Don't worry--I am still among the living. I have been enjoying my summer vacation to the fullest--tea drinking with mom, room cleaning with brother, bike riding with dad, Cosmo reading with sister, cake baking with Colette, phone conversing with ADB, and trips to Sonic with whoever will take me. And today, I will add excerpt learning. I haven't been the most dedicated bassoonist, but I find that without a goal (audition, lesson, recital), it is hard to be motivated. Therefore, I have been working out.
What is this working out? I'll tell you. I have been doing this mind-numbing exercise where I play through all my etude books with a metronome and tuner in front of a mirror. I do this so that I can develop my rhythm, intonation, and minimize finger movements (these pinkies of mine are out of control!). It sucks and is not fun, but my hope is eventually it will pay off and I will have sweet fingers. Fingers I can really be proud of.
I am also thinking about recital music. I might play a lot of German music--I miss it after my adventure into the France-Land that is Wisconsin. French bassoon music will always have my heart, but I need to branch out. Perhaps some American music too? Or....Canadian??? The possibilities are endless.
Today I am going to make a concerted effort to work on my CMU audition rep--Ravel Piano Concerto in G bassoon things, Rite of Spring, and ALL of Mahler 6. I wonder if CMU is doing Mahler 6. In which case, this would be my third time playing it. Maybe I could play contra this time...
Well, I am off to eat some cake and soak some reeds.
As my graduation present to myself, I went to Philadelphia for ten days--to visit friends, relax, unwind, and visit the birthplace of America. I met some fun people, brushed up on my Spanish (go figure), and ate and ate. I also celebrated my birthday. I am 24 years young! Professionally, I feel I don't have much to show so far, but on the other hand, I have made a lot of friends and who will hopefully be more successful than me and throw me a bone now and again. I will not worry. Things go up and down--I feel like I am doing with my life what the good Lord intended, so I will keep working and praying. Aaaaaaaand eating.
My camera battery was dying, so I only took a few food photos:
The weary traveler (I was having a good hair day and a bad face day, I guess).
We also ate at this amazing Mexican restaurant called Distrito. It is worth a try if you are not entirely broke. ;) You can eat in a Mexican taxi and they have a whole wall of Luchador masks! That was my trip! It was fun and also tasted good. More later!
I'm well, so don't worry about me! Hehe. My keyboard doesn't like to type Hs or Gs or apostrophes, so writing is not on the top of my list of fun things to do. However, I have been a busy little beaver, and soon I will post the fruits of my labor. Until then, keep practicing.
I remember the day that I decided I wanted to be a musician--
My parents are very interested in music and have a strong appreciation for it. They attend the symphony regularly and my father sings with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. I grew up listening to music of all types, my least favorite being classical. I was about six when I attended my first Pittsburgh Symphony concert. If memory serves, André Previn conducted something, then Itzhak Perlman played the Four Seasons. I did NOT want to go. The concert was the same night as my church's Hearts for Jesus Dance, and doing the Electric Slide with a bunch of Lutherans seemed ten million times more fun and interesting than listening to world-class musicians play amazing music. Go figure.
When I was about twelve, I gained a whole new appreciation for music. I was home sick and my mom was performing her spring ritual--making potato-leek soup and listening to the Rite of Spring. I so vividly remember laying on the couch, listening to this music and thinking, "What the hell is this??" I didn't have any idea that music could be like that or could illicit such a strong emotional response. I decided right then and there that I wanted to be a part of it. I started playing clarinet, but switched to bassoon because it was so much larger--my mom says I have a Napoleonic complex. Here I sit, twelve years later, listening to the Rite of Spring and feeling the same way I did when I first heard it. What a hoot.
As I am nearing the end of my academic career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my academic calendar is quite free. I don't have any classes this semester, and I'm not playing with the symphony in their last cycle of concerts. However, I did recently get my very first Wisconsin gig! (when you are a masters student in a studio with four doctoral candidates, you have to wait a long while for the gigs to make their way down to you). I'm playing in the musical pit for Into the Woods. We have had a few long nights and a lot of performances coming up, but the bassoon book is interesting, and the music is very nice. Thank you, Stephen Sondheim. My college roommate played the narrator in the Penn State Thespians' production, and being in the pit is bringing back all kinds of happy memories.
Now, I am contractually obligated to say that the show is going great and I am having a good time. That being said--Into the Woods is going really well and I am having a great time. The pit musicians are really good (and really quick thinkers!). Playing in a musical pit is not the most glamorous existence, but I think I could do it for a living if the cast and the crew and the musicians are as talented and friendly as they are in this show. Into the Woods seems like a pretty popular musical, too, so getting to know this part will probably only benefit me in the future. Modern musicians have to be able to do anything and everything, including play a musical or two to pay the bills. Plus it can be fun if you don't get caught up in the fact that it's not Tosca or Der Rosenkavalier. You could always pretend...;)
In other news, I passed my comprehensive exam, which, if you don't know, is an hour-long basic music history exam. It really SHOULDN'T be too hard, but it's hard to spend a weekend to studying ALL OF MUSIC HISTORY. But hey man, a pass is a pass. And I did it. Now I need to finish my bassoon exam, which is a paper on the top five orchestral excerpts for bassoon. It's getting close to done, but there is just so much to say...I could have written a book on the Marriage of Figaro excerpt. Also, there is a Megabus route from Pittsburgh to State College. AND Pittsburgh to New York. Maybe I can ride the Megabus to New York City for a dollar every weekend and pretend that I am a struggling New York artist. I'll be a New Yorker yet!
Also, in May I'm having a visit from one of my favorite people, who shares my affinity for public transportation. :)
This photo is relevant because it is taken in 30th Street Station, Philadelphia PA.
I will not be attending the Juilliard school next fall. I won't get to drink coffee and stargaze at Alice Tully Hall and I won't get to ride the subway to school and I won't get to take practice breaks in Central Park. I don't get to struggle to survive in the capital of the world. HOWEVER! I will get to go to a really great school and study with an amazing teacher in Pittsburgh. And also I will get to live at home. With my parents. Everything happens for a reason. It is a relief that I don't have to take out a million dollar loan and move half way across the country again and eat ramen noodles every day. I might actually make some money next year and feel a bit less stressed. My recital went over without a hitch. I haven't given very many recitals in my life, but I can tell it's becoming easier with every one. A lot of people came to see it, including my parents and godmother and sister, which always means so much. Obviously, there are things that I could do better. But it'll just have to wait for the next one. I have decided to tackle the Jolivet concerto. I want to play in a concerto competition and I think the Jolivet is a winner. I learned how to practice efficiently while preparing for my Juilliard audition and I'm excited to implement my new skills. I haven't been practicing too much lately because my wrists have been hurting and I need a little break. But once my comprehensive exams are over (Wednesday), I plan on going NUTS! Wish me luck!