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Mendy Smith

Confined Quarters

February 14, 2008 at 12:05 PM

We all came back from the factory to the hotel, 5 of us crammed into a taxi (not including the driver). We spilled out of the taxi and into the lobby and briefly discussed the plan for the evening. 30 minute break then meet back to in the lobby to head out for dinner.

I'm thinking "Yeah! 30 minutes practice time", one guy went to the gym, another guy got a hair cut, and the other two just chilled out. We all get in the lift and head to our respective 30 minutes of private time. Out comes the old man (15" viola, minus chin rest this time around). I set-up my practice space in the little free space I have in the hotel room, about a 3' x 3' clear area between the desk and TV.


Oh boy did he get out of tune during the trip out here! So tuning.... OK, then Kreutzer - flat - oh yeah, 15", 1" shorter that usual.... then sharp, third time around closer to in-tune. I bumped into the TV a few times, and stepped backwards and almost tripped over the bed. I was starting on my 4th round with the bowings assignment I was assigned and got about 1/4 of the way through when my hotel phone rang, it was one of the guys "Were are you! Where all waiting on you!!". :::sigh::::

We all cram ourselves into a taxi once again and head to Kimberly Street to the restaurant . On the way there I saw a cellist walking down the street. A minute later another one, then 2 together, then another 3. There must have been a cello party somewhere in the area. We finally make it to "Spice", a nice place with Indian, Malay and Thai cuisine. Had alot of spicy food... mmmmm....

Dinner discussions were quite normal. My "partner in crime" (Adam) asked me about my practice time, and one of the young guys started making meowing cat noises. Adam gave him the "look" and said "you may make fun of it, but you've never heard her play, she's actually quite good". My face broke into a grin from ear to ear. He got to listen to me practice from 9pm to 5am during the last implementation we did last year.

Then a small debate on who had to pay (HR policy is the most senior person) - did that mean age or position? The consensus was that in either case, I had to pay. Then the hunt for a taxi back to the hotel. I'm supprised that in a city-state such as Hong Kong it was so hard to find a taxi!

Tonight, I was able to practice for 2 hours. My intonation hit the mark this time. It takes a few days for me to adjust from a 16" to a 15" viola. I'm really enjoying playing without a chin rest. It hasn't hindered my vibrato, in fact it got better (but that may be due to the smaller instrument). My 15" sounds less choked without the chin-rest. Could be that I just need a different one, but I don't know where to go shopping for viola parts here in Hong Kong, and I only have a few more days here before heading into China, so I'm chin-rest-less for now.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 15, 2008 at 11:37 PM
"Then a small debate on who had to pay (HR policy is the most senior person) - did that mean age or position? "

LOL. And more LOL. Personally, I gots my recorder running in my pocket and I'm itching to sue for age discrimination. :)

From Jon O'Brien
Posted on February 16, 2008 at 3:47 AM
I started violin lessons again recently. The teacher didn't blink an eyelid when I told her I wasn't using a chinrest. I haven't used one continuously now for 1 1/2 years. When I got home I put the CR on again, just because I thought maybe it might be better that way. Nope. I took it off again 1/2 a day later. This amazes me. Even I thought I was kidding myself about the no chinrest thing. I wonder how long I'll go without it. I do seem to play better without it. I don't know why.
From Mendy Smith
Posted on February 16, 2008 at 5:41 AM
Well, the housekeeping staff at the hotel just got a free concert. Didn't have to move into the hallway this time. But I bumped into the pillows that were placed on the TV and was asked to shuffle around a bit so the desk could be cleaned. Good thing I have this piece mostly memorized now.

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