In a few weeks, I will be going to study Suzuki Book Four in Kansas. After completing the week, I’ll have my teacher training in Books 1 through 10! (I’m still pondering doing book 1 again in the near future, since it’s been a long time). I remember this time last year I was excited about going to Columbus for books 2/3. So much has happened since then–I would not have guessed I would complete a whole year of Suzuki Pedagogy Classes and learn SO much more about teaching children than I could have guessed. (Thanks to Carol Smith, and then of course, HUGE thanks to Vera McCoy-Sulentic for her generosity of time and spirit!). Plus, a few weeks ago, I was so tired, and couldn’t believe I had to attend an Institute still…but now I am recharged and ready to go! I know it will be a fantastic experience, and I look forward to meeting other teachers as well.
I can’t believe I’ve already played four weddings (well, technically three and a reception) this weekend. I was totally exhausted last night–our first wedding was pretty tough. It was a difficult situation with the organist/music director at the church, where it seemed that he was very bitter that we were there at all. It was unfortunate for him, I think, because I think a surprise collaboration can be a wonderful thing, but not everyone is as open minded as I am (or eager to meet new people).
The second wedding was fun, except (as is all too common) they wanted to set us up in the sun. It seems no matter how many times you go over these things with people, they still can’t believe you won’t actually go against your contract and play in direct sunlight (it was 90 degrees without the sun). Even a bit of sun can really put the instruments out of whack (which we had already), and if we don’t get shade, basically the polish would buckle, the instrument would melt at the seams (glue), not to mention likely broken strings, etc. The people gave us a little attitude, and then complained that we were too far away (not loud enough) after they refused to let us set up where we suggested (much closer and more shaded). Any potential clients reading this: we are experienced at this and usually can figure out a good place to be that will meet our requirements, unless there are no trees at all, in which case, we do need a tent of sorts. It’s not a question of us personally not wanting to play in the sun, it’s that our instruments would be destroyed in potentially a very short period of time.
The last gig was a reception–it was great fun! We played for about 2 1/2 hours and I got to do some new arrangements of pieces that I hadn’t played before. The company was great, and the client were just wonderful.
After my wedding this afternoon, I get to go relax at Maya Cafe. Chris is playing Death and the Maiden with some of his colleagues, and then some of our friends/colleagues are playing Tangos and other Latin Music there. It should be a fun evening! My friend Lisa Chong is organizing “Maya Cafe Sundays” and the restaurant has a special menu for the evening (opens at 6:30 pm, music starts at 8 pm, no cover).
Except me? One wedding down, four to go! Tonight’s was a nice ceremony at the Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park. I’m looking forward to attending a wedding there in a little over a month, but it was a beautiful evening tonight. Not too cold, not hot.
Tomorrow–two weddings and a reception, and Sunday another wedding. Then Sunday night I look forward to seeing friends perform at Maya Cafe again–Chris is playing a quartet, and some of my friends are doing some tangos and such. Should be fun, and they do have tasty margaritas there!
I went to have Nicaraguan food with a friend today. We went to Fritanga, and I really enjoyed it. It seems that plantains are the mainstay of Nicaraguan food (and I’m okay with that!). I’ve been taking advantage of my newly found free time by meeting various friends for lunch or dinner, getting a pedicure, and catching up on all the things I was putting off. It’s been a relaxing week, at least, though I’ve ended up being quite busy…odd combination.
It looks like next fall I might be much busier teaching. I’m hoping so! Busy is good, and I guess if I can’t do the performing I’d like to, I’ll teach more.
I love when I have a new treat to give out to my students. Today it was a new pack of little “push-pencils” to give away. They were a big hit! Usually I just do stickers, but lately I’ve been picking up a variety of different items at the “one spot” in Target. Anything to keep the kids happy!
After dinner and chatting with my friend for several hours, I have come to several conclusions: 1. Auditions are a terrible thing. 2. I need a new musical project. Ideas? I’m thinking a recital/chamber music type thing. Plus I need to organize all of my teaching materials from the year (I am running over with binders/books/notebooks from my pedagogy classes). Other ideas could include really working my way through a variety of etude books that might be effective for teaching with the added bonus of improving my own technique. Or maybe I should just buy a better mandolin and work on that? More pottery/other art projects? Write a book? Take better pictures? Make new friends?
I suppose now I’ll have more free time. Probably I’ll just end up sleeping a bit more, and maybe doing some cleaning 😉
I played for the SLSO this afternoon. I was (most likely) more prepared than ever before for an audition, but still, things went wrong during it…enough (I suppose) that naturally I didn’t advance. Story of my life. Just fyi, the next person I meet who asks if I play with the symphony (this happens on at least a weekly basis) might get killed with my bare hands. Or at least set on fire from a distance. (I’m totally kidding…)
The good thing that comes from auditions is that you get to see friends who come in from out of town. I’m looking forward to dinner with an old friend who is a violinist with the (potentially now-defunct) Charleston Symphony.
The bad thing about auditions, or perhaps it’s just St. Louis in general, is that again I feel like a complete failure. It’s really obnoxious, how this city keeps doing that to me. In Cleveland, I was surrounded by the most obnoxious, snottiest musicians,some of whom actually WERE often far better players than me and I felt fine. Here–constant failure. Maybe it’s that I feel like I don’t know the game here yet, and the goalposts aren’t set–they are different for different people, and it doesn’t seem to matter what I do, how I play, or who I know, I still get the shaft. Maybe I just miss playing in orchestra. It was one of the things I loved most in the world, and the whole reason I went into music as a career.
At least I have my students, right? The positive, shining light here–I have TWO different recitals in the next month to prepare them for (well, only one recital for each student). I am hoping for great success from all of them, and I know they will fantastic if they work hard and keep practicing.