Well it's been a hectic week. Sort of. It started off hectic then got relaxed then will be hectic again soon!
Last weekend, on Saturday I had an early morning to go and catch a greyhound bus. I was going to visit a good friend, fellow musician and conductor. Her orchestra (a youth orchestra...or junior orchestra I guess because there are adults and younger students!) was performing a piece I wrote for them back around Christmas time. The work was premiered in May but I wasn't able to go, so this time nothing was getting in the way of me going. I got to go! It was well over 4 hours later, and at 11:30am that I arrived at my destination! I met up with my friend and her roomate and we went for a walk before heading back to my friends place. She had a violin she wanted me to try out and some work to do, so I got some practicing done and she got her work done and I got to try out a rather nice instrument! After that it was off to the concert! When it came time for my piece to be played, I was actually kind of nervous. The orchestra did a great job though! They took it at the exact tempo that had been what I heard in my head and it sounded like it did in my head when I wrote it! Yay!!!!! I actually had to take the score out the night before and read through it on the bus a bit to refresh my mind as to what I had written. You'd think I would have remembered, but I guess not. Oh well!! It was hugely exciting for me to get to hear it and have it conducted by such a good friend.
It was a late-ish night that night. After the concert we went for dinner and then my friend had her horses that she wanted to enter in a horse show the next morning and move back to her parents place for the summer. So we went up to the ranch that they were on and I helped her pack up her stuff (along with some of her family who had brought up her horse-trailer and a truck to cart the horses with) and get the horses ready. So by time we had finished that and gotten back to her place it was about 11pm. We went to bed as promptly as possible and then the wake up call was at 4:30am. Those few hours of sleep were good while I had them! We went and collected up the horses, got them in the trailer and were on the road by 6! We arrived at the rodeo grounds where the horse show was at about 8 or shortly after, in time to get the horses registered, and saddled up for a 8:30 showing. After the first class (about 9am), I got a ride over to the bus depot to bus back home. I got back just before 1pm, in time to invade my Grandparents house for food and a shower. I didn't really think losing an extra 15-20 minutes sleep to shower when I had to get up at 4:30 was a nice option so I decided to do that at my grandparents place. A bite of lunch, a shower and a bit of practicing later, my violin teacher showed up!
I had a concert only an hour after that. My teacher and I were doing some Bartok duets together at it. We had only sightread (well she knows them....I don't) through them together a couple days prior and so we figured rehearsing them again was a good idea. We spent a few minutes putting them together and ran them through a couple times and then headed over to the hall.
At the hall the music school I teach at was having their annual faculty and student recital. I got to be both a teacher and a student in that recital! My two Suzuki groups played. I was very impressed with them and proud of them! One priceless moment was when one of the kids arrived and walked across the stage to where I was to unpack and the look on his face as he peered out at the empty hall was priceless! But yes, all my students did exceptionally well and I couldn't have been more happy and proud of them. Hopefully they were all pleased with themselves too. I then got a bit of a break after having been the first couple of spots in the recital my students. I listened to a couple of kids and then went out into the hallway and talked to a fellow teacher for awhile and got a drink. Then I went back because, suprise suprise, I had to play again! This time it was the Bartok duets. We did three of them. Two went really well. One I kind of screwed up a tinsy bit, but only the people who knew it well would have known that I had made a mistake. Immediately following that I played Lark Ascending.
There's something to really love and cherish about playing a piece like that with a 9ft Steinway to back you up and in one the most acousticly friendly halls around. There are so many quiet and flautando bits yet you don't have to even try and it just fills the hall and carries. It's a great feeling. It was father's day too that day and to have my Dad as my pianist made it extra special! The length of the work flew by and before I knew it I had played my last note. As I bowed, a small child ran up to the stage from the audience, it was my 4 year old student with a bouqet! Her Mom helped her up onto the stage and she gave me a hug and the boquet!
The final portion of the concert was devoted to orchestral music played by the chamber orchestra. I dubbed in as a second and third violinist in the two pieces. It was a lot of fun!
