Friday, January 29, 2010

The grind

Well, Magfest came and went, and as usual it was a blast. I bought a bunch of video games (Final Fantasy Anthologies, Final Fantasy Chronicles, and Final Fantasy 7!), had a bunch of great jams with people, and even had an extended vacation when a handful of OCR folks stayed at my place for an additional three days. It was a lot of fun!

But now that the fun is over with, I've spent most of this month working the hardest I ever have. Lots has happened, but to summarize:
  • My Yale audition is February 22nd
  • My recital is either March 10th/11th, or April 15th
  • I'm no longer enrolled as a student at Peabody, but am playing in orchestra in exchange for practice room usage.
Now that I have deadlines, I've basically spent every moment I have preparing for them in whatever ways I can. My hands have been the best they've been in a long time, and a 4 hour practice day is no longer a feat. I generally put in 3-5 hours of practice every day, depending on how much time I have. Sometimes my arms will give me some negative feedback, and I will have to rest--but for the most part they've done very well.

The only exception to this is my marimba playing, still. I'm having to practice with what my studio friend Adam Rosenblatt calls "Bastard Grip"--basically, Stevens grip in my left hand and Burton grip in my right. I want to be able to play with just Stevens grip, but right now my back two fingers and the muscles connected to them just can't provide the strength/support that I need to practice for a long time. So when I play marimba, about 75% of my practice is done with bastard grip--and the last 25% is done with matched Stevens.

The Yale deadline is fast approaching, and by February 22nd I need to play Donatoni's Omar, Klatzow's Dances of Earth and Fire, Delecluse's Etude No. 1 for snare drum, Carter's March for timpani, timpani excerpts from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Strauss' Burleske, Mozart's Symphony No. 39, Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis, snare drum excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, xylophone excerpts from Messiaen's Exotic Birds, and glockenspiel excerpts from Debussy's La Mer--with the option of also playing my first movement of Smith's ...And Points North and Cirone's Etude No. 32 if I want. Much of this list is on my A list--a.k.a, pieces/excerpts I know well. This would include all of the excerpts, as well as Delecluse 1. The Carter would definitely be on my B list--I know the piece and almost have it memorized, but it needs a lot of polish.

The two big pieces, Omar and Dances, are on my C list--I'm still learning the notes. Most of my work has been on these pieces, and by forcing myself to learn a set amount of notes daily, I'm finding it becomes easier and easier. As of today, I have a page and a half of Dances left to learn, and a few lines less than a very large page of Omar. I do think by this time next week, if I can keep my pace up, I will be done learning the notes to both pieces. I will definitely be done with Dances, but as challenging as Omar is to learn, I think I can do it.

This audition will be the single most important moment of my life thus far. So, lets do it!

1 comment:

  1. The other day, a double pedal gothic speed metal song came on, in the car, and my big bro and I talked about how we could see you liking the style.

    Anyway, the next few weeks are going to be hard, but I know you will be great at your audition because you have an amazing gift. Remember to take time for yourself everyday...even if it's just ten minutes sitting alone in a room.

    I'm so proud of you! Please keep me updated on what the outcome is for your audition and let me know what the date of your recital ends up being and I will do my best to make it down to see it (and then we'll go celebrate and if it's Karaoke night I will embarrass myself and sing Britney or Gaga!).