Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I'm not quite ready to tell you about Zoe Keating's performance (and it's not NaBlpPoMo yet, either) but here she is in the lowest box on the left getting ready.
I think one of the secrets to posting frequently is to have a clearly defined single point in mind for each post. That violates some of the advice I've read regarding bullet points, but it fits very well with what we know about adult learning and what I've observed about contemporary attention span.
Monday, October 29, 2007
So I have decided, with NaBloPoMo in November, to simplify that task. (Hey - check it out! NaBloPoMo is on Ning!) I'm going to try to jump start (restart) my blogging by committing to a post every day in November, and to do so each day I will be writing about one (just one measly) thing I have learned in the last few months about playing the cello or music in general. I think I've found a small enough bit that I can do it without being overwhelmed, but we'll see.
As a preview of coming attractions, this is my material:
* A two-hour master class and one-hour private lesson with Pedro de Alcantara, cello and Alexander Technique teacher and author of Indirect Procedures: A Musician's Guide to the Alexander Technique (Clarendon Paperbacks).
* A three-hour hands-on string education session with Phyllis Young, Professor Emeritus of Cello and String Pedagogy at UT Austin and author of Playing the String Game: Strategies for Teaching Cello and Strings.
* Ten hours of didactic sessions with Edmund Sprunger, a Suzuki violin teacher with a Masters in Social Work, and the author of Helping Parents Practice: Ideas for Making It Easier.
* Hours and hours worth of cello lessons with Peter Howard, recently retired Principle Cellist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
* Four hours of chamber music coaching with members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
* Many hours of Alexander Technique lessons with Lauren Hill, who trained at the Urbana Center for the Alexander Technique in Urbana, Illinois.
* Tidbits from my voice lessons with Andrea Leap and maybe my piano lessons with Guna Skujina.
* The opportunity to see Zoe Keating, former cellist in Rasputina, perform live this past weekend.
I told you I've been busy.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
The practicing was cramming for a chamber music weekend tomorrow and Sunday. In addition to the ambitious program I posted a couple of weeks ago, I squeezed in four extra rehearsals for this weekend, plus last week I attended a medical professional conference that was here in town, and this week I attended a music teacher continuing education meeting featuring Phyllis Young (Playing the String Game). I hope to have more to say about that later.
Just wanted to check in before I disappear again for a couple of days. It seems I either have time to live my life or to blog about it.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Now that my own musical activities are back in full swing, I find that I am again looking for a little tune-up in the practice department. More efficient = more activities I can participate in, you know. So I am delighted to find a couple of blogs that are focusing on practice, one for the month of October, and the other as its raison d’être.
If you haven't already, join me in studying Chris Foley's The Collaborative Piano Blog and Ben Clapton's Music Practice Tips this month.
Friday, October 05, 2007
After the Nursery was thoroughly cleaned, bleached, and dried I opened the door but set up a little fence to keep the cats from casually walking through the area. Was I surprised to look over a couple nights later and see Cricket sitting behind the fence. It wasn't at all askew, and as I was wondering how she got in, "hop," out she comes again. A few minutes later she hopped back in, then sat looking at me with her "I'll go wherever I want to, so there" face, long enough for me to show you my annoying little acrobat getting her own way.
Funny, she hasn't done it since.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
After the marking I played for about 10 minutes, focusing on the first phrase. If I were to roughly summarize the steps we went through:
* Get the fingerings down
* Practice the bow gestures by air bowing while fingering the notes. Pay particular attention to where the bow speed changes, and where on the bow the notes are played. Play freely, with large muscular gestures.
* Play the phrase with attention to the musical elements. Focus on what I can "not do" (i.e. release tension) in order to make it sound the way that I want.
I left feeling inspired, and confident that I can learn this piece to play it for coaching in the next two weeks.
This is the agenda that I prepared before the lesson:
Goals with dates
Adult Chamber Music Weekend Oct 20/21 flute/cello/piano trio
Haydn Trio in D Hob XV:16
Von Weber Trio in g Op 63
Lully Suite arr. Cheret and Modzelewska
Gaubert Soir d’ Automne
Orchestra concert Nov 7
Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture
Elgar Enigma Variations
Suzuki teacher training audition tape – by Feb 2008
Beethoven Sonata Op 5 No 2 (g min)
Schumann Fantasy Pieces
Gliere 10 Duets
Current Warm-up and technical baseline
Open string long bow exercise
...mm=60: 2 counts/bow,4,8,16,try 32 all strings up and down
Sevcik Op 8 one exercise/one string/day
...Ex. # based on day of month
...String based on day of week Su C, Mo G, Tu D, W A, Th D, F G, Sa C
...One scale/week, alt Maj and min
...Mm=88 acceleration pattern
...Arpeggio (I), 3 fingerings
...Thirds, first two octaves
...One additional specific goal each week (decide in or after lesson)
...Swan on thumb
...Grutzmacher 13 and/or sight read song or etude
...Offenbach Grand Duo Concertante Op 46
Bach 2nd Suite
...One or two phrases/week for technical elements
...Speed development outside of lessons
...Rotating review of chunks outside of lessons
...Would like to design etudes based on technical needs of repertoire in addition to or instead of assigned etudes
MON Piano semi-private lessons
TUE Alexander Technique, ?piano trio rehearsal
WED Voice class, church orchestra rehearsal
THU cello lesson, HS Orchestra rehearsal
SUN church performance, flute/cello/piano trio rehearsal
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I'm not completely out of fostering. You probably weren't counting, but I still have three longer-term residents, Sharae, GiGi, and Serengeti (Seri). I snuck Seri's back-dated log in a couple of weeks ago. Due to our recent unfortunate events they now get to join us in quarantine, so I'll have six kitties for at least the next couple of months.
So far Madeleine has a small lesion that is probably ringworm over her eye that we have cultured and I am treating topically. She was highest risk for catching it in spite of my routine kitten-quarantine precautions because she has long hair, doesn't cross-groom with the other cats, and really loves to have her face stroked, one of the hardest places for her to groom herself. So it was probably a slip in hand-washing technique on my part. Nothing otherwise - so far, so good.
I mentioned that we moved Seri over to my house partly to keep GiGi company. She seemed a little mopey after JJ left without her. It was rather entertaining for a few days, watching GiGi alternately play with and hiss at Seri. Seri is a trooper, though, a self-sufficient little creature who was found on the streets as a lonely only when she was about 9 weeks old and spent the first few weeks isolated because of her ear mites. Since she's been here she's made friends with all the cats and even wrapped her little flippy tippy tail around DH's heart strings.
Quarantine won't be so bad. These little girls are darling.