Monday, May 24, 2010

I think I figured out vibrato

It's a rocking motion, isn't it?  I had been moving my entire hand but what I'm discovering works better is keeping my thumb stationary and rocking the part of my hand over the fingerboard back and forth.  I'm sort of rotating it in an arc, and the center of the circle is my thumb.  It sounds better and feels right.  Cellists, is this correct?

I'm glad I decided to rejoin the orchestra on cello.  I'm not keeping up with the music, but being around other cellists is helping.

I think my cello teacher has gone home to London.

Tonight I played piano at a chamber concert (QUOtets) in an ensemble that also consisted of a violin, viola, bass, and (in one of the two pieces) accordion.  The accordionist, Seth, arranged the accordion piece and composed the other piece, and we rehearsed last night in my apartment.  I had only read each piece through once before we rehearsed, and one of them had a few measures of piano solo which I never quite got right, and stumbled through at the performance.  Despite that, I think we did a decent job with them.

After the concert, an audience member approached me.  He is a professional cellist and is interested in getting involved with QUO, but can't attend Wednesday rehearsals.  Thinking more about myself than the orchestra, I asked him if he teaches private lessons.  He said yes, but awkwardly, since the reason he approached me was to find out how he could help the orchestra, not to get a new student.  In any case, teaching me cello would obliquely help the orchestra, and he seemed amenable to it.  He lives in Astoria, which would be MUCH more convenient, although I wouldn't get to spend time in Sakura Park.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Disregard my last post (which I deleted)

I just heard from the fellow who's violin I damaged, and he said the repair is likely going to cost far less than he was originally quoted.  We don't know for sure, but he asked me to hold off on fundraising for now.  Thank you to everyone who has already generously offered your support!

Friday, May 7, 2010

An Order of Magnitude Higher

Just found out that my blunder last week is quite a bit worse than the college blunder I mentioned at the end of my last post.  About ten times worse.

On another note, a friend's Facebook post about NYSSMA brought back a memory I'll share with you now.  By 11th grade, I'd done NYSSMA on piano twice, but never on violin.  Our orchestra teacher made performing a NYSSMA solo a requirement of the class, and we could choose either to perform our solo for the NYSSMA adjudicators or for the class.  Naturally, most people chose the more intimate audience of an adjudicator.  I have no idea why they're called "adjudicators" and not "judges," but how often does one get to use the word "adjudicator?"

For my solo, I played Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in A minor.  Like many of my classmates, I'd never taken private violin lessons and everything I knew about violin playing came from what I picked up in our bi-daily rehearsals and the occasional monthly group lesson.  Let me branch off and talk about those lessons for a moment.  Lessons took place during another period when you had another class.  The schedule was devised so that no one ever missed the same period twice in one year.  This ended up being a surprise get-out-of-class-free card, however, I rarely went to them.  Lessons, though a reprieve from class, generally weren't much better (enjoyment-wise) than sitting through the class in the first place.  Also, the schedule was so erratic that I never knew they were coming, and often just forgot about them.  I wonder how many other people treated lessons like I did, and whether the orchestra teacher sat in her classroom wondering who was going to actually show up to them.

Anyway, the point of this story is that, as I was waiting for my turn to play my NYSSMA solo, I heard a 4th grade girl practicing the very same piece, and playing it much better than I could.  I never cared about my progress on the violin, so this only made me laugh.  I think my indifference towards the violin is why I still have my violin today.  Had I cared about it, I'm sure I would have thrown it across the room in frustration and broken it a few times.  I cared about the piano, and consequently abused it, but fortunately never did much damage because the piano is a much more hearty instrument than the violin.