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Mendy Smith

Preparing for a Scholarship Audition - Part 1

January 30, 2009 at 5:33 AM

Lessons were quite a bit different tonight.  We started with a real nuts & bolts discussion on music education degree as a career.  Between that discussion and reading the article Laurie posted, those dwindling music teaching careers is making re-think this as career path and lean more towards environmental sciences.  That being said, music will still be a part of my education second time around, and I am still going to need that music scholarship.  Every dollar counts. 

So, Joel began lessons with not just the single requisite scale, but several, with shifting exercises as well as getting me back on the Etude path again.  Then we started working on the Bloch again.  Oh WOW!  The first two lines got a major work-out: from fine-tuning my intonation, learning how to increase my tempo note by note vs. by phrase, learning a new technique to improve the left hand on tricky finger patterns, and worked on bow distribution for each and every bowing change.  After moving on to work the next two lines in a similar fashion, he stopped and pulled out his piano reduction score, pulled out an extra stand and asked me to start from the beginning.

I had expected him to play the viola part with me, but no.  Instead, he played the piano reduction even more reduced on his viola!!!!  This confused me at first and stopped to ask him exactly what he was doing, then we started over again.  In some sections it helped me tremendously in over all rhythm and intonation, while in others I was completely thrown off by what he was playing vs. what I was playing.  This was very effective in teaching me how the two parts interacted, and to be prepared for them.  We played through the entire first movement in this manner.  Now I have a much better understanding on why he loves this piece so much. 

At the end of lessons we discussed my "scholarship audition musical boot camp".  I'll be taking lessons from him twice a week until the audition on the first of March.  He's put me on a daily diet of scale studies - all the 3-octave major and minor keys up to F-minor, etudes, and audition repertoire. I feel so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive and considerate teacher!  However, I think that he's going to start becoming more tough on me than ever before.  No more excuses about only practicing 1 hour a day and bunching it up on the weekends because of work obligations.  That excuse expired yesterday (and yes, my teacher had expected me to practice more than I did yesterday and today !!!)

I now have the luxury of time to put in the required hours for practice in between job hunting & networking.  Much like my "laundry day" routine - practice in 45 minute cycles throughout the day, and then do something else.  At least I will be so busy preparing for the audition over the next month I won't have time to mope or tinker around the house when I get sick of applying for jobs online.  And, this will have the added benefit of preparing the discipline to study hard when I do re-enter school in a few months. 

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 30, 2009 at 12:08 PM

I'm inspired by your positive attitude.  Even if you prefer to get a regular paying job in environmental education, would you think about some teaching privately "on the side"?  Then you could conceivably do both.  Keep up the good work!  I hope you get the scholarship. 

From Terez Mertes
Posted on January 30, 2009 at 8:08 PM

 >At least I will be so busy preparing for the audition over the next month I won't have time to mope or tinker around the house when I get sick of applying for jobs online.

Dang, no kidding! Good for you, and good luck on the audition preparation. Your attitude sounds great. 

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