February 2007

February 22, 2007 18:25

Wow. I am away for a week and....I thought I'd take a look at v.com during my break between violin and viola...but there is a whole night of reading before me and I've already spent over an hour perusing the blogs...not gotten to the discussions yet.

We are finally moved. I love practicing here. Big open spaces and hardwood floors and light. It all makes me sound so good. Too bad I'm so tired and can't take full advantage of the joy of practicing in my new and coveted environment. After a week of carting boxes and computers and files and my music library and....all my papers since the age of 5 :).. my back and neck and body aren't in the mood for vigorous mind-bending practice sessions. Just enough to keep afloat. For this week at least.

There is a historical park across the street where I have been walking. It is such a great way to start the day. Well, waking up and looking out to see a large YARD is a good way to start the day.

And I can take long soaking baths now after symphony weekends and rehearsals.

Happy happy me!
Off to practice for my lesson tomorrow now. And leave the rest of v.com for later tonight!

Sals,
Jennifer

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The Life of a Piece (do they die?)

February 13, 2007 20:54

The life of a piece....birth, growth, attitude, humility, decline, frustration and denial, and death.

I really feel that my pieces have followed this lately. For example: Bach suite no.3. THere was a point where it was sounding really good. Then I lost the joy. And then the musical aspects left it. Then I tried frantically to get them back, without the joy...with something hardcore. And then I just couldn't get it over the technical hurdles that were un necessary to start with.
So I've stopped playing it and started suite no.5. I am excited every time I start to work on it, and have a lot of joy while working on it. And it sounds a millino times better than the 3rd does at this point, even though it is merely past sightreading phase.

I wonder, with the 5th suite die, too? Or will it continue to hold me in it's palm for years and years. What about a piece makes that distincion?

I've wondered if it is a weakness of mine. Not to completely polish a piece. But that isn't it. I've played many recitals and worked certain peices (like Beethoven concerto and some bach and Mendelssohn etc. etc.) for two or three years, and not lost the desire to play it better.

Anyway. I'm exhausted. We're moving right now. Get the keys tomorrow. I've been packing and organizing. Which means lots of time spent in nostalgia land and scanning throuhg sheet music. I found a stack of my practice logs. Wow. There was a time where I'd print out discussions or responses to my questions from V.com and paste them in my practice journal. He he. Some even because themes.

Well. Off to work on orchestra music.

Sals,
Jennifer

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February 8, 2007 18:04

So....I haven't written in quite awhile. We're moving in a week and so I'll not have the computer hooked up to the internet for 3-5 days. OH NO HOW WILL I GET MY V.COM FIX!!???
I'll probably be dead tired anyway.

I'm debating on whether to write my long blong now and post my audio, or go practice before I loose enthusiasm.....hm....

practice.

(Anyone else have to have a specific 'atmosphere' to practice in? Somehow I don't like to practice in the late afternoon with the golden light coming in the window. If I go in the living room where there aren't really any windows and use artificial light, it is fine...that's so weird. I dont' like practicing when it is daylight! Unless I'm in a room, like a practice room at the college, or a dungeon :) and can't see it. ??????)

Jennifer

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Lesson no.1

February 1, 2007 15:56

Today I had my first viola lesson since April or so. It was hard. I'm not sure exactly why, and I've been looking forward to it for so long...I think I disappointed myself, mostly.

The student before me was playing Bach suite no.2, prelude. It was amazing. I love her viola sound. It is almost 17 inches. But, to her credit, she is a fantastic and awesome violist. I melted. Before even starting my lesson.

I slept through my alarm, waking up 20 min. before my lesson was to start. I'm a person that takes a few hours to get going in the morning, so that in itself really made it difficult to have a lesson that would make me proud of myself. Not that the point of lessons is to come away proud of your playing.

I started my lesson by playing Bach Sonata No. 1 for solo violin, arr. for viola. I was not pleased with my performance at all. It was not beautiful. My viola didn't sound good. I wasn't relaxed. By the middle I wanted it to be over. Anyway, my playing was far from my best. It was actually a good lesson in how to rebound from that feeling...dispel the annoyance at the self and focus on the work for the week ahead. Find the natural excitement and motivation a lesson brings us.

Anyway...
I was so caught up in wanting to impress my teacher that I wasn't focusing on the music. I didn't feel like I was even really there. Maybe I wasn't awake yet. Or maybe that is part of an ingrained lesson thing.

We ended up doing a lesson of open strings with my shoulder blades and back of head against the wall with hips relaxed forward, working on viola placement.
She noticed that my use of my upper body is incredibly..well...wrong. Tendons and muscles etc. standing out on my neck while playing, neck tense, shoulders scrunched in, head not aligned, back being used incorrectly, strain and tension just to hold the viola up! Upper body a mess.

I don't understand it. I hold my violin well. My viola for some reason isn't able to be held in the same way. Ack!

I left the lesson torn between several emotions. 1. I felt like a beginner, and was embarassed by my playing.
2. I realized that the problems which need to be fixed are major, and going to take a long time, and not be easy.
3. Incredible greatfulness and joy and excitement that I have a teacher who works well with me, can help me with these things, and is willing to do so.

There is no shame in going back to the beginning. In working on body usage and technique at the very simplest level. It feels kind of bad at first, but being a teacher myself, I know that there is no shame in it.

So... I've got new resolves, and heightened awareness of body use. My teacher is doing me a great service. It is about finding health, which can open up and free my music. I can't wait until I will feel freedom and open-ness while playing viola.

I am thankful for a teacher who can give me the tools and guidance I need in order to find that..

Now, off to practice.

Jennifer

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