Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lesson #58 (03/30/12): Minuet in C & Bowing

For the past week or so, I've been trying to increase my volume, and I seemed to have achieved it, but I noticed that my tone and quality of sound completely went down the toilet! :(.

I was complaining to my co-worker about this, and he commented that he'd rather have good tone than volume any day of the week! Which got me thinking, and I came to a realization - that maybe my teacher was not looking for volume per se, but the rich tonal quality that blossoms into a sound that expands and therefore has more volume. Or, maybe this is what Adam tried to explain to me and it's finally sunk in!

And maybe, trying to create volume, is the first step to expanding tonal quality? I tried playing really loud which sounded atrocious (very harsh and grating to my ears), than I tried getting the same volume but with better tone and kept going back and forth to try and find a balance between the two. I noticed that every time I tried to get better tonal quality, my sound seemed to dissipate and I couldn't quite get it to have the same volume. It was an interesting experiment, one that didn't quite work, but I think I'm moving in the right direction.

Lesson Notes:

Minuet in C
  • Going into the lesson, I knew this piece was going to sound harsh, albeit more volume, which was the case! So we worked on bow location and stacatto. 
Bow Location
  • More weight less bow 
  • Try in different spots 
  • String crossings
    • From D String to A String
    • Transfer weight across the strings 
    • On A string, a small impulse on as to get it to move and more weight
    • For now the rotation is fine, but later we should work on getting it to be less obvious
  • Exercise #1
    • Sequentially go down the string to get different sounds 
  • Motion in the 1st finger 
  • Then arm 
  • It feels like tricep stops the bow to hit a break, almost feels like leading with the elno 
  • Start impulse with first finger 
Work on getting constant contact with bow and string to create more of an articulation sound. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lesson #57 (Jazz #14 03/18/12): Intonation

During this lesson we worked on intonation, and went over just intonation versus equal temperament.

He said a good rule of thumb when working in a duet, is to first tune to open strings D, G, A and then C. I think he said that D had the strongest resonance in a cello and I should always pay attention to make sure my cello is resonating to get the best sound, so adjusting to the D before the G is better.

We went through Country Dance and we drew little arrows to show whether it was supposed to be played a little lower or higher. He admitted that it's tedious work to go through note by note, but after awhile I should start remembering if the note should be played a little higher or lower with respect to the other notes. I don’t think I’m good enough to adjust each note when I need to, but it definitely is good practice and its good to know / hear when the notes are off and why they are.

When I was listening to the duet practice recording, I thought we sounded pretty out of tune, but I was listening to my cello and it was resonating fairly well so I didn't think I was off, but with respect to the other note I was!

Clayton recommended that I play these pieces against a drone, which I have been, but I wasn't able to hear and recognize when I was off. Especially B flat against the open D string since haven't played any pieces with B flat before.

1) Continue working on intervals – 10 min a day
  • I seem to hear 'Increasing Intervals with Prime, 3rds, 5ths and Octaves,' but for some reason I can't recognize them in Decreasing Intervals! I asked Clayton if there was a way to recognize this easier, and he said I just had to practice it, and to stop working on Increasing Intervals and focus on Decreasing Intervals! He said specifically for me since I don't have a lot of time I need to focus on things I don't do well in. How did he know I wasn't practicing Decreasing Intervals as much? LOL! 
  • I started a log to track what I was getting correct, so hopefully by the end of the month I'll have tangible proof that I'm getting better. Although I am able to start recognizing things now, which is pretty cool. 

2) Jamey Aebersold’s The II-V7-I Progression Vol 3
  • Read through the book
  • Work on pages 25 & 26 
  • Listen for intervals and chord changes, follow along first
  • Try to play along
  • Play the arpeggios (the blackened in notes)

3) Jamey Aebersold's Nothin But Blues work on page 29
  • Read through book
  • Follow along and try to recognize and hear the chord changes
  • Try to play-along to the CD

4) Work on intonation with duets 
  • Use a drone
  • Really listen to see if the notes are in tune 
  • Play double stops 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lesson #56 (03/17/12): Minuet No. 2

We worked on Minuet No. 2, which I was having the same issues in Minuet in C, but surprisingly enough, the small shift to second didn't cause a huge problem for me! Go figure! :).

