Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Friends and fun

I've been busy procrastinating at work and hadn't had time for an update.

My rehearsal with Rufi on Saturday turned out really well. Since we were at his store and he was being interrupted frequently I was able to last a lot longer than I anticipated. We were playing from 2 to about 4:30! Though I admit that towards the end my pitch started sagging as I was struggling to maintain my embouchure. But I was happy with how I'd done overall. The pieces weren't terribly difficult to read so we just read through a bunch of them. We even did a long Bach piece that had several modulations. My friend was impressed that I was able to keep up with the changes on that one. We didn't pay a ton of attention to dynamics and phrasing at this first rehearsal. We just wanted to see how much of the repertoire we'd be able to cover. As we get together more he hopes that we will work more on the musicality. I am in charge of making copies of everything we have so that the bassoonist can hopefully join un in the next few weeks.

Playing with someone else, as I expected, was thoroughly intoxicating. I just didn't want to stop! I don't think he did either which is a good thing. It means I wasn't killing his ears. He kept saying that he was surprised at my progress. But those who know me know that I am very hard on myself. I know there is still such a long way to go. But I do have to remind myself that I've come relatively far in a short amount of time. That will give me the impetus to continue.

Due to the frequent interruptions on Saturday afternoon we're looking to change our practice time to a weekday evening. JC has agreed to go to the Latin jazz rehearsals by himself on Thursday so I am going to aim for that day. I have to make a few phone calls to set that all up. And I also have to find a new time for my lessons. I'm going on two weeks without lessons now due to schedule conflicts (mostly from my end).

I practiced for an hour and a half last night. During the first 45 minutes I did a few long tones and then I worked exclusively on scales: G and F major. I plan to work on these two for another few days. I'm using some tips I got from Patty for these (thanks, Patty!). By starting off very slowly I was able to concentrate on not doing the "fan" motion on my right hand. My half hole is also cleaner than before. I still need to work on coming down from the high D. That requires a lot of finger changes and it sounds sloppy. Especially if I'm going down a third to B. Yuck. After I ate dinner I went down to the basement for another 45 minutes of practice. This time I worked mostly on Handel Sonata No. 1, the Adagio. I'm still playing it more like Largo though at this point. Last night I decided to finally tackle the three trills in there: A-natural/B-flat, B-natural/C, F/G. What's funny is that I couldn't really get a sense for how long it should go for until I played my melody on the piano. I managed to get something that sounded satisfactory but then I was still doubting myself so I read up on trills in a method book. They were playing 4 thirty-secondth notes per eighth note. So my instinct had actually been right since I was doing 6 notes for a dotted eighth. YAY! So now that I had the trills in there I went back and am paying more attention to the dynamics and articulation. I wish I could just do it all together during the first reading but I guess that that will come with time. Sometimes I wonder if the reason I have to break things down like this is because I'm an adult learner, but I think that even the children don't get all aspects of the music correct right away. They too work on the reading first, then intonation, then sound, etc. Or at least I hope so haha. Well, practice makes perfect. The more I do this, the easier it will become.

I just got a call from the girl whose wedding I played at. She told me she got a home video of the ceremony from a relative and that my piece sounded great. I HAVE to see this for myself! I am definitely happy that she liked it since she was the one I wanted to please, but I know mistakes were made. Maybe they only caught the second half which was much better than the first? Regardless I am very curious about this video. Apparently they don't focus the camera on us at all since the bride and groom were lighting a candle at the time, but she says that the sound came out very clearly on the video (our church is cathedral style so there is a LOT of resonance in there). In fact, she even said that it made her tear up when she saw it. She said she wasn't able to appreciate it that day due to nerves and everything else going on. But she thanked me for playing the piece and said that she loved the effect it created. Cool. A satisfied customer is always a good thing.

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