October 2006

Burrowing in Warm, Clean, Laundry...

October 27, 2006 22:49

I love dumping bags of warm, just washed laundry onto the floor and then lying on the heap. The cats usually come over and burrow with me.

And then I change my clothes several times because, oh, I just have so much to choose from!!

It is hard to imagine that for about 6 years I didn't wear pajamas at all. I just slept in my clothes and it was completely natural for me. Now, I shed my clothes moments after coming in the door, and put on comfy pjs. Some days I am only dressed for a few hours....like today.

Are there players out there with artharitis? When does that start to affect your playing?

Also wondering, as far as sitting down while playing goes, I had a dilemma in June about sitting. I have peripheral neuropathy and weakness/fatigue in my feet and legs, and my knees get this strange sensationa nd then I get nausea and dizzy and sweat and weak. So I was sitting down to practice. I'd had to decide for an amazingly long programm, which would be o.k. to sit on and which wouldn't. Turned out it didn't matter. The chair was there for me, but I had so much adrenalin and energy from performing, I didn't need it.

But for the future, in those kinds of months (it goes away and comes back), what would be your thoughts on going to a recital where the violinist is sitting. Or if I am doing a concerto, to have a chair there in case?

I'm looking for anther good book or two to get into. I'm currently finishing up the ones I have been reading. Not restricted to violin or music, but I like to read about it a lot. Fiction or non-fiction.

Cozying up into bed with Harry Potter 6....

Jennifer Warren

p.s. The Mahler is coming along well, considering. It feels much like cramming for a final...We shall see on Sunday what comes through for me and what falls to bits. I'll use the metronome tomorrow and see what kind of shape the runs are in, at least. The Mozart is nice, too.

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October 26, 2006 14:36

I went to the specialist today and I don't have nerve damage or anything torn, but I do have tendonitis in the hand between the 3rd and 4th fingers. She gave me some samples of Celebrex for it, and recommended hand warmers before I play.

When I got home there was a message offering me two last minute jobs, tomorrow. I need them, but am going to pass. First of all, with limited practice, I am worried about the Symphony music. Second, why risk it? Sounds like a long day in the midst of a long string of working weekends anyway.

I hate to say no, but I think it the smartest, at this point. I'm still at 25-35 min. practice sessions, broken up. All because of a few minutes. Although, from what I know of tendonitis, it is a repeated mvt. injury? Or can it be more like a sprain? I should have asked.

Being a good girl and not typing very much. So this is all I will write today. Hope everyone is having a good week.


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Possible Injury?

October 24, 2006 19:00

I'm quite worried and in a bit of a situation...maybe. Last night I played a concert in a cold auditorium. At least, I was cold. My hands were raelly really cold, and before the concert, I could not warm them up with hot water (the sinks were "action motivated" and only sprayed cold water for a few seconds each hand wave). In trying to warm up, I noticed that my fourth finger was hurting with vibrato, so I stopped vibrato on it and stretched etc. etc. Breathed on my hands, stuck them under my legs alternatingly. But the concert started and every time I used my fourth finger, pain shot down the outside of my hand between the two bones of 3rd and 4th finger. It was agony. I tried my best to refinger as the concert went along, avoiding 4, but it wasn't possible to eliminate from the runs and harder passages.

I'm not sure why my hands were so cold. It seemed a ventilation thing over our stand and just the one infront of it. (I consequently also lost my bow grip and fumbled my bow in the first half, couldn't even feel my fingers on the bow) Or perhaps the Gershwin overture, which uses a LOT of extended 4, stressed my hand the day before. Whatever the cause, by the second half I thought about not finishing the concert. I have NEVER had that kind of pain, and know that playing through that type of thing, if it was an injury, can be career-ending.

So by the end of the concert it was really excruciating to use 4. I warmed my hands up in the truck, put on cream and my gloves, and was very careful with my hand until now. I am in a bit of a crux because I have to have the Mahler learned by Sunday,a nd I still onlyl have fingerings for the first two movements. I made myself take today off, and also am kind of afraid to play...what if the pain is stil there and I have injured my hand from that ten minutes of warming up with cold hands...or whatever caused it...?? I guess I will see tomorrow if this is serious. Now I know how frightening this sort of thing can be. I have had back pain, wrist ache, violin elbow, pain when twisting the hand...but those were gradual and went away, they were mostly overuse issues. This happened all at once, it seems. And I can't take a break, right now. THis is also my first concert with this orchestra.

