Hikaru Umi Reflection

Yesterday, we had the middle school spring concert. The 8th graders played a piece called “Hikaru Umi(光る海)” by Hikaru Sawai which we had been practicing for 3 months. I didn’t practice much at home for the first 2 months but I started practicing more frequently around the last 2 weeks of the performance. Other than practicing at home, I practiced during lunch recess, before school, and after school a several times. I think I should have practiced more from the start because this would have given me more time to look at all the details such as dynamics which would have made our performance better. Also, since I started practicing frequently after 2 months, I had the piece memorized a few days before the concert.

This made me feel nervous during the performance and I think it also made me rush. However, I think our performance went pretty good than our practices although we rushed quite a lot because we had less mistakes and we were being careful of the dynamics. We all had fun performing the piece as a group too. I was able to play the piece without forgetting it and hardly made mistakes. The technique that I had difficulty with was presses. It was hard to press the strings in the right strength so that I didn’t make a different sound. The transitions between the presses were challenging too since I had to pay attention to both hands.

If I was to give myself a score out of 10, it would be 7 because I hardly made mistakes but rushed which made us play faster than it should have been. Also, I think I was synchronized with my peers but at the same time, I could have played some parts better. Overall, I learned that to play well as a group, we should listen to each other carefully and communicate well. This would help us play in a good speed, and synchronize with each other. Also, I learned that even 1 time of practice can make a difference. For example when I practiced after school, I was able to play some sections more smoothly at the end of the practice even though I wasn’t able to at the start of the practice. From this experience, this made me think that I should and want to really start to practice frequently from the beginning because this will greatly improve my performance.

Overall, I really enjoyed playing the piece “Hikaru Umi” as a group and I learned some important things from this experience. It is sad that this was the last koto performance for some people, but we all had fun and I think  it became a memorable day for us. 😀

Hikaru Umi (光る海) practice

In koto, we are currently working on a piece called “Hikaru Umi (光る海)” for the Middle School Concert. I chose three sections where I felt I especially need practice, and they are:

1. Page 1 line 3 measure 3~ Page 2 line 2 measure 4

I need to work on the transitions when the strings are apart because sometimes I mess up and play the wrong string, and I also need to work on the presses because my presses tend to be too weak. I will practice them by repeating it many times and getting used to it.

2. Page 4 line 4 measure 3~ Page 5 line 1 measure 4

I need to work on the transition between the “五” “十” press because I am not ready for the presses sometimes, and I also mess up with the strings. Also when I let go of the press in a bad timing, it makes a strange sound. As I mentioned earlier, I will practice the presses many times and get used to it.

3. Page 7 line 4 measure 2~ End of page 7

I need to pay attention to the fingering, and also work on playing the strings smoothly. I will practice this section in a slow tempo at first, and then gradually increase the tempo.

Here is a recording of me playing one of the sections, page 1 line 3 measure 3~ page line 2 measure 4:

Yume No Wa – Koto concert Reflection

Last week, we had our koto concert. All the middle and high school koto students participated, and played a piece. The 8th graders played a piece called ‘Yume No Wa (夢の輪)’ by Sawai Hikaru.










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During the preparation and rehearsal, I think we all did well on memorizing the piece, and not getting lost. However, we rushed a lot and was very fast than usual. It made it hard to play the notes accurately, and it didn’t sound good because we were out of sync. We played the piece 2 times during the rehearsal, and for the first one it was very fast and we were all not together so it didn’t sound good. But the second one was a lot better because it slowed down and stayed together than the first one.

To overcome this problem, we discussed about the tempo, and how we can make the performance better in the backstage. We decided that we should listen to each other all the time, and that if we lose track of the tempo or become confused we should look at Lisa, who was siting in the front and play it in the same speed because she usually plays in a good speed. Also we clapped and lip-synced the piece in the backstage so that we all know how fast/slow it should be.

Individually, I think I did quite well in the performance. I was able to play the piece without forgetting, and listened to each other. I think I played in a good tempo and played the strings with strength and accuracy. However, I accidentally played the wrong strings sometimes. As a group, I think we all did well on memorizing, focusing, and tempo. We played in a good tempo and stayed together. There were places we rushed, but we soon got back to the original tempo.

