Practice: 2, Rehearsal: 2.5, Coaching: 1.5. Today the hurdle wasn’t fatigue, it was the funky Chinese food I ate for early dinner. An unhappy stomach doesn’t enjoy the pressure from my abs necessary to play clarinet so I cut it short. Instead I’m going to spend the next hour listening to the recording of my last lesson, hoping it makes me better.
I’ve been hearing tons of great quotes here at Aspen, these are just a few that I remember:
- The idea of trying to play “perfect” is limiting. What would you have left to do after you’ve played perfectly? I think I heard this in Alexander Technique class in the context of creating better habits without setting unrealistic expectations.
- From my quintet coach who said she heard Leon Fleischer say it: “Play as late as you can…without being late!” This turned out to be good advice for our group.
- Don’t give in to “peer pressure dynamics”. Play your own dynamics, not someone else’s! via Josh Weilerstein I think via Robert Spano?
- From Christopher Seaman quoting some other conductor: “Rests aren’t for resting, they’re for thinking.”
I heard an outstanding chamber music concert this afternoon- the highlight for me was Marc-Andre Hamelin, pianist, playing with Aspen string faculty (including David Halen, badass). Hamelin’s timbrel palette is off the charts. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone do what he did to that piano. Not only is the difference between mp and p profound, he can do this color change on top of all that. It was definitely the way forward. Of course also hearing my own teacher, Joaquin Valdepenas, play Weber’s Grand Duo Concertante was incredibly inspiring. He always sings when he plays. I had one of my most inspired and detail-oriented practice sessions after that.
The only other major observation for today: Coffee! I feel like I had a sleepy-spell for the last day and a half. That was instantly broken with my four-shot Americano. This may become a habit.