I've taken an anti-inflammatory, and kept it warm, and stretched it regularly and been careful careful with my hand (not a whole lot of typing before or after this one blog). My stand partner suggested icing it, but it seemed that it was already cold, so I used heat.

What is the best care for a possible finger injury like this sort?

6 replies | Archive link

Just Listening...

October 20, 2006 20:15

I'm having an absolutely delightful evening of music. I decided that more than anything else tonight, it would be beneficial to listen to ALL the music that I have to play this month in orchestra. It takes so much concentration and focus to listen through a whole Mahler symphony, even if it is my favourite...with my part and the orchestral score. I even studied this one hardcore for a graduate class....

And my husband is really into Mozart right now, so he is cateloguing all his mozart recordings and I'm listening to some of that with him...incedentally, Mozart and Mahler is the big concert. And then the one that is this weekend, which is a splash of this and that and Wagner.

Mahler made my mouth positively water. I find myself dubious...how did we ever play that a few years ago! How???!!! How is it going to go this time?? Looking at the score puts a very complex spin on everything I think about following. Genius.

And then Mozart. His divertimenti are superb. I then start to drift to thoughts of composition.

I raelly would like to take private composition lessons from Dr. Linton at MTSU, I very much admire his sense of h umour, his own writing, and his way with students. He was one of my favourite professors for years. I can't very well afford private lessons in composition, though. But I can wish....I have boxes and boxes of unlooked at compositions, just screaming for help. My string quartets, especially, have been getting less and less creative, and almost following a formula of composition based on simple 4 part choral writing. Yes, they are begging for example...

Anyway. I didn't practice today. I really wanted to emerse myself in music that I"m working on and music I'm not working on. Breathe fresh life into my worries and stressing about all these dates on my calendar.

One of my cats is having surgery on her mouth. So I am going to be playing to pay THAT bill. Man, can never get ahead. But it is SO WORTH IT!!

My mom is a weaver, and a vendor in an Americana Folk festival tomorrow. She gave me and my husband free tickets to get in. It will be cold, but it has been so long since I've been to something like that.


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Good 'ol J.C.

October 19, 2006 15:48

How do you put a .jpg file inside of a blog that is from your computer, not the internet? Hmmm. Anyway. Today's audio file *grin* is J.C. Bach's C minor viola concerto, Adagio molto espressivo.

I'm almost afraid to post Bach, after my rantings on a thread... I realized the extreme high level of performance going on in the hands of some v.commies and wonder where in the world I get the guts to post a home-made audio file??? He he.

Especially as this one goes against something that was a really bad practice of mine when I was a teenager. I think I was 13? Murray State University was in the town I lived in. I was allowed to go to the Studio class once a week with the college students. I would perform at any given opporitunity. I didn't have a teacher at the time, and I suppose that is how it even happened that I would bring in totally random pieces of music to play in front of an audience of violinists who I think humoured me. They couldn't have seriously taken me serious....I remember one specific time; I brought book 5 Suzuki PIANO in, and played the right hand of one of the Beethoven Sonatas. I think it was Beethoven. Anyway. I didn't have much distinction as to what was appropriate to play. Music was music to me. The instructor took pity on me and gave me some free violin lessons until we moved away. On the condition that I would play ONLY music that he prescribed.

But I am still plagued by the idea that things can be played partially. Like this Bach. Who puts up a concerto on the internet, without the piano or orchestral part? I'm not being stuck up, for real! Thinking "me me me". I play this piece when my heart is full. It isn't coached or dissected. This was part of my Dad concert. Anyhow. It is such beautiful music.

I would hate to be the composer "you know, Bach's son". Especially if my last name was Bach! "Oh, it isn't the real Bach, it is J.C. Bach". Wow. I think if my father was Bach, I'd have taken up automechanics.

