*Grooves out to the Police* No....not the actual police, the band. You know the one Sting was a singer in so many years ago? Yeah, that's the one. *sings along*
The freedom this past week has been great! For the first time in years I can practice my violin without having a concert to be prepared for or an exam to be ready for, I can play purely because I want to and it feels good. Now that I never have to play the RCM technique again I have dug my Flesch scale system back out and been doing what Andrew Dawes had me do at Domaine Forget for technique practice. The Debussy Sonata is starting to sound like music a bit and I love playing it. The colors and harmonies are just plain cool and make it infectious! The Scherzo-Tarentelle I have managed to work on the first few pages....after that things look a little scary but I'll get a chance to work on that more tomorrow and hopefully get some fingering in to make it a little less daunting, it's a really fun piece though!!
I'm starting to go a bit loopy with all the Mozart music on the radio. Why couldn't it be Beethoven's 250th Birthday instead?? *sigh* If I have to endure Eine Kliene Nachtmusik or the Marriage of Figaro Overture one more time I might permanently damage my radio. To celebrate the joyous ocassion of Mozart's birthday I will be an emcee, performer and teacher at a music school recital on Sunday afternoon. It's a Mozart Birthday party complete with cake and stories. I have students playing, I will be playing with a couple groups of students and then of course announcing everyone and everything! There's even going to be cake served!
This week has been really busy and interesting. Wednesday night I attended a concert put on by Angele Dubeau and La Pieta. It was a really fun, entertaining evening. At one point during a piece that was a bunch of Liszt and Brahms melodies piled into one, Dubeau suddenly started playing the Brahms concerto. At that point I really wished that the whole concert could have been just her and a pianist but it was still a good concert with lots of variety. An untypical addition to this program viewing for me is that I had to write a review of it for one of the local newspapers. That was a challenge! I've never written anything to be published before but I guess it was an opportunity to try out journalism which is something that has always interested me.
School has been piled on heavy this week. Monday was nice, no homework at all but now I have tons of stuff and it looks like I'll be spending a fair amount of time working on that this weekend. I'm really looking forward to exams being done and over with.
Thanks to all who have been thinking about my dog. She's still here but so far there isn't much improvement but on the flip-side she isn't any worse either.
*takes deep breath* alright...it's done. yay!!! It didn't go as well as I had hoped (does it ever?) but I think considering all the factors and circumstances I had going against me it went alright and I am confident that I got above the required percentage (75%) to officially pass and now am able to attempt the ARCT Diploma in Performance and Teaching. Really though, there is nothing like going to bed at 9 so you can sleep until 6 (that's a whopping 9 hours of sleep..more than I usually get) and I finally fall asleep around 9:30ish my cd player goes haywire and wakes me up around 10:30, asleep again around 11....some other mysterious noise wakes me up at about 11:30...midnight I'm asleep again, and wouldn't you know it, but nature calls and yet another mysterious noise calls at my door at 4:15am. My sleep ends there. Yes...right...this is all going brilliantly well for an early morning exam. I reluctantly get up at shortly after 6 when my alarm clock goes off and hop in the shower....warm water is so welcoming when you are tired....What's this? Why does my hand feel sore and tingly? Hmm...not a happy sign. 7am rolls around and after being convinced everything is against me (my never-fail hair-do that takes no time at all wouldn't even work for me) I start to try and cram some food into me. Great...now I feel sick. The bizarre thing was I never was truly nervous I was just not having a good day. So finally, everything is together and my parents and I climb in the car and head out ...Mom even had a heated water pack for my hands... a little over an hour later we arrive at the destination of my exam. Finally! Pardon? There's no where to warm up that can't be heard in the sanctuary where the exam is taking place? Ok....