Sunday, March 30, 2008

Refocusing

Walk as much as I could bear
Sightsee if it pleases
Looking for ways to cope with
A pain that appears now and then
Refocus if needed
What can relieve?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Walking

Hoping that it may bring some relief to the hurting soul, I walked from Empress Place to Sultan Mosque, and then to Crawford Street. Subsequently, I walked to Stadium Walk near National Stadium and took a look at the new entertainment centre. There were some nice sceneries along the way. I took an extra look at the Oasis building in Kallang area as it will soon make way for the new Sports Hub.

I had considered walking to Paya Lebar but decided against so as my feet were aching. Some physical activity does help to make one feel a little alive.

Is living necessary so full of ups and downs? I am getting awfully tired, and feeling out of the norm.

Week 13 of year 2008 on the double bass

23 Mar 2008, Sun: On hindsight, I was not in the right frame of mind for a focused session of practice. I started with sight-read one piece of study. Afterwhich, some time was spent practising a selected passage from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro followed by Walter's The Elephant Gavotte. Then I tried to play selected passages from Marcello's Sonata in G major from memory. I am aiming to play this sonata from memory the next time I play it for music exams.

25 Mar 2008, Tue: Despite feeling fairly tired from the day, I was inspired after attending the double bass masterclass by Dr Erhard to practise. I was aiming to achieve a full sound on the double bass.

My rendition of the third movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major needed more work especially that of achieving a generally more legato sound. In addition, the left-hand needed more consistency in its vibrato technique. The first movement of the sonata fared a little better.

26 Mar 2008, Wed: Today I had double bass lesson with Mr GM. It has always been enriching to attend his lesson. We worked on the first and second movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major. He articulated reasons why it would be more effective for me to repeat the first section of each of the movements. In addition, he shared about how I could obtain more musically interesting phrasing. His guidance helped made my rendition of the work more interesting to the ears. This, I am thankful. We also discussed a bit on sound production. I still needed more work on achieving a sound vibrato technique.

27 Mar 2008, Thu: During my double bass lesson with MJ, I realised that I have been playing several wrong notes for Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. As such, quite a bit of time today was spent unlearning and relearning several of the passages.

29 Mar 2008, Sat: A fairly unproductive practice session, it seemed. I did not have much focus as would be needed. I worked on trying to attain a good change of bow direction. When focus was lacking, I turned to sight-reading and working on sound production. Noticing that concentration level had been way below optimal, I decided to stop the practice eventually.

Time flies. A quarter of the year has just passed by.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Searching

Groping one's way
What is ahead is unknown
Are the frustrations part of the process
While one searches for the purpose?
Or just simply a waste product
Of a search in vain?

What could guide?
And yet not make one be a blind-follower?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A possible choice

Having missed this year's dateline for registration of the ABRSM exams, I have been considering whether to register instead for the London College of Music Examinations (LCM).

A recognised international examinations board, London College of Music has for the past weeks struck me as an examinations board that provides more flexibility to the student. First and foremost, unlike the ABRSM exams board I don't have to register for the LCM exams at least five months before the exams date. I understand that I only need to register for the LCM exams about three months before the exams date, and I understand that LCM diploma exams are held about thrice a year. This would help me better gauge if I would be ready for the exams. In addition, if I were to wish to only register for the exams when I feel ready, I need not have to wait for too long to sit for the exams.

In addition, just about more than a weeks ago, I was making an online enquiry about the syllabus for LCM's diploma examinations. Last Friday, someone from the Kuala Lumpur's Thames Valley University's Asia Pacific Regional Office emailed me, and soon by Tuesday, I had received a complete copy of the diploma syllabus sent to me by courier. I would have received it by Monday if not for the fact that no one was at home to receive the delivered item. It made me felt that they go an extra mile for anyone who is keen to consider taking the LCM examinations.

It looks to me that LCM is quite a feasible choice.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What flavour gum?




You Are Fruit Flavored Gum



You are quirky and independent. You don't tend to follow any one style or rule book.

You are a mix and match type of person, and you draw inspiration from many sources.



While you're definitely a bit unusual, you get along well with other people.

You're eager to welcome anyone into your world. You are not judgmental at all.



You form close bonds with your friends, and your relationships tend to be very secure.

