About Life in Flow:Flow in Life

Saturday, August 14, 2010

FAT Camp Prep

Tomorrow I leave for a week at FAT Camp -- Fearless Audition Training, also called Fearless Performance Camp, run by Jeff Nelsen. My husband, daughter and daughter's boyfriend, along with three horns, a tuba, and assorted suitcases, will cram ourselves into our car to travel to Indiana University for a week of learning how to control nerves while performing in front of others. I have been looking forward to this since December, when I got very nervous performing Auf dem Strom and felt that affected my performance.

For the past several weeks we have been getting emails telling us what we need for the camp: a solo, five excerpts, "audition outfit," something non-horn related to perform at the talent show. Many of the attendees are college students and recent grads who are preparing for professional auditions. I am not, so I had to work up a movement of a Mozart concerto and five excerpts not entirely from scratch, but from a different place than my daughter, who is majoring in horn and practices several hours a day. I also needed to build up more endurance, since we will be playing a lot!

Once I decided on the 1st movement of the Mozart Horn Concerto #3, I realized I needed a cadenza. Since I had never performed it in public, I had did have one. So I wrote a short cadenza and asked my daughter to listen to it. She had several suggestions --"You need a bouncier section," and "You should have it go into minor somewhere," but I ended up leaving it as is for now. It's not bad for a first attempt and I want it to be on the short side. Then she said, "Are you playing from a transposed part? You're going to get nailed for that. Go download the Eb part from IMSLP."  (Petrucci Music Library of music in the public domain) So I did that, and started practicing the concerto from the Eb part, however, my cadenza is still in F.

Challenges await! Fitting everything into the car! Performing an audition every day! The talent show! I'm still looking forward to this experience, but with somewhat more trepidation than back in December.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

My horn-playing daughter spent the last two weeks at the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Washington. She had a wonderful, productive time there, playing in many ensembles, masterclasses, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. The faculty is excellent and the atmosphere friendly. My husband and I went out for the final four days of concerts and also had a wonderful time. We went to chamber music and orchestra concerts and explored the area. A highlight was the performance of the horn choir at a chamber concert, playing Bohemian Rhapsody. Dale Clevenger is one of the soloists. The performance is wonderful and it's very entertaining!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kopprasch Forever

Kopprasch is an ever popular topic among horn players. I particularly enjoyed Mr. Kopprasch, Most Revered, Respected and Holy  on Horn Matters and Hooked on Hornonics, in which the answer to all problems is Kopprasch #1.

For some reason I never did much Kopprasch as a young student. My teachers assigned me to learn maybe five of the etudes in Book 1. Milan Yancich, who I studied with in college, was very keen on Preparatory Melodies. I was quite taken aback when I came to him as a freshman and found out I would be working on these "simple" little melodies. Of course, I soon found out that working on Preparatory Melodies with Yancich was not easy or simplistic. I also worked on solos and excerpts with him. When I went on to study with Dale Clevenger, most of my time with him was spent working on orchestral music and solos.Over the years I kept playing the few etudes I had studied.

So about a year ago I decided to begin working on Kopprasch and work my way through both books. I'm now in Book 2, Nos. 41 and 42. I had feared I would be stuck on No. 39 forever, but I felt ready to move on a few days ago.

Why Kopprasch? Technique is not my strongest point and working on these etudes has improved my overall technique. In an earlier post I wrote about the Bach Partita, which is a very technical piece with lots of the big jumps typical of Bach. I found I was able to navigate those leaps with more ease than before. It's also a feeling of accomplishment to work on each etude until I feel like it's good enough to move on. I know I can always come back and work on any of them more. And, I feel that Kopprasch, along with Maxime-Alphonse and Gallay, are the backbone of the horn etudes, and I would be missing an important experience by not learning these classics.

Horn players seem to have strong feelings about Kopprasch. I found a "no Kopprasch" tee shirt, courtesy of newhornist.com as well as an "I [heart]  Kopprasch" button and this bumper sticker:
(Bumper sticker by MissMussel at zazzle.com)