Monday, October 30, 2006


Tough Rehearsal

Nothing went right. Only six people showed up tonight, so there was nowhere for me to hide. None. Last week there were two cellos and the viola, and we played pretty good together. Tonight there was no viola and just one lonely cello.

It started off wrong and never got better. On the first piece I tried to use the new third position fingering for the opening measures, but I couldn't find the right places on the strings. In fact I had trouble finding any notes. I sounded so lousy, I'd stop, and then I'd lose my place altogether. The thing is, I had worked on these pieces, and I have been able to play them through using my metronome without trouble - at home. I checked my tuning and found my a-string had gone flat - really flat. That explained a lot. Once I fixed that I could at least feel like I was hitting the right notes.

But by then my confidence was gone and everything else started to go wrong too. At the end we worked on "Palladio", which for the cello, is mostly rhythm(!); I'm supposed to open the first two measures by myself(!), very slowly(!). What a combination of challenges for this a-tempic, a-rhythmic person! After a few tries I got the opening part steadied out. Then at Measure 7 I'm supposed to change to an eighth-note rhythm, but every time, I would speed up... The more we tried it, the worse I played it, which only made it worse still.

I was so relieved when we finally stopped for the night.

I'd like to be able to blame tonight's fiasco on the shortage of players, or on my being the only cello, or on the bad tuning, or on...? But the fact is, I just let my nerves get the better of me. I've been worrying about letting everyone else down, and I guess tonight it all came apart. I started to wonder if I just wasn't ready for orchestra. The fact is, though, I had sort of slacked off this last week or so - paying too much attention to the new pieces in my Suzuki lessons at the expense of the orchestra pieces. A few days I didn't even get to the orchestra pieces. Serves me right... you get what you play for.

Next week, it's going to be better.

Oh dear, sounds like a pre-Halloween horror. I don't have much useful advice but I feel for you G.
That explains it!
And here I was thinking it was me.

Wouldn't you know that I'd have a good clean practice for all these pieces this morning?

Next week, I suppose I'll be able to blame pre-election jitters...

Oh I wouldn't worry about it too much. It just happens, like crappy practise sessions. The more often you rehearse with them, the less it will bother you and nerves won't be a thing anymore.

You said recently that you're now playing for your teacher the way you do at home, but that wasn't always the case. I figure it's the same.

If it makes you feel any better I had a crap rehearsal last week, the conductor even singled me out and said, "Erin, I *know* you have a better sense of rhythm than that".

Hahahahaha. Wasn't a great feeling, but he only said it because he knows I'm a better musician than I was demonstrating at that moment! So I tried to take it that way...
Since the lone cello is supposed to maintain the rhythm for that particular piece where it all fell apart for me, "Palladio", it was impossible for the conductor not to single me out.

At least she was kind about it. And I did sense a degree of sympathy (or maybe it was pity) from the other players.

My teacher might be a little disappointed but I've decided to focus on these orchestra pieces at the expense of my Suzuki pieces, at least until I'm more comfortable with them.
Reading this makes me appreciate even more that there are 8 or 9 other cellos to hide behind in my orchestra.
Heehee, I am lucky to be one of 15 cellos in one of my orchestra groups. So I admit I hide.
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