Lesson Notes:

1) During this lesson I was getting a skating sound throughout this piece, which I've been working on adding more weight and getting more contact between the string and bow for a while now, so we covered some of the same info:
  • Make sure my arm is hanging and the weight is being transferred to the strings. 
  • Adam thinks there may be an imbalance between the pointer and my first finger - although I don't remember why that was... Also, I need to make sure my whole arm and hand is involved in the motion - I seem to have more wrist action than whole arm action.
  • He recommended that I think about: 
    • Staying on the string the entire time and not lifting my bow, and to really make a point and emphasize having the bow on the string at all times
    • Watch where the bow is located and keep it in the center at all times (for now), so I can work on getting my sound to be consistent and my volume to be louder. 
    • Also to think about how it felt when I did the articulation in Etude because it should have a similar feeling, i.e. I should be making sure that I am able to grab the string, the weight is there, the bow is being pulled horizontally, and the difference is just not releasing the string. Also, I should feel comfortable and feel that I am able to grab the string before moving on to the next note.  
  • Exercise #1: go ...r e a l l y  s l o w l y... note-by-note
    • Adam instructed during this exercise that I don't go to the next note until the first note is ringing and I feel comfortable with that note. Then add the next note. However, I need to start over if the note doesn't sound good or doesn't have the same tone as the other note. Once I get that correct, repeat a minimum of 3x to make sure I have it, this way I can get it into muscle memory. I should not move on as soon as I think I get it correct. So I'm literally building it note by correct note.
  • Exercise #2: smaller string crossings
    • My string crossings seem to have really huge movement, and not very clean either! So Adam recommended that when I do string crossings, that I should have the "feeling" that it's a small movement, which right now, I definitely think it "feels" like a fairly big movement and that I have to move my entire arm more than what is probably needed. 
    • He also instructed that I take each string crossing and make it as small as possible to find out how small a movement I need to make a successful string crossing without bumping the other string. I should pay attention to how that feels when that happens, and adjust accordingly. 

Measures to work on:
  • Measure 1,4,9, 11
    • Do these measures really slowly and make sure the string crossings are clean with good bow contact.
    • Make sure whole arm lowers, and I'm not just using my wrist. 
      • I’m was keeping my elbow height the same so the weight wasn't getting transferred to the string
  • Measure 15, 23, 39: Triple slurs
    • I was playing these triples too slowly and not equally. It's really hard for me to make the notes even in a slur! Too many things going on at the same time I suppose... 
  • Measure 29 & 30: smooth slurs
    • Remember to give the full beat in the first note and not to cut it off. 
    • Make sure that the two notes are seamless and smooth, unlike the other slurs where it's okay to have it articulated. 

Since it's already Wednesday, and I had my lesson on Sunday, I've had some time to work on this piece and get it memorized (though not that very well), since I've had to pay attention to my bow location at all times. But I have to say, it's definitely coming along! :).

I have to admit during one of my practices, I was a little frustrated working on this piece, and thought, "...more volume, okay you've got it!" and totally laid into my cello! Lol! :). Surprisingly, I had an epiphany, when I was "going at it" and not worrying about how bad and harsh I sounded, I finally felt how heavy the "weight of my arm" could actually be! My poor cello... I LOVE my cello, the poor thing! <3.

Anyway, after that I seem to have gotten more volume, although I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly. Hopefully, I'm not pushing down on my bow because it's a little harsh sounding right now, although it feels different than when I "normally push down" on my bow because I can feel it from my shoulders instead of my forearms and wrist - I don't know...we shall see during the next lesson...

Anyway, hopefully by my next lesson this piece will sound a lot better than it did during this lesson, which was frustratingly horrible!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Practice Log #14: Happy Farmer (after 55 lessons)

It may be awhile before I post another practice video (maybe 2-3 months) since my other evening class starts this Tuesday, and tax season is upon us so I'll be fairly busy at work, and I have some additional dance commitments as well... Why do I keep taking on more projects when I don't have enough time as it is...ugh!

