All posts by hannahviolin

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

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.

Finger troubles/recording

I have been plagued all week by a hurt left index finger.  This happened to me about a year ago, and I don’t know why.  I assume I am producing too much tension in that finger, perhaps from my vibrato, but it seems to just come on suddenly with no warning.  I was hoping to be back into a practicing schedule by today, but I made a small effort and decided I shouldn’t push it.  I feel like this is the story of my life…practice, make some progress, oops, injury time, take four steps back.

After putting away the old fiddle, I decided I really needed to just DO IT and ordered a digital recorder from Amazon.com.  I have been meaning to get something to record myself for several years.  Previously I used a tape recorder, but in this day and age, there is no excuse to NOT have a digital recorder, particularly when the prices are just not that bad for what you get.  I think this will help my playing, and also just be great to have on hand for a variety of reasons.  Nothing tells me I sound terrible better than listening to myself!

Yesterday I taught for about five hours up at SIUE.  I was a sub for the tour group (a fabulous group of advanced Suzuki students, high schoolers) and several private students.  It was a nice change from the beginners I am used to at home (no offense, guys!!).  I think I relate to teenagers better than young children–I assume it is because I recall being a teenager easier than I recall being a child…and since most of what I do is based on my own experiences, that makes sense.  In any case, I had been sort of dreading the morning, thinking it would be both exhausted and terrifying, I ended up really enjoying myself, and the rest of the day really felt like a real, useful member of society again!  Next week I am subbing for a different teacher, but for less time.  I will be teaching a bona fide Suzuki group class again, however, so I’ll be a bit terrified about that, as my loyal readers know!

I haven’t been watching as much NCAA basketball as I sometimes do, but I must say I enjoyed the Kansas upset last night!  I didn’t do a bracket this year because I just really hadn’t been following the regular season, but I wonder if I would have put Kansas in final four?  Either way, I certainly wouldn’t have predicted what happened.  On a related note, what if orchestra auditions were done via bracket style, single elimination?  Or…are they?

Musicians are great cooks!

I wanted to show off my fantastic bacon, egg, and cheese bread.  I made this for a potluck the other day.  It was time consuming yet delicious.  My trainer wanted the recipe after hearing me describe it, that’s how good it sounds!  (I told him it was NOT my fault if he ended up getting fat from it.)  Caveat:  I am not that great at taking photographs.  I need to figure out some settings on my camera.  (puts on to-do list….)

Musicians are great at eating and cooking, and the potluck was a great success.  In addition to my bacon bread, there was macaroni and cheese, a delicious beet salad with feta cheese, and quite a few other things.  For dessert we had cupcakes, shortbread espresso cookies, brownies, and angel food cake.  WOW!

Tonight was the Stephen Prina concert at the Contemporary Art Museum with Chamber Project St. Louis.  It was a success, I think?  I enjoyed playing with the group, and perhaps will do so in the future again, if they ever need a violinist again 😉

I signed up for a pottery class with a few friends.  I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty and doing something artistic away from music!  We musicians generally have trouble finding the time for hobbies, but many of my friends and colleagues here have fantastic hobbies and lives outside of music, and I find them very inspiring!  Now I just need to return to my mandolin practice…or buy a better mandolin (step one?)

We got a great review for the most recent Winter Opera St. Louis performance!  Granted, what do they know 😉  but it’s still nice to have good publicity.  Our season is done for now (as the Winter is over…well in a few days at least), but good reviews are good for business.  Crazy world we live in…(tongue in cheek, of course, dear Readers!).  I had a great time playing, and look forward to next season.

Gianni Schicchi

We had two great performances of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi over the weekend.  We being the “Winter Opera St. Louis” or perhaps the New Opera St. Louis, but I think we’re officially supposed to go with Winter Opera.  It was fun!  The best part was that the entire opera was in one act and took about one hour to perform.  Usually it is performed with two other one act operas, but I’m glad it wasn’t.  It was great fun to play and the singers were fantastic, particularly the man who sang the lead.  Instead of performing at Missouri Baptist University, these shows were at St. Ambrose (on the hill).  My boyfriend was finally able to attend (he had always had his own performances during previous shows) so I was glad of that!  I certainly see him perform enough 😉

The Suzuki workshop at Webster was just great.  I learned so much watching Gabe Bolkosky (and a few other teachers, including my trainer, Vera McCoy-Sulentic–then again I always learn a lot from her 😉 ) teach a bunch of group classes.  As readers of this blog know, I get very stressed about group classes.  The best part was, a few days ago, I dreamt I was teaching a group class, AND it went fantastically!  The children were well behaved, and I had all kinds of fantastic new ideas.  Unfortunately…I woke up and didn’t remember any of those ideas.  Oops.  But back to the workshop–as with all Suzuki events such as this, I left feeling very inspired and full of new ideas!  I’ve decided to attend the Ottawa Suzuki Institute in June to finish my training (I’ll be lacking book four), and I know that will be fantastic as well.

Performance wise it has been a busy few weeks, and there’s still more to come!  Our quartet concert went wonderfully, and now I am in the middle of rehearsing for a concert Thursday night at the Contemporary Museum of Art with Chamber Project St. Louis.  I’m excited and honored to be playing with them!

I am currently making a delicious loaf of bread for a potluck tomorrow.  Tonight was the first time I was able to use my Christmas present of an AWESOME Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  Right after I got it, I went on a diet 🙁 but finally I used it!  It’s a bacon, egg, and cheese bread, and no, it’s not in the least bit healthy.   I can’t wait!

I have been trying to practice more, but unfortunately today my darn index finger started acting up (again) at the base.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.  My good bow is currently in the shop, so I suppose I’ll take it easy until I get that back, and hopefully the finger will heal.  This is why I can’t have nice things 🙁

Videotaping/post chamber music recital

The group class teaching went pretty well!  I was, of course, terrified, but I did pretty well not showing it.  I had a decent time teaching, and PERHAPS even had fun at times.  My biggest problem was that I actually ran out of activities.  Next time I need about twice as many ideas, and then perhaps I won’t get to all of them.  I suppose that comes with experience.

Our recital went pretty well too.  It ended up being very stressful, but we had an appreciative crowd, and I feel great knowing I have now organized and presented my first concert.  Next time I need to allow more time for planning/rehearsing, since things kept going wrong–trouble getting music, blizzards, etc.

Moral of story:  Need more ideas, need more time.

This weekend is the Suzuki Workshop at CMS–I’ll be observing, and look forward to sharing some things that I learn!

Candle thingys

I played a nice wedding over the weekend.  They had these cool flower/candle that looked like a lantern thingys on the end of each aisle. I loved that the wedding wasn’t overdone, and was just nice and tasteful.  It was just me and my friend Ranya, and I think we did a lovely job with the music as well 😉   I don’t usually notice decorations and stuff like that, so either the flowers were really cool or I’m getting to be in THAT way regarding weddings.  We won’t talk about that here right now.

Ice dancing is almost like ice skating…except just not as cool.  I wonder if it’s like playing violin but never learning how to shift past third position?  (insert viola joke here).  Less classical music as well, and I just don’t enjoy it as much.  Sorry!

This week is Mozart Requiem with the SLSO.  I’m planning to go.  It reminds me of the last time I played Mozart Requiem…ah…the Cayman Islands.  That was the luckiest gig of my life, I think.  I went there, played, had a fantastic time, and then the next year they asked different people to go and that sucked, but I guess, hey, at least I got one trip out of it!  I need to be more grateful about what I have and have had, rather than dwelling on things I wish I had.