Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Doo-dee-doo

Concerts are finished for a time. The composer whose Concerto Grosso I played in two years ago returned for our world premiere of his Piccolo Concerto. We even had an audience.. it was amazing! He actually remembered me and had kind words about my playing. Just heard a recording from that same season of the orchestra playing Ginastera's Variaciones Concertantes, and parts of it were quite beautiful. It's nice to be able to go back and listen and enjoy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Practicing

A book I read recently criticized the word "practicing" when referring to musicians playing music at home. As if one could ever really "practice" the actual act of performing. I forget what he offered as an alternative but he did have a point. There is no way other than lots of performing to prepare oneself for a performance. I have this image of myself walking briskly and assuredly into a recital hall, taking a grateful and graceful bow, and setting down to really enjoy myself and entertain my audience. The reality usually involves an incredible surge of nervousness, sometimes complete with shaking hands and always accompanied by a drastic increase in tempo. I struggle daily to reconcile the two, preferrably on the side of the daydream rather than reality. Self-actualization is only getting me so far.

Anyway, I practiced a ton this week. At least for me. A few hours in the beginning of the week and then 2-3 hours last night, until late enough that my mouth still hurt in my lesson at 9am. Played through my lesson, practiced an hour, took a half hour break, and then back at it for another hour and a half. I'm proud and amazed that I was able to do it. I'm not sayin' it was concert quality playing in that last half hour, but there was progress.

My lips are buff, dude. And my fingers are f*ckin' tired.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bizzy bizzy bassoony

Finally applied to the master's program here. I still have my statement of purpose to write but I've finally committed to the program by submitting the application. My professor has come around on the Strauss Duet Concertino and claims to actually be enjoying the piece now. That makes two pieces this year that I seem to have won him over to. Not a bad compliment at all.

Playing well. Reeds get better the less I mess with them. Who knew? Lots and lots of rehearsals and gigs. Played a very tiny and lovely wedding over the weekend with my trio, have another gig this weekend, will be playing Mozart's Requiem with some group or other in a couple of weeks, and the chamber orchestra has a concert coming up. March is an ugly, ugly month on my calendar.

Chamber orchestra rehearsals start up soon and I'm excited for the concert. It's been a few months and I'm anxious to play in an orchestra I enjoy again. It took some time but it seems my name is finally out there with some of the right folks and I'm finally getting more freelance gigs. It's a good time for it - need the money, have the time, and I feel like I'm playing better than I had been for a while. What's more, I'm enjoying bassoon right now and that really does make all the difference.