Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's the best part about Madison life?

Top to bottom:
Dal (lentil soup) from Madison's awesome Tibetan Restaurant, Himal Chuli.  I could eat it all day.

Sheep cheese and beer from The Old-Fashioned in Madison.

Supper food at Paul Bunyan's Lumber Jack Meals near the Wisconsin Dells.  One word for that meal--hearty.  (Also,my dad on the phone wishing someone a happy birthday, I think).

Last but not least, split peas from the Willy Street Co-op that I spilled all over the floor.  They would have been very delicious....

Bassoon is going.  I am practicing and making reeds like a mad woman, because I am setting up lessons with various bassoonists around this nation.  It's trying and scary (what if they don't like me or think I am uncool??), but I am trying to live without fear.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh, the places you'll go!

This summer I got to travel all over North America and play the bassoon with some righteous people.  I literally made 100 new friends.  One of the awesome parts of being a musician is travel--you get to go all over the world and show people a good time...With music.  This summer I went to Powell River, British Columbia (Canada) and Madeline Island, Wisconsin (USA).  It was a busy summer.  

I went to the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific in Powell River and got to study with Marc Goldberg, who was just an incredible musician, brilliant teacher, and all around good human being.  I learned more in those two weeks than probably my entire life and I totally changed my attitude towards taking auditions and correct preparation, etc.  

I don't care what anyone says--Canada is gorgeous.  Particularly the Pacific Northwest.  I'd got back in a second.  Also, the climate is great for reeds (I thought, at least).  They never really dried out and so all the mistakes I made when I was scraping kind of got puffed out in the humidity, and the temperature is very cool for July (if you ask me.  Sometimes it would be 45 degrees at night!), so hot, stuffy reeds were never an issue either.  I liked it.  I liked it a lot.

Next stop, Madeline Island Music Camp in Madeline Island, Wisconsin.  Madeline Island is SEVEN HOURS north of Madison.  My dad drove me up there, which was a hoot--luckily, if I am in a moving vehicle for more than 20 minutes, I fall right to sleep, so I missed most of the trip.  Madeline Island is a chamber music camp, and the Prairie Winds is the faculty group/quintet-in-residence.  I love chamber music.  If I could find a way to be a professional chamber musician, I'd do it (PLEASE HIRE ME).  Tim McGovern is the bassoon teacher, and he really inspired me to work hard.  I went to this festival in 2006, so it was great to return and have a completely different experience.

I never think to take photos of performances or rehearsal/concert spaces, so I stole some from other people.  

This is a photo of me and some other students playing "Octoot" By PDQ Bach with the Prairie Winds in their recital.  I was so excited that they asked me.  What an honor!  And yes, I am just playing the long joint and bell of my bassoon.  Look up the piece and you'll understand.

In other news, my dress rehearsal for my recital was tonight.  I didn't get to rehearse all the pieces, but what I did get to rehearse was really good.  Usually I don't feel very good about performances like this, but now that I'm in graduate school, and not taking 22 credits and playing in five ensembles, I feel like I really have enough time to really prepare this music.  There still aren't enough hours in the day, but part of being a musician is never being satisfied, right?

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm going nuts!

Things are about to be nuts! My parents are coming up Saturday, my recital is Sunday, my Baroque Survey paper is due Monday, we're driving to home to Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Thanksgiving is Thursday, and Friday morning at 5 AM I'm riding a bus to Philadelphia for a visit with some of my favorite people. :)

I got a lot of practicing in early, so I can pull my half-nighter tonight and then another one later this week. I want to finish my paper before I fly into a psychotic rage over my recital. On a brighter note, I got another letter from another friend who is abroad. Thanks Kristine!  I now have a big pile of correspondence that is making me feel a little more popular.

Here goes my half-nighter (half an all-nighter). I think I'll watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to see me through this rough time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My First Successful Poach

I have successfully poached an egg. I did this a while ago, in September, I believe, but I'm still just as proud now as I was on that day. I got up very early and went to the farmer's market, where I bought tomatoes, eggs, fresh basil, potatoes, kale...the list goes on and on. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I think the trick is to set it gently in the water and use a little vinegar. Also, to have a fresh egg. I had this egg on a little piece of toast with fresh basil and tomato. I should have made four or five. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A letter from Bridget

This will be my first blog post in my new blog. I'm going to jump right in.

Yesterday I got a tiny letter in my mailbox from my wonderful friend Bridget. I miss her terribly--she is in Japan right now, teaching the kiddies English. She came out to visit me last October and we had such a great time. She even came along to TWO (count 'em, TWO!!) auditions with me--so far, only my mother has been invited to accompany me, as I become an irrational basket case and cry and swear and act a fool.

Both pianists canceled on me today, so I've spend my morning and early afternoon thinking about blog posts and writing my Baroque Survey paper. Now I'm off to make reeds. Toodle loo!