I purchased a mini-microphone for $1.85 for my iphone so the audio sounds a bit better, or maybe I'm playing louder - I hope it's the latter! ;).

Anyway, here's my Happy Farmer video:

Items to work on:
1) I'm rushing through this and not pausing where I should be
2) I was working on articulation, but it sounds a bit harsh to me and the sound is pretty closed
3) My bow is all over the place! I didn't realize I was doing that...
4) I look very tense, and I can see that I am pushing down on the bow a bit instead of pulling the bow across horizontally
5) Flat in a few spots - I need to remember to stretch my pinky further out

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lesson #55 (Jazz #13 3/11/12): Jazz Plan & Duets ( Fanfare Minuet and Country Dance)

Lesson Notes:

  • Now that I know what I'll be doing with the jazz group, we discussed putting together a plan to start working on aspects of it during our lessons. So far, everything I've learned seems to be compartmentalized with no underlying tie to each other, which Clayton mentioned should actually be very connected to each other. 
  • Next week, we'll start going over the Blues Scale progression from Jamey Aebersold's book. I told him that I was in no rush to learn/play jazz since it seems to be really difficult for me, and when it finally sinks in - it'll just happen and click - no rush. :).

Fanfare Minuet
I told Clayton that my co-worker Mike and I had decided on playing duets together out of Carl Fischer's Progressive Duets Volume 1. He said that was a good idea and good practice for us too. I recorded Adam playing the two duets, but he wasn't available this weekend so I went over it with Clayton since I'll be practicing this with Mike on Friday.

A few corrections in bowing and notes in this piece. I thought this would be a fairly straight forward and easy piece to play, but Clayton mentioned there are always things to work on, which for this piece there was A LOT! Although it was really fun playing the duets with him. :D.
  • Measure 5 & 6: I was rushing through the first note and playing the second note before Clayton finished his part. He said that when I play with other people it's really important to listen to what the other person is doing. 
    • Unfortunately, I wasn't very comfortable with this piece so it was kind of hard listening to him play while playing my part. I guess that's a good indicator that I still need a lot of work on this piece!
  • Missed notations 
    • I definitely missed a lot of notations in this piece as well.  I've been practicing B instead of B flat! 
      • I haven't really been practicing extensions either so this was a little difficult to do, which was also throwing off the rest of my fingering, like making my G on the D string flat. 
    • D.C. al Fine - I didn't know what this meant since it hadn't shown up in Suzuki Book 1 yet, which simply means start at the top (beginning) and play until I see the notation Fine
  • Bowing
    • Clayton warned that he could hear that I was pushing down on the bow, instead of moving the bow horizontally because the sound wasn't as open. He said I had improved but to continue working on this. 
    • Make sure that I play the dotted notes with the correct bowing - I was so focused on trying to find all the B flats and getting the extensions correct that I completely forgot to do the bowing for this!
    • Bow distribution:
      • Measure 3: stay at the tip of the bow so in the next measure I have most of the bow to use. 
      • Measure 7: get more comfortable with this bowing, play it with the bow only and the add the left hand.
      • Measure 10: alternate between up and down bowing, instead up doing two up bows.
  • Dynamics/Feeling 
    • Think: majestic, trumpets blaring, fanfare, excited people in attendance, lots of energy...  
    • Use more bow! 
      • Transfer the excitement and energy to my bow.
  • Extensions
    • For this piece, watch my fourth finger G on the D string and then just move my first finger to the B flat in an extension. I shouldn't have to make any gross movements with my elbow or hand, the feeling should just be my first finger reaching up to get that note.
    • He said watch out for my hand going tense when doing an extension - it's common for beginners to tense up their hand when playing double stops (that would be me!).  
  • Double Stops - Clayton highly advocates double stops as it provides a way to test to see if I'm in tune and creates 'hand positions,' which will be helpful in the future. 
    • For this piece, leave the fourth finger G while extending to B flat (I think he said it was a minor third, but my memory is failing me). 
  • Intonation
    • When checking my intonation, don't push down on the bow when playing to strings, just rest the bow & draw/pull the bow to get the sound.  
    • I've been checking my fourth finger with the lower open strings to check my intonation, but Clayton would like me to start checking other fingers as well. For this piece, I can check: 
      • Second finger F with open A string 
      • B flat with 4th finger G
    • Watch out for open notes when playing duets: these will be dead giveaways whether we are in tune or not. 

