#1 Concert Experience

listening to: r.e.m. – swan swan h

The most amazing concert I have ever played occurred this summer during the YOA tour while we were in Berlin. It must have been our seventh concert in the tour at that point, and the third time we played our regular “American Program” (Ravel Rhapsody Espagnole, Copland Billy the Kid Suite, Revueltas La Noche de Los Mayas and Ginastera Danzas de Estancia). The interesting thing about YOA was the myriad of conductors we had through the entire tour. Our primary conductor, Prieto, had gotten us through our first two American Program concerts. Everyone adored Prieto. He was young and energetic and very much likeable. So to learn that our third American Program concert, in a magnificent hall like the Berlin Konzerthaus, was to be conducted by the awkward oaf of a conductor that had conducted us during our initial reading rehearsals, many people were worried/concerned (or as I prefer, “bitchy”).

Just to give you an idea, this guy was the anti-Schleicher. It’s probably my own damn fault, having been here at school with a fabulous conductor for two years now and additionally playing in his conducting class. It’s made me super-critical and aware of how every tiny little action on the podium can effect what an orchestra thinks and how they play. I’ve learned so much about what makes a good conductor, both technically and common-courtesy-wise. It was unbearable to sit in those rehearsals at the beginning of YOA. To have our scheduled abused leaving wind players sitting around waiting to hear whether or not their pieces were actually going to be rehearsed, and leaving some pieces almost entirely untouched. Hearing someone yelling things like “with me!” and “watch!” Giving us verbal directions in dynamics, accents and character but then doing absolutely nothing with their gestures. In having someone sing along and breathe for instruments who need to breathe for themselves. Someone who when something goes wrong waves their hands and yells “No no no stop!” instead of calmly putting their hands down and addressing problems.

Um…whoa. Down, girl. Sorry. I’ve been holding that rant in since July for reasons of “not wanting to seem like a critical bitch.” But, there it is.

So yes. This was our conductor for the concert. The saddest part was that this guy didn’t know how to handle our traditional and completely rambunctious encores, Tico Tico and one other, which were seriously the best part of the concerts (IMO). People were displeased. Some were whiny. Others tried to spread a positive feeling. My approach was a little more of the classic Talia optimistic pessimism philosophy. “We have nothing to lose. We know the music like the backs of our hands, we’ve performed it twice. Let’s just go out there and do what we do best and not be bothered by a person on the podium.”

But miraculously enough, that’s exactly what we did.

The audience was huge. A sold-out house. Leon Spierer, former principal of the Berlin Phil –who had helped us with string sectionals and is basically the most wonderful man in the universe– was in the audience with his wife, as warm and happy as ever. And amazingly enough, the whole “our conductor sucks but we still rock” philosophy caught on. The conductor was just passive and boring enough that we could musically do everything we had been doing before and more. He did nothing to try to control with his own ideas. It was like he was just there for the ride. And because of that, it felt like we were more our own solid ensemble, rather than a group of musicians with a conductor-guy guiding us. I remember thinking to myself –and later using this to describe what made YOA so amazing– how we are quite an amazing bunch of people. To get on a stage as 110 individual and very different musicians from over 20 different countries and turn into this unified orchestral mass? Amazing.

The crowd loved it. Everything about it. They seemed not to mind our awkward conductor. They just loved the youth, and our energy, and they showed us that with their applause and their standing ovations. There was some sort of energy burning off the audience. I’ve never experienced anything like it before.

It probably helps that Berlin is an amazing city. It also probably helps that the hall was amazing. The reception/party in the Konzerthaus afterwards probably helped prolong the euphoric feelings. It was one of the most amazing nights of my entire life.

Thus how I played the best concert of my entire life with a completely crap conductor. Life never ceased to amaze.

But you know something? Last night came awfully close. It is perhaps a #2. A lot of UISO concerts have come close to being that awesome, in fact. Last May’s Brahms concert was fairly amazing. It was unbelievably cool to be sitting principal and playing ridiculous chamber solos with Tzushan and Jan (really. I am so lucky and happy to have had any experience sitting principal at all). But last night somehow takes the cake. The program, for one. Beethoven 7 is certainly my favorite Beethoven symphony, if not one of my favorite orchestral works in existence. And the Rite of Spring? Is Stravinsky. That’s all that needs saying. I can’t remember a better audience turn-out here at school, or a better audience for that matter.

It’s concerts like this that make me rethink my recent not-great opinions on being an orchestral player professionally, how I might want to do that for a living, and how myself and others can try to improve the concert-going experience for the audience-member and help attendance out.

But for now, I’m just glad it’s Saturday.

Pudding A-Flaming?

listening to: voltaire – dead girls

Dr. Hill used the world “levity” this morning in class. It made me happy. The quiz I did poorly on, however, did not.

I wish I could remember more of the dream I had last night. It involved lovebirds and travel. And also Rice University calling me because they were concerned with the fact that I had not yet submitted a graduate application. Huh. There was a lot of running around amidst rolling green golf-course-like hills going on.

