Kinuta Practice – December 12th :)

Warm up:
Broken Octaves

Focussed on:
1. Page 1, Line 2, Measure 3
2. Page 2. Line 4, Measure 2
3. Page 3, Line 3, Measure 3

These are all areas where I need to improve my presses. Especially where there needs to be a quick change in press, I have difficulties being ready on the string on time. I also need to strengthen my fingers more so I can press harder when I need to.
Out of these 3 areas, I find the last one the most difficult. I can’t seem to ever get the presses right because I never know how much I need to press onto the string. I need to keep practicing to get my body to remember how much I push down so that in the future, I’ll be able to press perfectly in one go.

I can’t think of any ways to improve my presses other than practicing lots. I think it’s the best way. I could use a tuner to make sure I’m pressing enough but that won’t help me improve my presses.

When I’m playing in class, I never realise my press is really off and I think I rely too much on my classmates but when I’m at home, I realise how terrible my presses sound and it probably contributes a lot to making the music sound awful when we’re playing in class even though it doesn’t seem like anyone can hear it. I generally don’t have as much strength as the other players in the class have so I don’t worry often about my presses being really bad or making a mistake because I assume no one can hear it but I should probably start worrying πŸ™‚

Josho No Kanata – Focussed Sections (Dec. 6th)

This is the last video blog post before our performance on December 10th πŸ™‚

Today, I went over quite a few parts to make sure I had everything polished.
The first section I focussed on is p. 25 – I started off playing really slow and gradually pulled the speed up. I do still have some difficulties here playing all notes clearly while keeping up with the fast tempo but I can say that I’ve improved a lot πŸ™‚
I find that this section is a really important part in the piece as it builds the tension until the wrap up and is the section that needs a lot of power and also ENTHUSIASM!!! πŸ™‚

I then focussed on p.11 line 2, with a metronome. I don’t have such big issues with this section but I sometime lose count or miss count a beat which in this section is especially a big problem because the tempo’s really fast and it’s not too easy to come back in, and start playing again.

Finally, I focussed on p.17. This is the part where I always have difficulties with especially line 2. But I now can play it! It just needed a bit of practice and since there’s a lot of change in the fingers you use, it’s really hard to do so, while still keeping track with the tempo.

In the next few practices before the concert, I will be practicing on my dynamics and presses. And making sure I have all the dynamic markings memorized πŸ™‚

Overall, I can say that I’ve improved a lot and I still remember the first blog post I wrote – I talked about how hard I found the piece!
We have been practicing this piece for a really long time now and so I hope the performance goes well and that we can show our past efforts in the performance πŸ™‚

Josho No Kanata – Focus Section

Today, I focussed on my crescendo on p.6 line 1~2.
I always have trouble with this ‘shan’ part – it always makes a really weird sound, so I decided to see what the problem was by playing the video I recorded in slow-motion and I found that I was touching the string before playing the string which is always a problem with almost every note I play πŸ™

I also want to make sure I play the soft parts super soft and the loud parts super loud πŸ™‚

To improve, I will just make sure to have my hands up in the air before I play the string and keep practicing to strike the notes even stronger by building strength in my fingers.

Spring Concert Koto Performance- Reflection

On May 30th (Friday), we had our Middle School Spring Concert. The Koto ensemble group played ‘Ryu Ryu’ by Hikaru Sawai πŸ™‚


I will be reflecting on the following areas:Β 
1. Preparation (Practicing at home)
2. Class Time (Playing as an ensemble)
3. Performance

1. Preparation-
I think I’ve actually done a lot at home to improve on my skills and I always made sure to record it into my practice log.
I made sure to practice AT LEAST once a week just so I can keep my fingers moving πŸ™‚
Most of it was a success- I did ok with the tempo and the general skills but I found it really weird to play alone at home. It wasn’t hard but I didn’t feel as though I was ‘playing’ because I’m so used to playing the piece as an ensemble. I think the thing that made it feel weird was the fact that the pauses I made was really awkward. (Because one group stops playing at one point when the other group is playing).

2. Class time- Class time was ok too πŸ™‚ This was the time I really learnt the importance of being able to listen to others when playing.
It’s a lot of difference when playing while listening to others, than playing without any attention to what the others are doing.
If I could improve, I just want to be more enthusiastic when playing. I’ve noticed that a lot of people that are REALLY good at Koto seems so enthusiastic and energetic when performing πŸ™‚

3. Performance- If I had to rate my overall performance out of 10, I would give myself a 6.
One thing that lowered my score was one mistake I made during the performance. When my group was supposed to rest, I accidentally played something and I looked really stupid… πŸ™
Another thing that lowered my score was the nodding. I don’t think it was too clear and watching back at the video of our performance, I looked REALLY weird when nodding πŸ™
But other than that, I think I’ve done ok- I made sure I was careful with the dynamics πŸ™‚
I will make sure to always be careful with the dynamics when doing any performing (koto) in the future because I think the dynamics are what makes the music more fun to listen to πŸ™‚