Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Concerts, Finals Week, and Violin Cookies, Oh My!

My holiday concert was a week ago and it went great! We ended with a bang... by playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" last. And with a couple electric violins, mind you! We were going to have an electric cello as well but something went wrong so it couldn't be played, unfortunately. That didn't make the concert any less awesome, though!

I played in yet another holiday concert last Saturday at a nursing home with some of my private teacher's other students. It was so much fun. Stressful in the beginning, but fun. There was so much sheet music to keep track of and everyone was missing at least one piece, but we got it all figured out before we performed. The old folks loved our performance and one old man even asked to hear "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", not knowing that I just played that for my holiday concert last Tuesday! We really brightened up their day and got them in a joyful, holiday mood, so that made us all happy that we could that for them. I hope I can do that again some time!

At last, it is the week before winter break. But what comes with that is, you guessed it, finals. Starting tomorrow, my life will be a living hell, blazing with perpetual studying and inopportune sleep deprivation. Tomorrow I have to have my project for Drawing 2 finished and turned in (you could say the project's our final in that class). However, I pretty much just started on it.
It's crunch time.
Second of all, my Spanish 4 final is tomorrow and I'll have to find time to study for that along with getting my project done in time somehow. Then Thursday is my IB English final and Biology 2 final, and finally Friday I just have an Algebra 2 final. No final in American Government since I passed a required test and no final in Symphony since we'll be sight reading music for contest. (Speaking of which, my private teacher wants me to play a solo and a duet for contest. I'm currently sight reading Bach's A Minor Concerto for my solo.) It will definitely be a hectic week, but once it's over it'll be Christmas time and I'll be able to relax and enjoy the upcoming snow (let's hope!).

This past weekend I baked some violin-shaped cookies to give to my private teacher on Wednesday for a Christmas gift, along with a little violin pin. I thought the cookies turned out really cute. Here they are!

What do you think? :) I know there's only 3 strings... I didn't have room. But that doesn't take away from the cuteness, now does it!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Concert Coming Soon!

The holiday concert for symphony (not the holiday concert with my private teacher's other students) will be December 11th. Here are the songs we're playing:
  • Hark! The Harold Angels Sing
  • O Come Emanuel
  • O Holy Night
  • .... and The Devil Went Down to Georgia
That's right... The Devil Went Down to Georgia. That's my symphony teacher's humor, for you! Yes, including that last song in our concert is a controversial decision, but I think most people will understand my teacher's sense of humor and know that it's all just a joke and not meant to be offensive whatsoever. At least I hope so... wouldn't that be sad if people got upset and left? Let's hope the audience will enjoy the song, not get hung up about the reference to satan! :P

(Side note: My symphony teacher is changing the song's name, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", to "The Devil Went Up to the North Pole" specially for the holiday concert. One of the cellists created some new lyrics too. They're pretty awesome.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Special Visitors to my Symphony Orchestra Class

As we walked into class today we were greeted by Arianna String Quartet from St. Louis, Missouri! They performed a few songs for us and we were absolutely blown away. Each of the performers played with such ease and always moved with the music-- almost dancing-- as if embracing each song's uniqueness. Arianna String Quartet also answered our questions and gave us tips for auditions and practicing. At the end of class we played one of our songs for them. That was nerve-wracking, but we played quite well.

Make sure and visit ariannaquartet.com to learn more about them and listen to their songs!

Breaking the News to My Private Teacher...

Yesterday I told my private teacher about my district audition failure and she understood. She actually said quite a few people let their nerves take over on the last excerpt (like me!) and that messed them up. She told me that I just need more practice playing in front of people and once I have a year of private lessons under my belt I'll be much more experienced and ready to try out again next year. So basically because I've only been taking private lessons for a few months I'm not very experienced and that's one of the main reasons why I didn't make it into district orchestra. Plus nerves on audition day didn't help!

Despite everything my private teacher told me that if she were in my place she wouldn't be playing at the level I am now. She's really impressed by how well I play considering the fact that I have never taken lessons before and figured out everything on my own and in school. My private teacher said that I have a lot of talent, which means the world coming from someone who went to Yale and has dozens of students and tons of experience. It makes me feel like I actually have a chance to do big things...

