August 2004

August 31, 2004 06:00

Impressive, minutes on their own-each tells a story. My story, the "own" story, and a collage of the collective story. This morning is too early to untangle them. Brave. Silent. After I shake away the mental hangover from yesterday I can slide, swim, think, disolve into two...history and prediction. We took yesterday striding until the end. 9am to 11pm. Today seems to be an extention of the end of yesterday. DERAIL DERAIL STRAIGHT FROM THE LINE. Always a little unsure of the linear perspective. Day 2 of school begins. More like conversion than school. We tally up the marks and totem. Notch below the knees of ancient relic but the tally marks outweigh the whole rating scale. I played at least 6 hours. And they, what do they have on that? The shock of new. Nimble inexperienced strenght-yet to stand the tests. Money. Name. And someone trying hard to keep them here. Old news steps away and archives itself. Before getting to bigger and entrenched things. Three more months stuck in this mud, licking ego wounds and then we can take ourselves to unpresumptious lands where the minute-stories are taken for what they are and not what they were, and we can say I TOLD YOU SO.

Archive link

August 29, 2004 10:33

Does anyone have problems reading the blogs on their screens? Do the lines stretch out forever all the way across and you have to scroll scroll scroll? Just wondering if it is my computer. Anyhow. I had determined not to blog anymore because it occured to me that as much as I SUCK ON THE VIOLIN THESE DAYS, maybe, someday, at some point, I might be good enough to audition for a job or apply or the arena of the more advanced and experienced violinists who frequent these pages....and Good GOd, what if they recognize my name and thing "NO WAY" because I tend to vent and rage and be wierd and ramble and mention my medical dilemmas (kind of like old people who only talk about how sick they are...all the I like that? I hope not)...on V.Com. I'm assuming that since school is starting, I won't be able to spend so much time between practicing playing on the computer. Then again, I've decided that my recent issues at school/work are because I was too open last year with my boss. And now she's freaked out about me and for her own sanity is keeping her distance. I've pretty much been in a manic rage concerning school and orchestra and lessons and my career and classes and administration and personal stuff and can't sleep because I'm so worked up over all the stuff. So this year....keeping it all to myself. Or at least going to try to. Not walk around with "obvious!!!". Not spend so much time in the office that the people ther actually get to know me and I get tempted to "share" what crazinesses are going through my brain and self. It is my nature, but I will repeat over and over "STIFFLE THYSELF!". Because apparantly no matter how open-minded or artistic or eccentric the people in the music building are...well, things are just not in a great state of affairs. Silently. I'd rather people just SAY that they don't want me to touch anything or do anything or have any responsibility or even audition...than to be ignored and then ignored and um... then not given a chance and ignored again. I suppose mental illness makes people uncomfortable. It is just upsetting that my violinistic opporitunities are being compromised as a result. I need to get out of there and start over somewhere else. Anyhow. SO...APPARANTLY I decided (after what, one, two days?) to blog again. TO torture you guys with my novellettes. Read at your own risk. And then promptly and convieniently forget my name. He he. Ah. Calmer already. Off to practice. Bye guys.

Archive link

August 28, 2004 07:38

Yesterday was bittersweet. Angering, frustrating, exciting, fun, and depressing. Did I cover them all? I'm recouperating today and trying to get ahold of people to clear up confusions. The main thing is that it came to light that my intense paranoia was, after all, reality. Ow. But it can be worked out. I'm fired up to make this happen. For a few hours I contemplated dropping out and dropping my assistantship and quitting orchestra and just taking my exams and doing my recital to finish up my requirements. But oh, I love school too much and I have this opporitunity and have a job there, so why be an ass and prove them right...just need to talk to some people and express in a congenial way what is going on and that, hello, I NOTICE. And don't like to be lied to. And that I am really upset about some administrative decisions. We'll see how that goes. I just have to keep my cool and remember how much I want to play music with people. How much I want to grow with my music and escape into it and all. I love the people, that isn't the problem. I had a lot of fun yesterday getting back with my "musician" people and joking around. The faculty meeting was especially fun. We passed notes. And tried not to snort too loudly. Ah. Breathe. IT will be o.k. It has occured to me that I am a bit high strung. Isn't that the word people used? I usually refer to myself as "pissy". But it is about the same thing. And I'm a hopeless perfectionist and WAY sensitive. But I really want to play my violin so if I don't get all caught up in my attititude and hurt feelings and confusions regarding my job and orchestra, then we've got a great semester ahead.
p.s. my doc tilted his head and regarded....and upped my meds. Apparantly it is very common for people with Bipolar I who have to take these asthma medications....well, for the asthma meds to make them angry. LIke that makes me feel any better, but at least I understand it now. Whatever. He let me go. My dreams were just that....dreams.

