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Caren

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  1. : : I've just spent the last half hour reading about the musical trials and triumphs of Chris Naze- a violinist turned violist. The story is titled "Srung Out: My life as an amateur violist" and it's a long but entertaining account that includes descriptions which I think accurately verbalize how intense and wonderful and enriching playing in an orchestra can be at any level. I think it would be a very inspiring read for any orchestra player, particularly beginners, so I just wanted to share my discovery. The page is part of the Classical Music Web Ring and the address is http://home.cdsnet.net/~naze/strung/strung.html : : Enjoy -t.c. I can't get this site to open on my computer. Anyone else having the same problem?
  2. Good point! I was listening to Milstein play unaccompanied Bach today, and noticed that it sounded like he had a very bad cold when he recorded it! I guess it doesn't really bother the music, but you sure have to get used to it!
  3. It's not THAT good, Paganini. Actually, I know of about a dozen people who can play it better- including me. Go listen to Rabin's Meditation. Now that is pure joy!
  4. I change teachers whenever mine move away- usually about every two years! I think that when you don't seem to be progressing as well with a particular teaching style, its time to change. If your teacher is offending you by being rude and mean, find someone else who's more plesant. Some teachers think they get more out of their students by being really tyrannical. I find that if I really like someone I'll work really hard for them, but if someone is continually bossing me then I start to spend all my time figuring out ways to evade them and make sure I get my own way sometimes! Some people seem to work alright with tyrannical teachers, but I think its much more fun to work with someone you like and respect. My advice to you- go find a new teacher that you like, then stick with them for awhile.
  5. This April I sent a registration form by email to Domaine Forget music camp in Quebec, Canada. It was supposed to be a wonderful camp, and the teachers there were just incredible. I was pretty excited about going. They took my $50 registration fee and sent me another email saying that they would process my application and get back to me as soon as possible. I waited. And waited. About a month later I sent another email asking if I was accepted, as I needed to make flight arrangements. They never replied. I wrote to them again several times over the next month and a half, but never heard a thing. My friend who also was planning to go phoned down to them, and they said they hadn't proccessed our applications yet and they'd look into it and phone back. They never did. By then it was six weeks before the camp started, and there were no flights left, so I gave up on going and registered with another camp which was lower-profile but turned out very good. I never heard anything from Domaine Forget, although I wrote to them several more times asking them to explain what had happened and refund my entry fee. Today I got a envelope from them- no letter, just a receipt for the money they took. Is this a usual policy for a reputable music camp? I'm not impressed. Maybe someone here has gone to this camp and knows why they accept registrations and take entry fees and never respond to the students. I've heard it helps if you fill the registration in in French. Well, take my advice and forget going to Domaine Forget. Caren
  6. Gil Shaham has a great cd titled "Romances". It has lots of good pieces, and his interpretations are among the best I've heard- and I must confess, I'm picky! Caren
  7. Do you audition without a screen? I just hate it when the people listening to you at an audition know exactly who you are, who your teacher is, and sometimes have a good idea of how you play already. Its too bad things work that way sometimes. You may have come up against a bit of age dicrimination- some conductors prefer players that will be [hopefully] around longer, that they can 'train' to take a leadership role in the future. There is also a possibility that you had an unbiased audition, but there were people who played better than you. You must admit that its not unusual to find 14 and 15 year olds playing grade 10 [or over] pieces. [Although sometimes the quality isn't there.] You may need to take an objective look at your playing and make sure your technique is all still in good working order. I know from experience how fast it can slip when someone isn't pestering you about it every week. You really have to keep an eye and ear on yourself while you practice. Don't feel too bad about the audition. Maybe you can get into another orchestra. Try getting together your own group- maybe a trio or quartet. If you can't find enough string players, learn a piece with an odd combination of instruments- whatever you can find that matches the people you can get together! Some say that playing in a chamber group is a lot more fun than playing in an orchestra anyway. [Just think- no conductor to boss you around! {No offence to conductors who don't fit this description!}] So get some friends together, and don't let an audition deprive you of a fun musical experience!
