May 2009

Day 220: back to suzuki book 1??

May 20, 2009 08:15

My ear is failing me. I can't seem to hear, when playing solo, whether I am playing sharp or flat or right on. it will take me some time to train my ear again. When playing with my teacher,  am remarkably in tune. Alone, however...

It's strange, I used to pride myself on my ear. I may not have had the best technique but would always be able to hear if a note I had played was out of tune.

In any case, my teacher has discovered my cheating ways and the issues with my setup. my left hand technique has always been quite lazy - I tend to grip the neck with my entire hand, palm on the neck, facing me.she thinks I get by fairly well with the way I am set up now, but if I want to progress and play the type of repetoire I really want to play, I'll need to fix this deficiency.

How to fix it? Well, back to square one. I may have to go back to suzuki to do it!

It's daunting - but I am willing to commit to trying to fix this if the end result lets me hit my ultimate goal - to play the brahms sonatas (well!) by age 40.


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Day 213: 200 days later, an update

May 13, 2009 11:08

Yesterday, I finally had my first lesson in over 15 years.

I'll get to that in a second, but first, an update. I'd been playing on my own for a few months, and finally last February decided I'd at least need to play with a group to get any measure of improvement. I therefore joined the Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra.  It's a community orchestra mainly for seniors :) My first concert with them was about 3 weeks after I joined, we played Mozart's 39th symphony, the Brahms Academic Festival Overture, Strauss Blue Danube Waltz, and Berlioz' Les Nuits D'ete with a professional soprano.

My stand partner was an 85 year old man :)

This next concert is the last of the season and at the end of the month - We're playing Strauss' 5th symphony, Mozart's Shepherd King Overture, Mozart's Adagio and and Two Rondos (soloist: my current stand partner, in his 70s and legally blind) Because I tend to be one of the more confident players in the 1sts, my legally blind stand partner requested me as his stand partner (he plays by ear and learns all of his parts by heart), so I happen to be sitting in 1st chair.

In any case, it's a load of fun. we're quite bad (that should be obvious if I'm the concertmaster) and we have one viola, 2 cellos, no double reeds and our timpani player plays a floor tom instead of timpani. But it's a lot of fun! And the older folk playing are really cute. They enjoy playing so much even though their chops have deteriorated after all these years (or, like myself, were never that good to begin with). While I'm anxious to find an orchestra that is actually good, (where I'd be in the back of the 1sts or 2nds, where I belong) I do enjoy playing with this group and my stand partner keeps telling me how much he appreciates me being there. I'm certainly one of the youngest members - the median age is probably around 65-70.

Now, the lesson. I found a professional nearby (not that hard, I do live in NYC afterall). My lesson was scheduled for 8, but somehow in my eagerness I showed up an hour early :) She was pretty gracious about that. I must make sure I don't do that again!

I basically told her that I was looking to get back into technique, fixing any issues there, and that I have little or no ego, so if she wanted me to do Twinkle Twinkle to teach me how to fix a flaw I'd have no issues.

So I'm back to Wolfharht 1 and G and C major (2 octave) scales :) She went over some of the orchestral parts and gave me a TON of insight in what I should be thinking while playing, especially in the position I am in. Super helpful. I'm pretty excited to be beginning this journey more seriously!


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