Printer-friendly version
jennifer steinfeldt  warren

fast, full and twisty

July 10, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Today I took a break from all the stressful and increasingly overwhelming projects and music things I'm trying to arrange and do well and get financial support for...and getting a studio up and running and all at the same time avoiding personal thoughts like the ones elicited from a return of my availability contract with one of the classical concerts not booked. It wasn't a mistake, I checked. THey just don't need me for that one. I sitting at the back of the section all year, or in the 2nds or am I just being highung and over conscious this week?

Yea. Had my first viola gig in a quartet. The wedding was inside of a stone church in a state park with two ceiling lights and no temperature control (in July in TN that means that we were dripping sweat on our instruments, seeing spots by the end of the ceremony and the violist couldn't see the finer markings on her music, i.e. measure numbers). I got lost in "sheep may safely graze" not so safely apparantly! I came in matching the cello. Only she was playing 8ths and I was playing quarters. It would have been just fine and no one would have noticed except that the second violinist was generously giving me subtle info on measure numbers and I couldn't see the measure numbers back in the corner. AHH. I didn't get with it until the repeat. I was all in a fit about how badly I did that until I had reasurance from the other members that they were so hot their hair was melting and brains were melting and everyone made mistakes.

All my training playing violin in ensembles didn't prepare me for playign viola in ensembles. TO some degree it did, but I found myself in a very strange twilight zone experience. LIstening-wise, ensemble-wise, harmony-wise. My harmonies didn't sound correct to me even when they were. Oh, and intonation wise.

How strange.
In the light that I'm doing massive work on getting funding for an educational trio or quartet to play real lit. for public and in schools and underprivaledged...

ANYWAY!!! The point of the first sentance being...

I was going to be a regular person today...visit with my mom, get my oil changed, etc.
But by 6:00 pm I felt weird. Where was I, what was I doing? Why was I NOT PRACTICING OR DOING WORK???? And logged on to for some reassurance that I am a musician today even though the day was spent dealing with real world issues....the non-musical ones..

Now, to tighten up that bow, adjust the shoulder rest just so, pick my favourite torturous etudes and technical studies to work on, and think glorious thoughts about Bach.

Ah. Life is so fast, so full, and so twisty.

Jennifer Warren

From Patricia Baser
Posted on July 10, 2007 at 11:48 PM
I have known more than a few violists turn it into Sheep May Safely Stray! It's really hard to play with the whole sweat/verge of heat exhaustion going on. A few weeks back, I played in a trio at the Hay House in Macon (where the treasurer of the confederacy lived and is rumored to have stashed gold in a secret closet here). It was in the 90s (probably inside as well) so we were pretty soaked by the end. The sad part is that I made almost as much money playing that 20 minute wedding ceremony as I did playing Ein Heldenleben later that evening.
From Albert Justice
Posted on July 11, 2007 at 3:35 AM
On piano my good experiences:bad runs around 75:25 I suppose, (heat, noise, out of tune, crying babies); but, on violin it's 10:90...

Though I sight read poorly (not completely), it makes me wonder if my desire to improve is worth it given that I'll be mainly playing things I know well and have memorized.

The point being, getting groups together that can really jam, an example being your recent experience, has for me been a life-long experience. So, the real point is that I'll be growing my own to a good extent, recording my own midis on keyboard and so forth.

Yet at the same time I'm envious of someone who can take the music and just play it. Now I know that most must practice even standard repertoire, but I've always been caught in this dichotomy you can: you can't. While at the same time, I was memorizing Schubert , Bach and Beethoven painfully measure by measure.

I can't even imagine trying to play a stringed instrument under the circumstances you described--though I know too well--that is the real world.
Jeez--I turn on the air conditioner, acclimatize the instrument, and prepare mentally just to practice. Never did that with piano, but I started at 6.

And just thinking of moving from violin to viola, makes my wrist throb. Yes, good music is, a journey. cya.


From Mendy Smith
Posted on July 11, 2007 at 4:18 AM
When you play viola with an ensemble, counting is sometimes the hardest part. You are an underlying harmony to the main melody, so it is often tempting to get in-sync with the cello, but the cello has an even deeper underlying rhythm than the viola. Have fun with this! Playing some Bach trios or fugues will help you get into the viola rhythm.
From Albert Justice
Posted on July 11, 2007 at 5:05 AM
That's interesting Mendy. I love to accompany vocalists with whom I connect. And when this does happen, a chemistry of informal counterpoint and very subtle supporting of the vocalist happens.

This is what I hear from your remark: listen to the melody to begin with, and get your timing in such a ways as to underwrite v1 as a complement musically--beyond timing as well...

From jennifer steinfeldt warren
Posted on July 11, 2007 at 3:21 PM
Cool. I shall not "stray" again! Well, I probably will at some point. But I'm starting in with a Trio, and rehearsing with them should put my brain into the viola groove and not the violin one.


This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

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

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Colburn School: Chamber Music Intensive
Colburn School: Chamber Music Intensive

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

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

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