Saturday, October 07, 2006




Oh well...

Last night's KPO fundraiser was actually fun (after the first performance was out of the way). The turnout was really impressive - the church was overflowing; hopefully a lot of money was raised. There was a lot of fantastic music from a lot of top notch musicians. I enjoyed all the performances, but IMHO, the best was Maria Allison's piano solo, "Malaguena" by Ernesto Lecuona. Other outstanding performances included Maria on piano with Emily Grossman on violin playing Mozart's "Violin Concerto #3 in G Major"; Molly Watkins on flute with Maria on piano playing Henri Busser's "Prelude and Scherzo"; and Spencer McAuliffe with Maria on piano, singing "Non Piu Andrai" from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro". Another crowd pleaser was the Kalgin Island Quartet plus garter-clad tuba(!) in an over-the-top performance of several latin-themed pieces including "Hernando's Hideaway". The worst part was, well, ahem, my pitiful role in the otherwise well-played performance of "Knock on Wood" by the CPY&CO.

Today I'm filled with doubts about what I've gotten myself into. I really knew that piece. Friday morning, I played it a more than a dozen times at full tempo, and along with the recording. I played it pretty much from from memory (but reading from the music), and I didn't miss a note (or a beat). When we all got together for a final rehearsal Friday evening (the first time with the percussion section), I didn't do so well, but not that bad. In the forty-five minutes before we went on (first up), I wasn't nervous - at all. Yet, by the eighth measure, I lost my place for a while, then I picked it back up again OK, and I hit a couple wrong notes but then at measure 33, I lost my place again and only recovered near the end. Fortunately, other than my cello stand-partner and the violist on the other side, I suspect that only the conductor could tell that I was floundering around.

Why? Nerves? I don't really know. I didn't really feel nervous. Afterward, though, I realized I hadn't watched the conductor - that might explain why I lost my place a few times. I think, too, that I got distracted by the percussion playing behind me. We hadn't practiced the piece with the percussion (which is key to the piece); although I had played against the recording...

So, two dismal performances, so far. Will I ever improve to where I can actually play "in public" without messing up? I sure hope so, because I'm not ready to give up.

This morning, I "got back on the horse" again, and had a really good 2-1/2 hour session.

On a positive note... during those 45 minutes waiting for the program to start, I stood in a room with 50+ other musicians who were busy tuning their instruments and warming up. As I held my cello, I could FEEL its strings vibrating in response to certain notes in the cacaphony of sounds, like it wanted to join in.

The success public performances will come. You know the capability is there, it's just the matter of letting it out in public, which is a whole different thing, but also requires practice.
What terry said. One of my more memorable performances was at a wedding gig, when we lost the third cellist. (It was a cello trio.) I think he just got overloaded, and got so lost he never could find his way back. Learning how to concentrate while so many new things are going on around you is one more complication beyond nervousness, and now that he is more experienced he rarely does that anymore. ggp p.s. I love the sympathetic vibrations of my cello, too. I think it is the most "alive" instrument.
Playing with others, in public, is a whole extra skill to develop. I'm confident you'll get there as you gain experience with it.

I have a hard time in my groups with pieces without any rests, where everyone is playing the same melody. I can't imagine how hard it must be to play orchestra music.
Yes, what everyone has said is true - it's just another skill you learn as you do it more often. Christopher had his first experience playing with the full orchestra yesterday and he said it was fun, but also very confusing.
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