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October 2008


October 30, 2008 23:25

I don't think I've practiced as much for months...
I had no school today, and so I had the oppurtunity to really dig into my playing.

I shut the door in my room at 10:30 a.m. and didn't finish playing til around 7:00 p.m.
I got so much work done and I'm really happy. I spent a lot of time on certain pieces. Today I worked on: Canzonetta, The lark ascending, the Handel sonata in F Major, the 2nd movement from Andre Previn's sonata, Allegro Risoluto from Dvorak's sonata in G Major, Chaconne (Vitali), Introduction and Rondo Capricioso, God what else... I did so much I forgot half! I spent the remainder of the time on Bach.
No school tomorrow so I hope to get in a lot of practice. I really saw results today; Canzonetta was already pretty solid before, but now I feel very confident while playing it and am happy; I was also able to put in emotional accents etc and play with dynamics and rythm more.. I just really need to work on Bach Sonata 1 and Partita 2 tomorrow.

Well it's almost 12:30 a.m. (don't ask why I'm up this late) so I'm going to bed.

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My Music Goals & Dreams

October 29, 2008 16:21

-Finish learning all 3 sets of Sonatas and Partitas
-Learn all 24 Paganini Caprices
-Attend a major music school
-Master the Tchaikovsky Concerto
-Perform the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius Concertos at Carnegie Hall
-Perform The Lark Ascending at The Proms in Royal Albert Hall
-Record a debut album
-Record a solo Bach album
-Record with the London Symphony Orchestra

Pretty ambitious and unlikely, but hey, a kid can dream, right?
Well that's the list I have right now, but I'm sure it will grow as I do.

Kind of a dull blog today, but just some stuff I have on my mind.

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The Lark Ascending

October 28, 2008 20:41

What this piece means to me...

I love this piece and it means so much to me in so many ways.
It was how I discovered my idol Janine Jansen.
It was the first piece that I learned that is accompanied by orchestra.
It is just so beautiful to me.

Vaughan Williams composed the first draft in 1914. He borrowed the term "romance" from Beethoven when he named his piece a Romance for violin. Here are the originally quoted four more lines of the poem:
He is the dance of children, thanks
Of sowers, shout of primrose banks
And eyes of violets while they breathe;
All these the circling song will wreathe...

I am still working on the piece and wondering if I'll ever master it; everyday it brings a new personality into playing.

I can imagine how Williams could get inspiration. Some of the rythms can feel like the beating of birds wings... the opening phrases to me are what that feels like. And the beautiful dramatic passages are the bird rising higher. And the ending, the lark melting into the horizon and fading away.

*Edit: Sorry about the wierd positioning and frame on the picture. I had to upload it using picasa because of the work on the site so it didn't come out how I'd like. And btw, I obviously didn't take it.

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Busy Busy Busy and I love it!

October 27, 2008 18:19

It's only one day into the week and life is pretty crazy. We had rehearsal in the auditorium today, with the percussionists for two of our songs. There's just one of them who I can't stand (Jacob Sobers, if your reading this, I'm talking about you)-(before you write your comment, he knows I'm kidding and if he read this he would just laugh).

I'm drained of energy today and I have tomorrow night's concert as well as the rest of the week still ahead of me.
On the program: "The Curse of Tutankoman"; Palladio; Pirates of The Carribean; and Brandenburg#6. Pretty boring this first concert, I'm hoping the rest of the year wont be like this.

In the title when I say "busy busy busy and I love it", by that I mean I love having an "action packed" music life. I'm excited for the tour to Vegas and California. I think it will give me my first look at life as a musician so to speak. Last year, Symphonic Band I was in went all over the state and I loved participating in all the festivals. And we won all of them except one which made our teacher Mr.S really happy. That was his last year teaching at a junior high as this year he went to a high school. Being in a band, a full orchestra and a string orchestra gave oppurtunity for a lot of festivals last year and I loved it.

