updated profile picture.
i practiced vibrato for 20 minutes today (for the second day in a row - 15 minutes every other single day this past week and a half).
1 hour spent on two scales.
Am I normal?????????
September is just around the corner. I can hardly believe it! I'm excited to see all my students again, and some new ones. I'm also excited to say goodbye to the summer heat that I loathe about this area but that's beside the point. I'll once again become the "only child" as my sister and brother go back to their respective places of education. One of the things that excites me the most about this fall though is I'm going back to school! Dance school, that is. That's right. I'm going to see if I still have what it takes to make sense of music and rhythm in my feet again. I did ballet and tap for many many years when I was younger as well as I've dabbled in jazz and I even took modern dance for a few years as well which I really enjoyed but for a variety of reasons I said goodbye to part of my life. I've really missed dancing these past few years though and talking to a former fellow dancer friend of mine who is now a respected teacher in the area, there is apparently the perfect class for me to sign up for and she's in it! It's supposed to be just fun and it's a combination of experienced and inexperienced dancers but it doesn't have the same end focus that the regular classes I used to take did. It's supposed to be fun and get you moving. It's going to be kind of deja vu too as not only is my dear friend from my dancing days who now teaches is in it but come the spring when another friend of mine comes back after his work contract runs out, he'll be joining in as well and I've known the dance teacher who's teaching the class for some time as well so it should be a ton of fun!
This fall my focus shifts from school back to music. I'm taking two courses in school first semester to upgrade in a couple of courses but that's just two courses in first semester so I should hopefully have time to practice lots still. Last year was such a frustration in regards to my violin. I felt like I had accomplished a lot on the days I muster up enough energy and time to practice for even just a single hour in a day. School just consumed me. So I'm excited about being able to practice more this year! This past week or so have been luxury because I've been doing 3-4 hours a day! I feel like I'm actually accomplishing something and it feels good. It's going to be an interesting year preparing for those dreaded and yet somehow exciting university auditions (I'm sure if you ask me around christmas time the auditions will no longer be exciting, only dreaded).
I really am sad to see summer go, especially since I had such an awesome time in Vancouver but I guess that all good things come to an end at some point and our focuses switch from one area to another. One of my roommates sent me her pictures from YAE last night so I'll include a couple more shots from my Vancouver adventures at the bottom of this entry.
Goodbye summer, hello fall! What will the future hold?
TA - Kevin has fun in clowning class
I try to make sense of what I've been handed in our Cuban workshop. You can see how sleep deprived I am! hehe
Lions Gate bridge view from Stanley Park looking across to North Vancouver
Last night at the Stanley Theatre, we witnessed a truly remarkable event.
It was called Peace It Together. The evening's presentations consisted of a
group of courageous teen-aged students from the mid-east willing to join
together with Canadian students and explore the complex issues of living
together in an area of the world fraught with so many difficult issues .
Growing up and dealing with issues not of one's own making is tough enough
for anyone but when you come from the Middle East there are allot of things
that can complicate an easy transition into manhood or womanhood. The
leaders of Peace It Together wanted to provide an opportunity for these
young people to come together where they could learn from one another and
facilitate ways in which each one could let the others know about his or
her's individual and collective take on life's events. In order to
communicate these ideas, the students were invited to collaborate under the
guidance of mentors at the Gulf Island Film School and in small groups make
short five minute films. We in the audience were humbled by the honesty of
these daring young filmmakers as each of the short films was presented.
Also joining these Mid-Eastern and Canadian youth were the fabulous
performers from the Young Artist Experience ... YAE! ... interweaving
musical performances amongst the evenings' offerings which gave a
tremendous feeling to the meaningfulness of the night.
The films illustrated each of the groups feelings as youths who are
inescapably caught up in the life of a new generation of Palestinian and
Israeli youths. The short 5 minute films covered a wide range of views and
emotions. Some were animations, some documentaries and one even seemed to
be a mini -drama with a cinematic construction not unlike a much longer
feature- length motion picture (Romeo and Juliet). The films and brief presentations and explanations following each of the films were done with
passion and understanding. For the audience, it was refreshing to see that
here are young people who could truly make a difference in the world and
who were willing and capable of communicating the complexity and subtlety
of their issues in ways that expressed their own feelings as human beings
and in ways that showed that they also sensitively embrace the complexity
of the world around them.
The soul of the event was lined with sublime music making by members of the
Young Artist Experience under the auspices of the UBC School of Music.
These young musicians played their hearts out. Energy was something that
was flying around the room. From the mellow cellos, snappy Piazzola,
soothing and rapturous Albinoni; to the riveting and pounding drums,
tethered by sweeping phrases and musical lines from the deft handling of
the salt and pepper piano keys during Bach's D minor Piano Concerto; we had
a feast of musical expression performed with an intensity that seemed to
bring everything together. Kudos to these wonderful young performers!
