Since I’m posting this very late in the week (Thursday), I’m extending the Week 3 deadline until Wednesday the 14th. Sunday the 18th will remain the deadline for the Week 2 assignment, which is also given below.
This week, your assignment won’t be a big surprise: it’s the other half of the list! Schubert, Don Juan and Debussy, along with the rest of your Mozart concerto exposition. Once again, you will do it in one take, deciding in advance which take is going to be the “money take”. There is one final piece to Week 3’s assignment, which I give below.
If you’re like me, you felt a special electricity when you hit “record” for the take that you were going to use. This is a good thing! The more times you can get yourself to feel that electricity before audition day, the more practice you’ll get dealing with it. Some people love that feeling, because it signifies that something special is about to happen. Others detest it, because it is the precursor to adrenaline and all that it brings: shortness of breath, sweating, shaking hands… After years of electricity, I can embrace both feelings. I do enjoy the excitement, and the sense of the moment. I dislike shaking hands as much as any other violinist! But I’ve learned that adrenaline wears off, and that I can still play the violin if I sweat a little. You’ll find that the same is true for you. But you need practical experience, and that’s what we’re doing with our “one-take” videos, as well as your project for Week 2.
So the final piece of your Week 3 assignment will be to set the date, time and place for your mock audition, to take place any time during Week 2. Your audience can be as large or as small as you like, as long as someone is there to hear you play your entire list through. This person will have only one job: to call out which excerpts to play. So find your audience member or members, and set the occasion. You’ll take a video of your performance and that will serve as your Week 2 assignment.
But back to the present, and Week 3: hopefully you’ve reviewed the video that you made for Week 4 of your Mozart opening and the three excerpts. Again, if you’re like me, there will be more disappointments than smiles. That’s completely normal. But please take the time to notice the positive aspects of your performance as well. And more importantly, rather than focusing on good vs. bad, zero in on what surprises you about this recording. Did you feel frantic in a certain passage and it sounds that way? Then you have some obvious work to do! Did you feel frantic but it actually sounds under control? Then that’s worth remembering the next time you feel a bit overwhelmed in performance. It may just help the feeling go away.
Whatever differences you perceive between your memory and the recording in front of you, try to discover why they exist. Did pitch surprise you? If so, you’ll need to change the way that you listen for pitch in those places. Perhaps playing the passage down one octave, or without vibrato, or by leaving out “passing notes”, may help open your ears. Did your tempos catch you off guard? Then come up with a plan for “hearing” tempo before you start each selection. See how many improvements you can implement before making your video for this week.
We’re getting close now!
Week 3 Assignment
Determine the date, time, place and audience for your mock audition that will happen during Week 2.
Make a video (one-take, using last week’s rules) of the following:
- The remainder of your Mozart exposition
- Don Juan