There are the normal festivals such as district and state this year, but I think the California tour will be a really neat experience. Apparently we will be recording sound tracks to movies in the Disney studios as well as many other things. You can fit a lot into a week. But I wont be wasting my time in the actual Disney Park, I'll be practicing!

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My life needs to slow down!!

October 23, 2008 21:49

Wow, so this week has been packed.

-I've lost my private teacher and so I will now be working by myself for a long time...

-I studied for a drivers test for the first time

-I had to pick up my first tuxedo today

-I had a 3-day Spanish test

-I conquered the first five lines of Bach Chaconne

-I flunked a math test

Luckily, I can stay up a little bit longer tonight to get work done because tomorrow is late-start and I don't need to be to school until 9:30 (thank god!)

I've had a pretty crappy week, and it's still not over. The bad part? I have to do it all over again for the rest of the year. The only "real" break from school I get isn't until christmas and even then it's not enough.

Everyone thinks high school is the best, but I have no idea who the hell came up with that. These are supposed to be the "best years of my life". They're not! I just want them to be over! :( I am miserable at my school... That's just life, I guess I'm supposed to get over it?

I can't believe how much I've been complaining in my previous blogs and this one.

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Do 'we' think differently?

October 20, 2008 14:04

Today, in English class, we watched the movie
"The Great Debaters"; A movie about the 1st African American debate team to debate Harvard University...
I couldn't pay attention to the movie in some parts because of the music playing in the background. I was listening to the orhcestra, the chord changes, the oboe solo, the dynamics. Then later in the movie while a piano solo was being played, I found the notes popping into my head, and I tapping the rythm on the desk.
Is this a normal thing among musicians?
Nothing like this happened to me last year; well, at least I would notice it as much.
Do we as musicians reach a certain point where our minds work differently? And maybe even differently among musicians. But is "reaching this point" what happened to me?

I'll use an example: A senior in my orchestra has been playing since age 4 and she is 17; so she's played for 13 years. I would say that at about the beginning of the school year she was more advanced than me, and now, I am at the same level.There is a difference in our playing. You can see, and she will tell you that she doesn't enjoy playing the violin, her parents make her. I on the other hand love it. I would be sad without my violin. She practices a half hour 3 times a week, she's only as good as she is because of the length of time she's been playing. I think if she enjoyed it and worked as hard as me, she could be at the top and going to the best music schools.
13 years is a long, long time for development. I wish I have been playing that long, but I've only been playing for 2 & 1/4. Who knows where I'll be in 11 years, or even 5. But if something is not your passion, how can you excell at it?

But back to the main point, what do you guys think? Am I alone?

13 replies | Archive link

More from Janine Jansen

October 18, 2008 06:40

I found the dvd of Janine's Tchaikovsky recording on youtube last night. It's a set of 6.
I found it very interesting and it really gives an insight as to Janine as a performer, and Janine as a person. It also features Daniel Harding the conductor, and small interviews with the orchestra members.

Make sure to watch in HQ!

Part 1:

(You can find the other parts in the "related videos" section)

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Emotion in your playing makes all the difference

October 17, 2008 17:00

I've always said that emotion in music is what makes it music; but it hasn't really "came out" til today.

I've been having a very bad day and had pretty serious family problems, so I was sad and didn't want to practice at all...
But I forced myself to pick up my violin, and started playing Sonata 1 Adadgio.
I've always thought that I've put emotion into my playing, But didn't see, well I should say hear the contrary until today. When I played the piece, I was so sad that it brought out a completely different sound and characteristic to the piece that I haven't done before.

This is why it seems like David Oistrakh is about to cry while playing Clair De Lune

Without his emotion in the piece, I dont think it would be half as good.

But there are places where the artists emotions go too far... Like I can't stand watching a video of Joshua Bell play because of the violent head movements, and wierd faces he makes, but watching the video of David Oistrakh, it was pleasant, and conveyed more emotion to me.

So basically the point behind this blog? Without emotion, music is dead.

