100 Days of Practice - Halfway there

Here we go! Now that I am in possession of that most coveted resource - time - I better make good use of it! Before this post, I managed to get through the first 40 days of my #100daysofpractice challenge blogging-wise. I finished the practice part of this whole thing way back in May. I’m starting to realize that I might need to do a #100daysofwriting challenge to see if I can make this whole typing thing as much a habit as that whole violin playing thing.  

This post will cover days 41-50. I’m going to keep it short. If I didn’t note some otherworldly and insightful revelation or newly acquired technical skill chances are you won’t read much about that day (let’s be real, who really cares about all of the running around town I do from rehearsals and coachings, to lessons and performances? If I’m wrong about this assumption, please correct me, and I will provide you with a personalized blow by blow of my daily and weekly calendar with grocery lists and to-do lists included. I dare you to ask for it. 

Day 41

I coached chamber music in the morning - like I do every Tuesday. The students at Union are pretty awesome: really fun to work with, nice people, and open and receptive to feedback. I went to 12 pm yoga at Press (the new studio that is also a coffee shop - OMG! Best business idea ever!) It was such a good class! Excruciatingly slow, but it gave me that sweet, sweet yoga high I’ve been chasing. 

I showered and practiced before teaching two lessons (yoga makes me <3 my students even more than usual) then heading to the first dress rehearsal of Cinderella. This ballet is so hard, but the music is freaking cool (that’s Prokofiev in a nutshell), it's like haunted carnival cool. I have no idea what happens on stage, but I am hooked on the music. 

Day 42

I made it to another 6 am yoga class today - I’m on fire! - before catching up on some journaling and heading to the TSO Musicians Committee meeting. These meetings are a testament to how Yoga helps me approach tough discussions with a more level head. I definitely notice that I have a short fuse in these meetings if I don’t find time beforehand to breathe, do yoga, or find a few moments of stillness.

I took some practice time to myself today and worked on my favorite new short piece - Meditation by Glazounov. This piece is so charming! I can’t believe it isn't played more often. I had never heard it before, and neither had many of my colleagues. I feel compelled to play it everywhere now! I also worked on Glazounov’s violin concerto, trying to get it back up to a decent level - (*sidenote: I recently learned that Glazounov was a Horn Player, and now when I hear or play his big juicy melodies they make so much more sense. They have this quality as if you should be blowing a ton of air through your instrument to make a rich and ringing sound that carries over the entire orchestra).  It is such a professional luxury to work on repertoire that doesn’t have a deadline. 

The 2nd dress rehearsal went much better tonight and I can absolutely tell the practice challenge is helping my students - this week they are all killing it in their lessons! Yay! 

Day 43

I went riding this morning - this is code for “I had an equine therapy session” because afterward, I am so refreshed and a much happier person. No Harmony Project in the afternoon means I have a little extra time in the day. It’s not much, but it is definitely appreciated! 

I applied for an audition today that I am very excited about, mostly because the timing of it works perfectly with the second half of this challenge giving me something to strive for and focus on for the remainder of this challenge (and beyond). 

Tonight is the open dress rehearsal of the ballet and this pit orchestra work is really starting to mess with my back. I notice that my shoulders cave in much more in this playing environment to keep from running into the violist sitting next to me. Yike!

Day 44

I received the list of excerpts today and started compiling and organizing them. For me, this means creating a playlist, adding them to my roundom app (my favorite way to practice excerpts) so I will be forced to practice them in a random order, and create a chart so I can track my progress and see when I am practicing each excerpt.

you just add your excerpts and spin the wheel.

you just add your excerpts and spin the wheel.

For this audition, I am changing my approach to excerpt preparation so stay tuned for updates on that throughout the rest of this challenge.

It was the opening night of Cinderella, and I'm already exhausted!

Day 45

Jen Sherman and I taught a beginner group class this morning for some of our students. They are so funny and cute and LOVE the games and activities. Their enthusiasm and adorable personalities makes the time fly by. Afterward, I taught two lessons while Jeff went to breakfast (jealous) and then practiced in the afternoon before heading to the Cinderella performance.

Day 46

We went on a family run this morning (even Blanche trotted along) then headed to the Vault for brunch - it is so good! Apparently, brunch is a fairly recent addition to their menu, and it is dang good!

