Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Resetting Again

Ah well. This is why I'm in school, right?

Some new practice goals. For a little while I'm only to do one key of VHs a week. This is the way they are done at my school. Who am I to go against more than fifty years of tradition? If I rock them hardcore in my next couple of lessons then I'll be allowed to maybe do two a week. Also, goodbye Milde. Hello Oubradous. Slowly. Ugh.

I have new standards to live up to, as well. This really IS why I'm in school. I tend to simply not hear some of the ways I can improve... I guess that's not a WHOLE truth...

I do hear many many ways to improve, but to keep morale up (or something) I tend to ignore some of them. I'll get to them later, right?

Well, I'm not allowed to do that anymore. How is a girl to maintain her sanity?

1. The carrots. The short term carrot: the approval of my teacher and my peers. The long term carrot: JOB, JOB, JOBBIE-JOBS!

2. Self Maintenance. Sleep. Eat. Exercise. Stretch. Snuggle. Party just a little. Give yourself permission to screw up. Take a break every once in a while (while still practicing every single day.) When teacherman isn't listening play something just for fun. Yeah. That's what I said.

3. Eyes on the prize. The real one. I'm doing what I love. And soon I'll be doing it better.

I'm here because I needed someone to crack the whip. Now I've got it and it hurts. Enough typing. Off to study for entrance exams. And then to practice.

A few days worth of Practice Logging

Friday, Aug. 6, 2010

Today I have my first bassoon lesson with my new teacher. I haven't had a chance to record myself playing my pieces. Should I just do it this morning? Do I have time?

That's a stupid question. Better I should ask, “Does it make sense to do this when I barely have time to deal with the issues it brings up?” I think it does. I shall finish my coffee, have a shower, and get to work!

I didn't record, but I did have a very productive, one hour practice session. I got through my warm-up, the CPE Bach, and Shost 9 – best playing of Shost 9, yet! My hands and wrists are tired and I'm glad to have a break for a while, but I'm not in pain.

...oh, and my lesson was just talking. Oh well. More time to practice.

Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010

Did the key of A today. It was easy, in tune, and awesome! Knowing that I may not get a second chance to practice I went ahead and worked on Shosty and CPE Bach. All was good until the second movement of CPE Bach when I started to lose focus. Aw hell. I quit, rather than wear my hands out practicing mistakes.

Monday Aug. 9

My Van Hoesens on D sucked so bad yesterday that played them again today. I will be playing them tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, Aug. 10

Did a little work on slurring to high D today. My VH key was C, so I figured I be working a lot of the same ranges as my D. I encountered a lot of the same problems. I slowed my VH-es down so much that they became more like long tones – I think I need to do more of that kind of work.

My pitch is astronomically sharp. I tried every finished reed I had and still had the same problem. I feel like my low register is leaking and affecting response, too. I'll have some questions to ask about that in my lesson tomorrow. JH, will you try my horn and tell me it's not my fault? Please?

Whenever I re-calibrate my ear to get it used to how low 440 really is, I'm amazed at how my tone quality changes. When all is working well it becomes more full and beautiful. But now, when I get my pitch down it sounds wobbly and harsh. Dubstep bassoon. Maybe I need to change my reeds after all. Ugh.

Added a daily routine today. Milde scale and arpeggio studies that correspond with the key of my VH scales. Made sense to start today b/c I just happened to be on the key of C. Today I did the scale study at quarter = 80 and the arp study at quarter = 60. That's fair for a single day's reading. We'll see if I can get them faster when I come full circle again. By then my reading should be faster and I'll be more familiar with the etudes.

It's an interesting psychological experiment for me to be doing these now. I had done them in the past with a teacher that did not work out for me, so I have a lot of negative connotations with the book. However, though those kept me from ever revisiting them before, now I can look back on the studies and what they did for me. They helped me improve my concept of key, and helped me recognize dissonances and common figures. They vastly improved my reading skills and were a tool in the development of my flick technique. Revisiting them now throws into focus that I haven't lost, but gained ability in the nearly eight years since I last played them. Good feeling!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reset Button

Today is my fourth full day of living in a new town and my second fully functional day as a self-realized musician, here. Days 1 and 2 were necessarily without practice because of the stress that packing, moving, and unpacking put on my hands and wrists. I don't yet have a hand therapist here, and I've had at least a low grade pain in my hands and wrists the whole time.

The car accident and the move had the effect of scrambling my brains to the point where I had completely lost sight of my goals for a little while. But now it's time to get back to them. Yet again, I need to re-organize and re-prioritize. My lifestyle here is simpler with fewer friends, obligations, and distractions. Perfect for getting down to work.

Now I'm going through the Van Hoesen exercises in their complete form one key at a time. In addition I'm doing some metronome work with double tonguing and long tones on the tonic of each key each time I sit down to practice. I'm keeping track of the keys I've completed on the back of the exercise sheet.

I have my first meeting with my new teacher this Friday. Not sure whether or not he's expecting a lesson, I'd better have something prepared – besides the pile of questions I have for him.

And that thing (or those things) will be Shosty 9 and CPE Bach. That's basically what I'd been working on before the accident and that's what he'd asked me to work on. Boy, there's lots of work I can do on those, too. My intonation is horrible and I just don't have the control over my reeds that I wish I had. I think it's going to continue to come down to what it always is. Long tones, Pinky.