So… it’s been a while! I’ve been moving, which has been chaotic. We still don’t have an internet connection and won’t until the 13th (stupid AT&T) so I still won’t get to post much until then. The good news is that I (finally) have my very own computer for the first time in forever (okay, so the last computer I got was for a HS grad present, which was only 10 years ago, but in computer terms it may as well be a fossil.)
With the insanity of the move I haven’t been able to practice nearly as much as I want to so my progress is slow. I’m working on yet another Dotzauer etude, which is, like the last one, excruciating but wonderful. It feels like it’ll take the rest of the summer to get it up to shape at the rate I’m going, but again, like the last one, I’ve learned an incredible amount from it. Usually I hate etudes, but I absolutely love Dotzauer’s. It’s kinda like sore muscles from working out. Sure it hurts like hell, but it also kinda feels good and I’m better off for it afterward.
Part of me is getting impatient about all these etudes I’ve been working on (no actual pieces at the moment) but that’s pretty much my fault because I have had so little time to practice. But, on the plus side I NOW HAVE MY VERY OWN LAPTOP! This may not be so exciting to the rest of you, but for me it is… I haven’t had my own computer in many years and had previously been using my husband’s old desktop that has been rebuilt three times over the last 11 years and absolutely every single piece of it is shot (well, okay, it still has about 2/3 of the case and two of the usb ports work and the power supply works but just gets a bit too hot.) The stupid thing took about a half an hour to start up (not kidding. I actually had time to brew coffee in the morning, fix it, and drink it while the computer booted up.) So today when my laptop told me that it took 73 seconds to boot and that it was too slow and I needed to optimize it, I actually laughed out loud. I’m rather unused to a functional computer, but am quite excited and hope to be using it to update this blog more frequently (once stupid AT&T decides to grant us access to the interwebz.) I’m also excited because having this computer means I will be able to buy the program I will need for next semester’s theory class and do all the ear training exercises at home instead of using the music department’s ancient computers that are actually worse than my husband’s old desktop (really, a computer *can* be worse than that and still turn on and do stuff, though I hesitate to say “function.”) And, since I have to leave super early to get into Sac before rush hour traffic, I will have a nice fancy computer to use while waiting for class to start. Yay!
Anyhow, hopefully more updates will come when I have my very own internet connection and have more time to do the thing I’m supposed to be blogging about.
My teacher is currently on vacation for a couple weeks, which means that I asked her to give me plenty to do. She gave me a couple etudes by Dotzauer as part of what I need to be working on. Over the last week I have worked almost exclusively on just one of them because it the single most difficult piece I’ve encountered thus far. It looks simpler than it is and, at least for me, is impossible to play well. The first several days were spent questioning if I could actually get through the whole thing — I’ve never questioned being able to simple get through anything, even if I knew it would be horribly played! I finally had a breakthrough when I started trying to work through it end to front. So, the last half only makes me cringe about a third of the time, while the first half still makes me wish I were deaf. She said she didn’t expect me to manage to get through the two etudes and at this point I don’t intend to. I really just want to be able to play the first one without wanting to cry. So, I think I have found my (for now) impossible project: This etude right here! (Also, sorry it’s so blurry! The book is falling apart and I was using photo booth!)
As I’m sure all you guys know, I’ve been wanting new strings for a while but have been absurdly indecisive despite all sorts of awfulness coming from my gnarly old ones. Then our local music shop announced a big sale starting today which includes absolutely everything in the store. So guess who was there this morning buying herself new strings!
I decided to go with Dominants, contrary to everyone’s advice. It turns out that I made a very good decision. They’re super super SUPER easy to play, they are more focused than the Jargars (people kept telling me they would sound unfocused and muddled on my cello) and (seriously) sound twice as loud AND they have absolutely delicious overtones. Oh, and my wolf is almost entirely gone! Really. I just put them on, so they still sound un-broken-in but I get the feeling that they will just sound yummier a few days from now…
So why am I sitting here blogging instead of playing? Well, they keep stretching and I keep having to get them back up to pitch. Thought I’d let them sit a while before doing it again. C and G are pretty stable but D and A are being a bit pesky. Just giving them a break while they settle in. Hopefully they are more stable by my lesson later today!
Also: the winding on each string is different and the colors form a rainbow. How cool is that!! Now I get to look at a rainbow when I look at the winding!
Hopefully I continue to enjoy them and I’ll let everyone know how they do over time. 😀
This entire week I’ve been playing horribly — not being able to get through a single octave of C major without messing up kind of horribly. I’ve hardly been able to sleep or eat lately, which has made me really spacey — spacey to the point of forgetting what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I literally couldn’t get through a single one of my pieces this whole week practicing because I couldn’t even pay attention to where I was even with the music right there in front of me, which is sad because the pieces are short and I have them memorized. So, I pretty much thought it was a given that I’d screw up royally at the recital. Not out of nervousness, but out of spaciness.
So what happened? Other than a couple of bumped strings it was actually the best I’ve played the songs. Go figure.
But this isn’t the point of this blog post. Really.
You see, my teacher’s house is small and I ended up having to sit exactly to the side of everybody when they were up playing so that people could all fit. This allowed me a fantastic view of everybody’s bridges, specifically a nice view of Eleanor’s crazily tipping over bridge. It started driving me so crazy that I could hardly pay attention to people’s playing. Really really really bonkers. I wanted to grab her cello in the middle of the piece and fix it first but restrained myself until after everyone was done playing. Then I managed to get my hands on the girl’s cello. Stupid little crappy 1/2 size cello that hasn’t seen a luthier in years. Not only was the bridge practically falling over, but a piece of it has broken off (seriously) and it’s missing its parchment. Plus, the string grooves are waaaay too deep. And the strings are ancient and the winding is unraveling. I got the bridge upright, which helped a lot and convinced her family that she needs new strings. However, I couldn’t convince her family to take it into the luthier for any of the rest of it.
So… guess who is going to be calling her luthier and asking him what she can do to fix this poor uncared for cello since these people absolutely won’t take it in because she knows he’ll understand how crazy it is driving her to see a cello in such frustrating disrepair! Poor unsuspecting guy is going to get a phone call tomorrow with me on the other end sobbing “PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO FIX IT BECAUSE IT’S TEARING MY HEART INTO A MILLION LITTLE PIECES TO SEE A CELLO IN THIS AWFUL STATE OF DISREPAIR! PLEASE!”
Well, the title of this post says it all. I always used to be excited about recitals but this time I’m pretty much dreading it. I’ll be playing that pesky little piece by Haydn that always makes me feel like I don’t deserve to have the cello I’m playing on (poor cello– she’s stuck with ME!) Plus I’ll be playing a short piece by Gluck and one of those many mystery pieces which has almost no identifying information. I’ve been super stressed and tired the last few weeks so my playing has just been abysmal. Of course, I wasn’t really looking forward to the recital before all the stress either…
My teacher keeps telling me how impressed she is with my progress but I swear each bow stroke sounds worse than the last.
I still haven’t replaced my strings even though a couple of them are making all sorts of wonky sounds. I’m being weirdly indecisive about it and will likely just leave them on there until they’re unplayable.
I’ll write a post about the recital tomorrow night most likely, but no there will be no video. Thankfully my teacher has an aversion to cameras also.