I left my lesson yesterday feeling much better and I wasn't so hung up on not getting into district orchestra because I realized that I have a lot going for me and I just need to get more playing experience, especially from lessons. Speaking of which, my private teacher is going to have me play in a holiday concert that she's organizing for her students in December! I even stayed to sight read some pieces with a 7th grade girl who has her violin lesson after me each Wednesday. It was nice to play some easy holiday music for a change. :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

District Orchestra? Or no?

I didn't make it into district orchestra. :(

It sucks to know that even after months of practice and work I didn't get in...

There's always next year I guess.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

District Orchestra Auditions

Good morning!

This morning is special-- the morning I audition to get into All-District Orchestra.

I got plenty of sleep the night before and had a big breakfast this morning.

I'll be wearing my 4 leaf clover necklace (from Ireland, mind you!) and a red shirt for confidence.

I'll be listening to calming music on the way there and I'll stay in a meditative state up until it's time for my audition.

Then I'll bring it.

I've been practicing every day this week and I've played for quite a few of my orchestra/band friends. Everything I've done this week has been preparing me for today, and I think I'm ready. We'll see how this goes!

Expect a follow-up post soon. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

First Concert of the Year

Last night was our first concert this year!

Concert Orchestra played first and they were surprisingly really good for being on the small side and having younger, less experienced players. All of them were together and in tune! I was impressed. But is it just me or do they have really, really small instruments?

We were next and we played "October", "Resurgences", and "Light Cavalry Overture". The first two songs went well, however, "Light Cavalry Overture" was not good at all. We were off key on several notes, not together, and it was a total disaster. Or so we thought... We got a round of applause! We even had to bow three times! Several parents even said that Light Cavalry was the best song of the night. That was shocking...

It just goes to show that as long as you put your heart and soul into something nobody will notice if you didn't do as well as you could have!

Side note: district orchestra tryouts are coming up fast... I have a couple extra lessons with my private teacher set up for the two weeks before audition day so I can make sure I'm secure on my audition music!

Another side note: I forgot to mention that my teacher gave us our seats and I got 11th chair, which is much better than I expected! There are a lot of extremely talented violinists who have been in the first violin section for many years, and that's what I had to compete with. I'm definitely proud of myself. Out of 26 total first violinists... that's not too shabby! My teacher even pulled me to the side after class and let me know how amazed he was about my playing test. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Comment/Subscribe + Blog News

Thank you all for over 70 views! It means the world to me that somebody actually reads my blog! Don't forget to comment on my posts and let me know what you guys think, as well as what you want to see here on Kennerd the Violin Nerd. That would be awesome. I'm always open for requests and critique so I can improve my blog. Also subscribe so you don't miss my next posts! And trust me-- they're going to be good. ;)

News: I'm putting an "About Me" tab so I can tell you a little about me and how my violin journey began, as well as where my journey's taking me now and my plans/goals for the future. That will be up today, so look for it!

Thank you again for reading!

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Top YouTube Violinists of the Moment

YouTube is filled with tons of amazing violinists and a lot of them are very creative with their playing. Jason Yang, for example, plays electric violin (as well as acoustic violin and many other instruments) and makes covers of popular songs, manipulating his videos so that it sounds like there are several people playing at once when it's just him! He does this by filming himself playing each part and then combining all of them together into a sort of video collage. Not only does he do this, but in some of his videos he uses a loop pedal to play several violin parts at one time. Madonna actually discovered his videos and invited him to go on tour with her as her violinist! You should definitely check out his videos. :)

Another great violinist is Lindsey Stirling. She's possibly the most popular violinist on YouTube with over 140 million views! Like Jason Yang, she makes covers of popular songs as well as forming songs into medleys, such as "Lord of the Rings Medley". Her music videos include ethereal scenery as backdrops and her magnificent dancing, which she somehow manages to do while playing violin at the same time! She definitely raises the bar for violinists everywhere. Go watch her videos!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Did You Know...?

