Chinese Proverb

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 2 (Monday): Cello Workshop

Wow, this was busy day! Although this morning, I was afraid I was going to get there late due to traffic, but I got there with 5 minutes to spare, although I couldn't make a Starbucks run and I was missing my coffee the entire day! Mountain Dew just doesn't work as well. I'm guess I'll just have to get up at 6am if I really want my coffee. *sigh*

9:00 Warmup Class
I thought we would be moving around doing exercises or something, but apparently not! :). We were given some new music and started right in. Did I mention I'm horrible at sight reading?

Anyway, unlike yesterday we were mixed in with kids which was a bit interesting. I was sitting next to one of my trio players (on my left) and a kiddo on my right, and this kid was really good! I was listening to him to figure out what note and bowing I was supposed to be doing! A little disconcerting how good he was but I didn't really let it get to me and tried to have fun despite the fact I was completely screwing up and missing a LOT of the notes. I kept making a lot of faces (not on purpose, I just tend to make faces when I screw up), and the teacher noticed and kept saying it was okay. Lol!! I got to stop doing that!! ;)

I have to admit, this was a difficult class because the teacher was teaching everything by ear - listen, watch, sing - now do!!
She finally allowed the adults to look at the sheet music by the end of the class period. Which by then, it was back to sight reading and trying to remember the sound and fingerings which confused me even more. :).

On a positive note, I finally learned how to "chop" on the cello!! Something I wanted to learn how to do since its used in jazz and folk songs. And also how to strum chords, we learned G, D, and A chords, something I couldn't do very well and need to practice some more.

Overall, very challenging, but I really enjoyed this class.

10:00 Chamber Coaching 
We started a bit late, since all of the adults including myself had to take a quick break before starting the Chamber coaching and we spent a lot of time chit chatting! :)

I'll be playing Musette for my chamber trio and am cello number two. I'm not sure why, but things didn't go as smoothly as it did yesterday. We worked on dynamics and matching each others bow strokes, and also trying to find where our partner was in the music. Our chamber coach would play something and we would have to find where she was in the music and join in to help us if we got lost during the performance.

Also, we practiced really listening to the other players so if a person did an extra note or is holding a note too long, we would be able to add an extra note or hold it longer so everyone ended at the same time.

11:00 Masterclass
This was my favorite class of the day! We started off by doing some wall stretches for our fingers and arms, which is good for the nerves running through the arm and hand. Then we worked on loosening our shoulders and aligning our bodies, making sure our feet were on the ground, good posture with our pelvis aligned correctly.

The three cellists who are in my trio were also in this masterclass, so Emily went first (changing everyone's name, just in case). She was working on Minuet No. 2 which I was also going to play for the masterclass, but changed my mind since she was doing it. She was having a lot of issues with bow crossing, the same issues that I have so it was nice seeing others struggled with it. Heather had us place the bow on the string and then tilt it to get to the A, from D drop the elbow to get to G and then pull the elbow back to get to C. She used a car analogy which really made it sink in.

Next up was Sharon, who was working on an etude. She knew specifically want she wanted to work on which was anxiety and performance. She would get flustered and would need to stop practicing or playing in front of someone. So Heather gave us some examples of what she did before a performance, which was not listening to any classical music before a performance to get her mind of that, know specific sections to warm up on before the performance, always practice scales before a performance.

Learning how to really focus so you're not distracted by others, so practicing with the t.v. or radio on. I joked that I wanted beta blockers and she mentioned that bananas have a good source of those. I'm definitely going to look into that one!! :)

Also, practicing in chunks because working through an entire piece at one time can get frustrating if one messed up and had to start over. Also, if you mess up in one section, she mentioned that starting a different or next section would "clean the slate" so you didn't mess up the entire piece only a specific section which can be less overwhelming for people.

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Orchestra
This was the part I was dreading. I wasn't able to get the pieces down very well, so I was afraid this would be a complete disaster. Fortunately, there were five parts and about 5-7 cellists in each section so I made sure I sat in the very back!

Allegro Spiritoso - this went fairly smoothly although the first few run throughs I got lost since I tend to get confused when I hear other people play something different and seeing people bow different things also throws me off! Fortunately, we didn't get to Section E which has the fast part with lots of shifts so it wasn't too bad....yet.

Chant & Fugue - ok, this was kind of a disaster. :). Emily and I sat together, she's also a beginner, and we struggled through this piece. A teacher noticed and sat between us and played alongside us so we could figure out what to do! Lol! ...yea, still dreading playing this one.

2:00 Individual Practice Time
After the orchestra session, I decided I wanted to work on the two orchestral pieces and found that I was able to play through them much more easily than when I had practiced at home and even during the previous class.

This place has REALLY nice practice rooms with windows!!! And, I sounded so much better in the practice room too! It definitely felt much better after practicing the pieces by myself. :)

3:00 Break 

4:00 Enrichment class 
Another piece of music and sight-reading! Wow, a total of FOUR pieces for orchestra, when I was only expecting two! However, this piece was easier than the first piece of music that we received in warm up class. I'm definitely getting in some practice on sight reading! ...yikes...

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