I had a good lesson on Wednesday. I think it was my first lesson with my teacher where I've come very close to crying. But still, it was really good. Not in the sense that I was as prepared as I should have been, and not in the sense that I played well or impressed him, but in the sense that I learned a lot. And I've been working harder since then, too.
Things I learned from my brilliant teacher (taken from brief and probably slightly incomprehensible notes jotted down immediately after my lesson):
1) attention span and concentration, dilligence and consistency in practice.
2) security - our culture and generation is obsessed with it, in every sense of the word. But don't be afraid to decide what you want in life and then work as hard as you can to attain it. "Keeping your options open" isn't always a virtue, even though it may feel more secure or safe, not having to commit to something and thus fear that you might not be able to attain it. Trust God for eternal security (Providence, not Prudential ;)), but then remember the parable of the talents and go be a good steward by practicing your butt off!
3) Rode - practice scales in 3rds to help in learning this etude. Remember: 0 eye --> 1 ear --> 2 brain --> 3 fingers. My teacher said that the last 45 seconds spent on this etude in the lesson proved to him once again that I can do it - I looked at the double stops and heard them in my ear, sang them accurately and "beautifully", then played them - the first time okay, the second time better, and the third time exactly right. Practice like that - expect that of yourself!
4) Telemann - bow speed; dance; "paaauum" sound; 2 voices, hear counterpoint; 1st note must lead to 2nd, vibrate; framing; rhythm; tempo; energy; dynamics; don't be sticky.
5) 2 things in practicing - better ears and a more alert mind, or just repetition. Both have their place in practicing, and a lack of the latter was evident in my lesson - showed that I hadn't practiced enough to prepare during the week.
6) About me - my teacher said once again that my mind is very sharp and good and I have no handicaps and nothing holding me back, and that I also have a great musical sensitivty being unearthed and developed. (This is when I felt like crying, because even though he can be mean, really my teacher is so good to me and I owe it to him to practice more than I had in the past week! WHY do I let my moods affect my practicing? It shouldn't matter at all! Why can't I just block people and emotions out of my practicing and do what I need to do each day?)
After my lesson my teacher came and jointly coached the chamber music sessions for the day with his wife. I loved every minute of it and learned so much from both of them - as I always do.
The Gilbert and Sullivan gig I played for this past week was kind of fun. I enjoyed seeing and hearing the students perform. The best part was after the final performance, when the students acknowledged all the people who had made it possible. The love these kids had for their music teachers was so evident, and it just amazes me, the immense way in which one person's life can influence so many others... wow.
Well, the time has come. I have to play a solo in a recital here on Friday. I mean, really have to. My quartet was signed up to play, thus conveniently getting my required general recital performance out of the way in a non-stressful way, but Nicky's still mostly unable to play, and Mike doesn't really want to do the quartet anyway, and so I am going to be playing a solo.
Last night I was practicing until late in the recital hall, and Jon came in to say hi. He said he'd never heard me play before, and asked me to play for him. Eventually I consented (well, after he sang "Lord God of Abraham" for me) and I played a movement of the concerto I'm studying. I'm glad I did. I've never had the experience of playing for anyone before who loved it so much, except maybe my parents. He really just sat there loving to hear me play, sometimes closing his eyes, and each time I paused telling me to keep playing. It made me happy, seeing him enjoying it like that. He told me I should perform it soon and that it was definitely ready. I told him what terrible performance-phobia I have and that I knew I'd screw it all up. So then, he decided to record me playing, so I could hear it "from the outside." The Green Room was open, and he insisted that we do it right then. I played the first movement through again, and he put it onto a blank CD, and then afterwards we listened to it together. He was so encouraging and kept pointing out all the parts that he loved and all the things he liked about the way I was playing the piece. Of course, mostly I hate the way it sounds, but there are parts that I like, and that is encouraging. And the parts that I don't like are very helpful too, because now I know more clearly what to be working on. So, Jon is a cool person.
Tonight Sarah H. and I listened to the first 2 CDs of Les Miserables. I love Les Miserables... it's all grace and hope and redemption and love and life... it's so wonderful.
Tomorrow is the Day of Prayer... which means... NO CLASSES!! Hurrah! But of course, tons of work to do: a theory paper to write and a theory exam to prepare for, loads of practicing to do, a New Testament exam to study for, and piles of music history homework to do, as usual.
On Friday my DADDY is coming to visit me!!! (Well, he's coming out to the area for a business trip, but then coming here to see me! And he'll be here for the recital Friday night and we'll spend Saturday together and he'll come to our orchestra concert on Sunday.) Oh, happiness. I love my Dad!
My roommate from last year sent me cookies last week, which is just one small example of the sweet and thoughtful and wonderful sorts of things that she is always doing for people! I miss her. It's hard to go from being roommates with her to this - not knowing much about her life and not having her know much about mine. I miss late-night talks and inside jokes and pretzels and ice cream at the Stupe. I miss just having a cozy room with someone wonderful and fun and cute and funny to share it with, someone to come back to at the end of a day who would always listen to my ramblings and tell me her own, too. I remember how she used to watch taped episodes of Gilmore Girls every night while she did her nightly situps and pushups. And I always just loved her and thought she was so funny, so cute!
But I shouldn't end this evening's blog on an unhappy note, so I'll add that having a room to myself is rather nice too, in it's own way. And I am not unhappy. In fact, I am quite happy.
And with that, I am going to bed.