Judging from the audience response, this was a night to remember! Whomever
was behind the curtain managing the flow of the evening did a remarkable
job. This was an experience for all that truly went ..." BEYOND".
There is much to be thankful for in our world today. These wonderful World
Citizens who are taking up the charge for humanity continue to lead us and
show us the potential that they so easily manifest for a generation that is
aware of its creativity and the power of its message.
There's nothing quite like watching the sun come up in the morning. Things begin dark, stars still twinkling brightly and the sky is faintly illuminated by the moonlight then gradually the stars and moon become replaced by brilliant colors on the horizon, the colors start dim, growing more intense and vibrant finally overtaken by the brilliance of the sun. So again, there's nothing quite like watching the sun come up in the morning except maybe sleep. I'm not the biggest fan of getting up before 5 in the morning, or even 6am or even 7 or 8am for that matter. I can handle the ocassional 6:30am wake up call and 7am is a reasonable time to get up but first 5:30am and then again, two days later 4:30am? That's pushing the envelope a little bit.
Well despite the early morning departure for Vancouver and then again to come home, I've made it through the weekend and what a weekend it was! I arrived just in time for a 1:30pm violin lesson which gave me a lot to think about and work on, as usual. Why must there be so much to do in learning an instrument like the violin? I will work as diligently and as hard as I can though. I've already done some good work this morning. After my lesson we made our way across the walkway to rehearsals. We worked on the Albinoni Adagio for Strings, Bach d minor keyboard concerto and the choir piece we were singing. It was as entertaining and fun as the rehearsals during YAE were! Lots of humor and fun but we still got a fair bit accomplished. The next day I got to play tourist for a couple of hours and went to the Vancouver Aquariam in Stanely park. I had never been before and got some good pictures (see below)! The afternoon was spent at the Stanley theatre in "rehearsals" for the concert. We didn't actually get to play much but it was socially a lot of fun and at times things got to be rather boring as we waited around for things to happen. At one point we were in our dressing rooms waiting to be called up to the stage for a cue check and that never happened, then dinner never arrived until half an hour before the concert began. It was an interesting project to put together. The "Peace It Together" project brought together almost 30 teens from Palestine, Israel and Canada to discuss the conflicts in the mid-east and get everyone's perspectives and experiences in the conflict. There were 7 groups of the teens paired together with representatives from each of the 3 countries and each group made a short film that interpreted the conflicts and perceptions of the crisis in the mideast. I found a website on the internet where you can actually watch some of the films that the students made. It was so exciting to perform for a packed hall and to witness the reactions to the music and the films. How often after playing something like Albinoni's Adagio for strings are you going to hear lots of cheering or after a film made in under 2 weeks by students who have never laid hands on film equipment before? It was a pretty cool experience.
On the way home from the even yesterday (yes, we did leave at close to 5 in the morning) my Mom and I stopped in Manning Park and went hiking, 2000m high in the apline meadows. I've posted a couple pictures from that here as well. It was so beautiful up there and the view.....you really feel like you are on top of the world.
Alright, I know who has the hedgehog, do you?
There are 5 houses in 5 different colours. In each house lives a famous composer of a different nationality. The 5 composers drink a certain type of beverage, drive a certain make of car, and keep a certain type of pet. No composers have the same pet, drive the same make of car, or drink the same beverage. The question is, “Who owns the hedgehog?”
1. Elgar lives in the white house.
2. Paganini owns a horse named Caprice.
3. Chopin drinks cognac.
4. The green house is on the left of the red house.
5. The composer in the green house drinks coffee.
6. The composer who drives a blue Jaguar rears birds.
7. The composer who lives in the yellow house drives a Karmann-Ghia.
8. The composer living in the center house drinks tea.
9. The French composer lives in the first house.
10.The owner of the Honda Prelude lives next to the composer who owns 2 dalmations.
11.The composer who has a cat lives next to the composer who drives a Karmann-Ghia.
12.The composer who drives a Ferrari drinks red wine.
13. Brahms drives a red Jetta.
14. Bizet lives next to the blue house.
15.The composer who drives a Honda Prelude has a neighbour who drinks white wine.
It's hard to believe that two weeks ago today I left for Vancouver for a couple weeks of intensive chamber music playing and an assorted array of other workshops. I was not totally sure what to expect having never been to a program that combined multiple facets of the arts, sciences and a whole bunch of concerts. I was a bit anxious about the program the week before as it is a very small program and I didn't want to disappoint people and not meet expectations (my teacher was on faculty). My homestay family was another source of anxiety - would I get along with them? Would my roomates and I get along? Upon my arrival on the 29th all my anxiety and nerves were pretty much dissolved, thankfully.