You hold firm to your beliefs and values, and you don't let anyone talk you into compromising them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It can hurt

I am feeling hurt
Misunderstood
And not listened to

Sometimes sharing one's world
Makes one feel greater pain

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eastcoastlife blogs about the Children Little Museum


(Photo taken from Eastcoastlife's post)


Recently, Eastcoastlife visited the Children Little Museum, and she has blogged about her visit here: Children Little Museum - Weekend Snapshot #16.

The Children Little Museum is located at: 40 Kandahar Street Singapore 198895. The nearest MRT station is Bugis MRT station. This place is nearby Sultan Mosque.

Many weeks ago, I had passed by this museum one evening just before it was closing for the day, but did not have the chance to check it out. Eastcoastlife's blog makes me feel tempted to check out this museum soon. If the folks at the museum would please grant me the permission to take non-flash photography, I would gladly do a post on it when I visit it one day soon.

Meantime, according to this article by patch_alan, the opening hours are as follow:
Mon to Fri: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m, 5.30 p.m. - 8.30 p.m,
Sat and Sun: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Entrance Fees: $2

If you should visit the museum, do share with me about your visit.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The inner sensations

Quietly,
The frustrations lurk
Even though not too painful
The fear is that
They can eventually lead to slow death

Each moment
Seems to be out of sync
Resolution,
How does one arrive there?

It's spring time

(Taken during a guided tour of the Esplanade)


Last evening, Carcar and I attended the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's concert, Sounds of Spring at the Esplanade Concert Hall.

Having played one of Sibelius' symphonies, I found that I was able to relate to his Spring Song, Op. 16 when I heard it last evening. As a piece of music composition, Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto has quite a number of interesting elements that had caught my ear. I personally like the second movement of the concerto. However, I felt that last evening, the orchestra lacked an extra touch of spontaneity that would bring out those interesting elements.

I personally did not like the interpretation of Schumann's First Symphony last night. It felt lacking in a refined character and sense of inner joy that I was expecting from Schumann's music. Despite so, it was still interesting to listen to the orchestra playing Schumann's First Symphony live. Somehow, live music just sounds more interesting to me than recorded music.

Nevertheless, on the whole, the concert was satisfying to listen to.

Many thanks to Carcar for the company.

Week 12 of year 2008 on the double bass

16 Mar 2008, Sun: In the morning, I practised one of the studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass Part One. Afterwhich, I worked on selected passages from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

19 Mar 2008, Wed: There was no orchestra rehearsal. Nevertheless, I set aside time to practise Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. The rewarding part is that my playing of legato notes has improved. The sound production has also improved.

20 Mar 2008, Thu: I had double bass lesson in the early evening. I feel a slight sense of achievement when I could better manage sight-reading the works that my teacher selected at random from the sight-reading book. There was still a few mistakes, but I was getting a little more competent than I was last week.

There was some time being spent on vibrato. I was glad that my tutor has been rather insistently to correct me when my vibrato technique was not accurate, and when my thumb was placed at the inappropriate places.

Finally, much of the lesson worked on Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I realised that I have been making mistakes to the articulations of some of the passages. It looks like I have to do some minor relearning. Learning is still fun nevertheless.

21 Mar 2008, Fri: It was Good Friday, so I did not have to report for work. I started the practice by sight-reading a few studies. Afterwhich, I sight-read Walter's The Elephant's Gavotte. The issues to be worked on are: Rhythms, rhythms, and rhythms. In addition, I need to work on improving the articulation.

Choosing a good programme can be a challenge at times. If it helps to choose a work that I have affinity for, so that I can play it for a recital, then the question would be: How do I know if I have an affinity for a piece of music?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Always asking questions

The question on my mind today: "How do I contribute value to this world?"

Maybe the question could be better refined as: "In what way could I best contribute value to this world?"

While I may have a few little clues, but I have yet have any answer. How do I search for the answers?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pondering

Mistipurple pointed me to Karl Blog some time ago. I was just reading This Way or That Way.

I wonder how to be more spontaneous, and how to learn to listen to my intuitions more accurately?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freeze

Somehow the mind seems to freeze. Actually, there is a lot of activity within the mind, but somehow, the mind just seem to freeze into a passive state. These are the times when I wish I don't have to bother about the world outside me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spicy test

I am feeling too tired to blog much. What spice are you?




You Are Black Pepper



You may be considered ordinary by some, but you're far from boring.

