Overthinking it plus viola

I recently started teaching a viola student.  I am having a lot of fun with it!  I don’t really play viola, nor do I own one, but I decided today I know exactly what I want.  Her viola is the same size as my violin–that’s what I need!  A viola the same size as my violin.  Then I can play the Walton Viola Concerto easily, without undue stretching.  (I can just imagine my boyfriend Chris’s reaction to that statement…NOT pleased–a bit of  a viola snob, he is…silly!).  My younger sister became a violist the other year (from violin) and I believe the Walton was her primary reason.  (Also, I think, doing something a bit different from her two older sisters).  I’ll add “small viola” to my list of instruments to buy!  (Mandolin being the other on the list, and of course, ultimately, a piano…)

I was really touched by the story about the Haitian violinist Romel Joseph today.  Here’s a link to the story.  I have no real words…just wow.

Follow up thought from earlier post:  No matter how I act, not everyone is going to like me.   Since I work primarily in a service oriented field (music for hire, or music lessons for hire) I spend much of my day acting in a way that I perceive to be “appropriate.”  I want people to want to hire me to play, and I want to do that by acting in a most professional manner.  Then I see other people (primarily Males, of course) who don’t worry in the slightest about being easy to get along with or nice, and having success in their lives…ugh, what a pain to have been born a middle child female who always just wants people to get along and wants people to like her, or at least well enough.  Naturally I am ALWAYS going to be willing to work with people professionally and meet the needs of my clients, but perhaps it’s okay if not everybody agrees with me at all times (or for that matter, it’s okay if occasionally I might inadvertently do something or say something that someone else miscontrues or is mildly offended by?).   Okay, now I’m definitely overthinking this whole thing!

What is this all about?

Today I have been thinking about this blog, and what I want it to reflect.  I sometimes forget how far reaching my audience can be!  Of course, I KNOW that anyone can read this, and Yes, I do have the address in my email signature, but I am excited to know that people ARE reading it!  Thank you.

That said, how can I keep people reading this?  How can I make my blog worth reading and interesting, without being too offensive?  I have no intention of offending people, even you brides who want your weddings outside in October!  (Seriously though, do remember that it is not always beautiful and pleasant then, so PLEASE have a back up plan, even as simple as having portable heaters).  I don’t even want to offend conductors or reviewers, even though as a musician, you are not always my friend.  We are all on the same side however, in that we want to grow our audiences, and we want people to love music as MUCH as we love music (oh, and we do, we DO!  and we feel if you just understand the music even a little bit like we do, you will love it too!)

I think though, my main point of this blog, is to satisfy my urge of writing things down, my urge to be heard, and perhaps to entertain and inform.  If you learn something you didn’t know about violin, violin teaching, violin lessons, weird internet women (that would be me), or…anything at all, then perhaps your day is just a little bit better.  I consider the search for more knowledge, on all subjects, to be of utmost importance.  Learning makes us better.

So there you have it.  First, do no harm.  Second, learn something.  No reader left behind!

Pines of Rome

I wasn’t going to go to the SLSO for awhile (the concerts kept making me VERY angry, for personal and professional reasons) BUT last night they were playing Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi, one of my favorite pieces. I have played it many times (probably a dozen, at least). I have played first violin, second violin, every different divisi possible plus the solos. In any case, I’m glad I went last night, because I hadn’t SEEN it performed before (that I recall, at least). WOW. It was super intense and awesomely loud, and just wonderfully enjoyable all around. I can’t use enough superlatives to describe the feeling of being in the audience for Pines of Rome. I’m glad I put my pettyness aside and went to the concert!

Group Class Observation

I get so freaked out by the idea of teaching [Suzuki] group classes.  I’m sure it’s because I just haven’t done it very many times (once, really, to be official).

This morning I observed the class I will be teaching for my videotape (in the next few weeks, evidently).  The teacher was wonderful with the group, and the kids were both very cute and pretty responsive as well.  I took tons of notes (as usual!) and got several new ideas of things to do.  I started feeling more confident about the class since the teacher made it look so easy to teach them.  Of course,  it’s because she’s an experienced teacher, and has tons of ideas and THUSLY is able to seamlessly move from activity to activity, quickly moving on from something that doesn’t work before the kids notice a problem.  I also feel like I need more, new ideas, but probably at this point, I just need to really KNOW the ideas I have observed, and be able to pull them out of a hat, so to speak.  Like private teaching, I’m sure group teaching is a skill that just takes practice, and I just need more of it.

I have confidence?

From the Post Dispatch review of Winter Opera St. Louis’s performance last weekend (of Massenet’s Werther):

In the pit, Scott Schoonover offered rather choppy conducting of the lush score, but the 22-piece orchestra did a good job, with some really lovely moments.

I’ll absolutely take credit for those “lovely moments” as concertmaster, though I really don’t see how the reviewer was able to notice “choppy” conducting when the orchestra didn’t reflect anything of the sort.  Either I’m just that good, or really, reviewers have very little idea of what they are talking about and need to fill a certain amount of room?  I do think I should have been mentioned by name for my “really lovely” solos though 😉

I’m trying to bring a certain amount of aggression and confidence into my teaching, playing, and life.  (I was testing it out in the previous paragraph!) My trainer is encouraging me to be more aggressive in my workouts, and I am trying to bring my workouts into my life.  I could probably use a bit more aggression, or at least a bit more confidence and assurance, in my life…I guess I’ll add that to the list of “tweaks” I am trying to make!  This whole adulthood thing just keeps getting more challenging.  Or I just need to remember, no one is really paying attention to me after all, so no need to worry what they think.  (But…are people reading my blog?  Then YOU are paying attention, right?).

Save the date:  February 28.  Quartet concert at St. Margaret of Scotland Church.  With members of the SLSO in addition to a couple of just awesome freelancers (including me).  Time TBA but afternoon (baby steps, I know!).

The semester begins!

I had my first Suzuki Pedagogy class of the year on Thursday.  Most of the class was spent settling on deadlines for various projects.  Lucky for me, I get to record another private lesson AND a group class…I don’t even teach group classes, so the thought of this makes me a WEE bit nervous.  My only redeeming thought is that the recordings from last year weren’t nearly as awful to do and watch as I thought they would be, so maybe it won’t be that bad.

I’ve (almost definitely) set a date for a Quartet recital at the end of February!  We will be playing at St. Margaret of Scotland Church, and I’ll keep you all posted as to personnel, repertoire, etc, as it unfolds.  I have so many repertoire ideas, it’s a challenge narrowing things down now, and making it into a (somewhat) cohesive program.  It should be fun for us and our audience as well.

thoughts about violin, teaching, running, life.