Thursday, November 12, 2009


Bailing out

After a grueling effort to try to master the repertoire in time for the KPO's Halloween concert, I decided not to go through it all again to play in the *Redoubt Chamber Orchestra's "Evening of Christmas" concert next month. This was not an easy decision, and I spent quite a bit of time looking through the music selections and reviewing several of my old blog posts discussing goals, etc., before finally making up my mind.

After looking through the RCO folder, I realized that even if I worked all month at three hours a day, I'd still never get far enough to be able to hold my own and enjoy the experience. While it was challenging to be able to play with the KPO last month, I just didn't feel like I was ready to be there, and most of the time I wasn't hitting the right notes anyway. In hindsight, the experience wasn't worth all the time and effort and stress I put on myself.

The bottom line is I am just not ready, technically, to play at this level. The RCO only has two (possibly three) cellos, so my inabilities would be difficult to mask. When there were seven or eight cellos, it was easy to lay low in the crowd.

My cello abilities are improving - slowly and steadily. I've thought a lot about what I want to get out of cello playing, and playing in the RCO and KPO are definitely included; but not until I'm ready - technically. I have a good idea of what I should study during the next year in order to get there - this includes work on pieces in Bb Major and Eb Major, rapid bowing exercises (that B part of L'Arlesienne makes a good etude), playing rapid scale and chromatic runs, and generally working on fast tempos. I have no doubt I'll see gains in each of these areas over the next year, especially if I post these goals on my music stand.

* The Redoubt Chamber Orchestra is a local version of the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra. About half of the KPO orchestra is based in Homer and half in the 'Central Peninsula' area - Soldotna and Kenai. The RCO appears to be made up mostly of this central peninsula half, and in recent years has only gotten together for the Christmas concerts.

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