Country Dance
  • This can be played with more energy or more light and smooth, Clayton thinks since its by Schubert that its probably more on the smoother side with more connected notes. 
    • He said to think about a nice picnic in the country side with nice fluffy clouds. He always provides great imagery before we start a piece, and I always find it to be totally silly and fun, but it always works! Lol! ;). Everything just sounds different when I think of something first before playing. 
  • Don't rush the notes, I was playing the beat on 2 instead of on 'and':  1 & 2 & 3
  • Dynamics
    • I totally played straight through the dynamics in the beginning of the first section (soft) and continued everything in forte, and then missed the crescendo in measure 13. 
  • Overall this was quite a bit easier to play than the first piece since it was in G Major with no extensions. 

I recorded Clayton doing the next two pieces The Red Sarafan and Step Dance.
We didn't play this together, but he said to watch for the dynamics and notations, especially for Red Sarafan.
For Step Dance measures 25, 26, 30 and 31 he suggested that I work on my faster bowing (either off the string or on), but for the other measures the bow had to stay on the string.

Wow, the time just flew by during this lesson! :).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lesson #54 (3/4/12): Minuet & Duet

I'm trying to post my entries in a more timely manners so concepts sink in better. Now that we're working on Bach's Minuet in C and Minuet No. 2, I think I'll post Happy Farmer in the next couple of days, probably Wednesday since I didn't have time tonight because of class and I have a dance class tomorrow after work.

Lesson Notes:

Bach's Minuet in C
  • My bowing has become really light again, not sure bowing was getting much more relaxed on Etude and Happy Farmer but lighted up again in this piece. I need to remember to rest my bow on the strings to keep constant contact between the string and bow. 
    • I think it may be because during the previous pieces I was concentrating on my elbow level so I was getting better bow contact with the string, but when I started learning this piece my focus turned to my left hand so my bowing kind of went crazy again. Hmm.....I'm going to have to to test that out later.
  • Intonation
    • My C on the G string was constantly flat. I could hear it was flat, but kept missing it each time! I've got to remember to stretch my pinky a little bit farther or rotate my upper torso more.
  • Keep same tone/feel throughout string changes
    • Make sure the notes on my A string match the tone of the rest of the notes on the D & G strings, i.e. I played the notes on the A string so they really stuck out and was really obviously I did a string change since it had a different tone and volume then the rest of the other notes. 
      • Adam mentioned that phrasing shouldn't be based on my hand position or bowing (or lack thereof), but rather how I would like it to sound, and right now my phrasing is being determined by what I am able to do with my fingering and bowing. 
  • Smoother more connected bowing
    • More connected bowing, though not quite legato, but so there is less of a pause between the notes so it sounds like one long phrase - kind of like this run on sentence...  
      • Bach should have the feeling of very connected notes with nice flowing phrasing.
    • I have to think about not stopping the bow and having a continuous smooth arm motion to make the notes sound more connected. Adam mentioned that I could accomplish this by prepping my left hand sooner for string changes. 
      • While I'm bowing on the D string, I can move my 1st & 2nd finger to the A string while leaving my elbow at the D string level. Then with the left hand, move my 1st & 2nd finger on to the A string. Make sure my fingers are curved, and then once I bow on the A string, I can adjust the level of my elbow to the correct A string level. This should create a more seamless string crossing. 
  • Specific measures that I need to work on:
    • Measure 17: My fingering wasn't very clean and my bow wasn't resting completely on the string either, so I was getting a fairly ugly sound in this measure! Yikes..
    • Measure 2: Should be louder, with a crescendo. Work on phrasing. 
  • We played this together after going over the piece, and my tone sounded a lot better when Adam played the accompaniment with me.  I was using a much "heavier" bow stroke to match his tone and volume which seemed to fix my overly-light bowing.  However, I could tell my timing was off because I was ending my notes sooner than he was, and I was a bit off in intonation. 
  • Overall, I really like this piece and can't wait until I get this more polished! :).