I notice that my “stressed out” dreams either tend to be needing to get from point A to point B and overcoming weird obstacles in between or involve me being late/missing a concert. Or not having concert black. Or not having music memorized. I blame that last one entirely on the song Flaming Pudding from my junior year of madrigals. I hate that song.

Today at 11, several of us gathered in the orchestra office and watched a VHS tape of the Rite of Spring. You must understand, finding a video of the Rite of Spring with the original choreography by Nijinsky is nigh impossible as the man never wrote any of it down and the premier in France of course recieved a riot, but Charlie managed to come up with a VHS that comes close. The set and costuming from the video was all copied from the originals. As for the choreography, reviews and accounts of the version with Njinsky were studied and interpreted and what we witnessed was the end result.

…And it was amazing. I love Stravinsky, in all possible manners. In music alone. But this piece? It is ballet music. It is meant to be danced to. And I don’t think this is something orchestral performers realize, as we are mostly concerned with counting in 5/16 alternating with 3/16. And also we sit in the pit. It’s not as though you can drop out in the middle of a section to turn around and see what’s going on.

The other thing that struck me was how utterly disturbing it actually was. No wonder people didn’t respond well to the premier. Yes, the music is harsh and rhythmic and a different experience. But the dancing? I always thought Petruchka was creepy enough as it was, just because the entire ballet revolves around a circus and puppets, some of which are kind of lewd and weird. But the entire last act of the Rite of Spring is basically surrounding the preparation of virginal sacrifice. Dancers are circling around a girl, sauntering in a zombie-like manner to the beat (all of which are disjointed). The climactic point is prolonged and carried out until the very end, and then there is nothing more. I think I just sat in my seat with my jaw unhinged for a good 20 seconds before somebody turned the lights back on.

Yeah. The original ballet? Not quite what Disney may have mislead you into thinking it was.

Speaking of which, I have always been a little wary of Disney and their capitalist manner of existing in art and entertainment. Even if I will admit to enjoying a good deal of what comes from them. But I think I forgot that Fantasia came out while Stravinsky was still alive. That’s not a common thing, for composers we are so familiar with to have a say in whether or not their music is used in films and the like. But the thing is that Stravinsky apparently had no say in the Rite of Spring being featured in Fantasia. Disney said they would pay him a stipend for use of the film, and he refused. But apparently there were copyright issues, and Disney could do whatever they liked without consent. So they told him to either take the money or not they would use it anyway. And thus Stravinsky did not want The Rite of Spring to have anything to do with Disney. And thus, I may hate Disney a little bit more. Even if my Dad actually plays on the original contrabassoon they used in the beginning of Fantasia (Go ISU, I guess). But…that’s kind of unrelated.

I conclude by saying that Russian Music = Happiness.

And also: [inability to contain self goes here]

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

listening to: elton john – holiday inn

Can we just skip the part where I’m listening to Elton John? It’s just that I’m in denial, is all. This just isn’t something I thought I would have to deal with in my life. But then why is this song so good?!

International Beer-Tasting and Chili Cook-off? Right here in freakin’ Urbana?! I know what I’m doing Saturday night. Haaay! Somebody come with me.

Stuff and things. I’m cold.

There’s a UISymphony concert tomorrow night. Beethoven 7 and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. If you live around here, you should come. That is the most neutral invite to a UISO concert that has ever been left on my blog, in the history of the universe and such.

I’m also tired.

But I found the fucking cord for my PS2’s AC Adapter. I don’t want to talk about that, either. It was someplace ridiculous. As usual. But it is worth the ridiculousness. Katamari Damacy!!

Boring, As Usual

listening to: shiina ringo – hai hai

Oh, Shiina Ringo. I love it when you sing about food.

I’m trying to alter the sad state of my apartment. And also find that damn cord to my PS2’s AC adapter. One of my parents looked for it in the upstairs practice-room at home, all to no avail. So dammit. It’s here somewhere. It must be.

You may notice that word verification in the comments has been turned on. This is because….spam is annoying. But comments from real people aren’t!!! Love comments!

I’ve been watching my playing, and I realized today how much better I feel than I did at the beginning of the semester. I have concluded that this summer, while I learned a lot and had some fun, really hurt my playing. I now believe even more firmly that maintaining one’s playing has little to do with number of hours played, or how much repertoire was actually played. Because all I did during YOA was play. That’s all I did. But because we spent such a ridiculous number of hours per day rehearsing, and started for the most part at 8 or 9, I never did serious warming-up. I didn’t want to risk any extra time if it might result in my being hurt. No scales or arpeggios or etudes or anything in a setting that I could stop and relax and think about technicality.

And it seriously hurt my abilitiy to play. I’m still in the process of reinstalling good intonation from my brain to my fingers. Yaaaiiiee.

