I met with Adam to go over the Villa Lobos piece. Two more weeks until concert time! I'm definitely going to record this and post it too - even if I do terribly!
We worked on a few spots that was causing me issues while Adam played Part 1 so I could become more comfortable with how my part fit in with others since I tend to freak out when I hear someone else playing something different. Normally, when that happens I freeze up and get lost because my brain assumes I've played something incorrectly so I quickly try to scan where everyone else is and get lost in the process. I've got to stop doing that! :( In this piece, there are so many interesting rhythms that I have to almost ignore what is going on around me.
VERBALIZE THE RHYTHM
I'm also not very strong at reading and playing rhythm (yet) so I've been having some issues playing the measure below because of triplets. I haven't quite figured out triplets yet... darn you triplets!
I've been counting "1 &, tri - ple it, tri - ple it, tri - ple it. Hold..." but my beats are still not quite matching up. I'm either too slow or too fast. I've even tried "1 &, two-oo-oo, three-ee-ee, four-or-or, five (hold and look up!)" for the passage below, but no luck. ..and yes, I had to highlight that fermata because I kept running over it! LOL! ...I'm sure the conductor probably didn't find that too funny. ;)
Anyway, we practiced this for a bit and Adam mentioned that I may just have to start "feeling the beat" and saying it aloud for a while until I can verbalize it. Obviously I'm not doing myself any good practicing it incorrectly numerous times without being able to verbalize it correctly since I'm just ingraining bad muscle memory in the process. So first things first - be able to verbalize the rhythm. I'll be working on that for awhile...
That measure is also a very powerful part in the piece so I need to use a lot more bow... not to mention work on my intonation, but I'll be happy just to get the rhythm for now. ;)
I'm also learning a lot while I work through this piece, like how to play harmonics in a song. I thought I knew how to play harmonics until I actually had to play it in music! Lol! I'm playing the top of the divisi below and those notes are mostly harmonics. I know that probably looks easy, but those rests are killing me! Again, I'm not very good reading rhythm (yet).
I like to darken the part I'm not playing and/or highlight the part I am playing because I have weak eyes and tend to jump to the wrong line. My music sheets tend to look really crazy, but it works for me. ;)
HIERARCHY OF BEATS
There are some fast runs (for me), which reminded me of something I learned a few months ago with Dr. G; that is, there is a "hierarchy of beats." Notes that are on a beat should be played more "convincingly" than those that are not.
So "convincingly" does NOT mean playing notes that fall on a beat more loudly, but that is what I am doing right now until I get that figured out. :)
Dr. G had explained knowing where the beat is located at all times is extremely important in ensemble playing, phrasing, staying together, etc. He also explained that is also one of the reasons why electronically generated music sometimes sound "weird" because the notes aren't played with varying importance.
Anyway, I was constantly getting lost until remembered this and then consciously started playing the note that fell on a beat much louder. I even circled and drew a line through the note to remind myself to play the note more convincingly. This has helped me with regards to being able to stay with the music and not get lost - although I do still get lost, but not as much as before!
I've also discovered that I'm much slower playing with extensions than I am shifting to another position. I'm not that familiar with 3rd position so I've really had to work on getting my intonation and geography, which is still a work in progress.
Wow, lots to work on... I'm really curious how this concert is going to turn out for me!
I mentioned to my husband that I would be happy not being the weakest link and being able to perform without people being able to tell that I am messing up. He jokingly replied, "glad you're setting such lofty goals for yourself!" ..hhmm.. I guess I should rethink my goals!