Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Little House

Practice cabin #13 is my new home away from home here at Chautauqua. It contains a beautiful Kawai upright piano and a piano bench. It has two small windows with miscellaneous pieces of wood for keeping them propped open. And fortunately it has a ceiling fan.

Deborah and I were there from 8:30 to 1:00 today, practicing with Roz, our flutist friend, playing with each other, and taking a lesson from our NSO friend Bill, who is here for the summer.

Our cabin is just one of a whole “neighborhood” of cabins. There are pianists, horn players, flutists, singers, you name it practicing in these cabins. Since it is the middle of summer, you have no choice but to leave the doors and windows open. So when you are not making music, you can just enjoy the concert going on all around you. The “players” are mostly college-age kids who study at the music school here all summer. Many are destined for careers as professional musicians, so there is some extraordinary music happening in these little cabins.

The cooler weather with a breeze and an earlier start undoubtedly were a big help to me today. Except for the 20 minutes when we lay down outside on the grass in the shade and took a little break, we played all morning long. We played the Bolling piece that I was so bummed out about yesterday and it was incredibly fun today. Our Bach sonata is starting to take on that steady relentless rhythm that so characterizes Bach.

Our time with Bill was extremely productive. He has tricks to help us listen to each other. Sometimes I wonder if he makes these things up or if they teach such techniques at Eastman, where he went to school. When Bill took off for his symphony rehearsal, we closed up cabin #13 and headed home to lunch.

I’m not sure I can say that practice makes perfect, but it definitely makes better. Maybe I’ll carve my initials into the crude wood of cabin #13 just to remind someone some day how many hours I will have spent there this week!


Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Wow! It sounds like you are working incredibly hard at your music in your symphonic cabins! Must be hard when it is summer and a hot one to boot.
And I'm sure your piano-playing rivals your tuna and potato salads!!!

(My mom always put dill pickle and radishes in the potato salad and served it in the loveliest purple glass bowl!)

6:18 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Maybe I missed something, or maybe it is because I am relatively new here: are you a musician (amateur or professional) or just someone who likes to play music?

I imagine that little cabin being extremely hot - especially if it was anything like it was up here yesterday (34C or 97F with lots and lots of humidity).

I am partial to Mozart for classical music. His music always seems so happy (even if it is supposed to be serious).

7:50 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- I am working hard, but it is fun to be doing another kind of work.

Richard -- I am very much an amateur musician. It was 10 degrees cooler today and it make a tremendous difference!

10:08 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I am so impressed by your dedication and I love hearing your stories of "summer camp." Thanks so much for sharing. You really are an inspiration.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You sound like you are the type of person who works hard at everything they do!

I love Handel! I got hooked on The Messiah and that was the first production of that sort I ever saw. it is just so smooth and flowing to me. I can relax listening to it and waiting for all the different parts to come in, rolling on top of one another as fugues do!

8:24 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I am glad you absorbed the piece. What a difference a day makes.

8:23 PM  

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