Saturday, March 31, 2007


What it's all about

It was a good recital, really good!

This morning, while doing my final practice session, I realized I was just not ready to play all those rapid 1/8-1/16-1/16 groupings in "Bile Em Cabbage". Not at the tempo we played in Thursday's rehearsal. Not yet. Both yesterday and today in practice, my arm/wrist/hand cooperation lasted only about a third of the way through the piece before I stumbled. I had three choices, bluff it, bail out, or just play the 1/8 notes staccato and skip the 1/16th notes. I tried that a few times and it worked.

Once I decided to step back that little bit, all the self-imposed pressure, the anxieties, the dread of making a mistake - it all evaporated, just like that. I started looking forward to it.

I arrived early enough to get setup, tuned, and warmed up; I quietly played my pizzicato scales as the rest of the group tricked in. Before we started I warned my stand partner that I'd be playing it differently than him so he wouldn't get off-track. And it went well. I was relaxed and focused. The next piece went well, so did the next, and all the rest.

I had this feeling of being part of the music. It's hard to describe, but I got this powerful, distinct sense of "intention" as I played the notes, the feeling that I was actively drawing the sounds out of my cello. Much different than in practice. It was more direct, more focused. As if my mind was right there at that connection between the bow and the string. Wow! As each successive piece was comparatively easier than the one before, I began to get a stronger sense of control as we went along.

Whew. So that's what it's like!

Now about the Japanese translation:

The CelloBloggers site got a request for an invitation to join from a Japanese blogger, whose blog is Virtue Luck Temple. In an exchange of notes with him, I learned that there are at least 124 active cellobloggers in Japan who blog in kanji. He directed me to Mr. Goshu's Cello site which has a list of all the Japanese blog links. Using the website translator BabelFish, I've spent too much time scouring through a few of these sites. The translations aren't perfect - it translates the Japanese kanji for "playing" the cello, to "repelling" the cello. As long as you can overlook some of these unusual terms and odd syntax and occasional untranslated words, it can be quite interesting.

So, I built a translator feature using Yahoo Pipes, which picks up the feed from our new member's blog, translates it into English, and then outputs it as an RSS to Bloglines, which sends it to our CelloBloggers home page. For some reason, this same feed doesn't work into Google Reader. It leaves Yahoo Pipes in English, but then arrives in Google Reader in a bizarre clump of English and Japanese. I suspect this is due to the use of Yahoo's BableFish instead of Google's translator. That Yahoo pipes feature sure is something! It is all done graphically. You drag and drop the various features you want onto the screen and then connect them together with pipes. Strange. Powerful. I have a lot to learn.

Anyway, after chatting with the guy from Japan, he mentioned that he tried translating my blog into kanji and it was "readable". So, for fun I thought I'd post that translation here.

Congratulations for your successful recital!
And thank you for refering to my blog.
But please don't take too much time for Japanese. I feel a bit sorry about that.
On such a common topic as playing the cello, I think it's easier for bloggers of both (or any) language can communicate by help of BabelFish.
Oh what a feeling! Being a part of the music. I've only recently discovered this over the past year. But I'm sure that this is the reason that people want to play music, and especially to play music along with others. So glad to hear that your recital was successful and fun.

Your decision to step back and remove some of the self-imposed pressure is advice I will take to heart as I prepare for our concert at the end of the month. It's always so good to read what you have to say.

I was chuckling aloud as I read about the 124 active cellobloggers in Japan. Right. Just what I need. MORE blogs. And now ... the pressure of translation?
awwww. Bile them Cabbages...I haven't played it in ages, but it always makes the crowd go nuts! we would always play it at the end of any "cello recital" thing, and as you got older you moved up in parts, I think I played the 3rd part for a long time, but you can imagine how excited I was the first time I was handed #1 !!!!
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