July 14, 2013 ARIA 2013 Session III: Day 5

So somehow it happened…we’ve all made it halfway through Aria and we’re starting to wear out, just as the heat cranks up!  It’s all good though, we’re coping and adjusting, though the affect of the heat was notable this evening when we had our masterclass with Linda.  We were all so beat, I don’t think we could see straight!  Practicing in 90 degree weather means all you want to do is take a nap, but after a couple more days we’ll get used to it.  🙂

Anyway, this morning I decided this particular camp should be relabeled “Mozart Immersion Week”.  We spent two hours this morning working on Mozart concerti in our masterclass with Professor Boyd.  We got lots of great information out of the class, but by the end Mozart had made us all cross-eyed! 😛  One of my favorite points from this morning’s class was Professor Boyd discussing how to get the sound you want.  She used an architecture analogy.  She said when you build a building you have a blueprint and then you, carefully, place one stone in the structure at a time.  Her point being: you know the sound you want to hear, you just have to cultivate each note until each one is perfect.  Once that occurs you simply string them together and as you do so the phrasing in the music naturally develops.  I found that made lots of sense to me.  We also discussed, as a class, some practice strategies for the piece as well as what makes a good Mozart cadenza.  In case you were wondering what does some of the points we touched on included:

1) It has direction.

2) Each portion of the cadenza is connected to the other.

3) The cadenza has its own motion.

4) There should be flow through the music.

5) It all comes back to the way you play the cadenzas.


After the masterclass was, of course, lunch.  More importantly, after lunch, I had my lesson with Professor Boyd.  It was such an enlightening lesson.  She’s one of those teachers who can look past the technical blips in your playing and say: “you know what you need to do to fix those (do it!) here’s what you need to know musically.”  We worked on the second movement of Bach’s E major flute Sonata which we got through in no time at all.  That surprised me.  So, then we moved onto a piece I’ve hardly touched since my senior year of high school, but which I need for my next session of Aria: the Martin Ballade.  It’s such an amazing piece, I already adored it, but I love it all the more for what Professor Boyd told me.  The first section of the piece contains a marking for the music that all the notes should be exceedingly equal.  She took me through, step by step, how to keep the notes molto uguale and still giving shape to the phrase.  I can’t wait to practice the Ballade more and bring it back in a few weeks to work on it in a masterclass! 🙂

After my lesson I went and had a practice session in the heat.  I got quite a bit accomplished, but it may not have been the brightest idea since I caught myself, and many of my classmates zoning out during the afternoon class, as I mentioned above.  The class turned into a class on the Hindemith Sonata.  A piece I also haven’t touched since my senior year of high school, but also a piece none of us were expecting to have a class on, meaning no one, except the two students who played, had the score.  I think maybe that contributed to some of the zoning out.  Still, with all the doodling and texting (I wasn’t texting!) that was occurring I think we all came away with something useful from the class.  Personally, I have 2/3 of a page of notes about the Hindemith Sonata.  I’m not saying I didn’t miss a few things, but I think I caught a lot as well.  One of the most valuable is how to fake a crescendo when you’re totally out of air!  The steps?  Here they are:

1) Vibrato

2) Increase Dynamic (if you can)

3) Open in the back of the mouth

4) Change your tone color

5) Change your articulation

Linda described this as changing the accessories that go with the proverbial little black dress for women.  Overall I think today was a very successful day, although I admit to being tired, that’s okay, that’s how these camps work.  I think I shall spend my evening curled up with Mozart recordings and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Half-marathon training, by the way!  Today was my long run.  6 miles.  10 min/mile. 🙂


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