This morning we started with warm-ups led by Mary Bisson. I liked these warm-ups a lot better than the ones we did yesterday. Mary’s warm-ups start by just moving air to get the lips buzzing and playing the lowest note you can play. Then go up chromatically staying relaxed. After that, play the same notes with a slight crescendo and decrescendo. These are followed by octave slurs. Eventually the warm-up gets up to a high C provided the note can be played comfortably.
After the warm-ups we went straight into the horn choir rehearsal. All the horn choir rehearsals were held standing up and I was very glad that I switched to playing off the leg about three months ago. There were many people who were aching pretty badly by the end of an hour and a half. The Cantos IV is my favorite of the three pieces we are playing. When we perform it we will be split up on two opposite balconies in the concert hall and Barry will conduct from the back of the hall.
At lunchtime we played a lawn concert for the faculty barbeque. It was very windy and it was hard to keep the music straight up. At one point Barry’s score flew all over the place but he kept on going finally throwing the remaining pages up in the air at the end of the piece. It was pretty funny.
The faculty session after lunch was “Get Better Faster” taught by Jean Rife. We spent a lot of time talking about optimizing practice and lesson time. Schedule practice time for the week; decide what to practice each morning before you start; make lists of what you have studied and what you want to learn to show your teacher; take notes during your lesson. Jean handed out about three pages of very valuable information. She’s copyrighted her handouts so I can’t say too much more.
Our horn ensemble was next. Yesterday I mentioned my troubles with memorizing scales. Well my other big problem is rhythm. I’m getting better but I struggle with off-beats – not the kind in concert band music – but when I’m playing a different rhythm than the other instruments. Bob Lauver had to be totally exasperated with me but he didn’t show it. He was unbelievably patient as were the other members of the quartet. That’s part of why this experience was so great – no judgement.
Our day ended with a master class given by Barry. Four students prepared works to perform – Strauss 1, 1st. mvt; Jacobs Concerto, 1st mvt; Nelhybel, Scherzo Concertante; and Bernhard Heiden, Sonata. Hearing Barry talk about the musicality of the pieces was wonderful. It was a great learning experience.