Anyhow. This is my last blog for a few days (I hope), because I need to really focus now on the upcoming orchestra concerts.

Did the v.com t-shirts ever materialize? I want to wear one to orchestra. He he. I'm hopeless.

K. Happy weekending to all!
Jennifer Warren

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With Mahler's Ears

October 18, 2006 15:40

Taking a short break. I'm starting on the Mahler 5 part that came in the mail. It is my first concert with that Symphony, which is so exciting. Going in with style! The first three pages are so incredibly hard to even know if you are even playing the wrong notes unless you stop and check each one....I've played this before, and I remember lots of time devoted to listening to the recording with both the score and my part out. I'm going to be doing that again tonight.

I looked on the JSO page and they have finally updated their roster. So my name is on there! I'm not sure why that made me happy, but it did.

I put new strings on both instruments today. Broke down and bought two sets of Obligatos. I'll have to get myself an extra gig or something in order to pay for them....but it makes such an incredible difference. Even on the viola, which was new string-old string. With one of the Aricore's still on, I plucked the other three new ones around it and then the Aricore D, and it sounded like it didn't even ring. Just kind of like.."pung". Good to know. I think I will not stray again from what I know works, nomatter how tempting it is to experiment.

I'm taking my voila to a luthier. I was thinking a trade, but he suggested that I play some violas they have there, and then they can alter my neck and fingerboard to make it the same as the size/shape that works for me. It is only 110 dollar job. Hm...I'm thinking. I need an appraisal on my viola first. And also to make sure that teh problem is really in that part of the instrument. The whole darned thing might just be outrageously heavy for it's small size.

Can always carve it out like a pumpkin.!!!


p.s. I did play yesterday, and recorded Bach Suite no. 3 Sarabande. I'll post it when I get it transfered to the computer.

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music for Dad.

October 17, 2006 10:43

Today is a hard day. I didn't expect it to be quite so obvious, constantly, but it is....Exactly a year ago today my father was in a fatal accident. He fell asleep at the wheel on the way to his Symphony concert, and died four days later from head injuries. He was a violist, violinist, piano technician, and dedicated father.

So I've been a bit under the weather today, and just now figured this is why.

After the accident, it was very hard to pick up my instrument and play. He was my teacher, and he so much enjoyed music and life, I just didn't feel like playing.

But today, I want to do nothing more than make music all day long for him to listen to, wherever he is and whatever he may be thinking. I want to play a concert for him in my living room, playing everything I know and feel is dear to my heart. I wish I could give him a live performance, but I know what is what.

So it is frustrating that my body is not working well today, and I can't get going with the day yet. Before I know it, the day will be eaten, and taken up with appointments and household things I feel compelled to do.

I won't let that happen. Dad will get his concert. He gave me the life of music, I can give him that.

Jennifer Warren

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October 15, 2006 22:46

I played Wagner today. Life is complete.

3 replies | Archive link

Extra Strings?

October 12, 2006 10:42

This is a recording of the Bruch Romanze, with Joy Thurmon on the piano. It isn't a perfect performance, but my first on the viola, and I so much enjoyed this piece. My pianist is awesome, too....

Ah, the cold has finally come. Complete with sunshine of the grey variety. Somehow augmented with blue in higher places and puffy clouds. We have yet to turn our heater on, but I'm relieved to need a coat outside. I hate hot climates. Or I just hate being hot. Hmm...but don't mind being a "hottie". In my homemade drawstring pants and my husband's hoodie...

I had a wonderful day yesterday, and enjoyed my practice. I'm being dutiful with my orchestra music. I don't allow myself to spend 3/4 of the time on Wagner, and 1/4 divided between Porgy and Bess. I'm not thrilled about playing Porgy and Bess. I'm one of those who fall into the "offended" party. Not that I"m actually offended. I don't know. I read the history of it, and studied the musical aspects of it...and listened to it....I can't honestly say if it is because I don't like the music and the score is one of those handwritten monstrosities (can't tell whether the notes follow each other go up or down, or stay the same...sometimes manicly scrunched and sometimes drifting), or if it bothers me in another way. But I think it does. The dialect, the stereotypes... It isn't the subject matter, because what opera doesn't have stabbings and fistfights and love affairs and maybe even drugs? This is different, though. Anyway. It doesn't matter. I learn the music, I play the concert, I get a paycheck. And I feel lucky, because I'm not working somewhere undesireable.

