Friday, February 22, 2013

 Well.  It has been awhile, hasn't it?  I doubt anyone is even still reading this!  But here I am again.  Remember those family things that reared their ugly heads?  They kept on rearing.  And then some personal medical things got in the way as well.  But I am going to start adding THOSE things to my blog later.  Because today is a special day....

Number 1

I bought new strings for my violin (That I now have not played in a month ... I don't think anyone is going to want to be here when I try again) and I am going to attempt to restring it... Please come and look for me if you suspect I might have accidentally strangled myself.

Number 2

ONE OF MY BESTIES AMALIA DILLIN IS PUBLISHING HER FIRST NOVEL!  Check out this cover art that is released today.

Pretty darn awesome, no?  I feel a little closer to fame myself just knowing her.

Anyway, for more information go have a look see at her blog (that I wrote a guest post for once)!

More on violins and medical stuff next week!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I know I know... I am way behind.  I won't apologize this time though.  Some serious career and family matters have reared their ugly heads and I have unfortunately not touched my violin in about 5 days.  And it will be another week before I do again because I am now in Las Vegas teaching piano for a week!  I will do my best to get back on a regular schedule when I come back... er... ok not BACK on one.  On a regular schedule for the FIRST TIME EVER  :)  I won't promise this time.  We will have to see.  I have no idea when my life is going to calm down again.  In the meantime, I suppose I will post about Vegas.  I am waiting at the airport for my ride to the condo where I am staying... and there are people playing on slot machines already.  I am absolutely baffled by people's zeal to lose their money as fast as they can.  Maybe if this were the terminal and people were trying to squeeze in a last hour of gambling before going home or something... but no... this is the baggage claim where people have just ARRIVED.  I suppose I don't understand why they can't just wait until they get to their casino to lose their money... Maybe I'm just not willing to lose my money.  Anyway, more later!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jennings' New Friend

Well!! I have decided that the Dallas Community College organization is full of poo!  But I am still going to study violin, of course.  It is getting fun now!

Sadly my old bow (teacher claims it is a sorry excuse for one but I was kinda fond of it) decided it wanted to come out of the closet.  That's right.  He is no longer straight.  While I absolutely support this turn in his life, it means that I cannot use him anymore to play Jennings.  :(  I hope out there, there is some crooked violin that could really use a good life partner.  But Jennings will have to move on.  I took him to the violin store and (on recommendation from my teacher) requested their straightest carbon fiber bow, as Jennings just does not "swing that way".  We went through 3 or 4 J T Jete CF violin bows before we found the most amazing (straightest) match!  She and Jennings just go so well together, even if their colors don't exactly match.  You will see in the VIDEO I am going to post today.  ... er... oh I guess I will do that right now.  Ok here I am playing May Song... also I forgot to put up my recording of O Come, Little Children.  That first.

Ok and now here is May Song.  Oh how I wish it was not the worst recording ever.  :P  Oh well that is what this is all about.

.... The End!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Promise I am alive.

Hello hello.  Yes, I promise I haven't fallen off the face of the planet.  I am just suddenly learning what it means to have a full(er) schedule and what a headache it is.  I am also butting my head up against the Dallas Community College system and losing miserably, mostly because I just don't have the time or patience left to deal with them at the moment.  Anyway, there might be a hiatus lesson-wise ... but hopefully not.

My husband claims that I continue to sound better.  I haven't figured that out yet, but I am trying to accept this new status of being a violinist that, if not at all good or skilled yet, at least I am not causing other people pain.  Even Moses (my giant orange tomcat) has begun remaining in the room while I play.  For awhile, both cats would very quickly vacate the moment they heard the bow touch the strings.  I don't blame them.  Much.  A DOG WOULD STAY HE TOTALLY WOULD.  Not bitter.

Anyway so here we go... I owe you guys some videos.  I will play (attempt to play) 3 songs today.  I hope that you will not have to wear earmuffs, but if you do... don't tell me.  Working on the confidence thing.

EDIT: Ok it was going to be three videos... I will upload the third one later.  Upload is taking too long :P

First video:  Song of the Wind

It is just as true for violin as it is for piano... when you practice it sounds pretty good and then if a camera or a person is in front of you, everything immediately sounds like poo.

Video #2:  Go Tell Aunt Rhody

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Sometimes it is REALLY hard to be motivated when I think of the huge expanse of skills and knowledge that I have yet to learn.  But then I just want to kick myself for getting scared of what will essentially just be hard work.  And, like I tell my own students, if I work at it in bite-size pieces, the work won't be nearly as hard as I anticipate.

I had conversation with one of those students today that really inspired me to write something about the real reasons behind what I have turned this blog into.  I have only been teaching a few years, but I have already seen quite a few adult students throw in the towel the moment things get challenging and decide that they won't EVER be able to do it and quit.  Of course, in the past couple of years my track record has been much better, because I have banned the word "can't" in my studio, but I am still taken by complete surprise once in awhile.

It is SO important for adults to keep their brains motivated and active!  There are many studies (and I will not cite any because I am just that lazy... but I have read them ok?) that say staying active and especially keeping your BRAIN active is a huge advantage in the battle with dementia and Alzheimer's.    And then there are a bunch of studies (again... look it up yourself) that prove playing music lights up the brain (in CT scans... not chemically) in ways no other activity does.  In fact, musicians tend to have quite a few more cells between the lobes of their brain than anyone else, probably due to the coordination involved in handling an instrument.

I think it is sad that many adults dub themselves "too old" to pick up something new.  I have 6 perfect examples in my studio of people who can prove that is not true and I met another guy today in my violin teacher's studio who, along with me, can also prove it is not true.  And I have several that have fallen by the wayside.  Like my student pointed out to me today, because they already know what music should sound like, adults assume that, when they try it the first time and it doesn't sound right, they can't do it.  That is one reason I am making this recordings, to show myself and others that, even though you sound like crap at first (Don't lie to me!  It is crap!), diligent practice and following your teachers instructions will pay off.  (I hope. ;P)

... ok I think I have probably come full circle here.

Messages of this blog:

1.  Try something new.  It doesn't have to be music.  Pick a sport!! I have also taken up Tae Kwon Do!
2.  Work hard at it.  If it's easy, it's not worth doing.

Alright, I will step down off my soapbox.  But I hope that anyone who wanders across this blog will take what I am saying to heart and just get out there and challenge themselves.  It's not as hard as you think it is!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

HOLY COOOOOW what a busy weekend!! But I think I have mastered the bow distribution necessary for "Oh Come, Little Children".  I will let you know if that is so after my lesson on Tuesday!! I might also let you guys watch me play ... um... .the song after Lightly Row... May Song? No.   .... well I'll let you know when I get it recorded :D Heeeh.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Violin Week 3 - Lightly Row

Just so everyone knows... all of these videos are and will always be first takes.  I want to be honest with myself about my progress and performance abilities based on my practice, not just take the best of many takes.  However I will admit this was the second effort only because the first time I noticed my cat Moses had crawled on top of the piano behind me when I wasn't looking.  The punk.