Thursday, November 30, 2006

IT'S OVER!! and i just know i'm gonna get withdrawal from not practising guitar consistently after today.

having a blog is a good thing, cos you can see what happened for last year's exam with a click of the button. so off i went, in shirt, tie and pants, plus adidas jacket. and indeed the exam centre was cold.

but the exam room itself wasnt. at the end i was sweating.

anyways, today i was as prepared as i could be, letting the learning curve go down a little after one day of rest and then kicking it up again. to my surprise i saw mr azmi (who my guitar teaches) there, taking his grade 2 exam. haha he was quite nervous.

and in the end yingda and mx came!! haha thx for coming manz. altho i got kicked out of a studio cos they dint allow me to warm up in there, -.-, they still let me practise softly outside the exam room. i played through a few studies and through my composition theme and variations on as the deer, which evokes so much emotion, and then it was time to go in (albeit a bit of delay from problems with the examiner's MD player.)

another unlikely area i was prepared in is that i had already seen who my examiner was, saw him yesterday at st anthony's cannosian secondary school when i went to pick up a score from my guitar teacher, and altho him seemed a bit dao ytd, today he didn't remember seeing me yesterday at all and was very nice today. haha.

what i remember is: normal performances of la catedral and recuerdos and capricho arabe, a bit jammed in magic flute, and a slight memory lapse in english suite, and stopping the last chord a little too hard lol. too happy its over already. so once again my conclusion that there is no best performance, if ur prepared enough you dont need luck to pull u through, cos you'd be performing about a mean. and if the examiner gives u a choice where u want to sit, choose a place where u cant see him when you're playing haha.

and the funniest thing was that it was my left arm biceps that cramped today, hold the hand in playing position for too long alr. lol.

acjc band concert tonight. i've watched more band and choir concerts than i have given guitar recitals.

Thank you God.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

being a good musician isn't all about being able to play all the correct notes.

it isn't about fame

it isn't about how many cds you've recorded

it isn't about how good a conductor you are

it isn't about how many tours you've gone on

it isn't about the amount of musical knowledge you have

it isn't about receiving an mep scholarship

it isn't about receiving an atcl certificate

it isn't about studying music at university

it isn't about winning many competitions

there are so many things being a musician really isn't about.

what's most important about a good musician is the heart.

the ability to touch others lives through music

the dedication

it doesn't matter if you only touch a handful of lives

or give an imperfect performance

it is about the relationships built. the inspiration shared.

i don't know if music is eternal. but one thing's for sure, the things that are not seen, like the human soul, and relationships are.

some of the things you see above under what being a good musician isnt about are what my heart desires. but after today, it all doesn't matter anymore. because i have found my purpose for my music.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - matthew 6:33

Monday, November 27, 2006

3 days to the exam.

in the past week i've learnt several things. if you practice consistently you are bound to play around an 'average' standard. depending on luck (and length of nails) sometimes a bit better, sometimes not so. so i console myself that i dont need to be nervous during the exam, not that nervousness will help me to suddenly play without wrong notes or what.

piano teacher gave me a suggestion: give a performance once every fortnight.

results i presume would be fantastic. but i'd have to quit sch and soon i'd be growing white hair.

anyways next year i shall be putting music on hold for a while while i give my studies a chance. maybe not so much guitar a wk already.

and all u violinists/cellists out there, if you happen to be playing any bach movements that segovia recorded, go listen, cos i think he's brilliant.

never mind the excessive rubato.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

after yesterday's post, i'm glad to say that a good rest does help.

today's bowling was absolutely hilarious, and woohoo i got a score of 155 for my first game!! the highest i can remember for quite some time. quite siao lah to go play bowling exactly a wk b4 my atcl but heh just dun need to go swinging 15 pound balls arnd can alr.

after trying a few times to record myself, i can safely say that a perfect recording by your own standards is impossible. every time u play the piece will be different, even by a nuance, by a nanosecond. thats what gives music its human touch that is just not present in computer generated music. besides, i'm sure the guys at the recording studios have some software that can cut up a part of the piece where u made a mistake and paste in a repairment. ok lah thats just a statement to console my playing standards.

k then so to all those people taking music exams, do practise consistently, but its okay to take a break now or then.

preferably no longer than a day. lol.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

to be honest, i'm just dead tired.

two hours a day already so hard. hai.

