Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The night before the rehearsal (Practice Session 6)

My only plan for tonight was to practice.  I left work at 6pm, stopped to buy printer paper (because I've finally run out of documents with blank backs to print on), moved my car, and was home by 7.  After tooling around on the computer and eating for an hour, I decided I'd better get to practicing before it got too late.  After all, that was the plan.

I was really dreading picking up the instrument.  My last practice session had left me sour, and I hadn't picked it up in four days (are we noticing a trend?).  I knew it was going to sound terrible and I was going to get frustrated.  I decided to ease myself into the cello by practicing the piano part of that Brahms Cello Sonata I mentioned in my last post.  After I couldn't avoid it any longer, I picked up the cello.

I was delighted to find that it was in tune (enough), because tuning it is the biggest challenge.  I was also delighted to find that I could make it all the way through a two-octave C major scale without wanted to jab the tip of my bow into my ear repeatedly.  My intonation was passable, and I was glad for that.  Then I got crazy and played a B-flat major scale and that was okay.  I flipped through my Klengel book and landed on scales of quarter notes bowed in groups of four.  I did that in C major, and called it a warmup.

Enough fooling around.  It was time to actually practice the music I would be playing tomorrow.  There are five pieces:
  • The Blue Danube
  • The Lone Ar-Ranger
  • The Nutcracker Suite
  • Brahms Serenade no. 1
  • Dvorak Serenade no. 2
I practiced the first two pieces.  My intonation was horrible, I kept forgetting the key signature, I kept bowing adjacent strings, and then I decided to create a Twitter account for the Big Apple Corps.

So far, I am the same music student I was as a ten-year-old.  I can't concentrate and I have no discipline, and this means I never practice.  When I do practice, I get frustrated very quickly and stop.  Now, when you get frustrated while playing the piano you can bang on the thing, creating a very satisfying, loud noise that accurately conveys the rage that's going on inside you.  When you get frustrated when playing the cello, there's not much you can do other than scream.  It's a quandary very similar to when I got a flat screen monitor at work.  Before that, I had a piece-of-crap CRT monitor that you could bash with your palm as much as you like and do no damage.  When I got my nice, new flat screen, it could not weather such abuse so I had to keep my anger inside.  So, instead of erupting in a fit of rage when I get frustrated playing the cello, I create Twitter pages.

I'm not going to be able to keep up with the orchestra tomorrow, no matter how slow they go.  I'm going to play very softly, and get lost a lot.  And when we're done, I'm going to drink.

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