Currently, though, left hand: doing good things. Right hand: doing better things. Motion things: completely changed from last year, in a productive way (mostly. I think).

I had really cool things to blog about. Where did they go? I hate my brain sometimes.

Back to tidying and searching. I think if I go much longer without playing Katamari Damacy, I’m just going to start my own Katamari with a wad of duct-tape. Or something. Sigh. That idea is so lame. And would never work. Damn you, KD. Damn you.

He Didn’t Have A Lot To Say

listening to: rasputina – trenchmouth

Hell yes.

Things I have concluded from today:

– Gamelan instruments are pretty cool.
– Popper #20 can cram it.
– Awkwardness descends in elevators. Wait. That sounds weird. Let me rephrase. Awkwardness awaits in elevators. Yes. That’s better.
– Attempting to go running through swarms of tiny little flies that seem to convolute in sunlight is less than fun.

Uuuh.

It seems I might be making a trip to Baltimore at the end of October to take part in the premier of a piano trio at An Die Musik. I really don’t know details yet, or if this is actually happening or what. But the prospect is awesome. It might also be cool because it means I might get to see RACHEL for the first time in, what, five years?

Hmm. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with myself.

This Just In: Blogger Hates Life!

listening to: ยต-ziq – summer living

Seriously. I just keep typing entries to see if maybe something might publish. And does it ever? Nooooo.

Never has there been a more ridiculous night. I think the moral of the story is: don’t go to Steak’n’Shake with oboists, lest ye be kicked out for catapulting ice-cubes. Okay, okay. We weren’t really kicked out. More like…the glares of several other patrons helped in encouraging us to leave.

Oh man. My stomach still hurts from laughing. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard since this incident (damn. turns out I never actually transcribed that chat. just mentioned it a lot from there on out).

Anyway. Stuff.

Also, I’m glad to know that somebody out there appreciates my freakin’ away messages.

And…it’s over!

Blogger, if you don’t publish I am going to spork you so hard.

Uptight!

listening to: super furry animals – herman loves pauline

Dear some people,

SHUT UP.

Yours, Talia

I don’t meant to be bitchy at people. In fact, it’s one of my most important policies of self-conduct to try my hardest not to be. I feel I’m usually fairly awesome at this. However, sometimes it can’t be avoided, and I don’t realize until after the matter that — oops! I was unpleasant. And maybe difficult. I’m guessing this alarms some people, because especially in the school-setting and with my peers, I try to be approachable, professional and understanding. I really hate that I can be capable of quite the opposite so randomly. Like…I remember this one studio class last year. Mmmm.

But…it has just occurred to me that I NEVER act that way unless someone gives me good reason to. I think the main thing that I hate in other people that I will critisize and attack before I think twice is a certain lack of responsibility. I mean…for GOD sake. If you volunteer yourself for something, please just do it. Don’t say you’re going to do it or only kid of do it and then hand it off to someone else who didn’t ask for your responsibility at the last minute. Also, claiming responsibility for your own mistakes is a really important thing. What’s worse than not claiming responsibility for your own actions is additionally DUMPING the problems on someone else. Perception and thinking ahead is important, especially in organizing large school-related matters. Right? RIGHT?!

I’m such an INFP, someone really needs to club me.

I had to get that out. I know. I’m uptight sometimes. I get it from my Dad.

Assholes!

Sorry.

Haaaaaay, you tell that Dweeby von Asshat, Ze!

Kitty!

listening to: zazen boys – daigakusei

Ohgod. I forgot about this. Oh, and also this. Kitties!

This morning I woke up and inexplicably loved the internet again. Yes, it’s true, the internet and I have been having issues with eachother for some time. Because, see, I still love it and all of the random and not-so random information that is available to digest. But I hate the distracting social-networky crap. The social-networky crap is so different in nature from the information-getting stuff that sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in one and forget the other.

And thus I send you here. Stupid stupid myspace.

Also, I think I need to edit side-bar links. Some of those links I don’t read. Some of those blogs don’t exist anymore.

I need to think about switching to Movable Type. Someday. In the future of “I will never figure out server data-bases if my life depends on it.”

Josephine hosted a Max-MSP party last night. To which only three people showed up. What the heck, classmates. I was the first person to show up, and it was at least an hour before Colin and Steve came. We sat around listening to Radiohead and talking about, what else? New music. And R.E.M. And the greatest pedophiles of the 20th century.

Huh. This netvibes thing is pretty awesome.

This Is Coming From Basically Nowhere

listening to: cocteau twins – persephone

*headdesk*

The moral of the story of life is that I am not allowed to stay up this late. Ever. I’m just not. It needs to be made an official rule.

Because when I do stay up this late, it’s usually just me being bored and then overcontemplating and then blogging entries like this.

Like, what, you ask?

