Thoughts

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2011 March 29 19:45
by roma

Conversations with Greg Hartle Part I


My laptop's broken and my practice schedule has been disrupted by trying to fix it while simultaneously making a decision on a long-term course of action for my life. Luckily, Greg Hartle is currently couch-surfing at our house. I won't even try to describe his amazing project.

Greg has a lot of business expertise and he gave me excellent advice on a course of action. This is a conversation on the three paths in our society vis-a-vis work. I thought about his insights and decided that the passionate insomnia option that involves balancing full-time work and a passion is for me.

I had some follow-up questions. In a conversation this morning, Greg addressed how to stay true to oneself as an employee for a company. Golden stuff!

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Thank you, Greg!

2011 March 23 21:12
by roma


Performance Evaluation:

Played at an open mic at Eugenio's, a restaurant/bar on Division street, not far from where I live. Really great vibe here. Met Eugene, the owner and chatted with Mike, who was celebrating his birthday.

Estrellita
Right from the start, I got this feeling that I was going to forget the music. That's because I haven't deliberately practiced imaging ahead in a long while. Did this today after the performance. As a result, I messed up the first ending of Part B of Estrellita.

Pica-Pica
My fingers didn't feel like they were in control right from the start of the piece. Life wasn't in them, and this prevented me from maintaining a steady rhythm. I was just nervous and didn't convince myself to let go and just embody the music. Though I tapped my foot, I still speeded up during Part B.

Nothing On You
This sounded solid. Good, steady rhythm and clean guitar sound.

Overall impression: I enjoyed playing Nothing On You, but my nervousness carried through in the music in Estrellita and especially in Pica-Pica.

I made sure to tap my foot, but I didn't properly get into the feel of the tune. I didn't feel the music before starting.

After the performance, a lady named Brenda complimented me on my playing and said she was looking for people to sightread music. She plays cello and violin. This is EXACTLY the type of person I wanted to find for sightreading regularly. Let's see what happens.

2011 March 21 17:17
by roma


Thoughts:

I got some great insight from The Rhythm Book.

First, it's more important to keep the beat than the rhythm. So, it's OK to mess up the rhythm, as long as the beat is maintained.

Second, "a metronome can help reinforce the beat, but don't rely on it to replace the tapping of the foot" (pg. 26).

I've been having problems lately with maintaining a steady tempo on some of my pieces. I didn't really know how to address this issue, but this may very well be it.

The thing is, I just realized that I have an ingrained bias against foot-tapping while playing. I studied cello up until my mid-teens with a teacher from the Soviet Union. She had the old-school teaching method - technique reigns in the beginning stages. She also taught me how to feel the music, so I respected her. Foot-tapping was one of the many things she said was a no-no. Now that I think about it, the reason probably was that it didn't fit in with the classical music aesthetic. Since I don't care about this aesthetic, there's no reason I shouldn't tap my foot, especially if it helps me maintain a steady tempo.

Here are 2 pieces I recorded with foot-tapping to maintain the tempo.

Pica-Pica

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Samba Caribe

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Lots of mistakes on Samba Caribe, but I tried to maintain the rhythm. I like how the percussion effect the foot-tapping gives on the recording.

I also tried to tap my foot to Samba Caribe with the accent on the 2nd beat. This reflects the syncopated, wild feel of samba (the 1st beat is stress-free, the 2nd beat gets the accent). It was quite hard and was messing up my playing. Something to practice.