8 more days. i just need to gain back my urge to play guitar. its not that i cant play the pieces now, i felt like i've lost my soul.

too much of anything isnt really good. i need some break away from The Four Pieces.

and for the love of dvorak 9th, i think i shall not continue my transcription of a dvorak 9th medley for guitar orch.

or shall i.

anyway i cannot think of anything good to transcribe for guit orch, and have no inspiration to compose. i hope gaspar comes up with something good. anyway was speaking to mr choo, and he thinks its better to play a piece that is managable instead of doing a phenomenal leap to something we cant master. i think double violin is a good piece, but we would need A LOT of practice. playing the notes is not enough.

ok enough. i need to rest.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

i've been missing from the blog for a few days.. quite an eventful few days i must say.

monday. went to acjc in the morning to give a run of my atcl repertoire for the acjc guitar ensemble. also helped mr choo teach a bit. must say that the run at acjc was probably one of my best ever. really on form.

then mr choo persuaded me to go to tpjc to give my recital again. 'get it done with' he said.. so i dun need to go up on another day. and so i went. and ugh tired but still managed to pull through without any devastating errors.

on the way back mr choo managed to persuade me to help him teach the next day, so heres what happened on tuesday. first went to st anthony's cannossian sec sch to help teach. i shant say much but if the examiner gets bored listening to all those grade 1 and 2 students, imagine what i was listening to some of them play their pieces for me. and then imagine what mr choo goes through much of the time. mannnnn.

after that headed to mgs, the sister school, where the first batch of 9 students pioneering the guitar group there had lesson, for some of them the last b4 their exam. this group was special cos they're mep students as well, and i've been inside the room 'MEP 1' in mgs.. so got some stories to tell to the music classmates.. it smells by the way. of air freshener and old carpet combined. about the students, well once again i shant say much haha. i guess my story as an mep student and guitarist applies to them the most, hope they took away something from my playing even though i was so tired that i added an extra rondo section to the last movement of english suite.

yesterday was spent slacking. a well deserved slack. teaching is TIRING.

well anyway even if i dont become a teacher, the guitar will be my friend for life anyway. did i mention that teaching is unbelievably tiring?

and today. before i talk about today, you know, guys dun shop a lot, but honestly i think guys at the end of the day spend a lot more money than women. take my shoes for example.. one pair of mine can buy up to six pairs for my mom. okay but thats beside the point.

today i wanted to go to the city hall area to buy 1) recording equipment i.e. a mike and an mp3 player with a mike line in 2) new guitar strings to change to make sure nothing excessively interesting happens during my atcl, lets say for example a string breaking 3) this cool maple capo i saw at davis guitar 4) any cd with a segovia recording of bach's chaconne

so first the recording equipment. i knew exactly where the mike was, just needed a device. i was pretty sure creative mp3 players had a line in for a mike, and ended up almost pissing one of the Challenger service staff off cos i kept insisting that creative mp3 players did have a line in. but they dint. sigh. anyway to cut a long story short i dint buy any recording equipment.

then went to buy the only two things i bought today on my own.. the guitar stuff. HMV classical guitar section = useless. espl library guitar section = useless. btw espl lib doesnt accept cash lah. -.-

so went back feeling pretty unaccomplished. but went to check out a new guitar shop that opened to the violin shop at esplanade. quite an okay selection of guitars i guess.. but somehow i dun think they maintain their guitars veri well. i think maestro at peninsula plaza still the best. partially cos i like their staff haha. and of course i havent tried the thomas liauw shop at the ululified east coast roxy square.

then this evening went to look around audio house with my father. shopping with my father is still the best cos 1) he has a car 2) he has resources to buy stuff 3) he knows a lot more than me about where to buy good stuff. managed to buy a stereo voice recorder for $239 and the recording quality with the built in mike was quite stunning already. i tried to record with mr choo's condenser mike and the result was so freaky cos even segovia dint have this sorta technology in his time. and now we can get the same effect for slightly under $350. and lots of other modern amenities like the ability to copy and enhance and etc. the power of technology.

tml going out with yingda and mx. and will be dragging them on a tour of city hall area again, cos i want to go back to funan and buy that powerful mike and then go to esplande with a CASHCARD to get premium membership.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

now this is what i'm talking about. lol. now lets go find one with sympathetic strings.