After the concert as I was saying goodbye to my students it hit me again that I'm not going to see these kids for awhile. And who knows, come fall, not all of them may want to come back. I hope they all come back! It's been awesome to see them all grow and learn so much in the past months and it's been a pure joy to teach them. I always leave the music school feeling satisfied and truly content after a good day of teaching. Yes, there are those lessons that leave you frustrated and wanting to peel your nails off, but the rewards like when I saw my students walk out on stage in their suzuki groups and heard them play, it was really rewarding for me. I'm going to miss teaching while I'm away this summer, but hopefully I'll come back a better teacher and them renewed, refreshed and ready to learn again!
I love June for many reasons and dislike it for others. Spring in general I dislike, not because I have a thing against flowers or warmer weather (though the 35 + Celsius we were experiencing a couple weeks ago was a bit much for my tastes) but because of allergies. But onto the things I love! I do like the flowers, to look at. I enjoy taking pictures and I have had fun this year experimenting my Dad's digital camera and taking some "artsy" pictures. As well, the spring rains, and thunderstorms are always nice! I love the smell after a spring rain and then when the sun comes out through the black clouds and how it illuminates some parts of the mountainside and other parts are left in the dark. Seeing the rays of sun through clouds as the sun begins to set and the sky is set off with many colors that change until, finally at about 10pm things begin to become dark and those colors are no longer visible.
The ironic thing about springtime and the month of June is that while all the flowers are starting to bloom and plants are starting to grow and start new lives, and the wildlife begins to multiply, we humans are "ending" things. School gets out in many parts of the world. Music lessons break for the summer while many people go off to teach at festivals and take part in a more holidaying style of education. Things are wrapping up. Year end recitals... exams... hockey is over....ok, well maybe hockey isn't that important...but still! I've gone and bought little year end presents for most of my students, I still have a couple to pick up yet but it's kind of saddening to think that even though this summer has so many exciting things in it, I will miss my students! I love teaching and the challenge of it!
I will miss all my students this summer but I'm going to miss my beginner Suzuki group in particular. They only just started a few weeks ago as a chance for kids interesting in playing in a group to see how they like it without having to commit to a whole year. It's turned out to be a lot of fun. It's not a huge group, but it's not tiny, all the kids are around the same age and level and they are a lot of fun! I think the smaller group in some ways makes it more fun because it's a little more personal. One girl from the group brought me a dish of strawberries and an apple that she had picked for me, the other day. That made me feel good! One thing that really excited me about the last class was one girl who is such a sweet-heart plays everything so incrediably carefully and so I was trying to encourage all the kids to use more bow (this resulted in bows being millimeters from peoples heads...) amd this week, the very careful girl was using a whole lot more bow! That was neat for me to see.
Speaking of recitals and year end performances. This weekend coming up, I get to go and hear a performance of one of my own compositions for string orchestra! I'm very excited about that as I still haven't heard it done with a full string orchestra yet, just once through with a string quartet. I'm eager to hear it! The following day, when I get back, both my Suzuki groups are signed up for the music academy's big year end concert...or one of them anyways (we are doing two this year, in previous years they tend to be VERY long). I will also be playing Lark Ascending and som Bartok Duets! On Tuesday of this week I will be adding to the performances and doing another Lark Ascending performance at small informal in house recital at a fellow musicians home for other musicians. After this week, I get to go away for 5 days on holidays! yay! Only a couple days after I get back though, it's yes, you've got it another recital at which I still haven't decided for sure what I will be playing. I'm trying to convince my teacher to let me do the G minor Sonata Fugue but we'll see! If not that, the Barber concerto out of most likely hood. Ah, performing!
