I still am waiting to do my physical for the Navy. Its been kinda frustrating because I was expecting to go last weekend, but it was postponed at the last minute because the University of Rochester didn’t get my records to them in time. So annoying! So now I have to wait until the 24th…hopefully everything will go well then (cross your fingers!). Its been almost a month since my successful audition…really frustrating that I’m still struggling to get everything in order and get a ship out date! Its been really hard to keep in on the DL at work…although someone already found out through facebook! Luckily she is the only one that I’m friends with on facebook from work, and she said she wouldn’t say anything until its official. (Thanks Kara!) Can’t wait until it is!!!!
Anyway, I’ve been asked to play in a series of concerts in August, which has given me my motivation back to practice! I’ll be playing pieces with a large group, and then we have opportunities to play either a solo or get together with other players to do chamber stuff. I am thinking about playing the Poulenc Sonata, I haven’t seriously worked on it for almost 6 years and I have been wanting to revisit it for awhile. I’ve actually taught the piece more than I have played it, ha!
I’m thinking about what I would want to play if I decided to give a recital in CO…Poulenc is definitley on that list. I’m limiting the possibilities to things that I have performed/studied in the past…I don’t have time to learn something new right now! I was thinking of doing the Larsen Dancing solo again…mostly because I really love that piece, and it is one of those pieces that I will always find something new in. Also on the list as possibilites: Mozart, Muczinski Time Pieces, Finzi Five Bagatelles, Stravinsky 3 pieces, maybe a duet of some sort (possibly one of the Beethoven bassoon-clarinet duets, or the Poulenc duet) depending on if I can find a friend to play with! Rep is dependent on if I can find a decent pianist as well. The better the pianist, the more options I will have. I was extremely spoiled at Eastman with very talented pianists! I could play whatever the hell I wanted, it was so nice.
The other day I went over to Eastman to practice, I needed to get music from someone and I thought I’d might as well stick around and get some “big room” practicing done. I went up to the annex 7th floor classrooms, I haven’t been up there in so long! Brought back a lot of memories of rehearsing and classes, it felt good. It also brought on a kind of “aha” moment for me. My teacher at Eastman really prepared me to NOT have a teacher. As I reflected back on what I had accomplished over the past year, I truly realized that I haven’t had consistent teacher for the last year (besides coming in to play every few months before auditions) and I still managed to become a better clarinet player than the one who graduated 14 months ago. (!!) I don’t think I could have ask for anything better…sure, a teacher can teach you technique and musicality but if they don’t teach you HOW to practice and and listen to yourself it really doesn’t do much good for your future endeavors. I remember when I started at Eastman…I was good (obviously, I got in!) but I was alllllll over the place with my sound. Makes me laugh now, how UNrefined I played. Now I am sensitive to the tiniest of variations in my sound – its a blessing and a curse! I will sit there and play two notes over and over and over because I’m trying to make the sound consistent between the two. He also turned me into a reed adjust-a-holic. I remember once in one of my early lessons, he asked me if I had thought about the reed I was playing on or if I had just “slapped one on”…me being an honest person said, “I just slapped it on”….WRONG ANSWER! That was one lesson where I considered whether or not I had made the right decision in coming to Eastman. I’d never had a teacher get angry in a lesson! While I never actually cried in a lesson during those early days, there were a couple of moments where I had to REALLY hold the tears back. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? It was a shock, but now I’m grateful for his bluntness. He made me realize that sound and your reed is EVERYTHING in an audition/performance setting. Every clarinet player can play the notes, its the sound that sets them apart! Thanks Mr. G!!