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Mendy Smith

"New Job" - Day 3

February 5, 2009 at 8:36 AM

I'm becoming more comfortable with the new routine in my life -   "Day job" hunting in the morning up until lunch, followed by practice, rehearsals and lessons in the afternoon and evening.  There are only so many hours in a day one can spend applying for jobs without becoming depressed knowing that there are millions like you competing for those same jobs day after day.

So, after lunch I set about trying to master the martele bowing technique.  It wasn't clicking at first, but finally I had one of those "AHA" moments and it started to happen of its own accord.  I became so excited about this discovery that I spent most of my afternoon on the etudes my teacher assigned me, figuring out how to manage my sounding points most effectively and focusing on my right arm movements.  I went back to the Bloch looking for where this bowing technique was called for and focused on those sections, as well as one nose-bleed section for intonation.

I also joined one of the local university orchestras.  Tonight was the first rehearsal.  I completely forgot what it was like to attend university...  syllabus review, rules & regs, note-taking on things other than bowing marks and fingerings, etc...  Being one of the few "blue hair group" members was an eye opener.  When did college students suddenly become so young?  The students were very open and friendly to this new gray-haired violist in their midst and quickly drew me into the "viola club".  There are only four of us - that may be part of the reason why they were so quick to make me a part of the "club" even with the age difference.  After 30 years, it seems that violists are still an endangered species of sorts and we tend to bond quicker than other sections of the orchestra. 

We are playing Beethoven's 5th (along with other pieces).  Having played this just a few months ago, the techinques required to play this are still fresh in my mind.  It was a joy to pass on a bit of that knowledge to my new stand-partner - bow re-takes and fingerings.  He took it to heart and applied it like I knew what I was talking about.  Lucky for me the principal violist was also taught the same techniques so there wasn't us in the back doing something different than those in the front. 

Lessons are tomorrow.  I hope that I practiced enough to get a "thumbs up".

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on February 5, 2009 at 12:07 PM

It's fun to pass along techniques to an eager stand partner.

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