words from the "musician" desk

Folks who know me probably don’t consider me much of an instrumentalist, but I can read music, play the saxophone and, as of 2016, I’m starting to learn the violin.

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Performance Ready (Almost)

I’s usually pretty tough to objectively judge the quality of one’s own playing, but it’s a good sign that while at my lesson after playing through one of my practice pieces, one that I’ve been working on for about a month now, Minuet 3 by Bach in fact, my instructor suggested we (finally) move onto another piece because that one is (apart from noting a few string bumps and scratches) pretty much “performance ready.” I’m not sure I’m performance ready, but I guess that’s a sign of progress, right?

12 May 02017 | asides & shorts | musician

featured | musician 

28 Apr 02017 | 3 minutes of your time

Not that I need anymore sheet music, but…

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Even Split

Did I mention that I’m keeping track of my practice? Ridiculous track. Obsessive track. I’m treating my violining like I treat my running. Log everything. Track everything. Math it up in ways never before seen in the history of mathing things. (Well, maybe not that nuts.) So, I just thought I’d make a note about some random stat. It’s truly meaningless for anyone but me, but it is an odd sort of confluence of numbers. As of today, I have logged exactly 140 hours and 20 minutes of violin practice since starting in September: 70 hours and 10 minutes of that was in 2016, and 70 hours and 10 minutes of that was in 2017. Even split. See… I warned you it was pretty meaningless.

28 Apr 02017 | asides & shorts | musician
Spring Progress?
137 h
Spring Progress?
21 Apr 02017
I figured it might be worthwhile to upload something.

books & reading | musician 

13 Apr 02017 | 4 minutes of your time

It seemed like a virtual information oasis in a vast desert of trying to learn.

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Summer Versus Violin

I’m not sure if my lessons stop when the summer rolls round. (You’d think I’d ask someone about that important little scheduling point.) But if they do, it’s probably a good thing. Not that I want to cut out my practice when the weather turns more hospitable to evenings outside, but I can already see that hiding in the basement playing mediocre fiddle tunes is going have some stiff competition from bike rides and long runs and mowing the grass and walks in the wilderness. Either that or I’ll need to find a way to combine the two: sit on the front porch a play some Bach for the neighbours? That might be interesting.

11 Apr 02017 | asides & shorts | musician

featured | musician 

4 Apr 02017 | 3 minutes of your time

200 days doesn’t seem like a phenomenally long time to do anything, let alone to learn a musical instrument…

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musician 

13 Mar 02017 | 4 minutes of your time

I think I am actually improving.

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recording |  

26 Feb 02017 | a few seconds of your time

I pulled out my camera and violin and recorded the theme…

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Fiddler on the Living Room Rug

I’ve started to mentally categorize my efforts to learn the violin into four groupings of music: (1) the student music, including all those short little foundational pieces that I play because they are part of my lessons and because they teach me technique. (2) the popular music, including the random “101 Disney Hits” and the “Film Songbook” sheet music collections that I play because they have piano accompaniment or because they are fairly simple and impress people who are eavesdropping on me practice. (3) the advanced violin music, like the Paganini Caprices which I’ve seen in these thick wads of paper that are more notes than white-space but which I haven’t bothered even thinking about yet. (4) the fiddle music which is on a equally technical but alternative fork from the advanced violin music, but which has some naturally built-in flexibility allowing for some leeway in the skill level required to make it sound passable. I’ve been letting my attention sway into the fiddle music zone lately, if only because it seems like the ultimate path I’m aiming for with this instrument. It also seems as though the type of thing where a handful of memorized songs, played modestly well, could fill a half an hour, give or take, of air time if I’m ever in one of those situations where, violin in hand someone says… “Well, then? Go on. Play.” In that vibe, I spent a few good hours memorizing some fiddle riffs over the last weeks.

21 Feb 02017 | asides & shorts | musician

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