Monday, October 29, 2007

Microphone, check

We bought a Sansa mp3 player from for a steal, ostensibly for the kids for Christmas. It turns out that it's a damn handy little tool. In addition to your standard mp3s, it plays the radio, videos, shows photos, and records "voice memos". I've been using it to record myself while I'm practicing and the sound quality is much better than the digital voice recorder I had been using and a function I have been wishing for on my iPod since we bought it over 2 years ago.

Friday, October 26, 2007

All About C (it is my blog, after all)

What am I up to? I am feeling very far behind lately. Good news is that the trio I play in is taking off a bit. We have a few potential gigs coming in the spring and most importantly, we're still enjoying each other and the music. Otherwise, I'm working on the Vivaldi Bb Major concerto. Not my favorite work, but a necessary hoop. The 2nd movement is lovely, but the 3rd seems uncharacteristic of the rest of the piece. I'm due to play with an accompanist next Friday in masterclass and I've yet another busy weekend with the family. The first concert with the TCO went off beautifully and we even had enough audience for a standing ovation. Shocking!!

I feel as if there are never enough hours in the day. Something always seems to wind up neglected, which has me wondering if pursuing a Masters degree next year would be a wise choice. I know what I've been told, "Masters degrees in performance are an easy two years." But that's still time spent studying and practicing, while working, caring for a family, and freelancing. In my current state of organization and time management, I will not be able to do it. It will require an amount of time away from my children (see above adorable picture from 3 years ago) with which I am not sure I can cope. Lots to think about.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cheese and whiiiiine

A few years ago, I subbed in an already established woodwind quintet for a few months. Extremely talented musicians tend to rub off on other musicians and unfortunately, the same holds true in reverse. That summer, I enjoyed my bassoon in a way I never had before. I played pieces of which I hadn't realized I was capable. Difficult stuff, and we not only played it well but damnit, we made music out of those note-filled pages! The regular bassoonist returned and I have truly missed playing with them.

I ended this summer with a bad audition and a stint in a local volunteer orchestra. An orchestra in whose ranks I have spent years. I've seen them improve drastically over the last three years. It really is commendable but at the end of the day, they are still a very large volunteer orchestra with a mediocre base. They have some great players in there but are severely hampered by timid strings, overly loud brass, and a second bassoon with whom I have a great deal of difficulty playing.

My little semi-pro orchestra is wonderful. I have a great time in there, thanks in no small part to the fabulously talented 2nd bassoon whom I play against. But I started off the week of rehearsals feeling horrible about my playing and wondering what the hell I was doing there.
I don't think I've ever felt so deflated and self-conscious. The volunteer orchestra just sucked the confidence right out of me! By the third rehearsal, I was feeling more myself and by the concerts, I was having a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoying bassoon again. It was easily one of the best performances I've ever turned in. Beethoven's Sixth Symphony went off beautifully, as did the Brahms Alto Rhapsody and the Tchaikovsky Cello Nocturne. So well, in fact that the solo cellist mentioned recording a CD with us and the audience gave a standing ovation at the conclusion!

Here's to the rise of talent and art rather than its fall. May we all be so blessed in our lives as to be challenged in ways that awaken our creative spirit.