April 2004

April 28, 2004 12:02

It's been another busy week but it's been good! These past few days I've been taking a different approach to my practicing and spending more time wokring on etudes and technique. So far the difference has been a positive one! It's amazing how one person can say something and how drasticly it can end up changing how you go about practicing and how much it can help you improve. I can't be thankful enough for great teachers and mentors who have helped me on this journey of becoming a better musician and person.

Music, violin is a life long journey, that I never expect to complete. I hope to master as many of it's challenges and obstacles that it presents, but is there really ever an end to it? I don't think there is. Everyday is a new challenge, and a new adventure. I think that's part of my attraction to music, is that it's an ever changing experience. Never a dull moment and always something to conquer.

On Sunday I performed the Vitali Ciaccona. It went very well with only a couple of minor mistakes, but overall the whole thing held together and I was very confident in my approach and about what I wanted to do with the piece. Thanks to a violin lesson I had last Thursday, I had spent the two and a half days leading up to the performance really thinking about how I wanted to phrase things and the dynamics, and whether or not I agreed with the ones written in the score. It was a good lesson to have and it got me thinking about more then just the notes and what is there on the page, but to take it to another level. I decided to really dig in and figured out what I wanted to make the piece do for the listener and for myself and how to best go about acheiving that. I'm going to start taking that approach more, I think. It seemed to work well and I really felt a whole new sense of calm and joy in my playing that I had never felt before. I've always been comfortable and confident, but this was an entirely new level for me. It's a strange feeling. I really like it and don't want it to go away anytime soon.

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April 21, 2004 16:13

It's been a busy weekend. I played in four symphony concerts and went to rehearsals on top of that. It was good overall, and now I'm trying to keep those hours of playing up there at around the 5 hour mark. So far today I'm behind on that. I've been having tension problems all day which has been bugging me lots, and I don't like to overpractice if I'm tense, as hurting myself is not exactly a desirable option. I've been spending the past couple of days trying to master some Ysaye. I love the Ysaye sonatas, and never grow bored of them, but they are certaintly a challenge to play. I love the Dies Irae chant in the second sonata. Coincidently this past weekend one of the pieces on the program was M. Daugherty's Dead Elvis which has Dies Irae chant in it, as well as I've been studying berlioz's symphonie fantastique for a history exam, with special interest being payed to the last movement which also has the Dies Irae. Isn't it strange how things always seem to just start sticking out in your face?

My composition for violin and alto has a few more ideas and sketches down, but still no text yet. I'm almost to the point of thinking I'll leave out a text entirely and have it be similar to a vocalaise type of vocal work. We'll see...I'm going to keep hunting.

Yesterday I got the chance to play for some relatives here at my home, and so I played my concert group from the competition/festival. Different order, my piece, Vitali, then Eckhardt-Gramatte, and that worked pretty good. It was nice to get the chance to play them again, even if just for four people. I'm actually quite excited because I'll be performing the Vitali again on Sunday afternoon in a student recital. I have a couple of friends who are also supposed to be performing, so it should be great fun!!

Well time to get my butt off of this seat and away from the computer, and back to the practice room, or history books, or school or something more productive.

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April 15, 2004 11:07

Dovrak and Vaughn-Williams. Simply amazing composers! I was listening to the Dvorak Serenade for Strings the other day, and it never ceases to amaze me at how beautiful and elegant that piece is. I'd love to play it sometime. I can't get over that piece!! :) Yesterday, or wait...the day before yesterday, I was very excited to hear that Vaughn-Williams' oboe concerto was going to be on the radio. It's got to be my favorite work for the instrument. It's melodies are very tuneful, and well orchestrated, without having that annoying re-run going through your head like some pieces. I'm trying to find a relatively decent and cheap recording of the work! After it being played on the radio 4 times in the past couple of weeks, I'm hooked! When I finally got down to the crunch last night and dug out my history textbook to do some studying, I decided that jazz wasn't going to cut it for me, so I decided to put on a recording I have of Dvorak's 8th symphony (or number 4 depending on the numbering system you are going by...). I think it was in the 3rd movement where the winds have a really beautiful where it seems each player really feeds of each other. I played that symphony last month for three concerts, and in many rehearsals, and I never got bored of it. Putting that recording on made me miss not playing it anymore! Oh well....I have to stay focused on Mussorgsky and Brahms at the moment...

I did manage to get a bunch of history done. I haven't had the best of weeks, so I haven't gotten much done and am rather behind for this weeks lesson. I still have yet to define Alexina Louie's Distant Memories from her pieces for piano, and finish up a few things on Stravinksy and the ballet Petrushka and a couple of little things in Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a faun. After I get all that done, then I'm pretty much down to memorising everything from my list and notes for the exam.

