Sunday, April 6, 2014

Post #21- New Challenge

Last week, we had our first three rehearsals for the musical, and it was really different from what I am used to! First of all, we went from three flutes to only one, so I had to get a more difficult part than I had before, which obviously makes it more of a challenge for me.  The most challenging part, though, is the fact that I really do have to just figure out when to come in after rests, and learn all of the rhythms truly by myself.   I am used to just waiting until other people in band come in, but now I am not able to rely on anyone other than myself to play the music correctly.  This has really been a challenge for me, but I am grateful for it because it will force me to grow as a musician.

I was planning on learning a large bulk of the music this weekend, especially since I don't have much homework, but I left all of my music at school which makes me very, very annoyed at myself.  I guess I'll have to work on it a lot this week, because we are supposed to be practicing with the stage performers starting on Wednesday.

Since there is so much music that I have to learn for the musical, I am going to really have to shift my attention away from the solo that I was working on.  I will still work on it a little bit, but honestly, the musical is my first priority; I will be performing it in less that a month (that's a scary thought...).  I hope I get a lot done this week; the music will be a lot more fun to play when I actually learn it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Post #20- Unwanted Break

It's been two weeks since my last post which really does seem like a long time, and a lot has happened since then!  First of all, at band festival we got all ones, much to our surprise, which is the highest possible rating.  Of course, we were all ecstatic that we were able to do so well, especially since our band teacher got in a car accident and has not been in school since the start of 2nd semester.  It was really awesome to be in a band that did so well; the judges at festival can be quite harsh, and getting a one is not easy to manage.

Unfortunately, since my last post, my flute was broken to the point where it was impossible to play it, so obviously there wasn't much that I could do for this project.  But, my flute teacher was able to fix it this past Wednesday, which was relieving because I thought that I would have to send it in to get repaired.  I really haven't had much time to play the flute since I got it fixed, but I should this week.

Last week, I also received the music for the school musical and the rehearsal schedule.  The music is not ridiculously difficult, but it will take some time to learn it since it is also not necessarily easy.  So, I plan on shifting some of my attention from the solo that I am learning to the new music, so that I can have it mostly learned by our first rehearsal on April 1st.  I also had a chance to look at the rehearsal schedule, which actually is not too demanding.  The longest rehearsals are 2.5 hours, which isn't bad at all.  I am very excited to be a part of the musical this year, and I hope it is as amazing of a production as it has been in past years.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Post #19- Getting more Comfortable Playing around other People

Last week, I practiced about two hours, which was my goal.  I mainly just practiced my solo because although it is difficult, it is fun to play, whereas the band piece that I probably should have focused a little more on this week is tiring, high pitched, and a bit annoying to play, especially without the band.  I know almost the first half of the solo and I want to have it completely learned by my lesson this Wednesday.  I also need to finish learning a couple of sections in the band music this week, since festival (a band performance that is judged and rated) is coming up this Thursday.

Something that I noticed this week while practicing was that I am finally starting to get more comfortable practicing when I know that people in the house can hear me.  I used to be very comfortable with this, but since I have gotten into high school, it's been harder for me, for some reason.  I am happy that this is easier for me now, though, because it lets me practice whenever I have time, not just when I have time, and am home alone.

In other news, I signed up to potentially be a part of the pit orchestra for this year's school musical.  Last year when I went to see the musical, I could tell that it was a very talented group, and really wished that I was a part of it.  Now that I am in the higher band at school, I am invited to join pit orchestra, which I am excited to do.  I'll just have to make sure that they rehearsal schedule is not too overwhelming.  However, even if it will make me a lot more busy, I will probably still do it; I am willing to put in the time since it is something that I really want to do.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Post #18- Mid Project Reflection

Unfortunately, last week, I only practiced for an hour at home.  While this is clearly not a lot, it wasn't as if I wasn't playing the flute a lot this week.  On Thursday, we had a band concert which did go quite a bit better than most of us expected, but we still have a lot of work to do before we go to band festival. I plan to do my part, and learn the rest of the music that I have not perfected yet.  On Friday, we had one of the last pep band games, which as usual, was relaxed and fun.  Even though I did not practice a lot at home, I did feel prepared for my lesson on Wednesday.  I learned about 25% of the solo, and the lesson went by a lot more quickly since I was actually ready to play something that I practiced.  

This week, we were assigned to answer a few questions about 20 time.  What has been our favorite and least favorite parts of the project, as a whole?  What would we do differently about our project, specifically? 

My favorite part about 20 time has actually been the blog writing.  Even though a lot of people don't like the blogs at all, I feel as if they give me an incentive to actually do something with my project.   It doesn't feel good to write about doing nothing with my project for the week, so I love being able to talk about how much more I am beginning to get dedicated to the flute once again.  I honestly love playing the flute, but it does seem to take some type of incentive to get off the couch and to start practicing.  