Albert Einstein played the violin!

"Life without playing music is inconceivable for me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music... I get most joy in life out of music." --Albert Einstein

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Symphony Orchestra Playing Test/District Orchestra Tryout Music

In Symphony, we have playing tests every year to determine what chair we'll be placed in. I'm dreading this year's...

First off, last year I was a second violin since I had just made it into Symphony Orchestra that year. Freshman year I was in Concert Orchestra-- first violin. So this year my teacher moved me up to first violin and it's a big jump. I'm not used to all the notes in the really high positions, so I always have to listen to everyone else first. I've improved a lot though on recognizing rhythms when I'm just looking at the sheet music. Higher positions definitely need to be worked on with my private teacher!

For our concert that's coming up, we're playing "October" again, along with the piece "Light Cavalry Overture". If you've heard it before, you know that it goes extremely fast, with many notes in 5th position and 7th position-- my weaknesses! If you haven't heard it before or can't recognize it by the title, here it is...

As you can tell, I have reason to freak out about the playing test! It's 5:14-5:50 in the video. What my teacher does is he gives each section a part of the music to be tested on and then, because we're such a large orchestra (120 people total, maybe more) and listening to each of us individually during class would take away too much time from rehearsing, he has us record ourselves playing the test and then we email it to him. They're due on Monday... I'll be practicing a lot until then!

I'm still practicing for District Orchestra tryouts. I have the first two excerpts down (G Major Scale and Die Fledermaus) and I'm still working on the third excerpt (Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy"). It has plenty of crazy high notes, so I'll be taking it extremely slow for a while. I have until November 3rd, so there's plenty of time!

That means more time to freak out about "Light Cavalry Overture".

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Favorite String Instrument Songs Right Now (Both Classical and Modern)

I have a lot of songs with string instruments filling up my iPod right now, of course, and just thought I'd share the ones I've been loving lately with you! :)

"Palladio"- Escala
I like to jam out to this song. ;) Don't be surprised if you at least nod your head to the music!

"Time is Running Out"- The Section Quartet
I love their rendition of Muse's "Time Is Running Out"!

"Come Thou Fount"- Paul Cardall
This is gorgeous... makes me want to cry.

 "Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major"- Bach
 Great solo piece. Tough to play... I tried it on the violin. Phew!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tip/Trick of the Day

If you're having trouble keeping your bow near the bridge while playing, use this tip:

Take a straw and cut it in half. Place the straw halves in the f holes of your violin. Now you have little guides for your bow!

[Credit given to my private teacher :)]

Monday, September 10, 2012

Life Update 09/10/12

If you didn't notice, I didn't post a life update yesterday. I've decided that I'm only going to post life updates once and awhile, because:
a. I feel like I'm boring you guys! My life isn't too horribly exciting.
b. Having to post a life update every day is too much; it takes the fun out of blogging.
c. It' gets off topic from violin stuff, which is why you guys are reading my blog in the first place!

So I'm limiting myself to about once a week, or when something exciting happens. :)

Ice Cream Social was today! I stayed after school and helped set up, mainly because my orchestra teacher said pizza was the reward. ;) However, I left early because I was tired and needed to freshen up. We were supposed to stay and write down our names so my teacher knows we were there, but Erica and I just didn't want to stay that long. Pizza didn't matter that much to us after all.

Kyle was there, helping out. He gave some girl I don't know a piggy back. I just had to look away, it ticked me off so much. Apparently I still have feelings for him, which I need to get rid of... fast.

Mostly there wasn't anything for us to do, so we stood around awkwardly, waiting for instruction. That's another reason why Erica and I decided to leave for a while.We went home for about an hour and then I picked her up and we returned to the school for our performance.

We played outside, so I wore my sunglasses. Those were a God-given gift to me that day because the music was otherwise impossible to see. We used clothespins to pin our music down, but it still fluttered in the wind, occasionally folding away from view. All-in-all we sounded okay, considering the fact that we couldn't see my orchestra teacher in the bright sun, even with sunglasses, and our music had a mind of its own. It definitely wasn't our best performance though.

