Sunday, November 13, 2011

On the music front... an update...

On the Cello I'm nearing the end my of introduction to second position. My teacher told me last week that we'd be starting 4th position in a few weeks. (He said he likes to go from 2nd to 4th and then back to 3rd... I guess I'll discover why when we get there!) Extensions are still a struggle but I am definitely getting closer to the maneuverability I'd like. As a matter of fact this weekend was pretty productive in that regard.

As with piano, the muscles in the torso, the ribs, shoulders and neck, in the pelvis, etc. etc. are all involved and need to be worked on. It's not just the hands and fingers, ever!

Cello and piano practice continue to enhance one another. I consider myself somewhat fortunate as a cello student to have exposure to that instrument of torture we know as a piano. ;) The good kind of torture of course. Much of the time when I'm working on my left hand (and all that supports it) at the piano I feel it is work that benefits me at the cello just as much. And vice versa. I know my piano playing has improved since starting cello lessons.

I'm reading a couple of very good books at the moment. One is new--just published but the other I've had for, well... more than a few years but I never finished it. I've taken it up again.

The newly published book is Pedro de Alcantara's Integrated Practice. I'm not going to write anything about it until I've finished the book. Except to say that it's good. Really good.

The book that I've had on my shelf for the last 5 or so years is W. A. Mathieu's text Harmonic Experience. It's a tome and a textbook and pricey but ever so worth it. The first few chapters anyway (about as far as I've gotten) are a masterpiece. His is a fresh and exciting look at harmony. Now that I have a cello (capable of producing a drone) I can do several of the exercises from the book. Many of these exercises are singing one of the overtones against the drone (low C in most cases) to hear the exquisite silvery liquid beauty of harmony. (Something we don't hear too much of on modern well-tempered pianos!)

I'll have more to write about both these books as I progress. But do look them up. They are treasures.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hooker me... The Union Square Greenmarket's Homesteading Fair

Even though it was a beautiful day--sunny and crisp, within the stone pavilion where we were it was cool bordering on cold. My toes got cold, an experience I haven't entertained in nigh on 30 years! It brought back many old memories. Funny how the unpleasant and uncomfortable is reflected in retrospect. I think those times in which we suffer the most (if I can use such a hard word) end up being vessels for strong, dare I say, fond memories. I have several memories of cold toesies and in fact I look back in fondness upon a great many of them. As they say, "Those were the days." I wonder if that isn't just another way of expressing the sentiment about "the grass being greener..."? I dunno!

I should mention that I'm feeling a bit nostalgic this evening. Probably because I received my pre-release copy of Matt Alber's new album "Constant Crows" today via the web and it is gorgeous--and full of emotion. It's put me in a right reverie. A most beautiful voice! Do look it up... and buy the album.

I am so glad I went ahead a signed up for the homesteading fair. I have not ever done this sort of thing before and I realized Saturday that it's what I love. It's close to my roots. Those are the people I like to be around and that is the atmosphere I really enjoy. Another argument for why I may very well end up living in the country again when I get closer to retirement age.

Set up on the table next to mine was Beth Linskey of Beth's Farm Kitchen. I've purchased her Jams and Jellies before and it was a thrill to be right there while she cooked up a batch of plum jam--it was perfection (IMO, she really gets the perfect level of sweetness)--and squash soup which was just what the doctor ordered, and a poem at that! I bought her cookbook (signed :) ), "Cooking with Jams and Chutneys" and you should too. It is great. Not only does she share some of the recipes for the jams she sells at the market, but the book includes many recipes using those jams, and also includes several fascinating tidbits about ingredients and canning. For instance I never really knew the difference between preserves and conserves and how they differ from jams and jellies. I do now! :)

The woman across the pavilion from me was weaving on an inkle loom. An inkle loom is now on my wish list (my mile long wish list!).

I enjoyed meeting people who were interested in what I was doing. Someone wanted to buy my "Bird Seasons" and it was oddly, just slightly difficult to say that it wasn't for sale. I'll have to think about that. The question caught me by surprise. Another lovely woman who hails from Florida asked if I gave workshops! Perhaps now is the time to consider the offer I received to do a class. Time. That's all it is of course... Time.

The children were adorable! I have two frames so I set one up on the front of my table where those so inclined could try it out for themselves. I had a bag of #5 strips in every color of the rainbow (left over from bird seasons) right next to the frame. The children loved it. Several little girls spent several minutes hooking lines of color. It was marvelous! I gave them every encouragement I could. What dears.

Well here's a look of me we haven't seen on here. Not sure what it is... What? You want my picture? ... (And, oh! No, I haven't made much progress on the recyled shirt rug... been busy with the knitting lately. However, Saturday did set my mood for some more rug hooking. :) )