Archive link

August 27, 2004 07:17

I'm pretty pumped. Today is going to be a stressful, yet, I'm sure, rewarding day. I have a doctor appt. and then head off to MTSU for a faculty meeting and a GTA meeting and then to meet with my advisor. School officially begins on Monday, with the Orchestra having its first rehearsal on Tuesday. Being an orchestra assistant, I'm sure I'll find out this afternoon what hellacious amounts of preparation need to be done I can't wait. I went yesterday and got my parking pass (the BEST thing about being a graduate assistant: the faculty parking privaleges), a locker, keys to rooms and practice areas...but mostly I hung out in the music office and talked to the secretary and other people who wandered in. I felt like I was at home. I realized how much I have missed making music with OTHER people. Lessons. Orchestra. Quartet. Even practicing with other people in the vacinity (I need that kind of can hear it all the way down the hall). I'm going to take my violin, get there early, and practice. I got to see my teacher yesterday as well. He gave me a huge hug and congratulated me on our marriage. I have to admit that I'm a teensy bit nervous because people will ask what I did this summer (like they did yesterday) and even though I have prepared answers, I always flounder. I can't really say that I spent the first half in mental hospitals and emergency rooms and the second half in recovery programs. That I was unemployed. That I worked all summer to be stable enough to handle my last semester...which basically And the next three months. That I lost my job because I went nuts. You know. My prepared answer is something along the lines of how relaxing my summer was and that I practiced a lot and missed everyone and that I'm glad to be back. I'm going to focus on the marriage part. That should work. Oh...I feel like a real person again. I had a dream all last night that kept waking me up that I went to the doctor this morning and he hospitalized me today and that I never made it to the faculty meeting or school and had to drop out before school even started. It was scary. But not real. I look lovingly at my violin in it's case by the door with my shoulder bag full of music and papers I have to turn in and notebooks to scribble in and the two thermos's of coffee to get me through the day and smile. What am I going to do when I graduate? I BELONG IN SCHOOL FOREVER!!! I also am excited about meeting the new graduate students. I met one yesterday and he talked to me like I am an old hand and asked advice and such. And in the music office, Connie treated me like a "regular" at a restaraunt or something. I've been there going on seven years. I also got my undergrad at this university. So it really is like my family, with new members popping up all the time and others moving on. It is my time to move on. I feel it, but I have one last semester to savour. As you can tell, I woke up way before my a kid excited about their first day of third grade. So I'm writing a lot. I'll spare the community from any further rambling. I feel incredibly sane and sure and full of musical energy today. We will sustain that and not get pissed off today, Jennifer, we will! Monday will be a feat. Now, in retrospect, I'm looking forward to Symphony rehearsal on Monday as well. Ahem, sigh, cough, batt eyelashess....I looked at the music that came in the mail, and there are some tricky passages in the Schubert that I'd forgotten about. Worked with a metronome. I'm going to nail them in the first rehearsal with all the sharps in tact. I don't care if it looks dorky that I already have fingerings scratched in, erased, and scratched in again. Oh, B. I got your email. Thanks. It wouldn't let me reply, but I appreciated it.
Yours Truly,

Archive link

August 24, 2004 10:09

If anyone wants to swap wedding horrors that are a little less part dream and little more part real life catastrophe...I've got a whole slew of 'em. He he. I practiced hard yesterday. Played through the entire Beethoven, then fell on the bed in menta exhaustion and actually fell asleep for an hour or so and then got up and played the Bach all the way through. Smoked a cigarette and massaged my wrist against the wall. Then played the Ysaye with many false starts. Remind me why, again, my teacher thought I have the stamina for this program? DOES HE WANT TO TORUTRE ME???? Perhaps my 20 min. increments of practicing this summer have lowered my ability to focus and CARE for an hour and a half. After the first movement of the Beethoven (where I convieniently skipped the cadenza because it was in a different folder across the room...) I just didn't care like I should. It made me sloppy. Then in the last movement, I found myself playing quite slowly because every passage seemed foreign. I think I've written about that before. When I can't focus any longer, I forget that I've ever even played the piece before. All bowings go out the window along with fingerings as I slightly panic and just try to get through it without my hand falling off of the fingerboard (does that happen to anyone else, by the way?) or totally screwing up a passage. This is frightening to a degree because whenever I actually get onstage, I already have to battle with the feeling like I don't know what is coming next all of a sudden. Even if I've been working on something for years. Hm. Guess I'll get to practicing for today. I'm procrastinating, of course....but really, practicing is all I have on my adgenda today. I am luckier than most folks, I realize. The average Joe would kill to have playing the violin their only main responsibility. Somehow I have found a way to make it stressful and catestrophic. Go me.