It was a fun night, but all I kept thinking was how I wanted to get home as fast as possible and take a long nap-- which I did! It was great.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Random Violin Stuff!

Who says you need a planned, well thought-out blog post? I'm all for randomness, how about you?

We all have those days where we just want to see what all is out there for us violinists, so I thought I'd make it easier for you and tell you a little about some of the things I found and where you can get them! The things include gadgets, accessories, instruments, art, etc. Let's get started!
  • Violin jewelry- all of us female violinists could always use a violin-related necklace. www.theviolincase.com has a large variety of jewelry with violins, treble clefs, music notes, and more. They may be a little expensive, but they're worth it. I especially love the necklace below. It's a little violin bridge with a heart in the center. How cute! (Ignore the "Curb Chain" thing on the picture. They're explaining what type of necklace chain is pictured.)
  • Violin art- everyone needs at least one violin art piece in their home. I framed the cover of a card that has a violin painting on it and put it in my room. It inspires me every day. The shown painting of a violinist (not the same painting I have) is available at www.redbubble.com, along with several other violin gifts. They even have Sherlock Holmes stuff, if you're into that!
  • Fancy music stand- if you have a music room in your house, a beautiful music stand is a wonderful addition to the room. This one is from www.pottersviolins.com.
  • Mouse violin mute- we all have to use mutes from time to time, and this cute little mouse mute makes the experience more enjoyable! He even has a tuxedo on. :) This is available at www.swstrings.com-- it's only $4.99!

There are probably lots more things, but that's all I'm going to do... at least for now!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Life Update 09/08/12

The football game last night went better than I predicted! Well, not for everybody... we lost 57-9...

I have to admit, it was a little awkward at first since Erica and I didn't see anyone we knew, but that's always how games start out. Eventually we saw our friends Jesus (pronounced like "hey Zeus", not like Jesus Christ!) and Gil and talked to them for a minute or two.

We then sat near where ROTC shoots the cannon for touchdowns and Erica and I talked for a bit. They shot the cannon at one point and I hadn't been paying attention so I jumped! Erica laughed so hard at me! It was hilarious.

Later on, I heard someone say, "Hey you!" from behind me, so I turned around. Some random guy had said it and he was with a friend. They appeared to be freshmen. He started talking to me and asked Erica and I for our names. He told me his name is Valentine but everyone calls him Val, and his friend's name is Garret. Val told me that I'm cute and then asked me for my number. I really didn't want to give him my number since he honestly kind of creeped me out. Luckily, a few of his friends came up to him and they started talking to him. Great! A distraction! I pulled out my phone and quickly looked up Kyle's number on my phone. I memorized it and then when Val came back I gave him "my" number. Best idea I've ever had! Cayla and Erica were talking nearby and I told them what happened. We all cracked up. :) A few other guys asked me what happened and when I told them, they laughed too. They agreed with me that Val is pretty weird.

Our friends in ROTC, Daniel and Alex, talked to us at half-time. Alex invited Erica and I to go to Buffalo Wild Wings with him and some more people from ROTC, so that's what we did after the game.

Side note: I did see Kyle of course, but I don't think he saw me. Or maybe he was trying to seem like he didn't see me.

Daniel, Alex, Colton and his sister, Erica, and I ended up being the only ones who showed up at Buffalo Wild Wings. That was fine with me! I don't really like big crowds. We were all making fun of the "Can I have yo numba?" skit and when Colton said, "Can I have yo numba?" Daniel actually gave him his! We all laughed, and then he asked me and I said, "Sure, why not." and gave him my number. He actually texted me while we were still at Buffalo Wild Wings and ended up flirting with me and asking me on a date. I don't really like him that way though, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings so I said sure. I kind of regret that...

When the waiter came by to ask us what we wanted, I said, "Do you have anything for a dollar? And Erica and I are splitting." and laughed. Daniel threw 10 bucks at me, but I said I couldn't take his money. The waiter gave us free chips and cheese, actually! He was really nice.

