Thursday, April 30, 2009


Lesson hiatus

Today's lesson (#70) was our last for two months while my teacher takes a summer break - too bad for all of the halibut and salmon in Kachemak Bay...

I've made a lot of progress with the Breval Sonata - Rondo. Since last lesson I've increased the tempo several "notches", and we played it today at my current pace; then we reviewed a few minor issues. I've only got a handful of measures left to sort out. Then all that's left is continuing to increase the tempo. My teacher commented that one of her primary goals is to teach her students how to learn on their own... and it appears she has [finally] succeeded in my case.

We set-up a two-month practice plan:
- Start studying the next piece in 'Suzuki 4', the Marcello Sonata[!] (it's important to apply my recent "revelation" about how to learn new pieces - take it slow and steady without the bow, working a few measures at a time, until I have the rhythms and fingerings all sorted out);
- Begin listening to the Bach Minuet in G on the Suzuki CD (as well as some of the solo recordings);
- Start familiarizing myself with Tenor Clef... Tchaikovsky's Chanson Triste is just around the corner;
- I just began working on the fourth-position etudes in the 'Percy Such Position Studies' book, and should press on;
- Mooney's 'Double Stops' - um, well, keep at it; and for filler
- Continue optimizing various 'Suzuki Book 3' pieces.

This is going to keep me busy.

Some local news of interest this week; Zuill Bailey will take over as director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival when founder Paul Rosenthal "retires" in 2010 2012. This summer's festival is spread out over three weeks in June, and Bailey will be there for most of it, as will Armen Ksajikian. Unfortunately the town of Sitka is really quite far away and not accessible by road - so I won't be able to attend. However, each winter Rosenthal takes the show on the road, visiting several communities throughout Alaska - including Soldotna. We're all hoping Zuill will continue that tradition.

We found out this week that our own local summer music festival (the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra Summer Music Festival) will include having our string orchestra and Cellocracy play two noon-time concerts this year.

My newly rebridged cello is sounding great!

Mt. Redoubt has quieted down lately. I didn't see any plume for the first time in months as I drove to my lesson in Homer today. Maybe that's all over... till the next time, anyway.

I haven't written a lot about my music theory classes. We're just about finished with our second round. What a remarkable experience! For the past several weeks, we've been arranging assorted melodies to be played by string quartets, and then we've been playing them together in class - fortunately we have two violins, a viola and two cellos to make this work. On a few occasions other instruments, including a flute, a french horn, and a guitar, have sat in with us to produce some interesting music. Not only are we learning about music, we're also playing what we're learning. I'm hoping we'll be able to restart this again in the fall.

I love seeing the Festival mentioned in blogs! Thank you! 'Just wanted you to know that Paul Rosenthal does not retire until 2012 (his 70th Birthday...) & we have every intention of keeping our tradition of our touring concerts! To keep track of what we are doing, please subscribe to our blog:

Thanks for the correct date. I'm really happy to hear there are no plans to stop the touring. I'm a huge fan of these and of Paul, himself, and his friends.
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