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Audition Challenge Week 11

I have found my greatest nemesis. That one thing holding me back against all odds. That thing I hate above all else. The orange juice to my tooth paste. The Scar to my Simba. The Kanye to my Taylor Swift (or, like, anyone). My baby with the one eyebrow.

It's this heat. Toronto is experiencing one of the most straight up unbearable heatwaves right now, and I'm one of those suckers without air conditioning. It's just destroying every ounce of motivation I have. Of course, I practice with the fan on so I can get at least a little bit of a breeze going, but the running air current distorts the air stream leaving my lips as I play, making certain pitches sound like a kid talking into a fan.

Don't act like it's not true.

According to my phone, it's currently 31 degrees Celsius. Add the humidex to that and we're talking 40 freaking degrees. For my friends using Fahrenheit, that's 104. Yes, I know for a lot of places in the world that's pretty par for the course, but this is Canada. January 2015 we were colder than Mars, heat is definitely not where our strengths lie. Last time we had prolonged temperatures like this it was during the Depression.

So, practicing is definitely a struggle these days. I've had to get a little creative with my practice schedule, trying to get in more time earlier in the morning when it's marginally cooler.

Nevertheless, I did manage to cover everything I needed to get through for this week. Prokofiev's Classical Symphony is one of those pieces for me that never seems to get any better. Today's video seems to prove that a little. The notes come out but it doesn't sound as clean as I would like. I will make the excuse that my mic wasn't properly connected so what you're left with is my laptop's internal mic, which only makes me sound worse, but it doesn't hide what's actually happening. There's a slight disconnect in the large leaps and the runs up to high D that need to be worked on a bit more before I feel confident in upping the tempo.

It's taken me a long time to figure out exactly what my issues are when playing Bach. There's an element of style I have trouble wrapping my head around. This week I chose to focus on the appoggiaturas and the clean beginnings and endings of notes. What I've noticed most when watching this weeks video is that my vibrato seems to get in the way, so that's the area of my playing I'm going to look at more closely next week.

I couldn't find any information for weeks 9 and 10 on Nathan Cole's blog, so I decided to make something up for myself. I also miscalculated when I started this challenge and I was going to be behind by one week, so I combined these two weeks into one. I chose to do a dry run of some of the excerpts I need to work on that didn't fit into the challenge. Next week I'll have the 2nd movement of the Mozart Quartet, Strauss' Til Eulenspiegel, the Entr'Acte from Carmen, Brahms 4, Stravinsky's Firebird, the 2nd movement of Classical Symphony, Beethoven 3, and Dvorak 8.

Hopefully this heat wave will break a little by next week. Otherwise, get ready for some sweet robot sounds. ;)

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