1) yes i definitely agree that classical guitars could use some kind of device to help with the sustain
2) i'm starting to agree more and more that a bunch of 10 guitars playing in unision together is rather grotesque
3) i'm also starting to agree that the problem with guitar ensembles is the lack of tone colour
4) the guitar could use some sympathetic strings. maybe that will increase the sustain
5) one day we'll all be playing in a guitar orchestra where each person will have his own individual effects pedal. that way guitar orchestras will be able to play tone poems and debussy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

oh dear.

rainy days arent very good for practising guitar unless you're feeling down and broken and feel a deep need inside to express your sorrow which i currently dont, my body chose to take the afternoon off and have a nice long nap, disengaging the snoozes all the way.

just now's piano lesson was rather interesting, and my piano teacher's really amazing (he taught the rj keagen b4, remember the huanghe piano concerto mvt 1 soloist?) but of course lack of practice makes lessons rather uncomfortable. but today i did show him my first compo that i finished after reading the book on composition, and i did try to play it but of cos i'm no real pianist, i need someone else to play it for me, but then wud that person be able to express the emotion as well? hmm.

well basically he did give me some insightful views on how some of my performance directions didn't really link with the music, but also told me he wasn't in a position to talk about compositions in depth. but he did tell me something at the end that i've felt for quite long.. that even though compositions need to have melody, rhythm, structure and form and all.. it shudnt be so extreme that only a small handful of highly educated musicians and critics can understand u only. sure my music hasnt had such a wide outreach yet, now i just feel the need to touch just one person with each piece of music, every additional person is a bonus.

but at the same time i feel the need for people like tommy emmanuel, or even wang li hong haha. (one has no formal musical training but lots of soul and music from the heart, the other has formal jazz training i think and not scared to incoporate it into his music). to develop my own style, my own language.

when i've got more time. lol.

oh btw if u all are wondering i'll be attempting composition for our 2nd syf piece. havent got much out yet, most is still in my head (thats cos nxt prac is on 27th dec lol). but to not keep u all in such suspense, well i'm thinking along the lines of minimalist, dun worry it'd be fun. my idea is to have different sections where the number of choices of motifs for each guitarist to play varies, like that there'll be structure and form and climax. the motifs are what i need, and i need lots of funky ideas of weird sounds that can be produced on the guitar haha.

yeap. signing off.

Friday, November 10, 2006

three days. and i've reached the end of double violin concerto in d minor. after approximately 9 hours of practice. i'm glad its not ringing in my head anymore. lol. but of course theres still quite some way to go.. it is, after all a double VIOLIN concerto, obviously not made for guitar with what i'd call 'uneconomic' positions.

and its just 20 more days to atcl and the long practice hours are starting to show through in my pieces, hurray. well mr choo says 2h is the 'bare minimum' for someone taking atcl, he was practising 4 - 6h a day, partly cos he was taking something like his grade 8, perf cert, atcl, and something all together? lol. but at stages like this the pain from the fingers isnt really what causes holes in the music, (besides having nails of inadequate length) if the mind is too tired then it is difficult to pull through too.

anyway next time if i dont go into performance i want to look into composing for the classical guitar, with a harmonic language that can reach out to more people. its not that the pieces i play are not nice or what.. but i feel that something that is in the language of popular music would be able to make classical guitar music easier to relate to, something along the lines of tommy emmanuel, but of course on a different instrument.

but of course only if i dont pursue performance. haha normal musicians seem to be able to pursue only one area in depth, performers arent really composers arent really conductors arent really teachers. except for bach perhaps.

okay thats enough musical talk from me for now haha. no more school till 27th dec!! woohoo.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin
double violin


Monday, November 06, 2006

some pertinent learning points from today's recording. which i was totally wasnt prepared for because of lack of practice, lack of finger strength, lack of nail length, and of course it wud be nice if the recording equipment were easier to set up.

1) the problem is often not with the machinery. theres probably a switch somewhere thats not turned on which some joker turned off.
2) the brain is like a computer.. limited memory. u can save more stuff onto the brain, but the brain inevitably overwrites older files that are not often used.

that said, i'm terribly disappointed at a rather unproductive afternoon at school. from this week on it is time to become a nolifer guitarist and just play 4 pieces over and over again, and technique. its time to put away the bach, cos its taking up too much memory space.

24 more days. thats about 3 1/2 wks.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

woohoo!! chinese B exam is over!!

i really thank God for seeing me through the papers today even though i was totally exhausted after a poor night's rest. it looks like i dint really make any startling careless mistakes, and in my compo i used 10 cheng yus!! lol. i cudnt help it.. once an approriate one came into my mind i just decided to stick it in a sentence.

and after the exam we went out doing something quite ironic. haha but i shan't say.

yeap so that puts a stopper in the flow of exams for this month. nxt one is on 30th nov, the all important guitar exam.