*grumbles*...I then grab a practice mute and plunk my way down the stairs into the basement and into a bathroom that's as far away from the sanctuary as possible and begin to warm up. Good, that works. Something has gone right!! Yay! I go upstairs when my time draws near to play. At least there is a welcome face...a fellow musician from the Okanagan Symphony! She had a student playing before me who it turns out I also know. I get to go in and do my exam...the first thing I notice is the piano. I'm playing the Barber concerto...a Beethoven Sonata and the Vitali Ciaccona and I get a junky upright that is smaller than studio model that is out of tune and you can't hear above a mf on the violin. Joy! This could be fun...the technique compenent...how about we don't go there? Some of it went alright but my violin would not speak for a bunch of the stuff and I kept doing the opposite of what was asked for some reason. I was not with it. My brain and thoughts were unmuddled though when it came to pieces and studies and orchestral excerpts and on a whole the rest of my exam went well. The most disappointing thing for me was that the only piece I got to play all the way through with no cuts was my Bach. I knew it was a possibility but it seemed extreme...even the Vitali Ciaccona I had almost 2 pages be cut out. Now the wait begins to see my mark. Will I pass? *scary music plays*
As is tradition with my family after a big music exam, we get to pick a resturant of choice (within certain guidelines) to have a meal at after the examination has taken place. The place I had been looking forward to eating at for a couple of weeks now was a Thai resturant with THE BEST Thai food that I've ever had. When we got to the resturant it said "Closed for holidays Jan.18-Feb 3" WHAT???????????????? *sits on the curb and cries* Back-up plan...Red Robin's....wasn't the same...but they did have a funky Japanese dish that I tried and quite enjoyed. From there on my day got better and better. After roaming around Costco for awhile and picking up some things I need for work and school and just general household things my parents and I hit the road for home. We stopped at a&b sound and I picked up 7....se SEVEN cd's for anyone want to take a guess? 30 dollars! They are trying to clear out their classical music section...so some Brahms and Schubert Symphonies now grace my music collection along with Piston, Szymanovski, Elgar and Delius Concertos...a Beethoven piano concerto and his Triple Concerto....and even some sonatas by Prokovieff. The artists include Szeryng, Sammons and Buswell among others. After my stock up on cds (now I really do need a new shelf for my cds) my parents and I stopped at one of my favourite places to pick up clothes and some other random supplies. MTF...I haven't a clue what it stands for. It's basicly the re-sale of left-over stock from different retail outlets. I have been in need of a new pair of paints that aren't the same pair of blue jeans as the last ones .... (I have two identical pairs of both jeans and black pants...they are starting to get really worn and my friends bug me that i don't own anything else) so I was lucky to find these comfortable, dress up and dress down type pants that are a deep purple. They are stretchy and SO COMFORTABLE. And only 18 bucks!!! And!!!! On top of that it was buy one get one free so I found this gorgeaus, really fuzzy blue sweater and got that thrown in for free!!!
Well....you are probably all starting to hit the keyboard by now...I know I am....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I leave in 5 minutes to do my grade 10 RCM exam. Despite going to bed really early to get lots of sleep I topped off at about 5-5.5 hrs of actual sleep. Wish me luck everyone!!!
Another week has gone by. More exams. More lessons. More chaos. Another week begins, will someone please stick me in a coma a wake me up after exam period ends??
Ugh...It's been an interesting, long week. I had two tests on Friday. My first test I completely bombed despite feeling good about it initially until I got my mark back. I didn't fail but I was very disappointed to say the least. That result makes me scared to find out the results on an in class essay exam. I wrote, what I feel, is my best in class essay yet but the previous test felt good so what does that predict for the mark? hmm....
I took a few days off school this past week in an effort to have a bit of breathing room and mental space to prepare for my upcoming violin exam. Unfortunately and fortunately that free time to relax and focus on the task at hand got taken up by extra meetings and more violin lessons to help make up for my teacher being away and to help in preparation for the exam. In the process, after tuesday's gruelling lesson purely on technique, I had a pulled muscle in my left arm so had to limit the practicing for a couple of days until my lesson. The lessons have been good but I'm starting to get frustrated and am at the point where I can't really start to pick pieces apart anymore because it's not getting any better I'm at a plateau stage with this repertoire.
This weekend has been also somewhat interesting. Yesterday I spent mostly vegging only practicing and hanging out on the computer, avoiding homework that's due (which I am still avoiding) and also trying to find a sign of improvement in my sick dog. She's almost 11 now and she can't hardly walk and won't walk unless she has to use the washroom or something. She looks so sad and pitiful, it really breaks my heart. Her tail doesn't even wag anymore, she just stares at you pleading for help somehow.
Today, I had the chance to run through my entire exam repertoire for the recital portion of it in a big church which was nice. I was particularly pleased with my slow movement of the Barber concerto. It just worked. Things were in tune and felt easy. I was relaxed and it really just felt so absolutely right. Then this evening I was off to a faculty dinner. That was a first for me. I have never been to any type of staff party or dinner so this was intimidating and exciting! I got to meet some people I didn't know and enjoyed the company of those I did know. It was a potluck and some of the dishes people brought were really unique and very very yummy! I tried a couple of dishes I had never had before too. I contributed a sugar-maple pie. A really nice addition to the evening was faculty got up (including myself!) and played chamber music on a little tiny stage area perfect for 3 or 4 people to perform.
Well I should get to bed....*sigh* Please send your prayers for my dear sweet dog. I've had her since I was 6!
I'll be happy when this next week and a half are over. My grade 10 violin exam is looming over my head and it's now down to major crunch time to make sure everything is in top shape. On Sunday night my violin teacher came over and we spent a few hours playing through my study, excerpts and pieces. Yesterday, after a meeting with a fellow faculty member at work and a piano lesson I had another long-ish lesson and we played through almost all of the technique required for the exam. And on Thursday it's a lesson on ear training and some of the more technical aspects of the exam. I really like all the pieces I am doing for my exam...Bach, Beethoven, Barber, Vitali.....but aside from the Barber concerto I'm feeling a bit burnt out with the other repertoire and un-inspired to practice them much. I'm trying to get some ideas of what I want to start working on after my exam though now. I'm really seriously contemplating the Debussy Sonata. It's something a little bit different and less played. For concertos, I have no idea which to pick, I'm too addicted to so many of them and I'm sure my teacher in Vancouver will have his own ideas of what is an appropiate and most beneficial choice for me that I'll hopefully like. For concert pieces....hmm...I'd like to do Ysaye Sonata No. 4 or dig the Stravinsky Suite Italliene out again or maybe think about doing the Chausson Poeme or....so many options! My "project" at the moment is still the G minor fugue and the last two movements of the G minor sonata but I'm eager to start serious work on the Ciaccona.....There is just so much great repertoire and too little time! Did I mention yet that I really want to do this awesome modern solo sonata? It's 1 mvt. long but it's 20+ minutes in length so it's not a piece I'd have much opportunity to perform.
My piano teacher wants me to enter this piece I am playing in a competition that takes place in April. I would be interested but it's the combination of the political motivations and dictations of how certain students do that deters me and the piece I'd play is really hard, on the long side and has basicly no patterns on being able to memorise it (it's a modern work). I love the piece, if I set my mind to it I think I could have it ready, I think I'll still set those goals for myself to have the piece memorised but I'm iffy about the competition. Maybe, too, if I'd actually performed piano in public in a setting like that in the last 4-5 years I'd be a little more willing but I haven't played in a piano competition now for years and my public performance experience is limited and the last time it was for any number of people is already a couple of years ago. *ponders*
Now I am off to school. The next few weeks will be some marathon weeks for that too as I have a bunch of major exams starting soon and tests on everything to get ready for those exams everytime I turn around! Ah!
Alright, I'm going to attempt to post a few pictures again and then I'll stop with the pictures unless I somehow get a picture of something really stellar.
Here's another picture from practicing the other day.
Thanks you guys for commenting and trying to help! I have Paint.net and HP Image Zone. I just got this camera last week so I'm trying to figure out things with it still.
Yesterday was a really nice day for me at school for a particular, not usual reason. I asked the previous day if there would be a room that I could practice in during a spare block that I had that day so that I could get in over an hour of practicing in between classes. This turned out to be a really exciting thing for me. The administrator that I asked said "is the stage ok?" Now you have to understand that this particular stage/hall/auditorium has some of the best acoustics I've ever played in. The only place I've played in where the acoustics have been better is the concert hall at Domaine Forget - the one specially built for classical performances and acoustic excellence. So to get an nearly 90 minutes in this auditorium at school is basicly the equivelent of dying and going to heaven for a musician. I had the place all the myself and I had a blast! The really sad thing is that this hall is going to be torn down next year. That leaves this city without anything comparable, only a dead, echoey, badly designed theatre that is not practical and seats far fewer people. But moving on...I had a lot of fun playing in my schools auditorium. As you can see by the picture, it's nothing extravagent to look at but the sound is amazing. You don't even have to try and you can fill the hall with sound. You can hear a page turn.....it's great! Unless perhaps you have 800 people in there who all turn the pages of their programs at once, but we won't go there.
My first week of teaching was overall pretty good. Everyone's a little rusty from the Christmas break but they are all getting caught up! At the end of the month the music school's monthly recital is going to be a big birthday bash for Mozart. So I'm trying to convince some of my students to play and a bunch of the kids are going to play Happy Birthday as a big group for Mr. Mozart. My student who's only had a few lessons so far just started Twinkle and the look on her face when I told her that Mozart wrote it was priceless! She quickly followed up and said "I didn't think could Mozart write such childish things" . She's a really fun student so far though, she's a little bit older and has wanted to play violin for years and I think that want to play for so long is going to make her a fun and interesting student to teach. The challenge for me is going to be to keep her motivated and interested in it when things don't sound like she wants them to right away.
Today I am picking up the equipment I need to record my audition cd for summer festivals. It's insane how early some of this stuff has to be in! I'm applying to Banff for starters and my hope is that i will know the results from that before the application dates pass for Domaine again and the Southern Ontario Chamber Music Festival. I really dislike recording audition cds because I always think I sound horrible. I only hear the wrong and the "bad" and never the good but having recorded myself a lot lately and listened to previous years audition cds I think I can go into the recording process with a more open mindset this time around. I'll do the best I can in the time given and then whatever happens from there happens.
Well, I am off to school!
Oh! does anyone have any advice for shrinking pictures but having them keep their clarity of when they are bigger?
Now it's 2006 and I will spend the next 4-6 weeks scribbling out "05" on my assignments at school and writing "06." There are so many new things ahead for the new year and it's exciting and scary!
I'm looking forward to starting back at work this week. I have a few new students joining Suzuki groups and wanting private lessons which should be fun! I know two of the kids who will be starting and they should be a lot of fun (I hope!). They seem very musically inclined and love listening to all types of music even though they are only 4 and 6 years old. I'm looking forward to having my exam on January 21st done and over with. I have to drive a good 90 minutes to where the exam is and it's at 9:30 in the morning. That makes me rather unhappy because I should be leaving by 7ish or so in order to be there early enough to warm up and fill out all the stuff and submit my music. It's the biggest exam I have ever done music wise and it should be intense! I'm looking forward to (hopefully) going away again this summer for another immersion in music. I'm looking forward to learning new repertoire and getting back to music lessons. I'm looking forward (and am terrified) to finally start using my drivers license and getting used to driving.Ah, so many things to look forward to (and dread!) and it's not hardly 12 hours into a New Year.
The Christmas "holidays" have flown by so fast. I'm not sure they've been holidays they've just been different ways of using my time but still it's been busy. I had several gigs right up until Christmas and have been getting together with friends and family who are back for the Christmas holidays, which has been fun but suprisingly exhausting! My teachers at school would heaven forbid, want us to go without any work so I had to read an entire book do about 6-8 pages of writing on specific topics relating to the book and that's only one course! And now, I have one night to get myself on track for getting up early in the morning again instead of getting up at 10.... I'd have missed two classes by time I get to school.
Anyways. Happy New Year everyone!
P.S. I resolve to make no resolutions that I can't keep this year. ;)
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