Duet (Country Dance) 
  • My coworker and I decided to start playing duets together so we could get some practice with playing with other people. We had actually played a couple of Suzuki pieces at work a few weeks ago, and it sounded fairly decent, although the receptionist next door complained that she could hear us! Lol! ;). Anyway, we have to find a place outside of work to practice the duets. 
  • This has 3/4 timing but has a pickup in the beginning. However, Adam recommended playing it differently that what is written to get a different rhythm and feel. 
    • He recommended that I feel it on the 1 instead of counting it out as three beats, so I feel the gestures instead of counting it out.

No lesson with Adam next week since he's busy, so my assignment for the next two weeks is to:  
  1. Make sure bow contact is consistent over the strings which may mean a little weight on the upper strings, i.e. as long as I make sure the bow hair wraps around the strings and I don't get a skating sound.
  2. Keep working on the intonation - make sure I can hear the ring in my 4th finger notes on each string.
  3. With Minuet in C, Adam wants me to keep the space between notes at a minimum. For now, he would like it minimal since it's easier to put the space back in rather than taking it out. Prepping my left hand earlier before the string crossing will help make it smoother.
  4. Work on Minuet 2 and try to make it as clean as possible, with a nice articulated sound and no wishy washy floating bows.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baroque Dance Workshop

I attended a Baroque dance workshop on Saturday that Clayton had recommended so I could learn how to feel the rhythm of the Bach minuets that I was working on in the Suzuki books. I also happened to run into my teacher Adam and his fiance there, and my co-worker's teacher as well! She was a very cool person to meet! :).

For me, it was a very fun workshop, we learned how to dance a Minuet, Bourre and Gavotte. Although my husband was complaining a lot!
  • He complained that the instructor wasn't "counting in" correctly (dancers count in 5-6-7-8 and musicians count in 1-2-3) and was also showing the lead's footwork incorrectly, i.e. she kept changing the steps for the lead's footwork. 
  • Also, it's common knowledge for an instructor to use the terminology "lead" and "follow" instead of "man" and "women" in partner dancing because a "lead" can be either a man or women and vice verse, but the instructor wasn't using using the norm. I suspect the instructor was a musician first and a dancer second.
  • At one point my husband commented rather loudly that the musicians should play a few short measures before starting the piece so we would know when to start dancing, and the instructor overheard and asked the musicians to do so (my husband is a loud mouth...*sigh*).

Although, ask any musicians or bands who play for partner/social dancers regularly, and they will agree that it is quite different playing for partner or social dancers than people who just listen to music.
For one, pieces need to stay fairly short, because dancers don't want to be stuck with the same person for a long length of time and the average person doesn't have great stamina. Too many slow pieces, and the energy on the dance floor dies. Also, there has to be tempo changes between sets or pieces, otherwise playing five or six fast tempo pieces is a sure fire way to clear the dance floor. Since these pieces were played primarily for social dancing, I wonder if those factors affected how those pieces were created.
  • I would suspect it would, since wearing wigs, heavy clothing (dresses with petticoats, etc), heavy perfume (no deodorant), no air conditioning, etc. would be fairly uncomfortable.
    • Ugh - I would have hated to live in that time period! Although the idea of the grandeur, ornamentation, and "lavish" lifestyle does have a romantic appeal to me! :).
  • I would also suspect the faster tempo'd pieces were to test the ability of the dancers, like it does currently, since only dancers with good technique can dance to faster pieces. I think the instructor mentioned that the pieces were danced by nobility in court, so I think it would be safe to assume that it would be a way for them to show off their skills and gain respect from their peers and court officials.
    • In Lindy Hop if a couple can dance to a song that is 200+ bps, than they're considered to be an advanced dancer or if an individual can dance to a fast tempo doing solo Charleston footwork and movement . 
  • I think these dances were mostly a social dance, so I'm not sure when these dances branched off to become solo movement, e.g. ballet.
    • For Lindy Hop/Swing dancing, Charleston and Jazz movement is the solo counterpart of partner dancing, but it's very intertwined, as a couple can do Charleston and Jazz movement while partnering. 

