Monday, November 30, 2009

Does Anyone Still Read This Thing?

Sorry guys, its been crazy here. New school, college apps, very little time to blog. I promise I will be doing more (:

First off, school. I hate school orchestra this year. Its just... awful. I somehow am 5th chair out of 11, which has never happened to me. Its just AWFUL! And not just because I'm 5th chair- because our director is fresh outta college and we're playing all the stuff I've already played at my old school. I'm utterly bored. I'm about to the point of quitting.

I applied to college and got in- Texas A&M University! WHOOP! haha. I'm planning on a Biology major and a music minor. May change to psych major though. But no new cello in the forecast...

I'm working on 2 pieces right now- Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1 in whatever key it is and Dvorak's Silent Woods. The concerto is gonna be used strictly for scholarship purposes and the Dvorak for contest purposes. Hopefully both go well, considering I STILL don't have a teacher. I'm still not too happy with that situation. Oh well. On to some older news...

Since I last blogged, I went to State competition playing Faure's Elegie. The judge wasn't in a very good mood that day and I ended up with a 3. I apparently had 8 out of tune notes, I tapped my bare foot too loudly on carpet and I didn't interpret the music to her liking. Irony? The part she didn't like was what got me to State in the first place. I don't understand people sometimes. My pianist did tell me it was better than I'd ever played it before though. I took his compliment over hers. Take that, evil judge lady.

I also (once again) went to TTUBOC and can honestly say I had the time of my life. I was social for once, and went to most of the social functions. I also made the top orchestra and some of the best friends. It was by far my favorite year at camp.

Anyways, thats about all for now. I promisepromisepromise! I'll be on here more, if anyone actually still reads this. Thanks guys (:
Sarah, Sadie & Henry


Marisa said...

Good luck on your cello pieces. Congrats on college.

Michael Tuchman said...

I read this thing! Seems you're in a bit of a rut, but hopefully the change of scenery may also plug other changes as well. It's easy to get discouraged when success is dependent on a single judge.

Perhaps the trick to blogging a busy life would be mobile blogging. We'd love to continue to hear from you.

Michael Tuchman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A. Hiscock said...

We do read it!

It has always been interesting to me that competitions have a large subjective component to them. Get a judge in a bad mood or with very definite expectations regarding how a piece should be played and bang, months of hard work and a very solid performance gets scored low and out of placement.

yarnplayer said...

I agree with A. Hiscock, judging is one of those things that is relative and not to be taken too seriously. Although I've not personally had the experience of being judged musically, I've had my artwork in competitions, and have noticed that in the same way a lot depends on the judge's personal tastes.

Mike Lunapiena said...

A little secret: What chair you sit in is actually not that important. It doesn't determine how well you play & it doesn't determine your value as a person or any of that stuff, or really anything else in your life. It's just where you happen to be sitting. The world keeps spinning, and life goes on, and you move on to new things once your time in that orchestra is up.

No matter what chair you've been stuck in, you still have the same music in front of you as everybody else does & you still have the same expectations of performance as everyone else does. In fact, sitting 5th chair is actually a blessing in disguise. Here's why: In the first stand, it's very easy to play well and to follow the conductor. In the 5th stand, it's a bit harder. So this is a good opportunity to become better at watching the conductor and listening to (and fitting in with) other players, since that is ultimately what you're trying to achieve in an orchestra (you're all trying to put your playing together to become one musical entity). If you're that bored try to figure out the other instruments' parts while you're playing & try to figure out how your part relates to theirs'.

I'm in the process of doing cello professionally (I graduated college in May, so this is my first real year at it), and I have almost never sat first chair, except for when people were absent. I've learned things in the front that I could only learn there & I've learned things in the back that I could only learn there. The most important thing I've learned however is that it doesn't matter where you sit - you're still making music.

Now speaking of music - It's very understandable that you get bored with music you've played already. BUT, there is always something you can do better - there's always some kind of dynamics you can do better, or a way to phrase or articulate something, or a note you can play more in-tune, a shift you can hit better. There are also always different places on the cello to play those notes (I've played Pachelbel's Canon all on the C string before!) & you can always get a better tone or improve something about your general technique. In fact, going back and working on easier music that I've done in the past can be one of my favorite things to do!

Regarding competitions - they are fickle beasts & here's what you need to know about them: the *real* benefit to doing a competition isn't whether or not you get the shiny prize at the end of the day (though it never hurts), but it's how you grow as a person & how you develop as a cellist from the amount of work that you put into it.

If you have a way of making videos and a place to put them (say doing a private video on youtube or something), I'd be willing to give you some lessons, or at least some advice on your pieces. Email me at mluna87 AT if you're interested.

Also - it's your senior year, right? It's very easy to get sick of things and quit or to burn bridges with people who are annoying you. Stick through them - you only have another 6 months at most. It will be worth it.

Hope that all helps & good luck!