Like this: tonight I am overcontemplating things regarding my very daunting problems with trust. Or rather, mis-trust. Why do I have a hard time trusting people? Trusting people to be there for me to count on? Because I always have problems with this. If something really shitty happened to me, would anybody actually care (the answer, I know, is yes)? And on the opposite end, why can’t I trust my friends to trust me? Or rather, why don’t I believe that anybody has any real faith in me. I do good work! I try hard not to screw up! Sometimes I do screw up. But when I do, the first thing I try to do is admit that I have screwed up and be honest about it. It’s a very honest policy. So why do I worry about stupid things?

Honesty!! That’s it! I don’t believe that people are being honest or sincere with me, either!!

I think it’s time to look back through some old private book entries. Did I mention that when I got back from Europe, I went through two of the most frustrating and depressing weeks, mostly because I had no energy (a mono side-effect) and was convinced nobody cared for my existence (a YOA side-effect, you might say). And…this wasn’t like…a couple hours one night when I stayed up too late and overcontemplated, like tonight. This was pretty much a solid five days of my feeling pretty miserable. That’s a long time to feel miserable. At one point I decided it was so ridiculous and that I’d had enough that I went to my private blue writing-book, stated the most direct diagnosis for the situation, and then followed up by writing down the names of ALL the people that I knew really truly cared for me and would be there if something was wrong, and how in return I would be there for them in an instant.

That was a pretty amazing list to make, because I realized that there are a lot of truly amazing people in my life that care for me in the same way that I care for them. And that I occasionally neglect and demean those really great relationships because another relationship with a person is one-sided or weird or hurtful or something, and I become over-concerned and worried over that one.

I’m the opposite of some music-students I know. I refuse to beat a dead horse in my cello-playing (ie, over-practice, over-play, over-rehearse), but I need to know that my relationships with people are okay, and if they for some reason aren’t, I don’t know when to let things be. I always want to make things better, and sometimes I just can’t. And I need to know when to stop and get back to all those other people in my life who I know care.

Well, I apologize. This has taken an extreme “emotional twit” turn for the worst. But honestly, that has been eating away at me for a while now, and it’s probably good to get it out someplace. Also, I have nothing to hide here.

Another overcontemplation: If I have to be lonely, I would rather be alone. Which I think is another way of my saying “I am a misanthrope and I am going to live in a hole in the woods.”

So, in review. These are the things I need to try to incorporate into my philosophy of life:

1. Trusting people, allowing other people to trust me, and trusting myself
2. Maintaining my really awesome mutual-caring friendships and not trying to poke at the one-sided ones
3. Trying not to be misanthropic on Saturday nights when I stay up too late watching Zombie movies.

Good. I think I can go to bed now. Dear self: what is your problem?

Why I Don’t Like Digital Audio: Live Performance

listening to: prokofiev quartet no. 1

Death to the Beat, all day long. That’s my Friday.

Colin: Good comment. I agree with you 100% on both parts (even if I do sometimes feel like I’m a bad student of classical music for not actively listening to more of it in my off-time), especially the second part regarding people who only allow themselves Western classical music. I have this theory that being well-rounded in everything is a key to understanding and open-mindedness. And stuff.

Okay. I was thinking more about everything mentioned from the last post, and I came across the realization that I don’t give myself enough credit. Here is what I have to say about the traditional classical aspect of this listening issue…thing.

For one thing, I stopped to consider how important the art of live performance is to me in this day and age of iPods and automatic digital audio. The first phonograph came about in the late 1800’s, and perhaps that seems like a long time ago, but in the history of music, there were thousands of years before that point in which the only chance for listeners to familiarize themselves with music was through encounters of live performance. That’s a long damn time in history that we haven’t been listening to LPs, CDs and the like. I think one reason I find myself listening to so little of the traditional classical works in my idle is that there are visual and physical elements missing from recordings that I feel are important to my listening experience. This is where live performance comes in, and why a majority of the memorable works I have discovered and come to love I have done so through the attendance of truly excellent recitals and concerts.

It’s difficult to deny that the visual element has something to do with this. Especially in the last few years, where my brain has turned to pedagogy and more the physiological aspects of playing, I think there is a tinge more emphasis on the need to see how things work and observe what is going on. Also, it’s simply more pleasing to see what is creating a sound.

But in addition to the basic watching element, there’s also performer connection. Performers (for the most part) are not computers. They do not simply sit and automatically produce sounds. They have researched and studied and practiced (again, for the most part) and basically put some part of their soul into what they are doing. When you experience a live performance of something, you’re not just witnessing the physical movements. I think that if you’ve never heard a musical performance that has excited or moved you or sparked something in you that forces you to suppress the urge to jump around and freak out (or maybe even depressed the hell out of you and made you cry), you haven’t lived.

In live performance, there are no everyday distractions. The space of a live performance is meant for listening and watching and concentration on what is occurring at hand. I find that, prior to what myself and others occasionally think, I have a very long attention-span these days, but that I need to be in the right atmosphere in order to make it work. Performance spaces tend to be the right places for me.

