the home stretch…

The last couple weeks I have been practicing like a mofo…seriously.  My aspirations are getting the best for me again.  Literally Monday through Friday I practice 2 1/2 to 3 hours after work…and somehow I am still finding time to work out!  I can’t really do anything else though, and I’m feeling exhausted by bedtime.  Its ok, it will be totally worth it.  My recital program is really starting to come together! It will be ready by next Friday…I hope.  I’m so excited!  Hopefully my reeds won’t freak out because of the dryness and altitude.  Lots of practicing will take place in the few days before the concert to make sure I adapt well!

Right now I’m fighting with figuring out an order for the recital.  I have 4 out of 5 pieces that end softly and anti-climactic, and the the 5th is really short.  I have to think of what makes sense for the audience and myself (since I’m using all three of my instruments).   I’m thinking of this order:

Bolcom – Little suite of four dances (Eb clarinet & piano)
Sutermeister – Capriccio (solo A clarinet)
Finzi – Five Bagatelles (Bb clarinet & piano)
Debussy – Syrinx (solo A clarinet)
Poulenc – Sonata for two clarinets (Bb clarinet)

The thing I’m fighting with is whether or not to switch the Poulenc and Finzi.  Neither are good closers in general, but they are the best closers relative to the group of pieces that I have.  Hmmmmmm…I’ll take a week to think about it.

Anyway, in other news, I’ve been invited back to play with the group Ad Hoc again. (Check out their website,  We are performing the Mozart Serenade (again – we did it in the concert series back in August) at the Eastman house this weekend.  I’m playing the 2nd part again with the same clarinetist as before playing the first part.  There are some new players, so it feels like a different group – better actually.  I’m also playing the Poulenc duo with the other clarinetist on the concert, which is great because I will get some practice performing the piece before the real deal next week.  We worked on it last night; it was the first time that I played the piece with another human being and it felt pretty good.  I think we play really well together – its great when you just click with another musician.  Unfortunately, I’ve had more of the opposite situation, where we are mismatched and it takes a lot more work to achieve the same result. Its so refreshing when things come together so easily.  Our playing just flowed very well together, it was nice.

Last night I also had a moment where I felt so grateful that I played such a cool instrument, and that I’m actually really good at it and this is what I’m going to be doing as my profession!  I truly love playing clarinet, I really feel like myself when I’ve got my instrument in my hands.  I can’t imagine myself doing anything else and being as happy!

It really feels good to be performing again.  I feel lucky to have stumbled upon Ad Hoc, and its beginning to open up some doors for more performing here in Rochester.  I’ve been focused the last couple years on auditions and its refreshing to be playing for people who isn’t critically judging me!   I hate auditioning, but I love performing.  Maybe that’s why I don’t do that great at auditions sometimes….ha.

One reply on “the home stretch…”

I stumbled upon your blog via a google search for clarinet. Your passion for your instrument, and your excellent education (Eastman) give you great tools for succeeding. And the fact that you are using the Internet to share your ideas also helps.I wish you luck. It sounds like you are going into the Navy. Are you playing w a band for them?David Thomas

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