Archive link

August 22, 2004 10:16

Trying. to . wake. up. Good God, it is after noon and I'm still in my p.j.'s. I woke up three times and went back to bed. Then I decided to go to the fitness center in our apartment complex and I ran 2 miles and dropped on the floor when I got back here and I'm still sweating....and eyeing the bed. For a wedding present, one of my best friends gave us an espresso/cappucino maker. So I set out to make red-eyes this morning. I have two thermoses full, ready to consume, but I just feel so tired, I don't want to even drink them. My usual insomniac-speedy-crazy self always go go go through the day through the night-drive everyone insane with my energy and talking and blah blah blah has crashed, I think, and I just need rest. So...though I should practice right now while the day is still ripe, I am going back to bed. And will practice later tonight. Double to make up for my daytime laziness. Night guys.

Archive link

August 21, 2004 06:55


I pull the chord
turning the golden lamp on
orange light floods the desktop
I inspect the superglue
turning my fingertips white
and think of the silky light
pressing against my temples.

I had read the instructions carefully
three times:
pour in grounds
turn handle
click the setting
get the milk ready
flip to on.
wait five minutes.

And then went into the bathroom to inspect
the tile that keeps falling out of its square
crouched beside the spot
I had a genius idea
and ran, excitedly, for the tool box.
Superglue all over and five minutes later
I could hear the espresso bubbling over
hissing at me
so I dropped the tile in spot and
wiped up the excess with my fingers
ran into the kitchen to fix that mess, too
and got stuck to the plastic
all in a panic
peeling away skin and scream.
There are warnings for these sorts of things.
Now I sit at my desk-
calming lamplight breathing me in.
All I wanted to do was practice my violin today.
one goal, one desire
packed in ice and staring at a crooked
bathroom tile
and an exploded cappacino machine.
I sigh into another Saturday,
watching the stress of the week unfold.
Wishing it was Monday,
or that I was good at Saturdays.
Waiting for Beethoven to come
rescue me.
Maybe I should go to bed again.
Wake up with my one thought in mind
and forget about atmosphere and milk.
He'd maybe like that better.

Archive link

August 20, 2004 13:38

I mean two days this week, not this day. Duh Jennifer.

Archive link

August 20, 2004 13:37

I've practiced two days today in practice rooms on campuses. It makes all the world of difference in my concentration and work ethic/completion. Though I forget to record the exact times of practice because I, both times, forgot my practice journal in the car or at home. Probably didn't practice as long as I thought I did. But I'm getting the school groove again, slowly, and that feels good. Got some orchestral music out of a dusty room today. Had a goal and a purpose and felt useful. Love that. Think I'll pull out the vioin and practice some more. Since I haven't done the home practice thing yet today, it feels welcome as a plan or idea...not burned out. change of scenery does wonders. My violin loves to see different white walls facing her. hmph. Anyway. I don't really have anything to say. So. Bye.

Archive link

August 17, 2004 20:10

Sue, I don't seem to be able to get my emails through to you....I just ran two miles and I practiced fun stuff today. Just played through the ciacconne with no cares. Was fun and satisfying. Then I played through some other Bach pieces. Ones I remember having lots of trouble with, but played for recitals and they came easily to my fingers. I didn't realize how tired of my music I am and just needed to play something else...for two days. Tomorrow back to Beethoven and Partita no. 3 and Ysaye and I want to get somewhere with the paganini 5 and 11. Anyway.