Example of a couple's minuet:

The instructor also kept saying, "look at your partner!" Very obvious to partner dancers, but to someone who has never danced a partner dance, a person looses a lot of connection when they are not looking at each other since connection between partners is made visually, physically and aurally.
  • A person can't be a great partner in partner-dancing unless they have good solo movement (mediocre - yes, great - no); however, a solo dancer can't be a good partner dancer if the don't have the skills or knowledge to create a connection, i.e. there is a lead-follow connection that most solo dancers have never experienced or know how to do well.
    • My husband joked, "just because we're dancing Baroque, doesn't mean your dancing needs to be broke!" since I wasn't doing any lead-follow connection, but I did at the end since my husband was giving dirty looks and getting grumpy! Lol! :). 
      • My husband and I don't work well together and are highly competitive, so we've always had to get different dance partners! :).

Ironically, the other day, I was complaining my "follow-arm" was hurting, and my husband commented that my identity was still that of a dancer and not a musician since I should have said, "ow, my bow arm!" Anyway, that was kind of a shock to me, since right now I'm more passionate about learning about the cello and my priority when practicing is cello first and dancing second, which is driving my husband nuts since he wants to go out to dance and I want to stay home and practice cello!

Lesson #53 (Jazz #12 3/4/12): Intervals, ear training, minuet

Yesterday, I met with Daniel, a musician/Lindy Hopper, to see what I need to do to prep to play with their jazz group. Since I was attending a Baroque dance workshop later that day, my husband and I met with him at his house to go over some information. 

  • Daniel had taken secondary lessons in jazz at Oberlin in the late eighties studying the guitar, though he didn't look much older than me (..hmmm..does he look young or am I looking older? ..aging sucks...). Anyway, he gave us some scales to work on and gave us an idea on what to expect during the sessions. I definitely wouldn't have been ready to jam with the rest of the musicians, but maybe in a month or so...we shall see...

It's kind of weird discovering that some individuals I've danced with socially are musicians! It makes me wonder how much a musician's knowledge affects their dancing. 
  • For me it's definitely helped become more musical, but I've also danced with musicians who were very unmusical and uncoordinated. Maybe hearing all of the intricacies can also have a negative effect. 
  • I wonder if that can be tested somehow - if a person is a dancer first and then takes up an instrument, or if a person plays an instrument first and then takes up dancing, which is affected the most? 
    • I would suspect learning how to dance first would make learning an instrument easier because physically a dancer would be more apt to know how to move their body to get the instrument to play what they wanted and they would be immersed in the dance culture, and thus the music. 
    • But, if one learned an instrument first, it doesn't necessarily mean that a musician will know how to move their body in a coordinated way and the focus may be towards hearing the music which may "override" their focus on their body movement and dancing. ...hmmm....I don't know...

Lesson Notes
I was also a little nervous during my lesson with Clayton after attending his recital, but not horribly so, though I made more mistakes than usual, and I couldn't stop saying "sorry" every time I messed up, which I've never done before! Lol! Okay, I was more than a little nervous... :). 

Ear Training
  • When we met with Daniel, he wanted to see whether we could hear if they were playing in a minor or major chords since it's important to recognize key changes. Clayton recommended that I do free exercises at:
    • We sat down in front of a computer for a bit and he walked me through some of the exercises and told me what to listen for:
      • Listen for the 3rd note which will tell me what type of scale it is 
      • Helpful tunes to associate with the different scales
        • 2nd (minor) = Jaws  
        • 2nd (major) = Happy Birthday
        • 4th = Here comes the Bride  
        • 5th (perfect) = Star Wars
        • 6th = NBC 
        • Minor 6th = The Entertainer 
      • Assignment: Clayton recommended I Google to see if there were any other songs to associate with the different intervals. Below are some websites that provide some other songs:
  • Assignment:
    • On the website work on 'Simple Intervals' with fixed root for 5 to10 min a day
    • Modes: to help in memorizing and hearing the scales, think of the scales in the descending order.with more and more notes being flattened
      • Major = (3rd note is major)
      • Mixolydian = (3rd note is major) 7th flattened 
      • Dorian = 2nd & 7th flattened
      • Aeoleoun = 2nd, 6th & 7th flattened 

