May 2006


May 31, 2006 17:39

I'm sick.

I don't ever get sick. When I do, it's such an event, even if it's a slight fever and a tummy-ache/body-ache, I will lay around the house and moan and be helpless and melodramatic until it goes away.

I have no clue what to do when I'm sick. The role of the sick person doesn't appeal to me--all that lying around with nothing to do... The only thing I like about being sick is groaning and whimpering and feeling sorry for myself. That's kinda fun.

Oh, and taking my temperature. That's kinda fun, too.

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May 17, 2006 02:11

I've been so tired lately. I don't sleep. But I'm tired. I tried eating instead, today, and I ate until I wasn't tired anymore. You can substitute the two sometimes, you know.

I guess here's the update in the world of Emily:

Next week is the last week of lessons with my students. In the summers, I cook with my husband for the camp where I live. However, this year, half of my students want to stay on for the summer, so I will work four days in the camp kitchen, baking sweets and breads, and take Fridays off for teaching lessons. Right now, kitchen work begins to gradually pick up, and I cook a few hours in the morning and on weekends to help George out.

The new restaurant in town has been asking me to play piano for a few hours in the evenings, a couple of times a week. Between this and my trio, I've got 9 gigs booked so far this month. (Good thing, because I have a bow to pay for!)

On the evenings I don't play, I have been training for the race up Mount Marathon that happens every Fourth of July. My training partners and I hike up mountains every other day. (Great fun!) Yesterday we hiked up 3,000 feet along Bird Ridge, which overlooks Cook Inlet.

Yesterday's hike was preceded by a trip to Anchorage to meet Walter Olivares, a teacher at the University of Anchorage, to discuss lessons for the fall. I have plans to audition for the Anchorage Symphony in August, as well. The meeting went well, and I'm very excited about aggressively planning toward real progress. It feels good to keep moving forward and up, even if it's hard.

You may not see as much of me around the discussion boards in the next few months, because when I'm not teaching or cooking or training or playing gigs, I'll be hitting the river in my annual pursuit of salmon.

It's very difficult to practice when the outdoors beckon. We have many long winter months for practicing. I hope to be disciplined enough over the summer to take my daily Yost vitamin and chip away at orchestra excerpts. Honestly, if I can manage that, it'll be a first. I have to do it though, if I'm to stand before a committee, or panel--or whoever it is that decides the outcome of orchestra auditions--and play Schumann's 2nd. Not too excited about that...

Mount Marathon

A view from the top:

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Watching it Go

May 9, 2006 01:16

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May 7, 2006 18:35

I should have put half of my students under metronome arrest today. I saw tempos at the recital that I'd never seen before, tempos that I didn't know were humanly possible!

Here's what I learned from my own performance:

1. Don't use the music if you've memorized it! I sacrificed 3/4 of my performance stumbling with distracting notes in front of me, just to secure two measures I was afraid I'd forget. A memory lapse would have been more excusable than the way I played today with the music. Once I hit the cadenza, I said to-heck-with-it and played the ending by memory and nailed it.

2. Bow quivers are negligible in a large room. I have proof; I recorded it. (No one will ever hear that recording, though!) I performed on a new stick today, a Bigot that I bought from Gennady Filimonov after visiting him in Seattle. It was my birthday present, and I got it just in time for the recital. The action is more lively and stiffer, and very clean and articulate. Unfortunately, my nerves went straight into my bow, and I wasn't used to its reaction, which only made it worse. Fortunately, I think it forgave a lot of my bowing sins. It's a very tidy bow. Reminds me of Ivory soap.

3. The way you sound up close is completely different that the way you sound in a hall. As badly as I played, when I listened to it afterward, I was amazed at the phrasing and articulation that sounded so smooth and crisp, when at home I played much better and sounded much worse (when recorded up close). Dynamics were also much more pronounced.

My students really pulled it together. A word of advice to all performers: don't make faces or utterances of disgust, and don't stop cold and try to fix something that's already gone. Keep moving forward. Most people would never notice. How you deliver it either makes or breaks the performance.

It was a real treat to see them all putting out their best effort. I wish I could make them understand that they can all be proud of themselves for their courageous effort, even if they missed a note or two.

Finally, I want to publicly acknowledge my husband George, who has been going nonstop since I got up this morning, making everything flow seamlessly and reducing my stress level.

I can't believe all that we did today... Glad it's over.

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May 7, 2006 03:22

I know it's a bit short notice, but you are cordially invited to the 3rd annual Steele String Studio Recital. Hope you can make it! Here's the program:

This should be the biggest one yet. I made up 100 of these programs today. And yes, if you can read the fine print, you will notice that I, too, will be performing. Wish me luck. Better yet, wish all my students luck!

PS Don't miss out on the reception afterward. Fresh cookies!

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Your name will be famous.

May 1, 2006 22:41

If I hadn’t taken a week off from practice, I wouldn’t have strayed from the routine far enough to rent a movie for a change, and I would have missed out on the discovery. As the fortune cookie would have it, though, I came into the video store on Monday with my friend and rented Singing in the Rain.

We approached the lady at the register:
“Emily Grossman.”
“Emily Grossman... Oh, you must be George’s wife. Tell him we’ve missed him lately.”

I laughed and made a note to tell George, since he comes in so regularly that the employees know him by his first name. My conversation with the clerk was not particularly extraordinary. I didn’t think twice about it until Wednesday, when I returned the first video (which was delightfully old-fashioned and romantic) and rented East of Eden.

A different girl assisted me this time:
“Emily Grossman.”
“Oh, so you’re Emily Grossman. George Grossman always comes in here, and I’ve always wondered who you were, since The Account is under your name, not his.”

I laughed and told our friends about that incident. George must rent a lot of movies at night while I’m practicing. I don’t blame him. It gets pretty boring sometimes. I can’t ever sit through a movie, though, so I’m never the one to pick out something to watch. But without my usual evening practice, I found myself back at the video store on Friday to return the second video (which I do not recommend unless you like being weirded out by a not-so-pretty girl acting strangely toward James Dean, who also acts strangely). This time, I rented Fame, since I’d never seen it and was curious about the rumored violin talent in the movie.

A young man stood at the register:
“Hello, my name is... Emily Grossman.”
“You’re Emily Grossman? Wow. It’s nice to finally meet the Owner of The Account. I’ve always wanted to put a face to the name.”
“Yes, it’s me, Emily Grossman.”

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