Anyhow. I am giving out a call for used viola strings? I spent a bunch on a set of aricore and tonica strings that I can't get to open. They totally closed my instrument up, the C string actually not producing much more than vibration. I can't afford to get another set, especially with a new set on it right now. I took the C string off and put my old Obligato on, which helped, but it is really dead. So...if anyone has used viola strings hanging around the house, case, office, etc. that you don't need, I would be so greatful... should they arrive in the mail. Is that pitiful sounding? Hope not.


Maybe I can trade something for them (or it).

K. Me and my violin/viola are going on a walk to the college to practice. I'm having too much fun at home to get anything done here.

Jennifer Warren

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rosin, wood-superstar

October 10, 2006 20:47

I don't know how to transfer the formatting from my Word document...except the words themselves. So. This is my little coughing of words today.

betray an angel beneath.
Her vibrating ivory eye,
trapped under fingers preciously placed
for agility, control, and beauty…

Her ringing, fat song-note
leaving circles in the air...
Scroll rocking back,
bearing fistfuls of Sonata,
She explodes loudly in fits,
in cravings,

Dust settles, night chills the bones
of music tucked inside her burgundy
felt-ed tomb.

In morning, light-shaft dizziness
glints off strings pressing
crevices to arc-
in melodies.
She fights the silence day after day-
Until one strain joins the
Music of the Spheres in
Celestial harmony.

Her dancing light spiccato,
haunting flautando
gather to the most brilliant pulsar-
deep purples and violet.
Against the black of sunlight,
of house lights down.

3 replies | Archive link

A weekend of Music

October 8, 2006 12:04

Well, the wedding yesterday went well. We didnt' even get to the Telemann. We did a bunch of Mozart duets that took up more time than we'd planned. It was windy and our clothespins weren't adequate. We all know how that story goes. Our playing was miraculous considering that. My scroll spent most of it's time holding the left page in place. It was fun. And I enjoyed spending time with one of my best buddies making music. And seeing all of my family.

Today is kind of a "blah" day. I actually have energy and motivation to do all sorts of things, but the world feels so quiet and stagnant and beautiful that I don't want to disrupt it. Crazy. I think I will walk over to the college and see if the doors are open, and practice orchestra music. I have a week to learn the parts to the Wagner overtures, Verdi, Porgy and Bess excerpts, a Howard Hansen. And whatnot. A week should be enough if I get going.

I have been asked to solo with a community orchestra in the area. I am excited! I've never done that before, but feel like it is a perfect time in my life for that. It hasn't been a goal, but all the same, it will be fun and fullfulling, I think. It isn't until next fall, and they don't want all of the movements of whatever concerto we work out...or piece. My immediate thought was Mozart, with cadenzas. But who knows? Basically, I was flattered and my confidence raised a nothc and a half.

On Friday night another friend came over. We all caught up on news and then had an idea...Tamar had her cello, and I own a violin and a viola (my other friend's instrument). So we read through some trios. It was so much fun, and stimulating. One of hte pieces we read, I'd never played before, and it turned out to be a very nice trio piece (Hummel). That was productive, because now I know what it is and that it is useable.

Well. Time to break open the day.

1 reply | Archive link

Oh no, not another audio file!!

October 5, 2006 08:57

I know it gets a little old fast, Jennifer with :"listen to me play, listen to me play!!!". But it is fun to record oneself often and also very helpful to listen to it critically.

These little Telemann Canonic Duos (arranged for a wide variety of instrumentationi combos) are a real joy to play and listen to. I recorded the first movement of Sonata no.1 (vivace, though played a *tad slower than a true vivace).

Plus, I've been feeling a little viola heavy and wanted something light and violinistic.


6 replies | Archive link

Bach Suite no. 3 Prelude (on viola)

October 4, 2006 02:36

Bach Suite no.3, prelude.
Well, something I did this afternoon during my practice session is switch on the minidisc recorder to find how many takes it would become to get a sound/style/relaxation/portrait of what I want this particular movement to say. It took the whole practice session (the rest of it, I mean). It isn't the greatest quality, but the minidisc does have decent recording capeabilities.

