December 2005

December 26, 2005 12:14

I hope everyone's Christmas was excellent. Mine definitely was. At the end of the Christmas Eve Service at our church, we went home and ordered Chinese food (kind of unexpected, but we didn't have any time to make food!) Among the stuff I got in the morning was an iHome, which is a radio but you can put your iPod into it, and it will play the songs out loud. It's really cool. It didn't snow, it rained, but we were very cozy indoors. For dinner we went to my grandparent's house, and played with our adorable cousins. Today is a very nice, relaxed day and we're thinking of possibly going out. I have a headache but I should go practice now!

--alice

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December 24, 2005 13:51

M E R R Y   CH RI ST MAS   E VE , E VE RY BO DY!!! ! !

Now I have that out of the way. Today my cousins from New York came over. They are still young enough to want to play "make-believe" games, especially the 9-year-old girl, who is in to being the heroine in such magicky games. It was fun. Also we made chocolate-covered pretzels. Tonight is the Christmas Eve service at my church, and tomorrow we're going over to my grandmother's for dinner and such. The only disappointing thing is the weather; I hoped for some snow or for it at least to be chilly, but it is very bright and beautiful, and not in the least bit snowy! Ah well. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain, too (yikes). Hope everyone has a nice evening.

--alice

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A Luxurious Week!

December 22, 2005 20:31

This week has been a very luxurious week, because I haven't had school and my dad has been off from work. My mom did have jury duty from 9 to 3 every day downtown, which kind of ruined things, but she's done now, much to everyone's relief. (They were a hung jury, and when the told the judge he said, "Well...it wouldn't be too hard to order dinner for you guys, and you could always come back tomorr--" "NO! That's OK!" Suddenly they were unanimous!) So I'm hoping that tomorrow our family can go to the mall and do some last-minute Christmas shopping.

I've promised to play at my church's Christmas Eve service, only because my dad is kind-of friends with the music director and he wants to do him a favor...Anyway, I don't really mind, or I wouldn't if he had decided to do what he said at first, just me and him play some Bach duo or something, but instead, me and a flutist and him are playing for every single hymn, and counting, and he's made some very complicated arrangements for us. I guess that's OK, but I was looking forward to sitting with my family. I won't complain, because I already feel guilty about not having been to church for years (not counting Easter and xmas, we always get dragged to them somehow). I stopped going the minute I was confirmed, so I always feel like a heathen whenever I see the pastor in our neighborhood.

Also today, I started playing the Beethoven Romance (the F one) and it's really gorgeous. It's not going to take forever for me to learn, and it will be good to add to my list of pieces to play at parties, etc.

Here is the picture that we put on our annual Christmas card. This year was special, because we found a photo that was taken exactly 10 years ago (that was used for our 1995 Christmas card. I was 3) so me and my sisters tried to recreate the scene, lying in the same positions and stuff. So it's like the ten-year anniversary. See if you can figure out who is who!


...then...

..and now!


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December 20, 2005 21:23

Today I had my audition at the performing arts high school that my sister goes to. I also applied to a regular public high school, and a slightly harder academic one. Another option is home schooling. All of them are very plausible. Although the level of music at my sister's high school is kind of below my level, I auditioned there anyway because it seemed like a really great place and I want to keep my options open.

The audition went really well, it wasn't anything to get worked up about anyway since we were sure I was going to get in. I've already met the teachers that were in the audition (the full orchestra conductor, the string orchestra conductor and the band conductor). After I played for them, the main thing we talked about was my missing school (for From The Top dates). I'm not really sure about how it will all turn out... but at least I have a lot of choices.

I'm getting sleeeeepy so goodnight for now.

--alice

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December 16, 2005 16:19

I've been practicing a lot of those breathing exercises that Ms. Cho recommended to me...and I think I'm beginning to see the difference. I used to be in this children's choir, and I got the whole breathe-from-your-diaphragm speech a lot.

My sources told me that we were going to have another snowstorm, but instead it snowed for about 2 seconds and then rained. My grandfather came to pick me up for my lesson which my mom couldn't drive to because she was on jury duty. He was already a few minutes late, but as we tried to pull out of the driveway, the car got backed even further into the snowy ice and was stuck. We spent the next 90 minutes trying to get it out, using bags of salt and a lot of carpet samples we have lying around in the garage. I was kind of worried that he was going to slip and fall on the ice...but eventually he got it out. It was really hard and rather scary, and I called my teacher to see if he still wanted me to come to the lesson (there was nobody after me). And it just happened to be his birthday as well, so he didn't want me to come later since it would mess up his plans. I felt bad that my grandfather had to do all of that for nothing...but I guess what happens, happens. So I told my teacher all about the NY lesson. Spent the rest of the day cozily indoors, practicing, doing HW, and making chocolate chip cookies while listening to an incredibly bad Christmas music station (but I couldn't tear myself away!) Then I went to one of my friend's house to work on a movie we're doing for English (I made one for a history project recently that was really fun, maybe I'll post it up here.)

Oh, here is the link where you can see a trailer of the documentary I was in.

--alice

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December 12, 2005 18:32

Had a third lesson at Juilliard last Sunday, with Ms. Cho. It went really good, and before I elaborate I'll post this summary I typed of the things she said. It probably won't make much sense, but here it is anyway.