You elevate the mood of any discussion, and people miss you when you're not around.

You are secretly very dominant and powerful. Most can only take you in small doses.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Things to be thankful for

My words of thanks to Mystic for taking time for dinner. I felt better after having a listening ear. Thanks Mystic.

There are other things to be thankful for. However, I am feeling sleepy and shall not attempt to start listing everything down. Please bear with me.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Strange emotions

Thunder within
Inner turmoils
How to make sense of these?
The strange phenomenon
That swings one's emotions
From anguish
To protests
And to tears

Week 11 of year 2008 on the double bass

9 Mar 2008, Sun: In the evening, I practised two short studies on the double bass. I was actually sight-reading the studies. It was comparatively easier to sight-read studies that have quite straight-forward rhythms in simple duple time.

Thereafter, I practised the first and the fourth movements from Marcello's Sonata in g minor. My ability to use vibrato appeared to have improved compared to a few years ago, but the intonation still needs precision.

10 Mar 2008, Mon: I sight-read a short study on the double bass.

Thereafter, part of me just felt like screaming loud. Instead of doing so, I chose to play passages from the double bass parts from Brahms' Symphony No. 4. The playing of the forzando parts seems to bring upon sounds that gave space for the emotions to explode. I would have continued to play through the end of the night if not for the fact that it is getting dark. Putting on the practice-mute just was not for me for the day.

13 Mar 2008, Thu: During the double bass lesson, I continued to start with scales and sight-reading. I still need to work on feeling a good sense of pulse when I sight-read.

Afterwhich, I practised the allegro section of Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I worked on achieving the required articulation, making sure what need to be played legato would be played legato.

Somehow, after the double bass lesson, it struck upon me if I should have registered and sit for a diploma exams (music performance) within this year.

14 Mar 2008, Fri: I started with sight-reading a few short studies. It was actually easier to sight-read studies provided that the rhythms are straight-forward. Generally, I prefer playing melodies written in steps than those in leaps.

Afterwhich, I practised a selected section from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I still to continue working on achieving an effective vibrato technique. Playing the double bass somehow brought me some moments of relief which I was thankful for.

I also tried playing the first, second and fourth movements of Marcello's Sonata in G major from memory. Though I could not remember some passages, the attempt was rather successful.

15 Mar 2008, Sat: I sight-read two studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass Part One. Afterwhich, I spent some time working on orchestra excerpts from Brahm's Fourth Symphony. I somehow wished that I was living alone by myself, and then I won't have to consider stopping the practice by 11 p.m. so as not to disturb the neighbours and my family.

There are times when I wonder if time is on my side?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Introducing: My Trinket Trove



One of my friends has a blog that shares about her own creations: jewelleries and accessories. To view her works, please visit http://mytrinkettrove.blogspot.com

I personally find that she has a good eye for matching colours and objects. See if you would agree with me.

(Source of photo: http://mytrinkettrove.blogspot.com/2008/03/girlie-fun-charm-bracelet.html)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

?

Moments there are
That make me froze
Something is not quite right
The ideals and the reality
Poles apart they seem
Then the pain cringes in
How to make life
Worth living again?

Not in the mood for blogging

I was back home about an hour ago after a day of treats to my ears. In one single afternoon and evening, I listened to one hour of contemporary music and four different double bass recitals. My favourite among the double bass recitals is the one played by Wang Luyao. She played her recital programme with a good musical line and sound. Hopefully with practice and guidance, I could play at least as good as her one day.

Soundbites was generally quite interesting even though I admit that my ears need more time to understand and appreciate contemporary music.

I end this post by saying that I realise that I haven't been in the mood for blogging. Maybe I may only be in the mood of writing poetry, in hope to find an outlet of expression.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Where's the outlet?

What is the outlet
That brings relief to the pain?
A pain that comes and goes
Yet crushes one's soul

Frustrating it is
When the pain engulfs
But yet can't find the door
That releases one from the pain

Humming

Melodies ring
And tears they bring
To fill the dark night
With melancholy

Echoes sound
Distance they remind
Too far
And it's time to say bye

!

A pain
That can drive one screaming
When things get bitter
Where can one find release?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sound bites and double bass recitals

Emily, our local budding composer, will have her work, Sephiroths, being performed at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Orchestra Hall this coming Wednesday.