Sometimes it almost irks me to think that we have taken the art of musical performance, something which was once upon a time considered a very thrilling and lively event to partake of during the evening or the day or in a court or a church or a monastery, and compressed it into something that can be squeezed out of any two speakers in the world.

I think that subconsciously, I don’t listen to Western art-music the majority of the time because I would rather not if I can’t have it mean something more to me than just digital audio coming out of two boxes. Of course that isn’t always true. I’m one of the most non-diagnosed OCD people that I know, and can easily get stuck on recordings of pieces I love and play them incessantly over an extended period of days or weeks. But as for the idea of large amounts of classical music coming straight out of my audio equipment 100% of the time I enjoy putting my entire being into experiencing a live performance, and that is not something I can do while I listen to my iPod or my stereo while I’m reading or studying or whatever. I would rather not risk turning something that close to who I am and what I love into unimportant noise.

Amen to that. Or something.

More musical opinion coming your way. Next up — Why I Like Digital Audio: New and Popular Music.

A Question And Some History

listening to: katamari damacy ost – bluff spirit

Well, if I can’t play the freaking game, I’m at least going to listen to the soundtrack.

I was thinking earlier. What does it mean that about 90% of the music-listening I do (that does not include practicing, rehearsing, performing) is of the non-classical tradition? And is this a bad thing?

While I’m thinking about it, why don’t I just insert an unnecessary history of my early listening years.

Born into a family of two orchestral musicians and an older sister who played the violin, all that I encountered from ages 0-9 was traditional Western art-music (and the Beatles. You know, I wonder if the fact that Yellow Submarine was my favorite movie when I was age 5 explains why I’m so…not-normal). I was reasonably obsessed with the works of Mozart for a 4-year-old. I fell asleep at night listening to Tchaik symphonies and Vaughan Williams string chamber works. Bizet’s Carmen. Mahler. It was all I knew.

That is, until the age of maybe 9, where I at some point remember hearing loud, strophic, repetitive, beat-emphasizing noises coming from my sister’s room. A racket that wasn’t the Beatles. What is this stuff? I overheard my sister telling one of her friends who was over to listen to this R.E.M. song, her current favorite song (Underneath the Bunker). I made a mental note.

This was still in the days of the cassette tape. So one day during the summer when Erica was away, I stealthed into her room, stole the unmarked tape that apparently had R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pagaent on it, and started listening to it on my own. So that was that. So begins the history of my insane obsession with R.E.M. (before they sucked) that continues to this very day. And so ended my days of constant classical listening during my cello off-moments.

I remember when I was 14 or so, my mother made a somewhat negative comment about how much popular music I was listening to, and how I never listened to anything else. My dad told her that I was a good kid regardless, but sometimes that comment follows me places. Through the hallways and lounges in music-buildings and friend’s livingrooms where it becomes evident to me that other people actually do listen more to their own repertoire or even just bunches of classical music during their classical off-time.

But…I don’t know. I’ve always known that I enjoy extreme noise and certain types of aural workings. Why should I deny myself of those things? I honestly don’t think I am any worse of a musician or student for my listening habits. And…somehow, I have to admit that a lot of the things I listen to are really important to me. Popular music is important to me.

Hmm. It’s probably good I got that out. I think sometimes amidst all of the cello/whatever junk I hear other people chattering about incessantly, I feel like that’s not an okay thing.

On the opposite end of things, it makes me very sad to see the record/CD collections of other students and musicians my age and find that there is NOTHING but the classical works of their own performance instrument. Variety is a good thing every now and then. Right?

Anyway. I was just…thinking about that, as I was walking home from school today.

And that is that.

…From The Finest Ice Machine

listening to: rasputina – the new zero

random amusing quotes: “Think of all the people in China who aren’t listening to you perform!”

“Was it the kind of riot like at a sports event, with people booing? Because I’ve always wanted to do that at concerts. Yell “boo” at the conductor and tell them to get off the stage.” — Schleicher, in regards to the riots at the premier of the Rite of Spring in 1913.

Life is pretty awesome.

–EXCEPT–

I am a moron. Now that I have a little more idle time, I decided I would play Katamari Damacy for the first time in a very long time. Perhaps since last February (since April onwards was Kingdom Hearts II phase of my life). And this was the first time I’ve wanted to use my PS2 since I being back at school. And do you know what I didn’t have?! DO YOU?! It turns out I didn’t have one of the cord components needed to plug in the AC Adapter. GOD. DAMMIT.

In related things, a list of junk I need to ask my parents to bring when they come to our UISymphony concert next week:
1 mid-weight jacket
1 PS2 AC Adapter plug

In other things, would somebody PLEASE watch zombie movies with me? Like this weekend? Someone who genuinely enjoys zombie movies? Please? And damn all you people who live too far away. Just, damn you.

Spicy science!

…On A Wednesday

listening to: dismemberment plan – i love a magician

Eat it, 412! I got an A-! Whooshbam!