5 replies | Archive link

Too Much Bach!!!

October 16, 2008 20:45

Well, I never thought I'd say it, but if I see another Brandenburg Concerto score, I may pick it up and throw it in the trash. #6, 3rd movement has to be the most annoying "happy" piece ever... Everytime we play it the orchestra teacher says "think sheep" (I now hate sheep). From measure 27 or , only 2 of the 16 1st violinists; 4th chair, and I can play it.

To me, Bach concerti have too much stuff going on in them. But that is what make his sonatas and partitas so good in my opinion. I played the Brandenburg for a half hour today, and my sonatas and partitas for 2 hours. I don't think I could ever get sick of solo Bach.

As it's pretty obvious now, I'm trying to do a blog everyday.. Sorry to those who think I'm polluting the blog section...

6 replies | Archive link


October 15, 2008 18:53

My last blog got me thinking more about change... I was looking through pictures from early spring, and some from a month ago.

Watching something grow from a little gosling that trembled in my hand


to a confident adult who doesn't need protection from his "dad" anymore, well at least most of the time:)


Edit: Kelsey, I just saw your blog, is it a bird theme today?

3 replies | Archive link

Falling... Just the leaves, or my life?

October 14, 2008 16:40

The leaves are falling, families are returning to the same pumkin patches which they have for years, and grandmas are stocking up their candy supply.

I love halloween. I love watching the leaves change. Watching peoples mood's change with the seasons. I love the occasional snow we get at the beginning of november.

With the changing of the seasons come change to the land, and to our attitudes on life. I'm finding life become more difficult for me: Tests are getting harder. And I dont just mean the ones in school.

It feels like I'm being tested everywhere: Socially, physically, musically, and academically.

It makes me sad that I can't practice as much as I like. As soon as I get home(2:30), I have to start homework and don't get done til 6:00. Then after that I have to feed my animals, and that only leaves about 3 and a half hours of practice til bedtime. I wish I could have a situation where I have school for half a day and the rest for me to practice. I don't eat lunch at school, I sit in a place I can get away, and study music, and do as much homework as I can get done in that hour so that I have more time at home to practice... Doing this pisses off my friends and right now I'm writing this and finishing up homework while my friends are yelling at me to go to the football game tonight. On top of all of this, I have a "real care" baby from tonight til next monday, and then again in december. I'm having to drop what I'm doing every 15 minutes to make sure this thing doesn't cry.

It isnt easy being a teenager... Give your kids a break parents:)

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Janine Jansen- The Epic Tchaikovsky

October 13, 2008 19:52

Found this on youtube...

An interview with the lovely Janine Jansen and Daniel Harding; As well as previews of her recording of this piece.

All this time of playing Canzonetta, I had no idea I was playing the 2nd movement of what is considered an impossible concerto... Hmmm...

Anyway, enjoy!

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Definitely someone to watch for

October 9, 2008 19:16

Violinist Shannon Lee.

I bought her album on itunes earlier this week and I'm quite impressed. Her Chaconne by Vitali is by far the best piece on her debut cd. Her Der Erlkoenig is a little rough, but I'm comparing it to Hilary Hahn's version.
I've gotta say: I prefer her version over Sarah Changs.

So I think this unknown 15 year old virtuoso is definately someone to watch in the future.

I encourage you guys to take a look at her album: "Introducing Shannon Lee"

6 replies | Archive link

Your virtuosic piece?

October 6, 2008 19:38

What in your opinion, is a virtuosic piece?

I believe I've played a few, but I'm wondering what you guys think.

Here are a few of my repertoire that I consider to be extremely difficult:
-Der erlkoenig by Schubert-Ernst
-Chaconne by Bach
-The Sibelius Concerto.... And others

But basically the idea of this blog is:What is the hardest piece you've ever attempted to play, or have played?

For me, I would say Der Erlkoenig because of all the akward left hand positions, left hand pizz, and the speed with these akward positions and I had to change the piece in places where it didnt work for me.

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