In addition, there will be works by other members of the Conservatory composition department that day.

Here are the details:
SoundBites
12 March 2008, Wednesday, 12:15 PM
Orchestra Hall


(For more details, please see: http://scmapp.nus.edu.sg/events/details.asp?e_id=686)

In addition, there will be four double bass recitals being performed on the very same day at the Conservatory's Concert Hall. Details can be found here: http://scmapp.nus.edu.sg/events/eventcalendar/index.aspx

Do come and support.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Week 10 of year 2008 on the double bass

2 Mar 2008, Sun: I practised excerpts from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. While practising, I kept wondering what is the kind of soundscape that Berkeley hopes to create in this piece of composition.

4 Mar 2008, Tue: I worked on the middle section of Faure's Sicilienne, yet it felt demoralising that the intonation and the shifting of positions needed much more work, even when played at a moderately slow tempo. Times like this make me question if I am competent enough to perform music.

5 Mar 2008, Wed: While waiting for the orchestra's annual general meeting to start, I practised the first and second movements from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. Something needs to be improved though I can't exactly point out.

6 Mar 2008, Thu: Is it a lack of confidence or a need to polish sight-reading skills? I attempted supposedly easier sight-reading pieces from ABRSM Grade 4 sight-reading works, but I was still struggling with sight-reading syncopation rhythms.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the lesson working on part of Berkeley's Introduction and Allergro. Intonation and rhythm need more work.

8 Mar 2008, Sat: I attempted to learn to play the 4th movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor, yet I did not move past the first few lines of the movement. I wonder what kind of foundation I would have to lay musically in order to be confident in playing the movement?

Afterwhich, I started practising selected passages from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro

The practice for the day simply appeared to give very minimal benefits. I was barely concentrating. The feeling was more of a lack of confidence and concentration. Hopefully that was only an one-off affair.

Time seems to fly so fast. It can be troubling to realise how fast time can slip away. How can I make better use of it?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Flower test

I am feeling unsure. Anyway, according to this test result, I am hopeful. I wonder where this would lead me to?




What An Iris Says About You



You are incredibly hopeful and courageous.

Even when you've been challenged in life, you have faith that everything will work out.

Your feelings run deep, and you are a very grateful person.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The shoe test

I have no idea what – means. Does anyone know of companies that are dedicated to helping the world, which could use some of my skills and talents?




You Are Clogs



You are a solid and down to earth person.

You seek – and almost always achieve – a really sound balance in your life.

You are stylish yet comfortable. Mellow but driven. Excited yet calm.

You are the perfect mesh of contradictions.

No matter what happens, you have the ability to stay well grounded in your life.

People know that they can truly depend on you.

You should live: In Europe

You should work: At a company dedicated to helping the world

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's dark

There is a pain
That I can't describe
Yet it feels like
If unresolved
It will soon
Lead one to the grave

Week 9 of year 2008 on the double bass

24 Feb 2008, Sun: A day for close to 6 hours of rehearsal. I suppose it is a way to put one's stamina to test. Thankfully I was still able to play the trio from the third movement Beethoven's Fifth Symphony at the intended speed.

25 Feb 2008, Mon: I practised a selected few bars from second movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo. I still need to get a clearer sound when I stop the note using the third finger.

27 Feb 2008, Wed: There was double bass sectional in the evening and we worked on the third movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Later in the evening, there was a rehearsal to rehearse the entire concert programme.

28 Feb 2008, Thu: For the double bass lesson, I was struggling to play the sight-reading pieces. Most of the time, I have difficulties sight-reading the rhythms at first sight. That left me feeling so unconfident about my ability to sight-reading at diploma level that I decided I might need to postpone my plans to sit for DipABRSM to next year. The feeling of having lose some time bugs me nevertheless.

29 Feb 2008, Fri: In the evening, there was rehearsal at YST Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Hall. The hall has much better acoustics than the University Cultural Hall. The orchestra played the entire concert programme. My personal favourite's Beethoven's Fifth Symphony although admittedly, it is a very difficult piece to play well for the double bass section.

1 Mar 2008, Sat: There was rehearsal in the late afternoon. I decided to reserve my energy so that I won't exhaust myself before the actual concert begins.

The actual concert was considered a success. The turnout was pretty good, and I particularly like the rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.