As I was driving off with Erica in the passenger seat, Alex called me. I told Erica to answer it and she told me that he needed to jump start his car. We returned to the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot and parked next to Alex. He and Daniel tried to figure out my car's battery and everything but apparently Chevy's are weird (I know nothing about cars). They told me they'd find someone to jump start it so I took Erica home.

When we looked at the clock it was close to midnight. Erica called her dad and he was really upset with her that she stayed out this late. I wished her luck with her dad when we got to her house. I felt like it was my fault in a way but she assured me it wasn't. I let my mom know I was on my way home and it was midnight by the time I got there. I told her about Alex's car troubles and luckily she understood.

That was one heck of a night. It was a lot of fun, but when I fell right asleep when I got home. I've got to do that again!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Life Update 09/07/12

I unsuccessfully played String Symphony No. 2 in C by Anton Filtz today. That's the other piece that I had forgotten about in a recent post. It's really not my fault though! The music notes are tiny! Plus it doesn't help that the tempo is pretty fast, too. I'll definitely be practicing this weekend.

Tonight I'm going to my high school's football game with my friend, Erica. Should be interesting due to the fact that's raining right now... oh boy. The guy I'm having problems with (and currently not communicating with), Kyle, is in the marching band. God I hope he doesn't see me. Rain and an ex-boyfriend at a football game do not mix. We'll see how this goes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Life Update 09/06/12

Today in symphony class we had to do sectionals. Of course, my teacher asked the top two players from the first violin section to lead our sectional. That's great and all, but those top two players are pretty full of themselves, no matter how much they try to hide it. Whenever something isn't played right they play it back to us correctly, all loud and arrogant. Yes, we do need to hear how it's supposed to sound, but do you really have to play it so loud and in our faces? I wish we could've practiced on our own and asked for help if needed.

We got our Ice Cream Social t-shirts today. I love my shirt! It's crimson with a tree in the front that has white music notes for the leaves. It's much better than last year's, which looked very girly. The boys didn't enjoy wearing that shirt at all.

It took a while for us first violinists to get our shirts, however, because while all the other section leaders were passing out their sections' shirts, our section leader was busy playing. She couldn't take 5 minutes just to hand us our shirts, apparently.

After school I had an NAHS meeting. We paid our entry fee and t-shirt fee and then received our plain white masks that we'll be decorating for the "Boo Ball". I'm lacking ideas though. Luckily we have plenty of time to work on them before we have to turn them in.

Nothing much else happened today. Pretty relaxing day.

Violin Tour- 4th Violin

I know what you're thinking... How many violins does this girl need? Well this one's different!

It's electric!

My friend, Erica, had gotten an electric violin for Christmas a few years back and I played it occasionally but obviously wanted one of my own since they're so much fun. So I asked my mom for an electric violin for Christmas last year and that's what I got!

I also got an amp that has a lot of presets on it to make my violin sound like an electric guitar and much more. It's pretty awesome. :)

Erica and I eventually want to play in public somewhere, just for fun and not necessarily for money. It'd be interesting to see other people's reactions... We might even be filmed! All we need to do is find a place that allows street musicians-- a project for another day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Life Update 09/05/12

Today after school I had private lessons. I drove myself there for the first time (the last time I had my mom drive me, just to make sure I'd know where I was going). The drive went surprisingly well! My private teacher and I went over the district orchestra tryout music. First, she had me play the G major scale slowly and helped me with the positions. Then we slowly worked on Overture to Die Fledermaus, which she made me play slowly as well, working on the positions she recommended.  She also gave me little tips and tricks for playing it, like how there was a pause that wasn't marked somewhere in the middle of that excerpt... things you would have never known!

She told me a little about the opera, Die Fledermaus: a husband and wife who were having issues went to the same ball one day without each other knowing, and the wife was wearing a mask (it was a masquerade ball) so she started flirting with her husband, and the husband had no clue it was her the whole time. My private teacher explained it much better, but I obviously can't remember what she said word for word! To read the whole plot line, click here.

That's the best part of taking private lessons-- you get the inside scoop about the songs you play!