Afterward, I took care of some not-so-glamorous chores including grocery shopping, laundry, writing contracts, sending emails, all of the Sunday Funday activities, before heading to the final Cinderella performance. I am excited to stretch the pit orchestra posture out of my back!

After the show we went out for Mexican food and donuts with our neighbor, then came home and watched a few episodes of a TV show before I passed out on the couch. In case you can't tell, I didn't practice today and I'm feeling guilty about it. I guess I've just been so worn out lately that I needed a few hours or most of a day without the violin.

Day 47

This is my one day of Spring Break. I should be drinking mimosas and lounging around all day in my pajamas, but instead, I went to the barn (always the best thing to do) for a few hours. I also meant to catch up on some blogging because I'm way behind (can you tell? I'm posting this MONTHS after the challenge ended), but went down to the TSO library instead and caught up with the music librarian. He helped me copy some excerpts for the upcoming audition. When I got home, I worked on the violin duos I'll be playing tomorrow at the Philbrook "Motel Sessions" and the music for the upcoming TSO concert. I also wrote out my new technical exercises to practice this week, sent contracts, wrote emails, and worked through a short list of solo Bach movements that I want to improve.

Love this guy! He is the best therapist I know!

Love this guy! He is the best therapist I know!

I made skillet chicken for dinner (one of my favorite super easy comfort foods) I follow the bon appetit instructions found here and practiced while I waited for Emily to arrive.

Day 48

I went to yoga first thing in the morning and it felt tough! I always forget about how slippery yoga mats get in a hot class, and how much more challenging that makes poses like downward facing dog.

Emily and I rehearsed when I got home and then we headed to the Philbrook for our live stream performance. It was so much fun and we got a private viewing of the Kehinde Wiley that the Philbrook just purchased. They were testing the kitchen and recipes for the new restaurant Kitchen 27 while we performed and it smelled fantastic!

admiring the Kehinde Wiley after our "motel session"

admiring the Kehinde Wiley after our "motel session"

We grabbed a coffee afterward and I managed to sneak in some practice for the TSO rehearsal tonight (Spring Break is officially over) and teach a lesson before heading to work. This program is very cool but tough!

The Chairman Dance, John Adams

Symphony #4, Gustav Mahler

In the South "Alassio," Edward Elgar

Day 49

I've been purposely sleeping in recently, as in getting out of bed around 8 or 8:30 because I am holding on to the Spirit of Spring Break as much as I possibly can.

I did some journaling in the morning before heading to the TSO musicians committee meeting. I taught a few lessons, worked on some Bach, and a few spots in the repertoire for tonight's rehearsal and was feeling very tight and sore all day especially in my shoulders. Is it because of the concert yesterday? Too many chaturangas? I don't know, but I don't like it.

Jeff and I went on an afternoon run and felt really powerful the whole time which was a nice surprise. After rehearsal, I went out for a glass of wine and a bite to eat with some of my orchestrea friends.

These days I feel like I have so many ideas in my head and no time to pursue them! Lots of Blog Post ideas, accounting, book reading, research, recipe testing, and work on corpßonoré but where is the time??

Look what arrived this week! Feeling fancy and overqualified ;)

Look what arrived this week! Feeling fancy and overqualified ;)

Day 50

I've started seriously focusing on the upcoming audition materials. I know that sounds kind of silly, haven't I been focusing on them ever since I found out about it? I always take a little time to get organized right at the very beginning.

I'm trying to work my solo Bach into shape (one of my practice challenge goals) and get some of these new excerpts learned with fingerings, bowings, patterns etc. This work definitely makes practice time fly by especially when combined with preparing the concert music for this weekend. To be honest, it is stressing me out!

Also, my shoulders are very sore from yesterday's yoga class. This probably means I need to do more shoulder strengthening exercises, but it makes me tight and achy and is not exactly helped by violin playing and definitely makes rehearsals uncomfortable.

using my betterback during practice to take some of the slouching out of my posture. It definitely helps! #happypracticing

using my betterback during practice to take some of the slouching out of my posture. It definitely helps! #happypracticing

Sarah Coburn came to rehearsal tonight to work on the Mahle. She sounds fantastic and I could listen to her sing all night.

Phew! Made it halfway with the blogging...three months late.