Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My grass...

I wonder if it will ever be green enough.

Today I recieved a very nice compliment about my playing, and I'm still not entirely satistfied. I want the "you won the audition and also here's a free puppy and an eggnog latte" to go along with the sentiment.

I am the kind of violist where critics/commentators/friends usually mention my sound or my musicality, both of which are pretty much my favorite things about the viola; they're what make it the best instrument. Since they're what I like to hear in others, it is a huge boost when somebody gives me positive feedback on my own sound & expression. But there are other strengths I'd like to have. The strengths that win auditions, for example.

Consistency (n): harmony of conduct or practice with profession.
While I was working on my fairly useless doctorate (FUD in Music Performance), my teacher and I focused a lot on consitency. After moving to Portland, I was given audition comments along the lines of, "you can sound wonderful but it sometimes fades in and out and needs to be more consistent. How's about we hire no one and you sub for us for the next 17 years instead, 'kay?"

I admit I sometimes agreed with their assessment, especially of the short excerpts of my playing on which they base their opinions. You can't afford to lose concentration or have something unexpected crop up- in fact, allowing those possibilities is unprofessional. Jen the wunderbar said it very well- whatcha have to do is evaluate the Suck Factor, and just decide to bring the very worst sections of any performance and eventually your playing in general up to the minumum SF. Seems obvious, but it's easy to instead focus on shifting, for example, or bow control or rhythm or speed or getting convincingly through whatever nasty passage you need to have ready by rehearsal tomorrow. With concentrated effort, consitency's what I've worked on- mostly with the aid of my MD recorder, lessons with a great teacher from the Symphony section, and more- ha- consistent practicing of excerpts specifically.

Today's compliment? Somebody told me I am, "a very precise, very accurate player...[with] nothing to work on specifically". I giggled at that last bit- hopefully she thought I was just overwhelmed with joy and agreement. In my mind, that meant that for the 15 minute audition-type thing I played, she thought I demonstrated "consistency", and confirmed I am indeed heading in the right direction. I wish she had said, "now you're #1, you're the tops, here's a secret contract in which we've provided for a maid and weekly masseuse." But oh well, I can buy my own dang (extremely consistent- kudos to the Mr. Bucks corporation) latte.

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