and snapping his strings and turnin' his pegs."

My mother ignored me. I walked to sit down on the couch next to her, and started to polish my violin and dress it for shipping. All the while, I did not stare him in the eyes. I gave him the silent treatment.

My brother came home from school and immediately saw the violin sitting on the couch, and since he was not accustomed to seeing my violin just out in the open, excluding recital days, concert days, and traveling, he immediately asked my mom, "Did Jasmine and Anakin break up again?" My mom just smiled and gave him the "what do you think" look.

Meanwhile, I was upstairs packing up everything Anakin related. I touched the "Art of Practicing" book, I had received as a present fom him a few years back and threw it into the box. "Stupid, Stupid man, violin, thingy box, piece of wood, dumb...!"

My mom purposefully did all her errands after 5pm so that she could say, "Darnit, the post office is closed. Guess you can't take him today, honey. Maybe tomorrow." I knew her game.

Well, when I went to bed that night--let me tell you.

I tossed and turned for several hours. I have a radio next to my bed and I usually put on some Midori or Mutter or someone. All night, I kept mentally practicing, since I had not really practiced for the past few days. I kept having the urge to apply what was on the radio. "Down bow," "up bow," "pizzicato," "hands resting firmly on the fingerboard" kept reverberating through my mind the whole night, where I finally sat up in bed and said, "Stop!" I looked at my radio and it was 3 a.m. I was in a puddle of my own sweat. I whispered to myself, "I can't believe I am going through withdrawals."

I fell asleep. I had a crazy dream about living in a treehouse with my family, dark and scary nights, and Joshua Bell. That's a totally new blog.

Anyways, I woke up that morning the first day of PMS passed and my violin and I made up.

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