That wedding I mentioned in my last blog entry. Well....I've determined that duct tape and tent pegs need to be added to the nessecary outdoor wedding gig materials. I've never had to play in such circumstances before. It was so incrediably windy. My music stand blew over, resulting in my case being on two of the feet and my pushing down on the other one to keep it from flipping over again. My usual close pegs and elastics didn't work for music. Some of my music was actually ripped right out of my binder, so someone got me some duct tape and we taped my binder and music open to my music stand. I thought, great (!) smooth sailing from here on, if you can get past to the having to rip music taking duct tape off to turn pages. Apparently it wasn't smooth sailing. I need a music stand that has a top that screws on that can't flip around because the wind decided to send the top of my stand twirling (not quite, but it spun around a bit) since it couldn't rip at my music or knock the stand over anymore. Luckily after a somewhat stressful ceremony, the reception, in a sheltered deck area went well!
Well I'm really procrastinating on reading my driver's manual so I should probably think about going to bed and doing that for awhile and then go to bed. I took a few of the practice tests (prior to reading any of the manual) and one included a question along the lines of "what do you do if you don't know what the other drivers are doing?" A. Honk and yell at them? B. Be aggressive and take the right of way C. Flash your brights in their eyes or D. take extra caution in order to be safe .....hmm.... or better yet ...there's a picture of a red octagon with the word STOP printed in big bold letters in the middle "What do you do when you meet this sign?" Umm.....Go? Sometimes you really have to wonder.
Well I'm off!
One thing I always look forward to in June is my families annual fishing trip. This will be the last year I can go so I'm hoping this year will be especially good! Where we go and stay is quite far out of the city and there's no phones, tv, computers, grocery stores and the mail only goes out once or twice a week. The wildlife is amazing and so is the scenery. There's a gorgeaus, long bike-ride you can do along the length of the lake. It gets quite hard to bike in spots with steep inclines going up and down but it's really beautiful. It's kind of funny, I remember a couple years ago my brother and I did a particularly long bike-ride along the lake and my legs started to get really sore long before we even turned back, you get to a point where your legs stop hurting, they just go numb and you feel like you could go on for ages. I guess that must be what happens to athletes when they do races and marathons. I'm really excited to go to the lake again this year though!
As I mentioned year end recitals usually tend to happen at this time of year. I'm currently going to be playing in at least a few for piano and violin and I'm planning to have my Suzuki groups to each play a couple of songs at the year end recital the music school I teach at has. There are just so many things happening! I also want to go up to Kamloops for a day or so. A youth orchestra up there is doing a repeat performance of a composition I wrote for them. It was premiered last weekend but I wasn't able to attend so I'm trying to make it work for this time! It will be interesting to hear if what was in my head (that seemed to work pretty good with a string quartet) actually worked and was realised on the page for the whole string orchestra.
School is almost over. Yay! As much as I like my English class and find German a good place to get other homework done and studying for theory exams, I'm happy school is almost over. As I walk through the halls now all you see are depressed, trying to seem depressed, unhappy people. Or you see the really bizarre people who are trying in vain to stand out. It's such an "interesting" place at school. If you pass a truly happy person in the hall or someone who actually holds the door for you or says thank you for something or who gives you a smile as you pass in the hallway, you've come in contact with one of a rare breed at my school. I can't say I'm going to miss school that much this summer. I'm really ready for it to be over.
I'm working on another composition for the youth orchestra I used to play in. It's scored for full woodwinds (more or less), some brass and full strings. I might add percussion but I'm not full convinced it's something I want in this piece yet. It's nearly 1 minute long already with more ideas floating around in my mind as to what I want to do with the piece. I'm hoping to get most of it done before I go to Quebec this summer, then maybe I can copy out parts in my spare time or something while I'm down there or compile the conductors score so it's readible.
It's only just over a month until I leave for Quebec! I'm very excited! There are a couple of things that are making me a tad nervous and anxious, such as who I'll get for a roomate(s) while I'm there and what it's going to be like in general and how I'll get along with my teachers and everything else! I am very excited though, I really wasn't expecting this to happen at all so it's been and still seems a bit overwhelming and surreal especially when there is so much to be done before I leave yet!
Well I should get going! I'm doing a wedding and reception this afternoon so I should grab some lunch and make sure everything is in order ie: do I have closepins and elastics for if it's windy?
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