Next time I work on music for a performance, I will make sure I listen to others when I play so that I don’t rush or be late. When I practice at home, I will use a metronome or recording from class. Also, I will memorize the music faster so that I could focus on dynamics, tempo, and accuracy more. Overall, I really enjoyed playing this piece and I think the concert went well. I also enjoyed watching the other graders play their piece. There were improvements we could make, but I think we all had fun. I am looking forward to the next performance. 😀



Koto Yume No Wa Practice #6

Our koto concert is in 2 days (on Wednesday), and this is my practice log for this week. It would probably be the last for ‘Yume No Wa’. I focused on the section, ‘page 17 line 2~ page 19 end of line 2’. I chose this because this was a section I forget sometimes or get confused, and play the wrong strings. Here is a video of me playing↓

I think I did well on playing the strings with accuracy and playing the section without forgetting it or getting confused. I think I could do the rests more gently, and play it in a good tempo throughout the section to make it better. Until the koto concert, I would like to practice more to play it well with confidence at the concert.


Koto Yume No Wa Practice #5

This week, I played through the piece and mainly focused on: page 10~ page 11 line 2. I decided to focus on this part because I usually mess up this part, and can’t play it without stopping. Also, this is one of the important parts for Koto 1(my part) because for some parts, only Koto 1 plays it (solo) and other parts don’t, and I thought I should be able to play it clearly with strength so that it is not too quiet.

I think I got better at playing it without stopping and playing it smoothly because before, I stopped quite a lot and messed up when I played in class. I think I should still work on playing it smoothly (transitions), and playing the strings accurately and clearly. Also I should work on the speed because it is not always in the same speed. There is not much time until the winter koto concert, so I want to practice as much as I can to have confidence and play it smoothly and clearly with accuracy in the concert.

Koto Yume No Wa Practice #4

This is my fourth entry of my practice log for koto. I played two sections which were, ‘page 17 line 3 measure 3~ page 18 line 1 measure 2’ and ‘page 20 line 1 measure 2~ line 2 measure 2’. I played these sections because during the class, I messed up the rhythm sometimes. Also, it is repeated in this piece quite often, so I thought it would help me a lot.

Improvements I could make:

As I mentioned in my other posts, I still need to work on my rhythm. It is uneven and too fast sometimes. I thought I should strengthen my fingers to play the strings carefully and control it so that I won’t slide and play the notes too fast. I need to work on my transitions too because sometimes I’m late when I go on to the next part which has a different pattern.

Koto Yume No wa Practice #3

This is my third entry for my practice log for koto. I played, ‘page 8 line 1 measure 3~ page 8 line 2 measure 2’ and ‘page 8 line 3 measure 3~ page 9 line 1 measure 1’.

Improvement I could make:

I sometimes play the different string or miss a note so I thought I should play it more carefully and clearly. I also want to work on my transitions between each strings because I’m slow getting ready for the next note so I thought I should make it quicker and get ready fast.

Koto Yume No wa Practice #2

This is my second entry for my practice log for koto. I worked on two sections, which are: page 6 line 2 measure 2~ end of page 6, and page 7 line 3 measure 2 ~ page 8 line 1 measure 2.

Improvements I could make:

I think I still need to work on my tempo because I rush sometimes. As Mr. Patterson (my koto teacher) said, I should use the metronome to help me. I also need to play it with strength because I think I play it a little soft.

Koto Yume No Wa Practice #1

Currently in Koto, we are working on a piece called “Yume No Wa” (夢の輪) by Hikaru Sawai. This year instead of doing our practice logs on paper, we will be writing a blog post. This week I will work on page 4, line 2, 2nd measurement ~ end of page 4 & page 5, line 1, 2nd measurement ~ page 5, line 3, 3rd measurement. I worked on this section because during the practice at class, I had trouble playing it smoothly.

Improvement I can make:

I think I should play it more smoothly and clear, and also in the right speed because sometimes I play it too fast. I think playing the notes accurately will make it better too. Also, when I get used to it, I think I can add dynamics.