  8. My guess is that Carl Flesch meant that there is no real 'perfect' intonation because of the way cound waves are set up. That's why pianos are tempered- otherwise you'd get the resonating bass notes on one scale but another would sound really bad. Since violinists just have the four strings, we have to adjust acordingly to whatever key we're playing in. For example, play a G and B double stop and get it perfectly in tune [so you can hear the bass note]. Then leave your B in the same place and add your E open string. You'll find that you have to adjust the B to make it in tune with the E. This quirk makes it interesting when switching keys- fortionately we just use our ears and usually don't have to think about it much! So sometimes you have to 'stretch' the intonation a little to really make it sound right. Hope I'm making sense. Caren
  9. Thanks to everyone who responded to my virtual SOS on Praeludium +Allegro. The competition is finally over, and I can breathe easy again!! I got the memory all straightened out, and no, I didn't win, but I played pretty well. I got awfully nervous, and that didn't help my performance, but hey, this was my first time at it, so no wonder there's room for improvement! So thanks again- I really appreciated the tips. Caren
  10. : I play the viola, and I've got pretty short fingers, too. However, it shouldn't matter. : There are a lot of professional players with small hands on both violin and viola. : To physically reach the tenths, it depends on how you hold your instrument. However, : it usually helps if you bring adjust your elbow and bring it inward as though you were : shifting. Whatever you do, it may be uncomfortable but it shouldn't hurt. : When you first introduce octaves and tenths into your daily practice, don't spend : too much time on them and make sure you've played some scales or etudes first. : Good luck! I would like to add that if you play the fourth finger first and then stretch back with your first finger, centering your thumb in the middle, you can reach a lot further than if your thumb is back and you're streching up with your fourth. I don't have small hands, but my teacher does- she plays the viola, and useing this technique can play tenths and fingered octaves easily. Caren
  11. : Greetings, again! : Thanks to all of you for your suggestions re: Nail Care. : I've found that my piano playing is more of a problem for : my nails than the violin playing -- don't ask me why. My : nails don't strike the keys as far as I know and my technique : is correct as I study with a very well known Russian professor from : one of the major music conservatories in the northeast. : I think the Knox gelatin might work, although it doesn't sound : very appetizing! And I know the problem isn't long nails : because my nails are as short as they can be! : I can't stand long nails, and am forever telling my students : to cut theirs! My girlfriend had this problem last year...her teacher : at Juilliard told her she was working too hard! Perhaps : a vacation to warm, sunny Bermuda would be the best solution...! : Excuse me as I dream on. I know this sounds weird, but I heard that hoof cream for horses strengthens nails. So you could try your local vet! It sounds better than drinking gelatin, anyway! Caren
  12. I don't have much trouble with panicing right before performing [although I do have some of that too- i'm rather high-strung!] but I always have trouble going to sleep the night before I have to play. I usually end up with 2 or 3 hours of sleep- although sometimes I don't get to sleep at all. I never have a problem sleeping other times. Would beta- blockers help for this? I'd hate to have to use drugs to sleep, but this is getting annoying. I also heard they can cause hallucinations. Is that true? Caren
  13. HELP! I'm going crazy trying to memorize Praeludium and Allegro by Kreisler. It's at the point where I make a different mistake every time I play it. I know some mistakes are mental- I start wondering if I can remember this section, or I try to tell my fingers where to go and they won't listen. Sometimes my fingers keep going but I have no idea where I am, other times I know exactly what I should be doing but it's like the connection between my my head and my fingers got cut... Sometimes when I play it, it's fine, and I think "Oh, good, I've finally got this nailed," and then the next time I play it I get totally mixed up. The "cadenza" where the piano just sits and rumbles underneath is the worst. It's written in fours but likes to go into triplets when it goes fast. My teacher says this is okay, but the rythem change gets me mixed up. I've practiced it in double stops, triplets, EVERYTHING, and I may go nuts if it I can't consistently play it for memory. I know it's possible to memorize this because I've heard other people play it! I usually find memorizing pretty easy. Is it normal to have trouble memorizing this piece? I have to play this in a competition in two weeks, and yes, the memory is compulsery. Does anybody have some tips or at least some sympathy? Caren
  14. Dear Preston, Do you have to play it without cuts? I think most concert artists use Auer's cuts- otherwise it gets pretty repetitive. I understand that Sarah Chang learned the Tchaikovsky when she was seven. I'd do whatever she does- her recording sounds fabulous to me! Caren
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