Saturday, October 30, 2004

Visit from Dad

My Dad is in town for the weekend after a trade show he had this past week, and he'll be here to see me in about an hour! I'm so excited.

I love my life. Innumerable blessings, let me tell you...

Fall colors in New England
and so much more...

I fall short in a lot of ways... but I keep getting up again. Because life is worth it, you know?

I can't wait to see my Dad and spend the weekend with him. I'll play my violin for him and he'll think I'm terrific, and it won't matter so much that so many people are better than I am and my pinky on my bow hand just isn't doing it's job correctly and my shoulder isn't working quite right either. He'll explain wavelengths and frequencies to me and I'll feel better about my science class, too. He'll meet my friends and I know he'll like them, and he'll see my apartment and he'll think my room is super. We'll have fun together, Dad and me.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Surprisingly, I've had two good violin lessons in a row. (Now we'll see how the next one goes...) Chamber music has been good lately, too. I'm learning so much.

Tonight I performed the first movement of the Schumann A Minor sonata in a recital here, with Nathan as my pianist. Um, it went well! I think this is one of the first recitals I've played where I haven't felt like crying afterwards. I was nervous, of course, but as I played, I kept passing one tricky spot, and then another, and then another... all the places I could have messed up... and everything was going pretty well! I'm happy and relieved. I'm learning a lot by doing this Schumann... it's the perfect piece to help me fix my bow arm problems. Written all over my music are things like this:

"Your bow arm must have a fantastic relationship with gravity!"
"Your strings are the surface of an ocean, not a six foot pool. Your bow is a whale - don't skim the surface - dive to the ocean floor. Play with 300 ft. crescendos!"
"This piece is about how the heavens and the earth moved when he met Clara - that's what all his music was about."
"know which part of your bow arm is doing the moving at each moment."
"Experiement: slower bow, near bridge, dig in, sustain."
"sustain, sustain, sustain!"
"turbulence, unrest - something is not right!"
"be like a monkey! watch knuckles."
"more! more!"

So yes... I'm working on acquiring a huge sound... and I'm happy, because a lot of people, not even knowing that I'm working so hard on my bow arm and my sound, told me after the recital that my sound was really growing. Yay!

On another note, my back still hurts... a lot. It kind of makes it hard to play.

Time to go watch a little bit of the game!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Dr. Edwards at Gordon

On Friday, my piano teacher from Wheaton (Dr. Edwards) and her husband gave a duo recital as guest artists here at Gordon. It was all really fabulous... they played a movement from Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnole that was so exciting and fantastic... and their encore was their own arrangement from Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals (the finale)... it was really amazing. Everyone loved the concert; it was not only extremely well-played, but it was fun too.

By the way, I was in the lobby when Dr. Edwards first walked in the door to the music building on Thursday night, and she recognized me right away and gave me a hug. I was happy about that... it's nice to be remembered.

Anyway, she and her husband also did a masterclass yesterday morning... it was terrific. Michael, Nathan, and Andrei played. I really enjoy masterclasses; I just love hearing what great musicians and great teachers have to say about music. I like how Dr. Edwards and her husband approach teaching, too.

After the masterclass yesterday, I had some time to sit and talk with Dr. Edwards for a bit while her husband looked at the organ in the recital hall. It was fun to catch up. Ah, I miss Wheaton sometimes. She mentioned that there's a drama in the Conserv lately over music history requirements; certain "progressive" faculty members want there to be more of a world and new music emphasis and less required music history courses in the curriculum for music majors. Like, instead of being spread over two years, all the required music history regarding the history of classical music would be squished into just one year. The conversation came about because I was saying how many of my best memories of Wheaton are tied to Dr. Saylor and what an amazing professor he is. Anyway, I am strongly opposed to the idea of making this kind of change in the curriculum, as is Dr. Edwards and of course, Dr. Saylor. I hope things work out well.

I talked to Dr. Edwards about what it's like to study with my violin teacher here... he's an amazing musician and an amazing teacher, but he's so tough sometimes. She was surprised at some of the things I told her... things he's said and done. She said it's definitely an approach of the old school of teaching music... tear 'em down to nothing and then rebuild them slowly in your own image... something like that. Her husband, a classy, quiet man, said that it can be a good way to learn and accomplish a lot, but that I should be careful it doesn't do more harm to me as a person than it does help to me as a musician. Dr. Edwards said something nice - she said that she remembers me as being such a musical person - and she said not to let that get squelched. Hmm.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What?! Quad finals already? The semester is halfway over, and I still feel like things haven't quite gotten started yet. Practicing is definitely not going as well as it should be. That will have to improve for the rest of the semester or juries will be less than fabulous and my teachers will be less than pleased.

We had our choir homecoming concert last Saturday... I loved it. Singing the Schutz Magnificat was a high point. The Gabrieli Hodie is pretty terrific, too. We also did the Tallis If Ye Love Me, some spirituals, Here I Am, Lord (arr. Ovid Young), Children of the Heavenly Father (arr. Robert Scholz), and an arrangement of Ride On, King Jesus. Even the Richard Rodgers Medley at the close of the program was fun, despite the cheesiness. Anyway, I enjoy choir. The morning of the concert had been not-too-wonderful... an unpleasant thing happened which made me sad, but my fabulous parents and a fabulous friend made things better... and then the concert was terrific and the evening afterward was pretty nice, too.

Classes are okay. I have a science exam coming up, for which I must study. I just finished a paper yesterday morning discussing Schubert's Erlkonig... I hope it turned out ok.

I had a fantastic violin lesson on Wednesday. I think I am beginning to find out how to expand my sound into what Mr. B. has been trying to help me create all along.

I finally bought a CD player today (well, I mean yesterday, I suppose). A lot of money, yes, but I shouldn't go through another school year unable to listen to music just because my CD player is at home in California. (Oh, and I got it for a fraction of the price the website says; BJ's is so cool.) A smart boy helped me pick out a good one to buy, and then helped me get it all set up. I immediately listened to my favorite moments from my favorite CD's... and I am so happy. Music! I love it.

Bedtime. It's raining, which is the nicest sound to which to fall asleep, I think. I'm happy... I feel content.

(P.S.: not so confused anymore.)