Coco W. ’21 - Piano
A challenge I encountered this year was "effective practicing." I believe practicing is key to learning and improving, yet it is difficult to remain constantly engaged. I found it hard to structure my practice sessions and keep each one productive. With this in mind, I began to set a specific goal every time and tried my best to vary my practice techniques in order to stay focused. On the other hand, my biggest success this year was becoming more accustomed to working with the metronome when practicing. Using a metronome really taught me how to listen carefully.
I grew as an artist this year by learning the importance of details. By working with the metronome and focusing on my music more attentively when playing, I was able to practice more effectively.
I remember developing a deeper understanding of my piece after one lesson, when I was asked to focus on the right-hand melody of my piece, I understood the importance of differentiating the sound of my left and right-hand playing. This lesson made me realize the importance of paying close attention to details and recognizing changes in the mood and dynamics of any piece.
Due to the current world situation, I am unable to share my music with you, however, I am very excited to hear other musicians perform. It was great to hear about their musical studies and progress from the Emma Artists meetings and I look forward to listening to the complete pieces.
Michaela W. ’21 - Flute
Concerto in D Major - Adagio by Luigi Boccherini
I will be playing Concerto in D Major - Adagio by Luigi Boccherini. This piece is in 2/4 time with a tempo close to a resting heartbeat. The majority of the notes in the piece are thirty-second notes, and so it is an interesting piece to play. You may hear trills here and there throughout the piece, which is a bit challenging due to having to play them quickly in between the notes. I chose to play this piece because I like the elegance and unique rhythm that the composition has. Since this is the slower and calmer second movement, it is interesting to hear the contrast in the first movement, Allegro Molto, where it is much more lively and dynamic.
One success I had was being more expressive in dynamics and volume. Before, I wasn't able to play loudly or have lots of clear dynamic differences, but this year I was able to overcome that. One challenge I have is being able to play quick rhythms with double-tonguing. I usually resort to single-tonguing, but it can only get you so far if a piece is really quickly paced, which is why I'm continuing to improve on this technique. I had always struggled with memorizing scales and all the keys each one had, but I was surprised that it came to my mind easier this year than before.
In solo work, I was able to overcome the anxiety before performing in front of an audience by adjusting my mindset to focus only on the piece and not any other worries. In ensemble work, I learned to level my volume with the rest of the flute orchestra section so that it wouldn't overpower the rest of the orchestra and the music piece.
I look forward to being able to hear everyone's music when we all play together again at school during orchestra or recitals.
Samantha B. ’23 - Viola
Elegie by Alexander Glazanov
The piece I will be playing is Elegie by Alexander Glazanov. It has a lot of thick melodies with a lot of emotion. Trying to capture this was a challenge for me, but it was fun to learn. It's a Russian piece, so per usual, it has a lot of strong feelings. Either way, it has a lot of lovely melodies, and I especially like the piano part and sometimes hear it in my head as I play. It intertwines back and forth with the viola part. I didn't expect the piano part to sound the way it did but it fits in a really unique way.
I think in general I take a while to learn pieces. The process can be a little rough but it's rewarding when it all comes together, and I’m learning to use my nerves to my advantage when I perform to have a more natural performance. Viola to me is more challenging than playing the piano, and it's really amazing watching people perform really virtuosic pieces and it inspires me to work on my expression in my playing when I play viola. Although a lot of what I watch are violinists (viola is more difficult to find sometimes), both can show me a lot of things are possible and within reach with the right effort.
As an individual player within a group, I think I got better at listening to other musicians with whom I am performing, and to work with the person, because their part is just as if not more important than mine as another player, soloist or just part of an orchestra. They are a big part of what brings it all together, and listening to them has helped me with my own playing.
I look forward to performing for people again. I'm honestly really scared of it but it’s so nice being able to have other people listen to the music I make other than me, to help give me more perspective.
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