My least favorite part about the project is probably the very limited amount of things I can actually do to spend my 20 time class period on Friday.  It seems like most people just sort of wait for the period to be over, since the only thing they can really do is read/comment on other student's blogs.  I wish that we were actually able to do school work during the period, so that we could use the time we saved getting homework out of the way, to work on our projects at home.  On the other hand, I do understand why this is not allowed; it would probably just turn into another tutorial, for most of us, if we were allowed this time to do homework.  

If I could change something about my project in particular, I probably would have quit the cupcake business sooner.  To be honest, I knew from the beginning on the project that we had about a 2% chance of succeeding, and I think it was kind of silly to even start it.  Our schedules just didn't make any since to start a catering business, and we wouldn't even be able to sell cupcakes in school.  I completely understand that risk taking does pay off, but I think that if you are going to take a risk, you should probably have at least a sliver of faith that you will succeed.  For example, it's a little ridiculous to take an AP math class if you can barely pass a traditional math class.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Post #17- New Solo

It's been two weeks since my last post, and I have a lot to talk about!  The week before break (week before last) was very busy and stressful for me because I had so many tests and a lot of homework.  So when I wasn't studying or doing homework, I honestly just wanted to lay around and do nothing.  Obviously, that's no way to improve my dedication to the flute, but I expect weeks like that to occur every once in a while.

Since the idea of practicing the flute barely passed through my mind two weeks ago, I knew that I had to make up for it during last week's midwinter break.  On top of my private lesson, I practiced three hours at home--an hour more than my weekly goal.  Before my lesson last week, I practiced our band piece that is quite difficult, and I also just had a little fun looking through solo books and sight reading some of the pieces (to the best of my ability).  At my lesson, though, I think that I finally found a great solo to learn as part of my goal for the project.  It is a very beautiful piece called Idylle, by Benjamin Godard. It is quite a bit harder than the solo that I was supposed to perform at Solo and Ensemble, but it is a lot of fun to play, despite having to stop a lot to work out parts of the music.  Something that I really like about the piece is that it is broken up into small sections, which is great for setting practice goals.  For example, my goal for my next lesson on Wednesday is to have learned the introduction and section A.  The last section of the piece is G, so with hard work, it shouldn't take an extremely long time to learn it. 

Hopefully, soon I will also start posting recordings of the music I learn every week to really show my progress.  I know that it will add a lot to my posts, and also motivate my to not only learn the parts, but precisely learn them, so that I am proud to let people listen to them.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Post #16- More Specific Goal?

I am very happy with what I accomplished last week.  As I have mentioned in my last few posts, we are currently playing a very difficult piece in band.  After about 1.5 hours of practice this past week (almost to my goal of 2 hours, but not quite), I really feel like I am able to play my part a with a lot more precision than I could before.  I am not perfect at it yet, but we still have a few weeks until our performance.

As I observe some of my peers' amazing 20 time projects, I have come to realization that I need a more specific goal.  Obviously, my goal lately has really just been to practice more, and become more dedicated it to the flute, but I want to start looking for a good solo to learn, that will require extensive practice to perfect.  I do have the solo that I was planning on playing on Solo and Ensemble, which I was not able to participate in, so there is a good chance that I will practice that one before moving on to the next one.  Anyway, I could either make my goal to learn three or four moderately difficult solos, or another option would be to learn one or two more difficult solos by the end of the school year.  Honestly, I like the latter option more.  I feel as if I will learn more from the experience of learning music that will pose more obstacles along the way.  Hopefully, in my next lesson, I will have a chance to look through some solos and chose one to start learning soon.

In other news, mid-winter break is coming up (the week after next).  I will be staying home for break, so this will be a really good practice time.  I need to make sure that I am not lazy about practicing, and I will probably set a larger weekly practice goal, since I will have so much more free time.  I will not have another blog post until break is over, so hopefully I will have a lot to say about my practice and improvements in my last post!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Post #15- Still Working toward the Goal

This week was another good week, that still could have definitely been much better.  I had a good private lesson and had a lot of fun at the pep band game.  I also practiced more this week than I have in the past, which is also good, but I did not reach my goal of 2 hours a week.  Instead, I only practiced about an hour, but, I do not believe that my 2 hour goal is unattainable at all.  Of course, I will try to get more hours in next week.

At my private lesson, I finally mastered one of the most difficult parts of the complicated band piece that we are playing in band, and I realized just how much fun it is to play parts that I once could not play, and now can play easily.  This realization, on top of other things, can really serve as a source of motivation for using my free time to practice the flute.

I have noticed that a common theme throughout my blogs have been motivation.  Every week, I notice a new source of motivation that I find very valuable, so one of my options for my 20 time presentation at the end of the end could easily be about the best routes of motivation.  Hopefully, my weekly practice time will sufficiently increase by the end of the year, and I will be able to talk about what motivated me to reach so many hours, based on experience.  That being said, this is only one option for the presentation, and I will keep my options open!