Yeah, maybe I got an A-. But there’s this thing where the exams weren’t really graded on a scale. Or even so much of a curve. They were more graded with…evolution grouping? I don’t know. You come up with a better term! Anyway. I guess it’s nice being in a class where grading is more liberal and based on your understanding of concepts rather than outright answers. Also, remember when I said I was retaining information? Yep.

Wednesdays hurt.

Jeeeeesh! Don’t You People Know Anything?

listening to: rasputina – girls’ school

Insane revisitation of a Rasputina kick has been entered. Beware the crazy cellists.

Oh man. Speaking of crazy cellists, I had this dream last night involving being stranded somewhere in Europe (which is, I swear, at least some part in every dream I can recall for the last months). This time it was in Spain, and we were in a dark corridor in a monastary which was home to a moving black hole that nobody quite could predict the location of. All people knew was that monks were disappearing at alarming rates, and they needed something to fix this. So they called in Hannah, Anton and myself to play a trio of cello improv. Which of course would take care of a black hole! Jeeesh! Don’t you people know anything about black holes, at all, ever?

The funny thing is that I remember physically connecting the cello playing to the sound coming out. Like, it was one of the notable parts of the dream.

Aside from that, I’m glad I’m not studying anymore. Really.

Even with that said, I realized this morning that I really genuinely like school and the scholarly aspects. … More on school and all it encompasses, later. Now: moderate game of cello catch-up and lesson. Ooooh boy.

Ka-Thunk

listening to: yann tiersen – la fenetre

Colin: heck yeah. Collaboration is a go. Nobody else has approached me yet, anyway. And yeah, playing fretless bass would be cool. Although I must warn you it’s been a while. We’ll talk in class.

The 412 exam was AS BAD as I thought it was going to be — no worse. So I managed it and hope very much that I didn’t do too horribly. If anything, I’ve retained materiel, and I think that’s important. And also the intended desire of…you know. A class.

In other things, playing the upright bass is not all it’s cracked up to be. Most importantly, those things freaking huge. And awkard. And it’s like….you hold violins and cellos as you play them. But basses just lean on you. I feel like the thing is always going to fall right over. They’re also pretty heavy. And you may or may not run into people/things with them if you’re carrying them through hallways and on elevators.

Max MSP thing due tonight. Cello lesson tomorrow. Have probably played more bass than cello today. No quartet tomorrow. Woohoo.

Also: OW OH OWW.

Sometimes I feel purposeless.

Other times I feel alienated.

Occasionally I feel both.

I am nowhere near done with this Max MSP thing. I should really get a move-on.

You know, I realize that I’m feeling all of the above-mentioned because all I’ve been doing since Saturday is homework/studying. Somebody please save me.

It’s Greek To Me. Really!

listening to: the smashing pumpkins – cherub rock (acoustic)

Kill me now, please. I am begging you.

All I have been doing is studying for this stupid hourly exam and I STILL feel like I don’t know what’s going on. Additionally, my brain hurts. I mean, going through specific pieces and identifying things isn’t so bad. But there are so MANY of them. And you really have to have read the however-many pages that go along with them. And some of that is less than pleasant. Such as every little bit that involves 17th-century use of rhetoric. When I ask for anyone to kill me now, that’s what I’m talking about.

I mean, I have to admit. The words are damn cool. Words involving “x”s and “z”s and a bunch of stuff that is very clearly Greek. Words like “brachylogia” “anacepholeaosis” and “epizuexis.” And it’s completely awesome to admire these words when you don’t have to remember what they mean and how they’re supposed to be applied to practically any piece of music that might come up on an examination. I mean, is this something I’m ever going to need use in real-life? What? You’re saying I can sit around and analyze pieces of writing AND music using 17th-century style rhetoric?! Oh boy! Where can I sign up?!

All facetiousness and bitchiness aside, this hurts. I’m sure that someday I’ll be able to entertain a great many people at parties with my knowledge of rhetoric that they never taught you in college rhetoric 101 (and that if I do more work with music of the Baroque era, it may in fact come in handy). But right now? It hurts.

Also, Forrest called me wanting to know if I wanted to hang out. And I miss Forrest a lot. Damn you, history. Damn. You.

So there are also things about musical modes I don’t understand. Not your regular modes they teach you in music theory.

But anyway. Stuff.

I realized this weekend that I haven’t lived. I haven’t seen more than two of the original movies from the Living/Dead series. What’s wrong with me?! How have I ever been good friends with Aaron without seeing them all?! The madness ends here, though. If anyone would like to join me for an extended gore-a-thon, let me know. It’s not just the zombie movies, though. I love the horror genre, and I’ve seen so ridiculously few. Awwooo. Yes! Finally appropriate.

HEEEEEELLL!!!!!

Woowoo!

listening to: cloud cult – fairy tale

Three miles! I ran three miles!

