Monday, June 8, 2009

From Zero to Mozart in 8.449 Months

Ok, so the big surprise that I kept hinting about, that happened on May 17 at Liesl's violin recital? I played too. But doggone it if I decided to videotape it with my camcorder instead of my dinky little point-and-shoot digital camera. The reason? I wanted a better quality video than my little camera can take. order for one to post a video taken from a camcorder, one must be at least slightly adept in the process of transferring the video, editing it, and, in the case of YouTube, shrinking it to an acceptable size. I do not qualify for that "adept" category. (If I told you how much raw footage I have of Liesl as a baby on those tiny videotapes around the house, you'd probably laugh.) I have software and the manual...I just need about 12 hours of uninterrupted time to sit down and figure them out. That's a tall order with a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old in the house.

At any rate, I played in the second violin section and performed the Mozart Trio in D Major, K. 439b. The surprise was that I started practicing this piece with 12 other musicians--including our teacher--in chamber music rehearsals for an hour and a half every week, starting last January--just 4 months after I had started violin lessons for myself.

So after 3 months of totally freaking out on a daily basis working very hard to practice and learn this piece, I got up front with the chamber music group was over in 15 minutes. It was a pretty great group. I quickly got over being uncomfortable about being one of very few adults in what I thought was supposed to be a kids-only environment. I made a lot of interesting, talented friends--most of them a third my age. I learned an incredible amount in 3 months--about the complexity of playing the violin, about playing with a group of talented musicians, about how hard people work (and, indeed, how hard some don't work) to become polished musicians, and about people themselves. (I also consumed more than my fair share of cookies at these rehearsals.) And last but not least, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in those rehearsals. Those benefits were far more rewarding than the actual 15 minutes of performance time on May 17.

All in all, I am pretty proud of myself. I played clarinet and piano as a child and young adult, and I played them well--but not brilliantly. But the violin in comparison is a much harder instrument to learn. It was even harder to learn with two tiny children running around at my feet, beating on each other while I ignored them in favor of practicing scales creatively taking part in my personal practice time. And yet, I did all that in less than 9 months. If I can do that, I can do just about anything.

So I know I'll get the video up on YouTube. Someday. Like, before I'm 85.

Liesl played too! Variation D of Twinkle Twinkle. She's the youngest student in the studio to complete this without stopping. (Thank goodness for violin recitals--the flower girl dress got worn more than once!)

One my buddies in Miss Sharon's studio, Ann. She is 11 and is a very talented violinist. She also has one of the nicest, brightest, funniest personalities I've ever seen in an 11 year-old.

She is heading to Interlochen's advanced violin program this summer...we hope to visit her there over a weekend.

Liesl hanging out with her buddy Claire, the other 3 year-old in Miss Sharon's studio.


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Cortney Ophoff said...

Congratulations on your first violin performance! That's great! I am so glad that you are enjoying it and finding it so rewarding, too. Kudos to you!