audition challenge clarinet

Video and Challenge Week 8

Ok, so this week was kind of a wash.  But even though I didn’t upload my video until today, I did manage to get my recording done on Friday.  To be honest, it took a lot of motivation to get it done.  I didn’t have a lot of time for practice last week and I was not feeling as prepared as I wished I could be.  I also had a very long gig on Friday morning, and I really wasn’t in the mood to practice afterwards!  All I wanted to do was go home!  Especially because I was about to have a really long workday that started super early on Saturday (I went to the Big Island for a parade).  I also forgot my GoPro camera at home, so I had to use my phone to record my video.

There were so many reasons that I could have used to make excuses to not record a video.  But I decided to look at it as an opportunity to see how I play with no proper warm up and in not so ideal conditions.  Although I wasn’t going into it completely cold (like I said, I played a gig that morning – but on a plastic reed haha), I knew it would be interesting.  I basically selected a reed, and pressed record.  Here’s what happened:

In general I think I did OK. A few mistakes here and there…mostly due to lack of focus!  I took everything under tempo, but that was the plan originally.  I had to do the Mozart concerto without a metronome, because I use my phone as my metronome and it won’t record video and run the met app at the same time. But it ended up being a really good test in my inner pulse. The tendency is to start at the correct slow tempo, but then creep faster and faster. I tried my best to hold down the tempo without the aid of the met.

Also, I have not been that pleased with my sound lately. It sounds too unstable and squawky to me. Ugh. I’ve been trying to put more time into reed working, and also really  working on the beginning of the sound to try to see if it helps. But it could quite possibly be the room and recording equipment though. I’m going to dig out my husband’s old Zoom recorder this week and see if there is a difference.

I also focused this week on being 100% ready to go and focused on the task before I start anything.  Its a challenge!  It is so easy to just start playing on auto pilot.  I felt like I started all my excerpts much better than the last few weeks.  I am going to keep that focus this week, since it seems to be a weak area for me.

Now to this week’s assignment:

  • Mozart Concerto, entire exposition with metronome set on half note = 50 (focus on inner pulse!)
  • Three excerpts from group 1
  • Two excerpts from group 2

As you can see, it’s pretty much the same as last week.  I want to improve my pulse for the Mozart Concerto, that is why I’m putting the metronome on such a big beat.

I am going to do something different with my practice schedule starting this week.  So far in the challenge, I’ve been only practicing the excerpts that I assign myself for the video recording.  I had a thought though…that’s not really how auditions work!  So I am going to practice all my group 1 and 2 excerpts, and then pick some at random to play for the video on Friday.  I think that will better represent an audition situation.

So for the next two weeks, I’m going to split all the excerpts (groups 1 & 2 only) into three equal groups and rotate through a three day schedule:

  • Day A: Dahl, Holst, Mozart Serenade
  • Day B: Holst, Borodin, Gounoud, Williams
  • Day C: Borodin, Bach, Beethoven, Grainger

As you can see, I worked it out so that I practice the group 1 excerpts more often.  I’ll work in the Mozart concerto when I have time.  My schedule this week is a little more forgiving, so I hope I can get more practicing done, and record a better video.

Well, I’m going to go enjoy my Monday off of work.  Back to the grind tomorrow though!  Good luck and happy practicing!

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