Three miles has been my base mileage for runs. The fact that I’m able to do that again is a big comfort/accomplishment. Eat it, mono.

Phone # 4 (in life, I mean): this morning I put aside all inner stinginess and possible guilt resulting from when my parents buy me things, and got a Motorola SLIVR. As far as cell-phones go, it’s pretty damn sexy. And I now have every possible awesome gadget that I could need in life. Thank you, and goodnight!

The newest version of iTunes fixed their gapless playing! So now I can listen to Karuki Zamen all the way through and not be so conscious of the fact that I can’t find the CD anywhere and only have it in stupid mp3 form. Did I mention I lost my altime favorite album in the UNIVERSE?! Because I did. And it’s not really a matter of being able to go out and purchase it anywhere here. Stupid Japan.

Speaking of awesome listening, I think I’m in love. I’m not even sure what it is. They remind me of a very bizarre and unlikely combination of the Flaming Lips, Crash Test Dummies and…something…else. I’ll get back to you on that one.

Oooh maaaaan I need to study.

Last night I saw Shaun of the Dead. And it was amazing. And now I must go study.

Multitasking?

listening to: 808 state – mooz

Reading. Laundry. Blogging. Multitasking.

Oh man oh man. Today I ran 2.5 miles. That’s TWO and HALF OF ONE mile. Talia: 1, Mono: 0. It seems that as my stamina for running increases, so does my stamina for paracticing. I practiced for an entire two hours today. Two hours! Both of these hours were productive and — dare I say it — enjoyable! Somebody give me a cookie.

Except don’t, really. Am having extreme schoolwork motivation problems. Do not deserve cookie. Quiz in 17th century bright and early tomorrow morning. Exam on Monday morning in same class. Finished delay patch with working hold and bypass functions due Monday night. I am close. But I suspect this is still going to take some more time, this delay. And so this weekend will consist of much reading, listening and tinkering. I promise you, it will. I refuse to let this semester screw me over.

But you don’t want to hear about schoolwork. What you want to hear about is our PSYCHOTIC BROKEN WASHING MACHINE.

So broke (in pieces). The coin-slot is basically gone. There’s a spacious hole, exposing a vast sea of quarters. I mean, if you consider a 3″x6″ cubic space vast. But this is no problem, this “hole in machine” situation. Because it is a well-known fact throughout our apartment unit that you just reach into the compartment behind the quarter box, turn a weird knob, and the damn thing works. And you don’t have to bother paying.

It’s so ghetto, I actually took photos. But I don’t have to pay for laundry, so I’m not complaining.

In other things, I finally located both the remote control to my DVD player and my Doctor Beat. I expect you all to care..

Comment reponse…

Colin: Words can’t convey how ridiculous that Chrono Trigger mashup is. Ridiculous and amazing.

Eureka!!

listening to: bonnie pink – kingyo

What’d I say about being hard on myself. I occasionally get my kicks from being an optomistic pessimist. Wait. What?

Let’s just say it’s amazing the things you can accomplish at your 8am lessons.

**Warning** The following contains excessive amount of technical cello rambling.

Eureka!!

So…this left-hand thing has been confusing me because I haven’t been sure exactly how to apply it. Basically, the whole long-ways 1 to 4 extension motion has been impossible for me to apply to my hand. I understood what it was I was supposed to acheive after the masterclass, and could actually mimic the shape when my hand was away from the cello. But actually on the neck? Muck.

But this morning…well…okay. So the last few lessons have been with Brandon indicating that I need to have a more square hand. Heck, the last year. And I always had difficulty with this shape. My tendency is to want to have my arm level low and my base-knuckles lower with my fingers curved straight from the knuckles. This is the way I learned to play around what was once a much bigger (but similar) problem during high school. I was generally taught that there should be weight in the arm, and that this weight would help the left-hand fingers in obtaining a certain sound and vibrato by pulling them down and anchoring them. So my reaction at this “square hand” junk was to apply it to the best of my abilities in my lessons and then be somewhat miffed when it seemed impossible for my hand to be balanced and have any reach. I always assumed that this was because my hands aren’t all that large, as far as cello-playing goes.

But today we worked with this even more. For the entire hour. And I figured out that I __can__ play with my fingers square. And do you know why I couldn’t before?

THE THUMB. The freaking thumb. It was around the neck so far, aiding in that old bent hand-shape, and it was so bloody determined to stay there and be tense and squeeze. But as soon as I figured that out, I made several other insane realizations about things people have been telling me for years, like Innsbrook when Richard was teaching me about balancing, and the masterclass last Friday, and generally just…my lessons. It’s amazing what you only believe you understand.

Anyway. Other connections and discoveries made:

1)With that square shape? I can extend like nobody’s business. Seriously. It’s such a natural and easy motion. The elbow also makes a downwards circle when the extension motion in the hand is executed properly.

2) The arm really does need to be up, and it does in fact connect to the fingers in a subtly curved line along the knuckles (as Richard told me over the summer when I outwardly nodded my head and internally went “buh”).