I'm not currently in lesson, so any advice pertaining to the prelude, would be welcome with open arms.

It is about 4:30 a.m. and I woke up for some reason, so I threw this on the computer and had a listen. I am also finding recordings to listen to, played by violists. Listening to a cellist play it is very hard to apply, for me at least. Hearing it on the viola gives me much more aurally to consider.

Well. Happy day to all.
Oh, before I forget. I'm having stumps in the Prokofieve violin Sonata in DM, 1st mvt., in the chordal sections (4part chord followed by open E or A for several measures, then sweetly sweeping up to melodic higher passages). To get all four strings without a break (2/2, 1/3, 3/1 etc) or a roll, HOW to achieve that without crunching and crashing. I like the lighter approach,sort of like a Bach fugue chord nightmare section resolve, but then the E squeeks every time, even if my hand is not touching the string in the squeeze to cover the G string. Pull the bow fast and short? Give it all contact, or on and off? Pressure? Out of the strings, or into the strings for the sound?


Later Gators,
Jennifer Warren

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Luck Charms

October 2, 2006 23:44

I can't sleep, and it would be obscene to practice in apartments at this hour...so I was reading through old writings and found this. Not one of the more polished, but it is sentimental. I remember writing it around the time that I had begun playing in a new Symphony. Emily's post reminded me of symphony expectations prior to walking on stage, and this reminds me of the nerves and comforts before walking on stage. How nerves and comforts are sometimes not related..

Luck Charms

When your good luck charm
came from your three year old cousin’s aquarium
(the stone smooth in a soft emerald green,
swirls touching and winding marshmallow
like a little earth in space without water)
you have to wonder if it will survive.
If that is any luck you want.
Still, it is beautiful
and kept you safe.

The one before that was from an old Monopoly game
Silver Dog,
ear severed by an angry play.
Small and strong and five or six sharps
in my hand.
I’d poke my finger on it nervously sometimes,
and not once did I explode into a million pieces-
so it must have worked at least a little bit.

Before the dog, it was a piece of ivory bone on a leather string
I found lying in the grass one day at school.
I wore it around my neck for years.
My friends remember it well, speak of its importance.
But really, it was just a soft thing to wear, to never take off.
I didn’t have much faith in such superstitions.

Now it is a foundation which whispers fate
one way or that way.
I have found inside
arms tight or an expression always there
like a ring around my finger.

Still, when I dumped out my bag yesterday,
I found a stone given by a child of beauty, a
a tiny gamepiece worn smooth from sweaty hands,
and a leather string.

Sensing the pressure of the stage pulling down esophagus,
tonsil, kneecaps…
I wrapped the worn leather around halting breath,
packed the game in my proArt,
held the timeless aquarium in sweaty palm.

Just in case.

-Jennifer Warren

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Guilty of sluring the easy way out.

October 2, 2006 14:01

I've spent the last hour and a half working around some Telemann Canonic Sonata movements. A friend (cellist) and I am playing them next weekend at my sister's wedding.

And it has been aggrivating to say the least that these "simple" sonata movements have illuminated various clunki-nesses in my bow articulation.

I tried to find a recording of them, but I can't figure out what they were originally written for. Recorders? The violin duo canonic sonatas aren't the same as these. Anyway. It doesn't matter, because I have a good idea of how they are SUPPOSED to sound. I've even played them before, with another violinist for fun.

Oh, how I wish to go back to Prokofiev or Regar or Walton, instead of beating this Telemann again. But...I will not rest until it sounds light and fresh like it needs to. And I'll erase my pencil marks which I put in for slurs, but really don't sound stylistic that way. It was the easy way out, and now I feel guilty *gulp*.

So. At least I got the fleas out of the house today and off of the cats last week. That was a major accomplishment, leaving me weary for practicing. Or really needing it, one or the other!

Telemann, here I come! YAAAARRRGGGHHHHAAAHHHH!!!

Jennifer Warren

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