Yesterday was a relatively good day, aside from an orthodontist appointment which has left my mouth rather sore. I had to do some stuff downtown, which I managed to mostly get done. I stopped in at the used bookstore for a bit, as I noticed some Beethoven and Schubert music sitting out, and I wanted to see what that was all about. I also looked through some of the vocal works to see if I could find any other ideas for a text for this vocal work I'm writing. I should have taken a look in the poetry section and seen what I could find, but didn't have the time as my ride was going to be coming soon, and I needed to get myself some breakfast, non the less, I did leave a very happy customer, with a brand new, hardcover, book called To Boulez and Beyond for only 13 dollars. I was very pleased with myself, and the book is proving to be very interesting! It discusses the musical style and various composers from Stravinsky on, and how music has evolved over the past 75 years. Being interested in composition and many of the composers in the book. I couldn't resist.

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April 13, 2004 14:19

Well the heat and sunshine has decided to go away for a bit. It's still quite warm out, but very muggy. I think/hope it will rain today. The Easter weekend was quite warm and hot, I even went swimming, which was really nice! I haven't really felt like doing much of anything today. I haven't been feeling the greatest and I've had bursts of energy then a lack of energy. Hopefully that will end before dance tonight...
This weekend I've managed to get a fair amount of practicing done on the Mozart concerto, Paganini Caprice, Stravinsky Suite Italienne, and Beethoven Sonata. I've given myself a bit of a break from the Eckhardt-Gramatte and Vitali but hope to dig those out and get back to working on them tomorrow. I've also been ploughing through Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and the Brahms D minor piano concerto. They are both great pieces, but I don't really get to do a whole lot in my second violin part. Non the less, it should be fun, and I'm highly anticipating performing both works several times this coming weekend!

Currently I'm trying to decide on the text for a vocal work I'm writing. I'm trying to make up my mind as to if I should attempt to write my own text or find a poem or chose a text from the Bible. (If anyone has any brilliant insights as to what I should do, by all means feel free to contact me and let me know!)It's a hard thing to decide on a text. I had originally thought possibly the poem "Lark Ascending" by George Meredith might be a nice selection, but it is quite a lengthy poem, and the music isn't really terribly inspired around birds at all. The piece is still very much in the beginnning stages but I want to find a text before I have much more then that done, so as to write the music appropiatly for the text, and have it be more inspired by the text.

On with my hunt for the perfect text and hopefully some time spent in the practice room........

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April 8, 2004 13:31

Wow! The competition/festival is done and over with for me now. It's hard to belive how fast it has come and go. I didn't play as well as I can, and I had some severe trouble getting my left hand to relax during the Eckhardt-Gramatte, and then had some issues in the Vitali, but my composition went well for the most part. It was hard to get up and play three pieces like that all by memory one right after the other. The good thing was that I got some really positive feedback from the adjudacator. So I have some things to take away from the experience to work on and get better at but I still had good comments on where I'm currently at in my violin career.

Well I got to scram. I have a music history lesson shortly.

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April 5, 2004 16:52

for anyone who is interested:

My links section wasn't working before, I finally figured out why, and now all they all work!

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April 4, 2004 12:30

I'm painting my room tomorrow! I've been cleaning it all up and taking stuff off of the walls. It will be nice to be rid of my baby years wallpaper and paint once and for all! I've decided to go with blue and yellow. Both very warm shades. I spend a lot of time in my room, especially when I am composing or studying and listening to music, so a warm happy colored enviroment will be nice!

Practicing. Well it's going fairly well overall! I haven't been able to do very much the past few days for a couple of reasons (which I won't go into here as it takes to long), but have still managed to get enough in to get some decent work on my competition pieces, if nothing else. I'm really enjoying seeing how my pieces are all finally coming together so nicely in these last few days leading up to the competition. I hope I can keep motivated, and have a great time when my turn to play comes!

I have a symphony tour coming up in a little over a week, which I am also looking forward to. It's always fun to try some new repertoire and getting to play with a big group. Despite playing second violin, I get a suprsingly huge amount of melody, which is nice for change! I don't mind being non-melodic, but sometimes there are just some gorgeous melodies that you just want to play and you can't play them because you are a second violinist not a first violinist this time around. There is something that's really fun and neat about being a second violinist though. I've always enjoyed it a great deal!

Well I've spent enough time here on the net so I think I'm going to go and practice a bit!

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