3) The arm actually is really really high up in comparison to what I was doing before. But it doesn’t feel unnatural this way.

4) The connection the fingertips make with the string is softer and less firm and it sounds SO MUCH BETTER.

5) Oh shit, I have quartet in twenty minutes. List to be completed later.

6) Back. My vibrato is finally “balanced” as Richard put it. It moves from the wrist instead of the fingers. That combined with the “softer finger” tone sounds…aheh. Good. That’s pretty cool when I think of how people already told me my vibrato was nice. And it wasn’t BALANCED.

7) I think because I was so acclimated to the old way of hand position, I didn’t notice that it was a fairly tense way of using my hand. But now? It feels like my fingers have clouds in them. I don’t know how else to describe the feeling.

So yes. Fairly big accomplishment in an hour’s time. It was kind of a fun hour of diagnosis. What Brandon said at the end of the lesson: “I feel kind of like a country doctor!” I am pleased with myself for not refusing information offered to me by someone just because it is a) different and b) out of my comfort-zone.

**End frightening cello technical ramble**

Woohoo!

I rediscovered napping today. I also tried to rediscover running, as I occasionally do. Man. It is going to take a loooong time to get back to where I was in June.

Whining!

listening to: cibo matto – sugar water

I want to compensate in advance for the whining you are about to experience with this:
a musical offering.

Now I’m simply frustrated.

I have no idea how tomorrow’s going to go. All I know is that I’ve spent all weekend reading documentation and playing with patches and trying to make my own work and I still don’t know what I’m doing. But I understand how individual bits work. It’s like…I know the vocab but not the grammar structure. Did I miss something important or does this just take time?

So I have this patch (or rather, a few possible patches) that I’m pretty sure doesn’t work, and isn’t really even 100% complete. I mean…is that okay in this instance?

The real problem here, is that I’m being hard on myself. Which…well…yeah. High expectations (but dammit, I’m also really lazy, too. I mean, at this very moment I am blogging while I could be continuing the process of whacking my head on things. Shame on me). It’s not quite like my usual high expectations for myself with cello, where I can just will myself to work slightly more diligently or work tricks into my practicing or think of something pedagogically out-of-the-box. This is, again, out of my realm of experience.

So I don’t know. What I should do. If I still can’t get advanced theory credit and this somehow effects my grade (this is me doing my pessimistic worst-case scenario thing…pay it no mind), I may end up dropping the class, as little as I want to.

There’s also this “lesson at 8am” thing. Which will be interesting because of all the weird left-hand things I’m still trying to figure out. And the fact that I haven’t practiced actual repertoire in…aheh, a few days.

Woooorld, don’t hate me because I can’t live up to my own inflated expectations for myself!!!

You know, I don’t remember the last time I had this much actual school-work to complete (reading, more reading, sitting in apartment reading, taking break from reading with reading). Except for maybe freshman theory at Iowa. But I actually recall sentiments from that period in time similar to the ones I am feeling a little bit right now. Feeling like I’m marooned! In a sea of reading! And nobody/nothing else. It’s weird and lonely and isolating, and as much of an introverted weird person that I am, I feel like I want to go to the music building and run through the hallways creating a ruckus so someone will come out and pay attention to me. Uuuuuh……

I don’t want to give up, but I may have to soon for the sake of sleep. Realistically speaking for a moment, this is totally not worth an all-nighter.

Let us hope for an end to whining tomorrow.

Non-whining: MST3k-viewing night tomorrow, via the Facebook MST3k group. See? Facebook is good for something other than half-hearted stalking.

*edit* It is 1:25am, I am editing another stupid typing thing out of this entry, and I officially QUIT. Bitches.

Giant Kitty?

listening to: stuart davis – the glimpse

This might be the one thing of this sort that I’m actually more than okay with today. Also, Silly Link #2 on the page brings back fond internet memories. And features little duckies!!!

What the hell? Apparently I scheduled my lesson for 8AM tomorrow morning. I don’t even remember doing that. Nice one.

This is the obligatory “I’m brain-dead and wasting time and I have a project due and a lesson tomorrow morning at 8am, but practicing — what’s that?” post for today. I promise all the one-liner “Max-MSP hurts my brain” whiny entries will stop tomorrow.

Ooh, oops. I have a bass lesson at 1. Heh. I wonder what sort of crap-bass I ended up borrowing. I should go find out.

Possibly Sc-rewed?

listening to: v6 – ~beginning~

Haaha! I’m listening to V6! That in itself is hilarious enough to remark upon.

You know, it’s weird. When I stumble across someone else who has very similar likes in terms of music and whose name is THALIA. *sob* Why is life so weird?

In other things, the more documentation I read and apply, the more worried I am about this Max-MSP project. It’s just….this is so out of my realm. My evening is kind of shot in terms of free-time, too. Huh.

*continues to not move away from couch*