My private teacher also told me about a website, www.sheetmusicplus.com, where I can buy the three books she requested me to buy. Apparently they also sell cd's which leave out your part so you can play along and sound like you're playing with other people! I'm definitely going to try that website out. Let me know what you guys think, if you try it too.

I'm really starting to enjoy these private lessons... so informative! :)

Violin Tour- My 3rd Violin

My current violin is my favorite violin I've ever had. I love how much louder it is in comparison to my first two violins. It's also richer in sound and so physically beautiful at the same time. I absolutely love and cherish it.

The photo doesn't do it justice- it's actually a much deeper brown. Remind me not to take photos at night. :)

My violin also came with a fancy cake of golden rosin. That rosin literally looks like a piece of pure glittery gold! It has it's own little box and you hold it by the cloth attached at the end. It's definitely a step up from the old rosin which you have to scratch up a bunch of times just to get it to work.

I can't thank my mom enough for buying this violin for me. It was a complete surprise. I had woken up from my usual nap after school and I saw that she had a violin case in her hand. I was both confused and a little drowsy from my nap still, so all I had done was just stare at it with my eyebrows furrowed. My mom just smiled and said, "I bought it for you." Immediately, I knew what she meant. I got so excited and opened it up immediately. I saw that same gorgeous violin in the ruby red-lined case that I had tried out at the shop. She said, "In the back of my mind, I just heard your daddy say, 'Get that baby that new violin,' and I knew I had to get it for you." That's definitely something he'd say. He always referred to me as his baby since, like any dad, he didn't want me to grow up. She started crying and we hugged. My dad passed away April 21, 2011, so of course she'd be in tears after that. We both miss him very much, and this just shows that he's always there, looking out for us, even though we may not be able to see him.

Bradley Stephen Hull
December 31, 1958 - April 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Life Update 09/04/12

Well, tonight was the famous two-dance-classes-in-a-row night.

I met up with my friend, Abby, and we walked into jazz first. We took the same exact class last year, so we knew what to expect. It was funny seeing everybody learning steps that we already have down (to an extent) and watching their facial expressions. :) I would've taken a higher-level class this year, but my teacher recommended taking this class again. Maybe I'll be able to move up soon once I get the hang of my leaps and turns again.

Next, Abby and I went to our ballet class. There weren't very many people, maybe 10 or 12. Our teacher had us do barre work first and that really made my feet and ankles sore. We had to balance on our tip toes several times for long lengths of time. Those were killers. We then did some leaps and turns across the room and jumps in the center of the room. I didn't realize how challenging ballet would be for me, especially with my feet. But I'm willing to stick it out and keep taking classes so some day I'll get better and start to enjoy class more!

Besides dance, nothing really new has happened to me.

Oh, and class with the guy I'm having issues with went surprisingly well.

That doesn't mean we talked.

Violin Tour- My 2nd Violin

I've had 4 violins total (1 electric) in my whole life. I still remember getting my very first violin. I was in 4th grade and my violin was a 1/2 size, and I cherished it so much that I held it to my chest instead of holding the case by the handle. I was too afraid that it was going to break, even though it was snug in its case. Sadly, I don't have that violin anymore. I switched it out for a full size when I was in 6th grade. That violin I still have.

I played this violin up until the beginning of my sophomore year in high school. I was playing in the orchestra pit at the time for my high school's play, How to Succeed in Business Without Trying, and my friend noticed that I had a long crack running down my violin. I took it to a violin repairman, but he said there wasn't much he could do. He could put glue in the crack, but the sound of my violin wouldn't be very good, or he could repair the violin fully, but it'd cost a lot of money and he'd have to take a lot of the violin apart to do so. We decided to go with the glue. It was pretty disappointing.

I tried out a violin at the repairman's shop just for fun though and I absolutely loved it. Every note I played reverberated throughout the entire room with a deep, warm and rich sound. It had gorgeous brown wood and the bow had rainbow colors on the bottom of the frog. But I remembered that I had to be reasonable and stick with the glue option for my old violin and I left empty handed that day.


My mom surprised me with a new violin a week or two later, the one that I had tried out at the repairman's shop just for fun and fell in love with!

