Monday, July 27, 2009

Summit Day 3

Today was its own kind of hard ... but a very good day!

I woke up feeling absolutely awful ... like another 3 hours of sleep were necessary (basically I woke up the way I went to sleep). That continued for about the first 4 hrs. of the day ... finally, after I ate lunch & chilled out for a bit, things got a bit better.

Today, I didn't have my metronome or my laptop, which meant I couldn't practice the way I usually do. It turned out to be a blessing! I worked on double stops & on the Beethoven Op. 11 (clarinet trio). .. When one practices with a metronome, it's very easy to listen to the metronome & not to what you're actually playing. Working on the Beethoven, the progress I made today was great. I did a lot of very focused work & while there are some spots that I will need the metronome to work on, I really worked on playing it well, and am currently playing it a lot better than I could at my recital (though still not well enough). I also noticed there are some spots I'm not breathing in! I think my biggest progress with practicing was my bow distribution. I've been practicing in the dance studio, which is a room of mirrors & a wood floor basically ... many kinds of helpful. My goal is for it to sound incredible consistently. Then I can let go and enjoy it & make music out of it. My biggest problem right now tends to be fast staccato passages and shifting into intermediate positions ... also, self-confidence ... but I'm working on that.

After lunch, I watched the first 2 students of Irina's masterclass. She's a good teacher. They were younger students & I was really surprised at how well the first one played considering she hadn't done much in the way of technical work ... Irina went through. It was really great for me to see the two kids play (well, one was 17 & the other was much younger). In many ways, I'm much closer to them (technically) than people my age. As Irina was relating her experiences and stories about the Moscow Conservatory & Jascha Heifetz, I came to a realization. 1 hour a day is not enough to work on technique. I need 2 at minimum. Here's what I think I need to work on:

(A half hour to each topic)
Slow Scales (Standard & Ladder) 6/4 at 1/4=40
Fast scales - 4/4 at 184
Sevcik/1 Finger Scales

That's what I feel should be my bare minimum. I may have to make that 3 hours so I can start including etudes. This is a big general problem I'm having right now ... I am not finding enough time to practice every day, but this stuff is all essential & I need to learn it as soon as possible. That's the main difference between me and all these other players - I have the potential to be like them (in terms of skill), but I am not, because I don't have the technical foundation. It is something I can build largely on my own at this point. It just needs the appropriate amount of time put in. I need to make those my gospel basically.

After Irina's masterclass, I practiced some more, started analyzing the Beethoven (which has made things so much clearer) and then had rehearsal - only to find out that David Gale has pink eye & so we had a new violinist, drafted from the masterclass. Possibly David will still play with us. Rehearsal was productive & we've decided to get together as a group tomorrow morning (which is going to multiply the craziness of my tomorrow!). I'm scared/under pressure that this piece is being performed on wednesday at 12. That really gives me 2 days to get it down really well.

After rehearsal was dinner, and then a little bit of time before the concert. Prior to the concert, David Krieger asked me if I wanted to play in one of the masterclasses. We talked about what I could play & came up with Bach 2 or 4. I could do either, but after playing them on my own, I've decided I'm going to do a few movements of Bach 2, because it is actually within my technical reach. This means I'm going to have to find an additional hour to practice (I did 3 today) somehow. It also means I need to dig up my barenreiter & get another movement or two really solid (which should not be a problem). I want to play for Andrey Tchekamazov, but I'm not sure if I'll be ready by then ... we'll see.

The concert was all kinds of amazing ... particularly Andrey Tchekamozov's pieces ... one was distinctly American, and the other was a modern solo cello piece (I don't think there is anything more powerful for me in music). I think I was one of the only people who was really into it ... others didn't like it or found it hard to stay isterested... I'm forgetting the pianist's name, but he played his own (really long multi-movement) piece & then a Liszt piece. His piece & playing had a style very similar to Liszt - it was very cool. I'd write more, but don't have the program in front of me & also need to get sleep ...

I'll try to type up Irina's Masterclass notes in the morning... but maybe I should try to practice instead ...

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