Sunday, March 23, 2014

baby steps

Yesterday I had a really good viola lesson, for a change. Actually it was two lessons: the first was devoted to a piece I am going to perform with my cellist friend at her recital next week, and the second was my regular lesson. The cello teacher is a good friend of my teacher, and she holds her studio recitals at his house, so we all convened there yesterday afternoon for a runthrough, which turned into a 90-minute polishing session. The cello teacher had heard us play the piece, but my teacher hadn't (though I had played my part through for him once). Both teachers kept coming up with suggestions for shaping and phrasing, but I didn't feel like it was because we sucked; rather it felt more like they could see ways to make it better. My cellist friend later told me she felt the same way. It always, always amazes me when people listen to me play and assume it's music. As an added bonus, one of the cello teacher's other students sat and listened to the whole session (he had come to run through his recital piece) and I was able to play in front of this complete stranger without excess nerves, shaky-bow, etc.

After this, everyone left and I had my regularly scheduled lesson. We spent a little time on the scale of the week, skipped the etude, and went right to the piece I've been working on for my recital, which we haven't touched (in lessons) in weeks. My teacher's studio recital is coming up soon and I've been more than a little worried about this piece; it's not hard hard, but it has to sound like music. I've been working on it all this time, but wondered if I'd developed bad habits that would be hard or impossible to fix in time. Much to my happy surprise, this lesson was not a bust either. Once again, it was not "you suck, this is awful" but "here's how we could make this better." Once again, it was such a nice surprise.

This morning I ran for the first time in 2 weeks, about 3.25 miles. This was the longest I had gone without running (apart from injury) in 12 years. I was amazed at how quickly the cardio health goes away; I was breathing much harder at 9:40-something pace than I thought I would. I have been suffering lately from severe leg cramps, and after running I noticed that some of the more cramp-prone muscles were sore. Still, I will do it again tomorrow.

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