Wednesday, September 02, 2009

 

Movin' On Up


The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra's next concert will be at the end of October. As part of the bill, our community beginner/intermediate string orchestra will also be playing three pieces. But on top of that, I will be sitting in with the KPO for their set - along with a few other members from our strings group. We'll be playing "Pirates of the Caribbean", "Funeral March for a Marionette", and "The Hall of the Mountain King", among others.

This is a huge step for me - I'm going to have to double up my practice routines over the next eight weeks if I want to be anywhere near ready. I'll be scheduling extra lessons over the next month to work on some of the trickier passages with my teacher (who is principal cello).

Of course, that little guy on my left shoulder is already hollering at me: "no way...", "you're nowhere near ready...", "maybe you should wait another year...", etc. But my teacher was very supportive and told me that although it won't be easy, I'm definitely ready for this.

I'm really looking forward to this. Grieg's "Pier Gynt Suite" has been a favorite since my early teens; and I particularly like "The Hall of the Mountain King" (along with "Anitra's Dance"). I can't believe I'll actually be performing it with my cello!

At today's lesson (#73) we played through the Marcello "Sonata" and the Bach "Minuets" from Suzuki 4. I've progressed rather well on both these pieces, and we identified a handful of areas to fine tune as I continue to work up to speed. She commented that my rhythm and timing were really quite good [A first!].

Primary issues to pay attention to:
1) accuracy of shifts - identify the target note for each shift, even if I won't actually play that note; slide my fingers along the strings to the appropriate note instead of throwing my hand in hopes of hitting the right place;
2) relax thumb pressure - try playing those tricky parts without using my thumb at all;
3) play with all my fingers closer to the strings, watching for sloppy hand "shape";
4) practice appropriate thumb movement during extensions;
5) relax and breathe - play with less tension, don't stress so much about hitting the right notes, etc.
6) start listening to Tchaikovsky's "Chanson Triste" on the Suzuki 4 CD; and follow along by reading the music in tenor clef.

Comments:
Hi. I greatly enjoy your blog! Wanted to encourage you about the music in your orchestra. We played both "Pirates" and "Hall" in my orchestra and they were great fun-especially Pirates! One part is extremely cello challenging- play what you can and enjoy the rest!
 
Way!! Performing with limited practice is a great thing to learn, and performing real music with an orchestra is a great step. Sometime I'll scare you with my horror story of joining my first orchestra and sight-reading the finale of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony the next day. It was terrifying--but exhilarating.
 
it'll be hard...but the only way to really learn is to just immerse yourself!! you will be fine!
 
Wo0t! I am so excited for you! I am actually doing the reverse: playing with a really good amateur orchestra every now and again just to rehab my numb hands. The fear is the same: Beethoven 9 is on the menu for this concert. But the great thing is that you can practice and rehearse your way up to a whole new level of competence. I am really looking forward to hearing from you the day after the concert. Double Wo0t!

Your word verifications are always the best. Today is "drolt". Indeed.
 
Congratulations! Sounds wonderful.
 
Your notes from your lesson sound like mine! I think we're paralleling. :)

Peer Gynt was great fun indeed when my orchestra played it. The cello absolutely drives 'Hall'. I'm most fond of 'Ase's Death'; it's a good challenge to see how quiet you can get, and the mute adds such a unique sound.
 
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