All posts by hannahviolin

I am a violinist. I also enjoy running, working out, reading, and hanging with my friends and cat.

Friday

Today has been a really productive day so far–I practiced about 45 minutes of scales/arpeggios, then went to the gym.  Now it’s lunch with a friend, more practice, and rehearsal tonight.  I had grand plans of catching up with several of my friends whose partners are in CA with the SLSO (nice story here) but “unfortunately” I accepted some gigs and haven’t been able to.  (I use unfortunately in quotes, because, while I love hanging out with friends, I don’t have enough work as it is.  If the orchestra weren’t out of town this wouldn’t be an issue, but since people are gone, those remaining have made extra efforts to get together, and I haven’t been free.  Which is unfortunate.)

I’ve also had extra gym appointments this week with my trainer.  Each month he’s been running a little contest to win 4 extra sessions with him the following month.  Last month was to lose the most body fat percentage, and somehow I managed to win.  That meant that instead of seeing him twice a week, some weeks I was seeing him three or four times.  To answer your question, yes, I am now totally BUFF and in shape (not really, but getting closer!

I had a nice day teaching yesterday.  Several of my beginners are getting the twinkle variations in really nice shape!  Of course they are at slightly different points, but (this always happens to me) I tend to subconsciously start clumping students together in repertoire, so in the past few weeks I’ve been moving three different students onto Twinkle Theme, and now one is previewing Lightly Row.  Exciting times indeed!  My adult students are doing well also–they are all at varying stages/places (ranging from beginners to advanced, Suzuki and non-Suzuki), and I always feel that the more I get to know them personally, or at least attain a basic level of comfort, the more productive our lessons are.

Tax Day

Tax day is traditionally an awful day for freelance musicians.  Not because we are bad at math or stupid (though that doesn’t help), but because we generally don’t get taxes taken out of our pay throughout the year.  (It usually takes us awhile to figure out that we should have been paying quarterly taxes.)  The other problem is that we TEND to not keep very good track of what money we have made (and spent!)–it’s easy to lose track if you don’t write stuff down, and we ARE musicians, you know, flighty and such.  However, I got my taxes done last week, so today I am just sitting pretty, and glad to not be panicking.

The weather this week is fantastic, and I just bought a new pair of running shoes yesterday.  I notice that many of my “facebook friends” have been training for marathons, half marathons and the like.  That’s not really my style (am more of the lazy sort), but it seems like such a cool thing.  I started thinking about it when I learned one gets a medal for finishing these races.  I haven’t gotten medals since Science Olympiad in middle school.  A few years ago  I was talking with my youngest sister Carrie about some award she had won in school, and after a few minutes, she says, “so have you won any awards lately?”  I don’t know if she was being snarky or trying to be polite, since adults tend not to win awards (nor have award opportunities, sadly), it was pretty funny.  So perhaps a racing medal, or a Nobel Prize would be a worthy goal.

I am excited for my gig on Sunday- Trans-Siberian Orchestra!  I have known many people who have played this gig, but I never have.  UNTIL NOW.  Wish me luck!  I also will be playing with the Quincy Symphony and a wedding…busy times indeed.

Busy!

I’m back in town, and now I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  I am playing with Quincy Symphony this week, which is just a big trek.  Between that, my class, my teaching, the gym (personal training ftw), practicing (hopefully!) and my pottery class (more later), I am just Miss Busy Bee.  Unfortunately my bank account doesn’t reflect all of my hard work 🙁

Chris is getting ready to go to California with the SLSO tomorrow!  Originally I was planning to go along, but I decided they were just too busy traveling for us to have a fun trip.  He got offered another one-year with the Symphony (4!), so I hope I can do New York with them next year instead (annual trip).

Off to class I go, ready to learn how to teach the Veracini Sonata from Book 8.

Lessons to learn for myself

Those are the delicious Chocolate Hot Cross Buns I made for my classes!  Originally hot cross buns contain such things as raisins and currants, but that sounded gross to me.  I wanted chocolate … and I discovered that in Australia and New Zealand, Hot cross buns (I can’t for the life of me figure out how I really should be capitalizing this…probably NOT doing so, but it just doesn’t seem right any way) can contain chocolate chips.  Needless to say, they were fantastic, AND my students loved them.

Today I played for Heidi Harris.  She gave me a lot of fantastic information to think about.  One of the things that struck me is how much she seems to practice using just open strings to get the proper bow feeling.  I have never been an open string type of practicer, but in my Suzuki pedagogy class Vera teaches us to teach our kids various passages with open strings, so why NOT do that myself?  Nobody ever really taught me how to practice, and since I’m not really that introspective with my own playing (I am more of a doer than a thinker) I just keep plugging away at the same things.  It’s funny, one would think I would give more thought to my practicing, (as I give lots of thought to many other things), but I don’t.  Probably because I really do dislike practicing.  It’s one of those things I DO (well, not regularly 😉 ) because I know I need to, but I have never been a huge practicer, nor have I ever enjoyed it.  The results are nice however! To sum up today’s lesson:  work on intonation, work on tone quality, and solidify rhythm.  Sounds an awful lot like what everybody tells me…just gotta do it now!  But the open string practicing is a new thing that I will be testing out.

Looking at today from a pedagogy standpoint, I really loved Heidi’s teaching style.  She was a positive yet critical teacher.  She made me feel good about myself and my playing, yet was able to be very critical and point out what (many things!) needed to be improved.  She told me HOW to improve them, HOW to practice, what I should be aiming for, and made me feel like this was all very possible with practice.  I feel like that really covered everything I needed today!

I’m going to bug a few more people in the next month to listen to me.  I also recorded today’s lesson on my new recording toy.  We’ll see how things go!

Solo Violin for Weddings

A potential client asked me the other day if it was better to have more than one player for a wedding.  For instance, is a solo violin enough?  My answer is that it really depends on what you want.  I can play by myself and I’m sure it will be fantastic–I have certainly received many compliments on solo violin performances.  However, if your budget can manage, I think it’s better to have two or more players.  Think of it like this:  would you prefer solo singer, or a singer with guitar or piano?  Melodies are great, but melody with harmony is even better.  However, better to have that nice melody than nothing (or that “canned” sound from a recording;)  ).  So that’s my two cents.  In the next month, I have two solo weddings booked right now, so that certainly says something!  And yes, I can play pretty much anything on solo violin that a group can do, and if not, I’ll make it work.