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).
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 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.