Monday, October 12, 2009

The State of the Onion

So, I had a this blog post. It was about starting lessons with the principal harpist of the Utah Symphony. I never followed up on it. I had my third lesson with her this afternoon. Let me tell
you how it's been.

I've been completely intimidated. A teacher is a deal-breaker; when you're looking at getting into a conservatory, you must have a teacher recommendation. If you don't, you will never be invited to audition. Looking like an idiot in front of your teacher will stop you dead in your plans in addition to bruising your ego. There's more at stake here.

In the very first lesson, we started changing everything about my technique. All my instruction so far has been in the Salzedo method. It seems to be the preferred method here in the US. But outside the US, people just don't use it that much. In the UK, people learn more of the Russian and French methods. So, that's how Louise plays, and she thought, just by looking at how I play that I might benefit from it.

Why am I telling you all this? It's changed everything. I was skidding on an oil slick (or so it felt like), and now everything has slowed way, way down while I rework all of the essentials. I can't just jump right into music like I thought I'd be able to, but these new approaches--I have absolutely no doubt--are going to make me a more efficient player. Yes!

What's my main concern? I just don't want to frusterate or bore the snot out of my new instructor. Tuesdays are days of fear; I never feel like I've practiced enough, and then I'm so sure she's going to drop me as quickly as she agreed to take me as a student.

But--good sign--she did give me pears from her tree in the backyard after this last lesson. Does that make us friends? And then, we started talking about "practice ruts." She said, "I know. I was practicing this piece we're doing with the symphony, and it felt like I was getting stuck. And I thought to myself, 'What would I tell Aaron to do at this point?'" Lovely! It made my day. It wasn't fake. It wasn't patronizing. It just made me really feel like her student, relationship solidified.

--Blogged on the run using my mobile.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Good Cop / Bad Cop

It seems to me that General Conference just ends up being one big game of "good cop/ bad cop"; one speaker makes you feel so marvelously encouraged about life, and you can bet that the very next one will give you a horrible tongue lashing. It's a dynamic that, quite frankly, makes me tired, and I end up falling asleep. I bet I only caught half of the talks. Leave your comments if you think that I missed anything particularly important.

I tend not to be as excited about Conference as most. I know that it's a thrilling time for everyone in my church--to hear worldwide leaders of our church speak to all twelve-some-odd-million at the same time. But for me, it's a reminder of my list of "nots." I already know what I should be working on. I know my own weaknesses very well. It never is a glorious help to hear about them again. It's like someone is standing over me, shaking their finger, saying, "Bad dog, bad dog, bad dog!!"

So, I look for lovely distractions during the tongue lashings (like blogging about Conference) while I wait for the "good cop's" turn to speak.

I think I'd be able to like this better if I were on my couch, wrapped completely up in a comforter, with a bowl of Blue Bell Rocky Road icecream.

--Blogged on the run using my mobile.