Chinese Proverb

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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Week 1 - Day 1 (Sunday (7/28): Orientation

I'll change the names as usual for participants, but may use teachers' names or initials.


I couldn't fall asleep the previous day, so I slept until around noon and woke up just in time for registration and lunch! :)

I was excited for the workshop to finally begin, and at Checkin I received the following items:

I was really impressed with the organization and quality of items I received. The folder contained information about each week, who my instructors were, a directory of participants from the camp, and a lot of other useful information. 

I heard that the organizers change the schedule year-to-year to accommodate requests so I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to post the schedule; and there are only so many permutations one can do to organize an all day event since one needs to work around breakfast, lunch and dinner. ...hhhhmmm... now that I think about it, the schedule is fairly similar (or the same) to the cello camp I attended in California the previous year.

I forgot to mention the previous day that I had started practicing scales on the cello to become familiar with the finger-spacing of the notes and discovered there was an open seam on the upper right bout. I wasn't 100% certain the seam was open until I gently tapped the surrounding area, which my luthier had taught me to do to check for open seams.

To determine if I have an open seam, gently tap around the cello and the sound should be "relatively the same." If not, there's an open seam.

Anyway, there was definitely a noticeable difference so I decided to inspect the cello further to make sure there wasn't anything else wrong with it. There were a few scratches, but no cracks or anything. I also noticed that the cello was very dusty (not sure why I missed that at the shop) and ended up wiping it down with a clean cloth. This got me a bit irritated that they provided me a cello that had an open seam and didn't even bother to take the time to wipe it down! It wasn't rosindust either, it was normal dust that had accumulated on the cello and was fairly thick too!
I get the fact that I'm a beginner and that most beginners don't mind (or miss the fact) that the cello has an open seam or is dusty, but come on, seriously?! Although in retrospect, I should have looked at the cello more closely at the shop... but still...

Lunch & Orientation:
Right after lunch we had orientation and Dorothy walked us through the schedule. I was a bit distracted and had developed a nagging headache that wasn't going away, so I didn't think to bring my folder with information to take down notes during the orientation, which got me in an even grumpier mood.

Free time:
I met with my private instructor for the week, LB and she looked over the cello and confirmed that the cello had an open seam. We also scheduled our 1 hour lessons every other day. I had missed the announcement that we were to meet with our instructors after orientation to figure out our schedule for our private lesson, so I was given the last slot since I missed the meeting. Fortunately, this happened to work out perfectly for me! I was really glad that the group had also decided against doing 30min lessons, which is never enough time for me to cover anything in detail.

LB suggested I contact the violin shop to see if they would pick up and replace the cello so I emailed them to see what they wanted me to do with the cello. I've heard some luthiers say that an open seam is okay for awhile, and the open seam didn't bother me since it wasn't rattling or making odd noises, but I also didn't want the seam to open further since I would be playing the cello at a minimum of 5 hours a day. Anyway, I continued to practice my scales to become more familiar with the cello, just in case.

I was a bit irked about the rental cello and was discussing it during dinner, when an organizer MC suggested that I borrow a cello from another participant (I'll call her "Marge") who had brought her other cello to sell. After dinner, I met up with Marge to borrow her cello.

Testing the two cellos below. On a positive note, I was able to test / play two cellos! :)

Nothing exciting about dinner, except introducing ourselves to other participants, but I honestly was not feeling up to it since I was feeling tired and grumpy, and my headache wasn't going away.

Lots of Popper pieces, which I loved! My favorite was Popper's Dance of the Elves performed by AE. It just looked so effortless... and fast! :) I didn't get a chance to video record it - although I'm not sure if the faculty would have allowed that.

Below is a video of Rostropovich playing the piece, which I had watched numerous times before.

This was the first time I had seen someone perform this piece live, so I was really excited to see it performed, and was also totally impressed with AE's performance too. The concert definitely put me in a much better mood.

I had some wine and cheese and crackers since dinner was at 5:30pm and it was already past 9pm. I normally don't eat dinner until late, so I was starving by the time the concert was over.

Impromptu play-in
During the reception I met Sheryl for the first time, who was one of the composers who provided arrangements for my cello group. It was really exciting to meet her after exchanging emails for more than a year! :)

Anyway, she organized a play-in in the "basement" and I was able to hang in there playing Part IV and was able to sightread most of the music. Although I have to admit I had played a few pieces before in my cello group. However, it became more difficult to sightread towards the end when the music became more difficult, and at the same time, I was getting more tired so couldn't concentrate as well - but it was an absolute blast! xD

Day one was an "easy" day to ease into the week, but I was definitely looking forward to the classes and learning more about the cello!

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