Update on Mediocrity, Sight Reading, and Life After Orchestra

November 8, 2018, 9:26 AM · Just an update . . . yesterday I had my first lesson since making the decision to leave the orchestra for at least a while. I talked with my teacher about Sylvie's excellent suggestion of moving away from pieces I used to play well, due to the dangers of negative comparisons with present abilities, and my teacher agreed heartily. She is going to assign me one of the easier Bach partitas instead. We didn't have them handy, so she will get back to me on that.

In the meantime, we worked on some fairly difficult (for me, as a returner) exercises involving constant shifting through 5 positions, and she was very pleased with the work I'd done in sight reading everything and anything over the last few weeks, and the way the etudes I had concentrated on were sounding. I can feel the difference--I'm more confident, both with intonation and just general musicality.

So I think this was the right decision. I will concentrate for a while on just getting back what I can of my chops, without the pressure of playing fast stuff up to tempo with the orchestra. Working in a concerted way on position shifting, for instance, instead of just desperately throwing my hand around while trying to keep up with the orchestra, is clearly a better plan. :-)

Thanks to everyone here for your help! This is an interesting journey and it is helpful to hear from others who are making it, too.

Replies (5)

November 9, 2018, 6:43 AM · Really glad to hear that! :)
November 9, 2018, 7:57 AM · Elizabeth, what shifting exercises are you using?
November 9, 2018, 8:55 AM · I'm working on one in the Mazas book. I like that book b/c the exercises sound like music, as opposed to just notes (like much of Sevcik).
November 9, 2018, 8:57 AM · I find that, although I worked in the upper positions a lot when I played before, that is something that is slow coming back after 38 years. I guess we revert to what we learned first? So my confidence is reduced once I start getting up there, and I panic in 5th position. Playing melodious exercises that require short forays up, and then a return to safety, is working well for me. :-)
November 13, 2018, 9:26 AM · I'm now working on the first movement of the 2nd Bach partita! It's a piece I adore and I've been listening to it obsessively all week. The music arrived last night and I was able to play through it well enough that I could feel good about playing it, which is what I wanted. A long way to go, but it felt doable and as if I might eventually be happy with the result. Feeling excited about it! :-) :-) :-)

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