More on that violin tomorrow. :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Life Update 09/03/12

There's nothing much that's new with me.

Guy troubles...

School is starting again after this long 3-day Labor Day weekend...

Dance classes start up again tomorrow night. That means I'll be spending 2 hours in my dance studio. I better do my homework beforehand.

For once I'm feeling a little uneasy about going to symphony class tomorrow. He is in there. He is the guy I'm having issues with. We're probably going to make awkward eye-contact at least once.

Oh God.

Just focus on correcting your bow hold 20 freaking times and just breath... It'll be okay.

Maybe I can come up with some sort of mantra to repeat over and over to calm myself down. He's a dumb ass. He's a dumb ass. Yeah. That'll do.


Pieces I've Been Sight Reading in Class Lately

The beginning of the school year is always the time when my teacher piles on the sheet music for us to play. Even on the very first day of school, he expects us to sight read several new pieces! But he has good reason for this-- the upcoming Ice Cream Social performance and our first concert are very close together with hardly a week to practice between the two. Also, we have a trip during Spring Break to New York City and we'll be performing at Avery Fisher Hall, so of course my teacher wants to start sight reading immediately for that!

The main focus right now, however, is the Ice Cream Social performance. Every year my high school holds an Ice Cream Social to raise money for the school. Of course, a huge ice cream buffet is set up outside so you can load up a sundae as extravagant and complex as you want. Also, there's a car show that includes several vintage cars that you can look at. The best part, though, are the music performances. My high school's bands, choirs, and orchestras play for everyone who comes (and yes, we have several of each since my high school is just that big). We literally have to pin our sheet music down to the music stands with clothespins since it gets that windy, and we also have to wear sunglasses so we can actually see our music, but it's all worth it in the end because it's such a fun experience.

Last year we played a Chuck Mangione piece (yes, the one I played in my private lesson) and Lord of the Dance. At the time I thought they were so hard, but when I played them the other day I thought, That was hard for me a year ago? Let's just say I improved dramatically.

Right now I'm not sure which pieces will be for which performances, but these are the pieces that we've been sight reading so far:

This one was so hard that we could barely play 5 seconds of it... It goes so fast! (Stick it out until 2:18 where it actually starts to get difficult.)

I love playing this. :) It's so easy! And beautiful.

This song is so fun to play! And again, it's easy. I know for sure that we're playing this for the Ice Cream Social.

Not too great of a representation of the piece, but you get the gist of it. It's fast but it has some beautiful slow, melodic parts.

I'm pretty sure there was another piece that we sight read, but I don't remember what it's called. We've been practicing these songs for a couple of weeks now and we're starting to get better at them! Well, most of us... Second violins, I'm talking about you! ;) I can't point fingers much, though-- I was a second violinist last year. But that doesn't mean I was horrible!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Love This :)

Life Update 09/02/12

I think I'm going to do these type of posts once a day, if possible. These will be little breaks from violin stuff. But it may include at least a little...

Sorry. I have to start out with the violin stuff.

So Wednesday last week I took my very first private lessons. Ever. I know, it's sad that I never took them before but I never really thought I needed them until I found out that I'd be a first violinist this year. And until I took a look at the music for district orchestra tryouts. I mean really. Romeo and Juliet Overture- Fantasy? I'm only 16!! I'm not a professional violinist... District orchestra tryouts are really going to be interesting. But I'll have time to get some practice in since tryouts are in November, I think.

But anyways... back to the private lessons.

