Tonight my two violin classes (well, one is violin/cello) are performing at the school’s Arts Night. (St. Margaret of Scotland School, just fyi). I am playing piano to accompany them, which is always a bit terrifying for me. I took piano lessons growing up, but since then have not owned a piano nor do I have very good access to one for practicing, so it’s a bit scary! Luckily these accompaniment parts are pretty easy. I could probably get someone else to do it, but I don’t trust them to play with the group/lead the group the way I need it, and then what would I do? Conduct?
Hmm…there’s a more frightening thought!
My Suzuki class comes to a close on Tuesday. I’ve been working all day today on a take home final exam and also on finishing up my binder of work. It’s been a wonderful year learning about Suzuki Pedagogy with Vera McCoy-Sulentic at SIUE, and though I will be relieved to be done (and have a few hours each week back to myself), it has been a WONDERFUL experience. I have learned so much, and my students have certainly benefited in many ways.
Next on the learning docket-book 4 at Ottawa Institute in June. I need a break, but by then I’ll be ready to focus again, I hope!
Tomorrow is back to practicing and preparing my students for a variety of upcoming performances. I also have pottery class again, and should be able to pick up four pots that I glazed last week. I can’t wait!
As I wait at home to head off to my third wedding of the weekend, I would say that wedding season is in full swing. So far I’ve played with a duo, a quartet, and now a trio. Since it is also baseball season, I can’t help but make the correlation to hitting for the cycle–a single, double, triple, and home run all in one game. Perhaps playing a wedding “cycle” would be solo, duo, trio, and quartet, all in one weekend? Has anyone done that? I think it would be worthy of a trophy, or at least some sort of ribbon or homemade certificate or banner (perhaps a la print shop from the mid-80’s).
I played for a friend today, who mainly suggested I work on my intonation. I suppose it all boils down to that…it’s funny, because unless you are really well trained, you don’t really notice intonation, but the more you focus on it, the more out of tune stuff sounds. So it’s a self fulfilling prophecy–the more you listen, the worse it sounds. But it seems that more drones are in my future, and more scales and arpeggios too, methinks. Always gotta try to be more in tune.
Let me say a few words about my pottery class. I started about a month ago, taking a class at Krueger’s Pottery in Webster Groves with a couple of friends. I am not good with my hands (odd, yet, not odd), but I’m getting better… Tonight was the first night I felt like I was making progress, and tonight was ALSO the first night I got to take something home! Doing a new skill makes me think about what my adult violin students are going through. It’s so easy to want to give up when something gets difficult, and it’s easy to disparage yourself when you don’t get something right away. It’s really hard to be patient and know that the skill you are learning just takes practice. As a kid, you didn’t expect to be able to do stuff right away, often it took years and that was okay, that was expected. As an adult, you can generally accomplish the tasks or skills you want, so a new skill is truly a new challenge. I think it’s great to challenge oneself in a new way, and pottery is turning into a nice creative outlet for me! I hope I can continue to challenge myself in new and creative ways in the future.
I had a great time tonight watching some of my friends and colleagues play at Maya Cafe. Lisa Chong has set up a fantastic series there wherein people play on Sunday nights. It was great fun watching her play Steve Reich’s Violin Phase, and seeing Chris, Asako and others play some other great stuff. Congrats to all!
I understand my blog is reaching people I didn’t anticipate. Hope you are all enjoying reading it! It’s tough moving to a new city after living somewhere else for a long time, and it takes awhile to break into the scene.
I had a fun gig today playing Henry Mancini in Alton, Illinois. I am always struck by the beauty of this: you are driving on a country road and SUDDENLY you cross a gigantic bridge over either the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. I grew up in the country and love those “country” roads, but we didn’t have gigantic rivers that great writers (i.e. Mark Twain) wrote about. It always takes my breath away…it’s totally different than crossing the Mississippi on a numerous lane highway like 55–I barely notice on the interstate, but on little backroads, it’s just huge. And so gorgeous! I have been pondering various weekend trips to take this summer, wondering what there is in the area as far as getaways. I wonder if you, Dear Reader, have any thoughts for me?
Summer: What’s on the docket thus far, besides weddings and teaching. I’m doing a Suzuki Institute, and then probably doing a Chicago/Ohio week with my sister (to see a good friend who plays with Grant Park). But the boyfriend and I are working on plans, and open for suggestions. He’s thinking tropical (but not cruise 🙁 ) but I’m still brainstorming, just in case his idea doesn’t pan out.
Last night, I was a rock star! Who knew that Beethoven and Mozart could be greatly improved by adding lots of loudness (this is the classical musician in me talking)? Seriously though, the concert was really fun-not a greatly musically satisfying experience, but very exciting and adrenaline filled! It was a sort of rock musical/drama with a story involving the devil and Beethoven. The audience loved it, which is what really matters. I hope to play with the TSO again (maybe the Christmas show).