Archive link

August 16, 2004 15:22

I didn't feel like practicing at ALL today. Bad headache and all-around feeling crappy. Angry at the world and stuff. Any my body hurts. And and and and. So I pulled out some old etude books and decided to play some of them. I forgot how fun the Mazas etude book is. It is ancient for one thing and I dutifully taped up the covers and such. Before I knew it, an hour had passed by while I worked on trills and sightreading in higher positions (a thing I have trouble with) and scalar work and some just fun bowing excercises. Hm. Maybe I'll go at it later again. Oh, and after the etudes, just for good measure, I played the Prelude. For the first time in FOREVER I got through it with no memory slips. I don't know how it happened. I know it was a fluke. ANyhow.

Archive link

August 14, 2004 13:43

I decided to record everything that I'm supposed to be playing for my recital in November straight through with the idea that I'd send it to my teacher before school starts so he'd know what we're dealing with. I did them in a different order, though. I was so tired and out of stamina and mentally a bowl of oatmeal that by the second hour (why it was taking so long, I don't I found myself making up fingerings and bowings to the first movement of the Beethoven (I'd already done the other mvts) because everything seemed to catch me off guard. How does one work on stamina? And since I wasn't really practicing I didn't fix anything and it was a very honest recording. I might actually send it. Maybe not. If I do, I'll add liner notes aka my own observations. Like...that in the Beethoven I have NO sense of pulse or steadiness and each section is in its own little world. Maybe having the pianist playing between will help with that. I don't know, though. It was pretty non-rhythmical with lots of rushing and jagged changes of tempo and then back again. About half of the notes were almost to slightly to maybe to really out of tune. The Ysaye got wild and then I restrained it, but, still. The bach was the best. The cadenza is very unique. I don't know how acceptable my choices are....I didn't realize just how "my own" it was....the third movement of the Beethoven is a bit sloppy and the second movement, I think, is too slow. Concentration a big issue. Well, I'm so tired from doing that. How am I going to get through the recital? I know adrenalin will help, but for real! I need caffeine now. Lots of caffeine. Want to swim in it. No, then I'd drown because I'd be trying to drink it all. Maybe I just need a good massage. That's what my husband is good for!

Archive link

August 12, 2004 19:24

Well. I spent 20 minutes playing D and Dsharp for a track for a song that some guy is paying me 10 dollars to do. Easy easy. But after that, I didn't want to play anything and had a headache. WEll, I had the headache all day and didn't feel like playing in the first place, so whatever. Ugh. I can't believe the day is over. Did it even happen?

Archive link

August 11, 2004 14:07

I'm so excited I'm jumping out of my skin. JUMP JUMP JUMP skin is so thin...anyhow. My best friend cellist will be here any moment. I haven't seen her since last fall. I practiced a lot this morning...recorded the Bach all the way through and for some reason it sounded good.? How did that happen? I didn't stop for mistakes or edit...just plowed through and it was o.k. I got a new soundcard a few days ago and it makes everything a new sparkling shade of violin. I'm tending to want to think that instead of making me sound better than I do...lying so to speak, that it is actually closer to the truth. I can live delusionally for awhile.....I think I was relaxed, too. Because I was just playing for fun not analyzing every single note to decide whether or not I was going to keep the take. Anyhow. Love you all! Yes, school is expensive. I was lucky and the government payed most of my undergraduate-ness. I was so poor...and they knew it. And scholorships from my days of "I want to be the best student and prove to everyone that I am worth something" in high school. I wonder if that is still there underneath all of the "I don't care, I'd rather just learn learn learn and whatever grade..." I know it must be a combination now. Whatever. I'm done with classes, so now I just have fallen in love with my computer. A great learning tool. You can connect with everything everyone and all information. How conveinient for nonsleepers like myself. Oh. I did take out one loan. To buy my violin. Partly from the school and partly from my grandparents...I only owe them 300 more dollars, though. I still owe the school a few thousand. And a few thousand more. Then add a few thousand. I like to pay real people first. Plus, I've been in school FOREVER so they haven't really asked for it yet....the day will come. In december add a few months of grace period. Then I will be groveling on the street for money or perhaps playing with my case open with a sign that says "help me pay for this service" or sell my body on a street corner. Hm. Anyhow. I'm hyper as hyper can be. Later guys.