My homestay family was the sweetest, kindest possible family anyone could have asked for. The daughter, Winnie is my age and she was a pianist in the program (and in my opinion the best pianist in the program - technically secure and extremely musical) and we got along great. Winnie's mom made sure that if we ever had a hope of going hungry that that wasn't a possibility. My first breakfast there was two eggs, two sausages, a bagel, a banana, a bowl of cereal and a huge glass of milk. They were an awesome family though. So incrediably kind and they made me feel like part of their family. I don't think it would be possible for me to ever have such a great family to stay with. They housed one other student, Sarah who was also a pianist in the program. She and I were in the same trio and we also got along splendidly. Sarah and I, from what I could gather, were the only two participants who weren't from Vancouver. Winnie, Sarah and I had an awesome time though and it was really sad to say goodbye to them both.
YAE - Young Artist Experience - began with signing in, recieving your Yae tshirt and meeting the faculty and other students. There were 16 students in total. 6 pianists, 6 violinists, 4 cellists and then faculty and teacher's assistants made up for the lack of violists. After the little bit of milling about and getting aquainted with people it was time to be formally introduced to all the TA's and faculty as well as each other and recieve and introduction to chamber music playing which included a visual presentation. Jasper Wood, Rena Sharon and Eric Wilson all got up on stage to have a "rehearsal" that was supposed to exemplify the worst possible rehearsal situation. All the students got noise makers and we were supposed to make noise when we saw something incorrect and explain why it was incorrect. First off, the violinist was the only person there and then the cellist walked in talking in this bizarre accent that hardly anyone could understand and he was complaining and goofing around. A little later the pianist comes shuffling in talking about her hair and then she's forgotten her music and it just got more hilarious from there. Counting was becoming an issue so Jasper stomped his foot - that was too distracting so he tried blinking his eyes - the pianists phone went off - the cellist got up and left. We were all laughing so hard. It was really hard to make noise with our funky noise makers because it was just too entertaining to watch. Afterwards some of the issues involving being in a chamber group were discussed seriously and we even had a couple of anecdotes from some funny experiences. One was from Rena Sharon about a 1 piano, 6 hands piece she did. Her and the person sitting in the middle somehow got stuck to each other by a thread and started laughing (this was a live to air radio broadcast) and the other pianist didn't know what was going on and thought it was all funny and they were trying to not laugh.
After our interesting (unexpected) intro to chamber music it was time for string orchestra rehearsals. They did seating alphabeticly for the first day which meant I was last in the violins but that was fine with me since it meant I was playing 2nd violin, something I'm more comfortable with than 1st. We read through some of the repertoire we would be playing and then it was off to a chamber music coaching. My trio got Jasper for our first coaching which was nice. I think I was more comfortable having a familiar face for our first rehearsal. It went reasonably well anyways and we got some good work done. The first day ended with choir. Apparently I can sort of sing alright.
The typcial daily schedule was: arts activity - orchestra - lunch - arts activity - break - coaching.
Here's the list of non chamber music things we did.
Choir, tap dance, theatre, clowning, swimming, Cuban music and dance, Public speaking, music and genetics, new music and music therapy.
Out of all those different workshops the music therapy, new music and cuban music and dance were my favorites. It was such a crazy couple of weeks and so much fun! We did 4 concerts. An in house concert for the faculty and students so we could have a "practice" concert, we did a trip out to Harrison Hot Springs 2,5 hours away and did a concert there (and went swimming in the hot springs!), we did outreach concerts at a couple of senior homes and then we had our final 3.5 hour marathon final concert. As part of the final concert I was asked to read a section of a monologue on playing chamber music that I had to write for theatre, we did several of the other theatre and clowning and public speaking exercises as part of the concert as well. I played, in addition to the Arensky D minor trio a Bartok duet, a bunch of the orchestra music including Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence (for which I was on first violin) and Albinoni's Adagio for Strings which Jasper divided up the concertmaster solo amongst the violins so we would all get our four bars of fame. One of the theatre things that I got to do as part of the concert was an exercise in "conflict resolution" which I'm still a tad confused about but anyways, I conducted a "bad" sounding choir and then a "good" one. We had to work together in small groups to create these little skits and that was fun. Our final theatre production, that we did on Saturday last week took nearly 1 hour to get through.
There is so much to write about but you are all probably getting a bit bored so I'll end this here for now and you can just look at my pictures. Maybe I'll write a bit more about it later. :)!
Before I do go though, you should all know that I'm going back to Vancouver next week to perform as part of Peace It Together
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