Sunday, July 23, 2006

Preparations and more

My preparations for the exams continue today.

I spent time practising Fugue from Weinberger's Schwanda, the Bagpiper and an excerpt from the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. To get the notes in-tuned was now easier with the earlier practices. Yet, the challenge was to play these two pieces musically, and observing all the written dynamics and required articulation.

My version of the excerpt from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony seemed not as "masculine" in its interpretation as yet. I was reading a book titled The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green, and I vaguely remembered that there was a section that suggests that one could role-play as an accomplished master.

The story goes as such: A student was asked to perform. He was told before the performance that he only needs to play as if he was an accomplished master. He was told that the audience will hear only the recording played by the master. However, the audience had actually heard the student's playing instead. Yet, the student's playing for that performance was much better than his usual. It sounded more musical. The appropriate dynamics, the appropriate articulation was used. Perhaps this story seems to suggest that being less self-conscious, and engaging in some form of role-playing may elicit one's best? When one learns to let go, one actually makes better music?

Anyway, today's practice also consisted of playing the Marcello's sonata and the Ridout's concerto.

Sight-reading was an important part of today's practice. I am feeling more at ease to sight-read in tenor and treble clefs now, as compared to a month ago. I guess this meant that I am making some progress afterall. I shall sight-read a different set of sight-reading exercises tomorrow. That should be more useful in training my sight-reading skills than to continue to sight-read the same set of exercises.

The evening was occupied with aural training and practices. There were visitors at home and I figured I shall not bombard their ears with non-stop playing on the double bass. Furthermore, I was fairly tired by the evening to practice.

I took a break in the late afternoon to make a visit to the National Museum of Singapore. Today was the last day of the exhibition, Scenic Eye, and I also wanted to catch a glimpse of the museum. It will be officially reopened in the later part of the year.

Preparations for the exams resumed in the evening. For this evening, I tried practising on identifying modulation. I studied some of the relevant sections from Ronald Smith's Aural Training in Practice, Grade 6 to 8. I was told that the practice of holding the tonic note audibly from the beginning of the piece and then "testing" the new tonic bass note with the old tonic bass note is considered unmusical and unreliable. Yet, this has been the method that I have been using, and it worked, most of the times.

According to Aural Training in Practice, one could listen out for and identify a modulation to the key of the dominant when one hears the aural effect of the sharpened fourth. Similarly, when one hears the flattened seventh, that is a signal for a modulation to the key of the subdominant. This sounds a challenge for the ears. I hope I still have time to learn to identify modulations the orthodox way. If not, I may have to stick to my previous method of holding the tonic note, just for the exams.

Thanks to Hilda's tips, I am more able to distinguish the V chord from V7 chord. Now I am trying to learn how to distinguish whether a chord is in root position, in first inversion or in second inversion. I don't seem to see much notes in the aural training book on how I could do so. Anyway, hopefully with more listening, I could be better at this.

I shall try to practise more hours these two days. I have taken leave from work these two days. The exams is on this Friday. MJ, my tutor, advised that I should just practise no more than one hour a day or two before the exams. He said having enough rest before the exams is also important.

At the same time, he encouraged me to practise three hours or so for tomorrow and Tuesday. He said I could try playing the programme, then spend time just going through the parts that I have difficulties with, afterwhich, I could play the selected works at a much slower tempo. I shall do so for my practices. In fact, I have started doing so when I practised the Marcello's sonata today.

Meantime, to end this update on my practices, I shall introduce you to a new blog that has been added to my listings of blogs. I came across this blog while visiting Emily's. It's Jason Heath's Bass Page. Jason is a double bass performer and teacher living in the Chicago area. I shall look forward to reading double bass related posts from his blog.

Lastly, please wish me all the best for my practices and exams. I would need some cheers and moral support. Thanks in advance.


emily said...

hey! peiyun!

Read tim gallweys' the inner game of tennis. Its our text for 'critical thinking 4 musicians'. Barry green worked with gallwey for the inner game of music, but i feel that the music book closes some doors to our imagination and creativity as musicians. if you want the book, i can lend it to you! =)


oceanskies79 said...

Thanks Emily. If I wish to read the book, I shall ask you for a loan. I haven't finished reading the inner game of work by the same author that I have bought more than two years ago.

mistipurple said...

cheers and moral support coming your way. this time i didn't summon the tank!
(the tank is reserved exclusively to fighting the butterflies in your tummy.)

Hilda said...

Glad I could help a little. :-)

Big cheers for you from New York!! I'm rooting for you all the way.

oceanskies79 said...

Thanks Hilda.

Mistipurple: I am receiving your cheers and support with both hands. Thanks.