Don't "lead" with wrist. Passive wrist. Motion starts in shoulder.
Draw a figure 8. Maintain resistance of bow against string. Carve sculpture into string. Play around with hair, hair contact with string. Watch for middle finger. Abdomen, pulling in opposite directions. Triceps. Listen for sound. Shoulder down, elbow open and close. Breathing exercises on floor. Exhale, count as long as you can. Don't tighten shoulders. Loud counting. 3-5 per day.
Shifting -- Wait with bow for left hand.
Yost exercise -- 1 to 3 position. French and Russian shifts.
Scales -- thumb pivots. Can play in highest position and lowest with thumb in one spot the whole time. Unstable if thumb on the face of the violin.

She was talking about this exercise book called Yost -- haven't heard of it, but she explained it to me so I'll start doing those. Anyone know of it?

On the way up to the lesson we stopped at Starbucks, and I got a peppermint hot chocolate. Yuuuuuum. That was so good. On the way back we listened to the Messiah on the radio, unfortunately as we got farther from NY, it started breaking up.

--alice

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December 9, 2005 17:01

We finally got a good solid snowfall...which means, yes, a SNOWDAY! Yippee! I got to play outside in the snow and go sledding, and bake chocolate chip cookies. That sounds so cliche but they are delicious. It's the third time I've made them and I am getting pretty good. Also I'm going ice skating with my friends later. And, I admit, not much practice was to be had today. But I had a quartet rehearsal, which I just got home from.

I had a lesson yesterday, and even though I thought I was understanding the whole bow thingamajig, but it turns out I didn't! My teacher said I was thinking about the whole thing to much and trying too hard to process it. It's more of a feeling...but I like if there's something really big I can think about...I guess it's easier! I'm still working on that.

In other news, one of my mom's older piano teacher's students and I are doing some Joplin duets! Yeah! (This student happens to be blind, he is one of her big successes. He's very good.) I can't wait. We're starting with "The Easy Winners".

I got this idea from Sydney...does anyone here know how to pronounce my first name? *hint hint*

--alice (or perhaps not)

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December 7, 2005 07:01

Here's a picture of the limo we rode in. As you can tell, it was huge!

--alice

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December 5, 2005 20:48

A few very interesting things happened today. The highlights are:

--I got to ride in a limo
--I got to walk on see-through stairs with waterfalls under them
--I got to eat chicken and rice with my hands

My string quartet got its first real gig, at this nightclub/restaurant. It was a benefit dinner for this hospital that's being built, or something. We only played for half an hour, and our half of the quartet was about 15 minutes late due to ever-faulty directions from Map Quest.

The restaurant, called Chart House, is built over the Delaware river where they keep the boats, so there were mini waterfalls running all over inside (and it had a rather fishy smell as well, but one got used to that).

We played various gig music, some sight-read and for the first time. I'm sure no one noticed (thought as my friend, the cellist pointed out) "These people will know! They're smart! They're doctors!"

But we had a really fun time playing, and then came the exciting part; the LIMO! For some unknown reason, we were going to be driven home in a white stretch limo provided by the Chart House. None of us had ever been inside of one, and we were very eager to see what it was like. The front part looks like a taxi cab, with the plastic divider that you can roll up and down. Then there are two rows of seats facing each other, and on the other sides there's a TV with a VCR (which we did turn on so we could say that we had watched TV in a limo) and on the other side was a cooler with water bottles. And there were lights everywhere that you could turn and off.

We dropped off the twins first, then during the drive to our house, my sister said, "You know when you see a limo and you wonder who's in it, and you think it's like a celebrity? Well, we should wave to people so they'll be like, hey a celebrity is waving to us!"

Also, we were provided with dinner by the place, but they forgot to give us forks, and we were really hungry so we ate chicken and rice without forks!

--alice

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December 3, 2005 21:21

I woke up this morning not knowing what it felt like to be in a room the size of three double beds watching Amahl and the Night Visitors with fifty other people.

But now I do! My sister was in the chorus, one of the shepard-type people. It was the same opera company that I was a gingerbread cookie in Hansel and Gretel a few years ago. They usually do outdoor performances in the summer, but when it gets cold they do it in this tiny little room, which isn't really a problem for me because I like being up close to the performers. Amahl was played by this adorable 11-year-old boy, and his mother was actually Amahl's mother. It's rather appropriate for the holiday, and it was short (45-50 mins) so it wasn't unbearable being in the room. Then we had to rush out of there so my sister could go to one of her friend's birthday parties.

Earlier today I had a violin lesson. It was really great because, all that stuff in the lesson up in New York, I think I was intellectualizing it too much, and it got really overwhelming. But my teacher helped me think about it a different way, coming from the elbow instead of the wrist, and it does the exact same thing except I'm just thinking about something else.

There's probably more to write about but I'm pretty tired so I'll do it later.

Oh I forgot! My From The Top show aired today, the first one as the Roving Reporter. I was pretty pleased with it because my voice wasn't unbearable to listen to! And the interview went pretty well, I think. If anyone heard it I'd love to know what you thought!

--alice

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From The Top broadcast

December 1, 2005 07:19

Finally I know the broadcast dates for the first FTT I was on as the Roving Reporter. I also play violin on that show, as one of the soloists.
It was released on Nov. 28, and it will play sometime this week, depending on where you are. You can find out when yours airs here:


--alice

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