      • For the last week, I had stopped visually using my tuner and just using the drone on it, so I warned Clayton that I would most likely be off on my intonation. My intonation was okay, but my tone was a bit off due to my blow placement.
        • Exercise 1: Tone
          • Play one note repeatedly and listen for the quality of tone 
          • Practice each individual note repeatedly in a short section
          • Then play that short section and make sure each note matches the quality of tone 
      • I was having issues playing a slurred triplet so Clayton also gave a an exercise to do. Playing the different lengths should make playing even notes easier. 
        • Exercise 2: Triplets 
          • Bow with 3 separate notes and then all three notes slurred
            • Long, short, short
            • Short, long, short 
            • Short, short, long
            • Even either long, long, long or short, short, short 

      Friday, March 2, 2012

      First recital attendance for one of my teachers

      I attended a Doctor of Musical Arts Chamber Recital yesterday for a pianist at the university so I could watch my teacher Clayton perform Trio in A Minor for Clarinet, cello, and piano, Op. 114. 

      It was the first time I'd watched my teacher perform and he was simply AMAZING! I mean...WOW...he was just...WOW... breathtaking...
      I can't wait to attend one of his own recitals so I can see exactly what he's capable of because he definitely was not playing too his full potential/capability. Not that he didn't play well (his technique was excellent and he sounded wonderful), but I had the feeling that he could have played a piece that was MUCH more difficult and with more abandon, and this was just child's play for him!

      Okay, I have to admit that sounded extremely biased with a bit of hero-worship thrown in! LOL! ;). But really, IMHO - being completely honest!

      Of course, I've heard him play during my lesson, but that doesn't count, since playing a drone or showing me how to play something doesn't show someone's true ability or their musicianship. Although I almost wish I hadn't seen this recital because now I think I may be a little bit intimidated by him!
      Ugh - if I start feeling anxious and nervous during my lessons with him I'm going to be really unhappy...

      What's interesting is that I didn't listen to classical music until I started playing the cello a year ago, so none of the pieces were familiar to me. However, I could recognize and hear when the rhythm was off and how good the musicians were by their body movement and how relaxed they were.

      For example, during the second performance with two pianists, a man and a women (I don't want to use names in case they stumble across my blog) played Concerto in D Minor for Two Pianos. I could tell the women was a much better pianist than the man because her posture and body movement was much more relaxed, and I also thought she was much more rhythmical. Later, I asked my husband what he thought and he said the women definitely outplayed the guy.
      My husband was familiar with the pieces played at the recital, has a better sense of rhythm than I do, and also has perfect pitch (yes, he's been tested). Not that he's an expert either, but if it's noticeable to a beginner newb like me, I wonder how noticeable it is in my own playing... ugh, that's a horrible thought! Yikes!

      Anyway, when my teacher played, his body movement was really relaxed and he also had that certain poise that individuals get when they're comfortable, confident and have developed the proper skills to attain the outcome(s) they want. I was kind of surprised that he had that quality - I knew he was good, but I didn't know he had reached that level! I don't see that poise of confidence with the skills to back it often...very unexpected...

      Clayton was definitely the best player out of the group, and I'm not just saying that because he's my teacher. I think I'd be more prone to criticism towards him because I expect more from my teachers! Lol! :). Actually there was 1 out of the 4 movements, I could tell he wasn't 'as comfortable' with because he was a little bit more "tense" and it wasn't because of the tempo either.

      Also, he is currently using his teacher's cello because he's waiting for his cello to be made, so I wonder what type of sound he'll gravitate towards once he receives his cello and gets it setup. He definitely produces a sound that is quite different than my other teacher Adam. Those two...they're so alike, yet so different! Comparing apples to oranges, or Yo-Yo Mas to Janos Starkers.

      Anyway, it was really fun seeing him in his element - Clayton never ceases to amaze me! Wow, very inspiring! Time to go practice some cello! :D