Yesterday we had the spring concert. *Yay!* Well not really. And a a rule of thumbs we, of course have to do a reflection. The piece was called Hikaru-umi or shining sea. Nice title right? It was an ensemble piece so we of course had to practice tons especially as we had 18 people playing in 2 parts. Scary! Overall I think as a group we did well with minor mistakes here and there which only Mr Patterson, our teacher recognised. 🙁
Practice was relatively easy for this piece as it was 8 pages instead of the norm of about 22 pages give or take a few. Also within those 8 pages there was a point in which we basically repeated what we played before. Also there was no new techniques really, just one bit where we had to use our index finger that I for one wasn’t used to. I practiced about 1 or twice a week for about 30 minutes, though most of that time was trying to get feeling in my legs as once they’re numb, I can’t move! The bits I practiced can be seen in this post which I did before. There were other bits and pieces I practiced as well but those were the main ones as that was the hardest. For memorisation, It was simple as once you play, it sticks to your mind like glue. Seriously.
Techniques did present their own challenges though. Even if Koto II did have more challenges. See being sucky at music does pay off! It saves you from insanity known as koto II. Challenges includes several full presses that seemed was trying to cut off my fingers and all my skin. Though it did sound a whole ton better that without presses. Half presses were also plentiful in the piece and the problem with this was over pressing so the sound is too high. You can’t seem to win can you? Another challenge was the tsuruten, one is okay, 8 meh, more then 10 is just a nightmare. And that is what we had to do. Also accents were difficult as most times when you play forte, to get any louder was like trying to split the Koto. Also trying to accent certain notes was hard as when you have to play the note again my hand tends to tense and play the unaccented note with an accent.
During the actual presentation I didn’t have nerves as I didn’t see the point. That was until Kaori mentioned it. Thank you Kaori, note the sarcasm. But once I started playing it went away, thank god for that. During the presentation the nerves of others were obvious with the clear speeding up of the piece.
Out of 10 I would give myself a 10, just kidding, I would give myself a 7-8 because I did manage to get most parts but in the slow part I missed the 7,4 beat and the part with the press and index finger I missed the first one as I wasn’t ready. But overall I thought I didn’t make too many mistakes and actually did the Dynamics correctly, for once I might add. For these reasons I think I did a 7-8.
Overall I have learned that individual practice is not all there is to a group but the necessity of working as a group both inside and out of class is important for an ensemble . Also be ready to play about 2X the speed you should play so that you can catch up to your group if you have people that are extremely nervous, or excited, or both!