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.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Violin Week 3 - Recording.... tomorrow.

So I know I promised a recording tonight... but it was a huge long day and I pretty much sweated in various insufficient air conditioners all day.  Soooo... I am gonna sleep on it.  And you get to hear some Lightly Rowing in the morning.

I know my teacher is reading this now.  (Hallo April!)  Guess I better make it good.  Maybe I will have some orange juice instead of wine.  But it's always 5 o'clock somewhere? eh?  EH!?  Yes.  Morning wine might be the BEST wine.  Especially on my day off. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Violin - Week 3

Oooooooops.  I forgot to post yesterday D:  Forgive please!!   I have been a busy bee!

Ok so here we go.  I feel like I am KINDA getting in the swing of things.  But then something else pops up and throws me off again.  Thankfully, yesterday's lesson was of the "Good job keep doing that a couple more days!"  It is letting me have some time to sink everything into my brain.

I need to remember that when I am teaching people, because sometimes I get just as excited and just load things on students and forget that they are learning and need time to review and PRACTICE.  Duh.

Lesson learned.  I am going to record Lightly Row tomorrow for everyone's pleasure.  I know you are extremely thrilled.

Edit:  This is the stupidest written post on the face of the planet.  I think I was tired.  And I'm even more tired today.  Bedtime.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Violin Week 2 - My Internet Debut

Well.  We have come to it at last.  The moment where you discover just how ridiculous I am.  And also know the torture I put poor Jennings through every day.  Yes, here for your enjoyment.... myself.  Playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I recommend imbibing before putting yourself through it.

Violin Week 2 - Roadblock

Well I guess I thought everything was not so hard up until this week.... I started working on "O Come Little Children"


The name sounds so innocent... so lovely... happy unicorns and rainbows!!! ... the song involves "bow control."  When Jennings and I came out after a particularly grueling practice session last night, the hubs asked if I was doing something new.

"Ugh yes... bow control"

"Yeah you sounded pretty bad."

That's my honey.  Completely honest!! <3

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Violin Week 2 - Lesson 1

Oops I forgot to post yesterday.  Anyway...

Whoa!! Despite the fact that (in my opinion) Jennings still often sounds like a group of tiny mice being tortured by Sauron's hordes in MORDOR WHERE THE SHADOWS ARE.... my teacher claims I am still doing well.  I have now moved on to the next challenge:  Lightly Row and ... uh... I forgot the name of the other piece.   "TRIFLES" you might say to me when I tell you these are my current nemesis, but I beg to differ.  Unlike Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Lightly Row requires several different string crossings and finger changes ALL AT ONCE.  And the other one ... May Song? ... is even worse!  At the end of my lesson, I felt as though I might start drooling over Jennings' F-holes and go cross-eyed.  

Maybe I will make a video of myself playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just to make myself feel better.  And also so that you might observe my successes before I subject you to Jennings screeches of pain.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Violin Week 1 - Names and Pictures

Well since none have come forward with good names for my trusty violin, I have decided to name him Jennings.  It is a middle name long passed down to the males in my family and makes me think of butlers.  So!!  Since my old Giovan paolo Maggini (1642) is quite an old chap and, while much worn and abused in his life, still makes quite a smooth sound and faithfully does whatever I tell him to (whether I want that or not), I think it is fitting.  Yes no?

Here is a picture of Jennings and I in our usual pose.

Note that, despite his age, he trustily rests upon my fancy shoulder rest that I masterfully crafted while I look for an affordable KUN replacement.  You might also note my complete look of intimidation and fear when I gaze at the fingerboard I am expected to use to make discernible sounds, AKA notes.  The violinists will also note my atrocious hold on the bow.  So sorry, Jennings.

Let me try again.

There see?  Quite lovely.  In fact I am pretty sure that this face is entirely accurate to how I look when concentrating on the bow hold.  I am surprised my teacher has not even once snickered at my most determined expressions.

Alright there you are.  That big black blob in the background is my Kawai piano that I love very much. She is my only hope in tuning Jennings at the moment, though she, herself, is a bit out of tune due to all the weather changes going on.  Suppose I shall just have to dig in my wallet and fix that pretty soon... or try to use the tuner on one of my metronomes... Where's an oboist when I need one?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Violin Week 1 - Lesson 2

WHEW!  Well my shoulder recovered this morning and then I put it through another hour long lesson.


My teacher also told me today that if I keep going at the rate I am going already I could probably go for a local (for fun sort of) orchestra in a year or so.  I basically stared at her in blatant disbelief.

I am still using only the A and the E string and only fingers 1, 2 and 3 on the left hand.  I am not sure my progress will be as quick when I start having to move my hand around on the fingerboard and wrangle the stupid bow all the same time.

Still trying to throttle (as-of-yet unnamed violin).  My thumb was turning purple and might have progressed to other colors if the pieces I were playing were any longer than about 30 seconds.

Next goal:  Figure out how to make my right wrist and fingers do some sort of bizarre wriggly move when I try to play legato so it doesn't sound like I'm killing tiny, noisy insects between each note.

This goal seems a bit more unattainable than the last.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Violin Week 1 - .. Again...

Unexpected side effect of first violin lesson:  Seriously sore left shoulder muscle.  Guess I better start stretching before practicing and definitely before an hour long lesson x_x

I watched myself in the mirror.  My teacher is right.  My left wrist DOES like to do funky things when I'm not paying attention to it.  Curses!

Goal for lesson tomorrow:  Be able to play piece without having to search for that stupid D on the A string.  Also not have to stop every few notes to check my bow hold.  I have been diligently practicing with a pencil at stoplights.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Violin Week 1

Wow it has been a long time... I would be surprised if anyone is still reading this at all!  But I am going to start it back again because I have started a new venture:  I am learning to play the violin.  As someone who teaches adults in my own studio, I know what a challenge it is, and I think it will be interesting to write from this side of the lesson, as a student.

Of course there are a few differences:

1)  I already know how to read music.  Many of my students come to me with no experience in music at all so that is an advantage I already have.  However, I know it is going to be a tough thing to reprogram my brain to respond to the notes on the violin and not on the piano.  I have to form a few new neurons to get that working.

2)  My Dad, as someone who almost went to college for violin performance, has already given me a few pointers.  So that also, is a big plus!

Now that being said, we will dig into the hard part.  Holding the blasted thing correctly!  I had my first lesson today as part of an Applied Music course at Richland College.  My teacher, April Kondrat, is endlessly patient, I can tell.  And she told me quite a few times what a great job I was doing and how she was so excited that I already know some about it.  However, I still felt like I was trying to hold a brick in between my chin and my shoulder and controlling the bow is ridiculously hard to maintain!  I would start out just great and then halfway through the exercise, I would be caught with my hands in the most bizarre positions.  I apparently need to practice in front of a mirror since I had no idea I could even bend my fingers like that.  Also, I am surprised I did not get gangrene in my left thumb with how I was trying to throttle the violin's fingerboard.

I should probably name my poor beat up violin... It is going to go through a lot of abuse before I can make him sound good.  I hate to be mean when I don't even have a name to say "I'm sorry" to when all is over.

Open for suggestions.