Archive link

August 9, 2004 23:12

So today I played straight through the Bach Part.3 for someone (pardon. Without the first mvt. because I keep having memory slips and it is not ready) but the others. I started to get nervous in the middle of the Loure and the bow began to shake, but I gained control and made it through. I'm working on stamina. That is my worst enemy. He said it sounded pretty good and gave some tips about where to do more with dynamics and places where energy got lost and of course the ever remaining intonation issues. WHY CAN'T I PLAY IN THIS KEY??? My hand keeps slipping up up up. Maybe I get excited or something. It isn't nerves that does that because it happens in the practice room as well. Anyway. Tomorrow I play for a good friend who is a ballerina but a very adapt critique of classical vioin music. The day after, one of my bestest friends is coming to see me from SC (we spent five years playing together in chamber music, she is a cellist and developed the best of friendships) and I want to play the whole thing including the Prelude for her. She'll be brutally honest and kind and helpful. She hasn't heard me play in about a year, so I'm sure that will make me nervous as hell. Good. I need that as much as possible NOW not later. Hm. Most people go to sleep at night. Maybe I should try doing that, see what it is like!!!

Archive link

August 7, 2004 17:22

Ever have those days when your bow seems incredibly smooth and silky across the strings, your bowarm has power and is relaxed and flows from tip to frog and for the first 20 min. of practicing, everything seems wonderful and perfect and clicks and you are Perlman or Oistrach or Hahn or Bell...the notes bow down in front of your eyes and you feel the sweet warmness and comfort and power of your articulations....then you realize that you are starting to rush everything and go really fast and you aren't practicing anymore you're just plowing through out of control. The right arm is still perfect, but your left...the fingers have a mind of their own. The vibrato gets way fast and your hand starts flopping and then you just don't care and want to do anything you want to do because for 20 min. you felt like VIOLIN GOD.? At the end of the hour you must take call and own up for the fact that this is pointless even though it feels so wonderful and that you will try again later. Some people call those "good playing days" when that feeling and comfort and power and warmness comes. I loose grip and get wild. And have to start over sometime later tonight. As for now I'm going to read the NYT and CNN and the local paper online and feel blessed that I am so, well, blessed. Though the paganini was a complete mess. Perhaps that is a good thing. Not sold to the devil as the story would go! Should definately cut down on the coffee consumption....

Archive link

August 5, 2004 22:39

I've been away from my computer for awhile. Switching from 98 to 2000. Binge computing. I think my playing is like Stephen Hawking's new theory of Black holes. Spitting out randomness...pieces and slices in different form which was once long ago a whole something. I mean, is that not what a scale is? My mind is a scale these days. A harmonic minor one. That goes super high and screeches. My tiny particles aching to join and in doing so get more and more out of tune. Maybe it was not meant to be together and maybe I need to stop thinking about space and matter and particles and relativity and physics when I play Beethoven. Or Bach. Space cadet! Yes, me I am, the ego the I the id. All fighting for chances to schpeil thier talk and play their play and make the consequence of a practice day. Oh, I record myself and then listen. Humour and mood are repercusions of the vacuum in that instance. Really switches perspecive. Oh, dear Einstein, where are you now? No wonder you never took the violin seriously. It truly is a bi//h. At least to do every day. But so rewarding when you find the formula. About a week before you have to perform the 1's and the 0's of our bodies come together to make sense and in-tune inclines. I want to incline now. Something to do with the learning curve is holding me to sharpness, though. I liked it better when I sucked much worse and could tell every day that I was improving. As for now, I just think that I'm continually playing like crap. Hm. Uplifting neurotransmitters rapid firing in my brain at 12:38 my time. Not so much. Later my violin friends!

Archive link

August 2, 2004 13:51

Well, here we are in the afternoon, about nap time. I'm too wired, though, for a nap. Paganini will do that, I suppose. I also spent nearly an hour on scales trying to get those damned diads in tune, and to be able to play the whole arpeggio in one bow without the last four notes or so sounding like a strangling whisper of a one-bow-hair barely moving. Anyhow. Hope all in the community are well. Oh, how I love the world today. Yesterday I was so frustrated because I could only practice 30 minutes because I felt sick. I can make up for it today, darnit!

Archive link

More entries: September 2004July 2004

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Anne Akiko Meyers Shining Night
Anne Akiko Meyers Shining Night

Johnny Gandelsman at The Wallis
Johnny Gandelsman at The Wallis

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Mio Cannone Violini
Mio Cannone Violini Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Heifetz Institute: Crescendo

Metzler Violin Shop

Bein & Company

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

String Masters

Bobelock Cases

Things 4 Strings LLC



Sleepy Puppy Press

Jargar Strings

J.R. Judd Violins, LLC

Southwest Strings

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine