Friday, January 25, 2008

I got to listen!

We're in Calgary again. This time Erin had two big blocks of lessons, one with T., her "regular Calgary teacher" and one with T's husband, whom Erin knows quite well from music summer school and from our relatively frequent visits. J. is solely a violinist and knows the advanced violin repertoire better than T., who is a violist by profession. So after a 2-hour marathon lesson with T. in the morning focused on technique, the Kreisler Praeludium & Allegro and the Haydn C Major concerto 1st movement and its cadenza, we went off and spent the afternoon engaged in fun stuff and then returned in the early evening for another long lesson, this time with J., with a bit of time spent on the Bach E+ Partita Preludio and a good hour on the Bloch Nigun. Erin was willing to let me sit in on her lesson (and Fiona wanted to stay), so I sat and listened.

I should point out that Erin is pretty private about her practicing. She practices in the basement, which is in the frame-constructed bedroom-y part of the house, rather than the living-area log-wall part of the house, an area that is quite far removed from an acoustic standpoint from where I typically am. She does whatever is required to make sure that when she's playing I can barely hear her. The only time she practices in the living-area part of the house is on Tuesday afternoons when I leave, taking all the other kids to their lessons. So I rarely hear her play. I had never heard the Haydn of the Bloch, for instance.

Well tonight I heard the Bloch. It's the most technically challenging thing she's ever played. Zowee! She's doing really well! It's not too much of a stretch for her, challenge-wise, that is clear. And even more impressive was her responsiveness to suggestions during the lesson. She was playing it twice as well, and twice as Hebraically (Mozilla tells me that's not a word, but I'm using it anyway) at the end of that hour as she was at the start.

That's all I need ... a little snippet every once in a while ... so that I can see that she's thriving despite the less-than-ideal music study circumstances. It reminds me why I let her own the whole process, and uncomplainingly drive her 8 hours one way across the continental divide in the midst of a Canadian winter.

(Oh, if you're curious about the Bloch, here's a recording of Joshua Bell playing it.)

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