I had called a private teacher this summer who my friend told me about, but she never called me back, even though I left a message. So I asked my orchestra teacher the other day if he knew any private teachers that he'd recommend and he wrote down the names of a few teachers, along with their numbers, and handed it to me. I called the first one, but he didn't answer his phone. I left him a message and decided to call the next name on the list. She answered her phone (Yay! Finally someone answered!) and we got lessons set up and everything. She told me to bring a notebook and a piece that I've played before. She also informed me that she has her Doctorate, taught in Europe, and she's the private teacher of a girl in my orchestra class who played violin in Carnegie Hall! I got really excited when I heard all that. Maybe it was a miracle that the first two private teachers I called didn't answer their phones. :)

Wednesday was the big day for my first private violin lesson. My private teacher told me to go around the back and ring the bell to the back door, so that's what I did. She opened the door and I immediately saw a girl that I know. We're sort of acquaintances, I guess. I'm not sure. But she's really sweet. I smiled and waved. At first I thought, Wait... am I going to be playing with her? I thought this was a private lesson... but then my private teacher said, "Okay, let's try playing the first line slowly and then we'll wrap it up here in a few seconds" and I knew that the girl was just finishing up a lesson of her own.

Eventually she finished her lesson and I unpacked and got ready for mine. My teacher asked me if I had a notebook and I handed her a notebook which she told me to bring. She then told me to play a piece that I've played before so that she can observe my technique. I had brought in a Chuck Mangione piece since I played it exactly one year ago, and it's easy. Once I finished playing a little bit of it, she immediately started taking notes in my notebook (I thought I was going to have to do that but she did it for me!) and telling me some things that I need to focus on, as well as things I'm doing correctly.

She said that I was holding my bow incorrectly. How odd. I never knew that I was, and nobody had ever said anything, so that was a shock. She also said that I need to play with my bow closer to my bridge. I thought you were supposed to play in the middle of where your fingerboard ends and your bridge begins! The things that I didn't think I needed to be corrected on needed to be corrected...

She did, however, say that my vibrato was spot-on. She even immediately said when i stopped playing, "... You've never taken any private lessons before?" And when I said no, she said, "Your vibrato is amazing for someone who has never taken private lessons. Usually people shake their instruments or they do it incorrectly, but yours is fantastic. It really gives you a great sound." I was so flattered! And glad that my vibrato wasn't another thing to be changed. That was about as much change, for the time being, that I could handle.

We worked on my district orchestra tryout music and then she told me the titles of three books she wanted me to buy, preferably by next week, and our 30-minute lesson was soon over. Long story short: I now have to practice correct bow holds 20 times a day, I have to go out and buy three books that are in a music store that isn't very close-by, and 30-minute private lessons are way too short! But these are the types of things I have to do in order to get a whole lot better.

Hey, now we can move on to the other stuff!

I went to my first NAHS (National Art Honor Society) meeting a couple Thursdays ago. NAHS is this club at my high school and you basically do a bunch of fun art projects for different fundraisers and things just because you love making art so much. :) I found out in the meeting that we're going to be making these awesome masks for a Halloween ball, face painting (I forgot what for), and creating a float for NAHS that will be in the Homecoming parade! I'm so excited!

My dance classes are going to be starting back up again this Tuesday. I've missed them so. I've taken jazz for a year now, and this year I'm taking up ballet as well. For months I've been obsessing over ballet photos and videos. I even saw the ballet Romeo and Juliet this past February! It was amazing. I got my ballet shoes last Monday and I have leotards and tights and everything I need for class. The funny thing is, I had a dream last night that it was Tuesday night and I was late for dance! It was more like a nightmare, actually. I'm glad that wasn't real. And I sure hope that won't happen. I seriously doubt it will, considering that I'm so ecstatic about classes starting up again.

Sorry this post is so long! It's finished, I promise! You can go on with your busy lives now. :)

Introduction to This Blog

My name is Kennedy Hull and this blog is-- you guessed it-- all about violin.

I've been playing violin since I was in 4th grade and I'm still playing. I'm a junior in high school now, so this is my seventh year! It's hard to believe.

I'm in my high school's symphony orchestra. This is my second year playing in it. I love it... but it's tough. We have some amazing players. Some more self-centered than others... ahem...

Well, in this blog I'll be sharing...
  • Tid-bits from my daily violin-related life (district orchestra tryouts, private lessons, music I've been playing in class, etc.)
  • Funny orchestra/music pictures and comics
  • Links to music websites and blogs
  • Tips and tricks for playing violin that I've learned along the way
  • And other stuff :)
I hope you enjoy! Feel free to request anything you'd like to see on here.