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Mendy Smith

Day 32 - Winding Down

March 5, 2009 at 8:06 AM

Although I'm still on "Cloud 9" after the audition, my musical life here in Portland is winding down.  The two orchestras that I'm in now know that I'll be relocating out of state. I have two more lessons with my teacher and one final concert with my community orchestra.  With all the planning I need to do for this move, the many-o-hours of practice each day I was enjoying has dwindled to 2-3 per day, and soon will be back to 1hr a day at best.  Joel thought I was a bit insane to try to catch up lost decades over the past month.  But not knowing how much time I had on this opportunity, I took advantage of every second of it.   I surprised both myself and Joel on what I could accomplish on viola when I set my mind and energy to the challenge in such a short time.  It sure made my unemployment bearable and productive (as much as it could be).

So, with two weeks remaining before the "Big Move", I've been focusing on the concert pieces and dusting off the pieces I first began studying with Joel over two years ago for a final review:  Bruch and Bach's 6th Suite Prelude.  Two weeks isn't nearly enough to get these pieces back to being comfortable under the hand, but the difference in how they sound are still quite amazing.  With the Bruch in particular I've found that I can now easily manage the expressive shifts that were simplified for me when I first learned the piece, and I'm now in a position where I can put most of my focus on the dynamic changes, bow distribution, sound-points, and other stylistic aspects of the piece. 

I found a new teacher and was accepted into a community orchestra in Houston after exchanging a few e-mails.  So with luck, there will only be a small hiccup in my musical life during this time of transition.  I'm really going to miss Portland, its vibrant music scene, the friends I've made out here, and my teacher.  I won't miss the weather though :)  Hopefully, Houston will be just as inspiring to me musically as Portland has been over the past few years.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on March 5, 2009 at 11:19 PM

Good luck with everything!  What a whirlwind the past two months have been for you.  That is very neat to hear that all the work you put into the Bloch is translating into increased facility across the board with other pieces that you learned previously.  You must have really learned how to focus and make the most of your practice time. 

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