Yes...some of you are going, "didn't she go to prom last year?" I did in fact. I wasn't going to go this year because I only took math first semester last year and haven't stepped a foot inside school except to get transcripts sent out since January. I basically finished school last year. I wasn't going to do grad or anything...just keep it laid back and enjoy some freedom. Wouldn't you know it, I got talked into going to convocation and dry grad. Prom, wasn't going to do that FOR SURE because I went last year because I knew people last year. I get this phone call - an old buddy from when I was little (barely talking!) wants to know if I'll go as his date. So, what the heck! I went, and I'm glad I did! Here are some of the pictures taken at prom including some nostalgia ones of my friends back when we were little and now when we are big!
Before all the craziness of makeup, hair curlers, the dress and accessories etc. I was spending a lot of time away from the everyday mundane tasks of checking email, answering the phone, watching tv and was instead spending time at one of my favorite places that I highly anticipate visiting each summer with my family. I love the seclusion and being out on the water with my Grandfather admiring the scenery. So! If you want to see what I get to do for 5 days once a year up at the lake check out the links below!
I have determined after much research, experimentation and consideration that the two most addictive things outside of chocolate (*eats a rasberry marilla truffle*) that are readily available to man and woman alike are facebook and youtube. Facebook allows you to delve back into your imagination and to take part in pretend mud fights, hugs, cookie baking, or ball playing. Wait. I actually did all of that when I was a little kid! Why am I now pretending to do those things? Why is it such a bad thing for a "grown up" to eat raw cookie dough or to roll around in the mud with a pal when it's raining out? Youtube on the other hand seems to be an incredible resource in many regards. Musicians, artists, photographers and people of all colors, shapes and sizes are able to use it and share through it. Not to mention I can get my Ellen Degeneres highlights commercial free!! As some of you who are avid youtuber's you will have noticed some of the homepage changes. At the top of the page there now is a "currently being watched" row of videos that changes periodically as well as the "featured videos". I had logged on to look for a Brahms piece and instead this hugely adorable smile, missing two teeth was staring at me. Without even thinking my hand moved the mouse over to the smiling child and went "click". On came this British show called, "Britain's Got Talent". I was psyched up for it to be cheesy and really not that great as what little I had seen of "America's Got Talent" I had been rather unimpressed with many of the performances and the judges seemed very incompetent. I was imedietly expecting something horrific. This little 6 year old, Conny was adorable and she sang so well for her age! I was very impressed and the judges, even the usually sarcastic and condescending Simon Cowell were rewarding of the child's efforts! Not a "reality" or star search fan in general, my curiosity was peaked. So, I started clicking on the side menu of other "Britain's Got Talent" and found some pretty impressive acts but one in particular stood out to me. Paul Potts. Here was a guy who was completely normal in that he had self-confidence issues and wasn't entirely comfortable with who he is but he knew he loved to sing opera. He seemed so shy, nervous and scared yet he went through with the audition. He was amazing! He got to come back and sing again in the semi-finals and wouldn't you know it, he won the competition. It made me so happy to see that someone who had a genuine talent that had never been cultivated or encouraged outside of doing it in his home for his own enjoyment was in that one moment, at the first audition given the feedback needed to drive that person to the next level. He wasn't an adorable little 6 year old with a huge smile, he wasn't the group of breakdancers, he wasn't a glass tossing bartender, he was an ordinary guy with a shy, hesitant smile who's personality and being came to life the moment he began to sing. Congratulations, Paul! You deserve it.
A week ago my nerves and patience and work as a teacher was put to the test. I had my own studio recital. The actual recital length wasn't all that long (about 45 minutes or so) but it was difficult trying to stay on top of keeping violins tuned, consoling those who were feeling less than confident and all the while trying to not let myself freak out about having to accompany so many of them. They all did so well though! As a final selection for the recital I opted to play a piece to show that hard work pays off. As I set it up, thanked everyone and wished them well and congratulated them on all their hard-work this past year it was hard to hold myself together. Reality began to sink that this was the last moment I would ever see some of these kids I've known and taught for so many years. Suddenly all those hugs at the end of each lesson, all those hand scrawled cards and pictures on my bulletin board, all those sneezes, coughs, exciting stories from school or about the kid who everybody hates, suddenly, suddenly I realised it was all going to end. These kids had learned to trust me enough and be at ease with me to the point that one of my youngest students walked in a few weeks ago with a very excited and proud look on her face and announced to me that she was "pregnant! And I've already felt two kicks!" They grow up so fast these days...having babies at the age 5. But I have realized that this wonderful connection I've had with so many students these past several years, though it will continue with some the majority I may never see or hear again and that is really a big deal. If any of my students are reading this, I know I've told you in your cards and at your lessons and at the recital, but here it is again. You guys (and girls!) are all so special and you all have a wonderful talent, be it violin, piano or something else! I'm going to miss you all so very much (I already do and lessons aren't even officially over for most of you) and I know that I will think of you often in my own studies this year and that it's thanks to being able to work with you guys every week that I know, more than ever, that I need and want to go to university and study music. I know some of you don't understand why I have to go but hopefully when you're older you will, because of your own experiences, see why I have had to say goodbye.
Trust, love and friendship when combined into a relationship with anyone - a student, parents, teacher etc - is an incredible one. Right now I'm one of the luckiest people alive because I've been able to share in relationships like that with my students these past years. Best of luck to you, all of my students - may your persistance and passion give you the wings to make your dreams soar.
I was in my studio practicing Shostakovich yesterday pondering the challenges of it and the necessity of digging out my metronome instead of just tapping my foot. It didn't take me long to decide that the metronome was necessary ... 2/4, 5/8 and 3/4? Keeps you on your toes! So, after wrestling Shosty for half an hour I switched to Brahms....that was a mistake. I am thrilled though! A Shostakovich piano trio and a Brahms piano quintet for YAE this summer!
I was going to write more and be more thoughtful and reflective but I have to catch a bus soon so I will save that for later tonight or tomorrow morning when I am not on a schedule.
Practicing technique can be a humbling experience. Practicing technique can be a frustrating experience. Practicing technique can make you want to rip your hair out or damage things. Technique can. Well, technique is the foundation and facilitator to communicate musical ideas clearly. Without technique you can still be a musical performer and passionate about the music but with technique, you have a whole new palette of colors to chose from when you play. My "assignment" for these next couple of months is to focus on technique. University will bring some new demands of me both musically and technically so I want to be as best prepared as possible. I'm still struggling with my vibrato and getting consistent with keeping it relaxed and controlled among other technical issues but I guess it keeps things interesting and challenging. I just have to remember that the more I work on it and persist to improve, the more brilliant my musical rainbow will shine and sparkle in the damp sunlight.
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