Chinese Proverb

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

Monday, July 8, 2013

Working on music for Cellospeak workshop

I finally started working on music last Saturday for the workshop, and I wish I wouldn't have procrastinated so badly because it's a LOT of music! 11 pieces of music to learn in three weeks.
...ugh... that's what I get for slacking off... :(

Music for Week 1:
Week 1 music is sight-readable, except for Hunter's Chorus since I'm terrible at rhythm. At first glance, for the most part, it looks "easy enough,"  which is great so I can work on ensemble skills (listening to others, working on dynamics, match bowing, etc). But now I think I may be over-thinking things and am starting to get a bit overwhelmed. It's also the case that I think that since this is on the "easier side" that the music should be perfectly polished, or at least fairly well practiced, and with my procrastination I don't think I can bring it up to that level.

Also, since it's on the easier side maybe I should be focusing on vibrato and different positions? ...but that would make things too difficult for me since there's a lot of music to learn.... Or if I just stay mostly first position, than it'll be on the "easier side"... but then again, I want to use the same fingerings as everyone else? ...see, way over-thinking things! :(

I always wondered why people got so confused regarding fingerings, and always heard the advice, "just stick to one fingering and practice that or you'll never get it."
I've noticed some beginner and intermediate cellists who would get fingerings from different teachers, and other cellists, and they definitely looked a bit confused. Now I totally understand where they're coming from!  Too many options!

I also got some great advice from Adam regarding what to do when given the option of playing. This was a few months ago when I was whinning about the fact the music was too difficult, and if "push comes to shove" I could simply drop out and not play specific pieces for the concert. He basically said not to think about that option because having "an out" meant that I wouldn't be practicing and preparing for the concert the way I would normally, and he was absolutely 100% correct! I definitely practiced and felt differently when I made the decision that I was going to play ALL of the music regardless if did well or not.

I applied this idea to the option of playing Part IV or Part V. I initially felt that if "push comes to shove," I could switch to Part V if I felt I wasn't going to be prepared for the workshop, which I now have mentally removed the option of playing Part V as a "backup plan." This definitely helped me because 1) it's less overwhelming with less music to look at and 2) I can really focus on the music. I figure if I fail in playing Part IV, then it's a learning experience and it won't happen again! ;). But if I chicken out and play Part V (when I already know I can play it), than I'm not stepping out of my comfort zone and missing a great learning opportunity!

Music for Week 1:
  • Hoedown & Chase - Hoedown may me a challenge depending on the tempo and has a lot of half position, and I think Chase uses a different bowing technique that I'm not too familiar with
  • Bach Sarabande - straight forward 
  • Bruckner Locus iste - straight forward 
  • Blue Bells of Scotland - I've played this before! :)
  • Weber's Hunter's Chorus - the most difficult out of this week's music because of the rhythm

Music for Week 2:
Week 2 music is a different story, this is more on the medium-difficult side. It's doable, but I need to practice this a lot. ...hmmm... actually now that I think about it, this may work out. I can focus on Week 2 music now, and work on Week 1 music while I'm there. ...dunno...  I have a lesson with Adam to go over the music tomorrow so we'll see what pieces need more work.

Music for Week 2:
  • Orange Blossom Special
  • Tchaikovsky - Serenade
  • Telemann - Four Airs for Four Celli 
  • Beethoven - Rondo from Symphony No. 7
  • Dvorak - Walzer 
  • Bach - Chorale and "Gute Nacht" from Jesu Meine Freude 

I'm looking forward to playing Chorale & Gute Nacht, which can be purchased from National Cello Institute. Another cello ensemble playing the piece below - it sounds beautiful!! :). I'm playing the easiest part (Part 3), but I think maybe I should not be using any open strings and use vibrato? ... ack, over-thinking everything...

I happened to find all, but the two commissioned pieces of music, and purchased them so I can have the score and possibly play them later - although I don't know if I'll receive some of them in time for the workshop since a few of them were out of stock. Maybe other attendees had the same idea as I did! :)

Anyway, I practiced an hour on Saturday and Sunday, and two hours today. I'm going to focus on one piece of music or one page of music a day (depending on difficulty) - otherwise jumping from one piece to another and working on a few sections at a time makes me feel like my practice wasn't productive. I think I'll try to record short excerpts of some of the music before I leave - that will get me motivated to work on the music more and maybe I can have a before and after video montage! lol!

I also need to figure out how I'm going to get there. Do I take a ride with my friend Susan who is also attending? This poses some problems since I'm already taking two weeks off from work so the two extra days to drive there means it will be unpaid, which is not good. Or do I fly Standby? But that means taking my cello would be difficult, which means I may need to rent a cello; and unfortunately, it looks like most of the cellos have been rented from the local shops that are supplying rental cellos at Cellospeak. ...ugh, talk about last minute again!

Kitty Socialization
Can't help but post about my kitties! :)
I need to start introducing Cello to more people so he isn't afraid of people. Snuggles is a people-cat and loves approaching new people, but Cello is a scaredy-cat. :) I don't think he was handled by people when he was with his litter. Cello also hides when he hears loud noises, so we've been keeping NPR radio on when we're not at home so he can get used to the sound of human voices and music playing. Surprisingly enough, it seems to be working! My two cats no longer run and hide when I practice, and also seems to be able to nap during my loud practice sessions. Although during my two hour practice today, neither kitties had the patience to listen to me for that long!

Cello taking a nap. 

My two kitties chillin on the couch with me!

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