I had a long talk with my clarinet professor today about my clarinet playing, my improvement, what I need to work on, music repertoire, my senior recital, and my future career. When we got to my career, he said to me “Lizzy, I am worried that you will not be satisfied with the career you have chosen. You have a very good ear and you like to hear good sounds, sounds that advanced students and professionals would play. In middle school, and even some high schools, you will not get that sound. I am worried that you will be bored being a band director and that you will not be happy with your work…”
This is true. He got me to a tee, and I never even once mentioned any of my career choice concerns to him. It shocked me how well he knew me, and how much he paid attention to me. I may be the only one to say this, but I really like having Tangarov as my clarinet professor. He gives me a lot of work, yes, but only because he knows I can do it. He told me this. He also told me that with some work, I could be a performer. He said that he could see me on a stage performing solos for a living. As cool as that would be, I personally don’t think I’m as great as he makes me out to be. But, if I could just teach clarinet to beginner students and give lessons to intermediate, and maybe even advanced students in secondary school, that would be the best thing ever. That’s what I really want to do. I just don’t know how to do it.
So, technical juries. Here’s what they consisted of this semester: 5 sets of scales (C major/a minor, F major/d minor, Bb major/g minor, G major/e minor, and D major/b minor). With the major scale we had to play the full range scale, the full range tonic triad, and the full range dominant 7 chord. With the relative minor scales we had to play the full range natural, harmonic, and melodic minor scales with the full range tonic triad and the full range 7 diminished 7 chord. After the scales, we had to play the two etudes we had prepared over the semester. Now, my technical jury today wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best. The two scales I played were C major/a minor and D major/b minor. I could play C/a no problem! But out of the 5 sets of scales we had to learn for this, D/b was the one set that was giving me the most trouble. OF COURSE they would pick that one for me to play. OF. COURSE. And, to top it off, when they assigned me the D major set, I asked them “that’s the set with b minor, right?” I was just asking for clarification! But no, Girko has to go and yell at me and tell me that I ask stupid questions just because I like to hear myself talk. Um, excuse me, you don’t know me! You don’t know what I like and don’t like. You’re not even my teacher! Don’t sit there and yell at me and make stupid gutteral sounds whenever I play a wrong note. What are you? An animal? JEEZ! If I didn’t like teaching so much, I would quit now. Only one or two more semesters of this nonsense, and then I’m finished with lessons FOREVER!
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Francis Poulenc
You sir, have overestimated my abilities. I cannot play to the skill level that you seem to think I have. Have you heard the solo you’ve given me?! Have you heard me play before?! I cannot do it!! You have asked for the impossible…. D:
So, my professor records my lessons every week so that I can go back and listen to them to evaluate myself. What have I evaluated so far? I suck, that’s what. The mistakes I make are something a high school clarinetist would make, and I can’t believe I’m still making them in college…in my third year of college! Gah! But this is only the first lesson recording. The second one is a tad better. So maybe they’ll continue to get better as the semester goes on. We shall see.
Can I do it?
I don’t think I can. I’ve been practicing a lot. More than what I’m used to. But I don’t see any progress. I just keep getting frustrated and angry with myself and my clarinet. It get’s to the point to where I have to walk away every 10 minutes just to keep from snapping my clarinet across my leg. I hate this feeling; it effects everything I do. When I hang out with my friends after practicing, I have to remember not to blow up in their faces for the little things that normally wouldn’t bother me. It takes a lot of effort, and it’s exhausting. But I want to be a better player… I think. I don’t know. Right now I’m tossing around the idea of changing my major to a BA in Music instead of continuing my current Music Ed major. The thing with that, though, is you can’t really do anything with a BA in music unless you double major in something else. I’m not good at anything else. People get mad at me for saying it, but it’s true. I don’t know…I just need to tough it out for at least the semester, and then I’ll make my decision.
I realized today that I don’t give myself enough credit. I’m constantly putting myself down and telling myself that I’m not good enough for anything. But, while I was practicing, I noticed that I was playing better than I thought. I’m still not where I would like to be with my music, but I’ve got time. I definitely feel better, though. I went into the practice session thinking that I would sound like crap and that I didn’t know the music well. I came out of the practice session pleasantly surprised. So, what did I learn from this? I need to give myself more credit. I need to have more confidence in myself. If I do these things, I just might be happier with my life.
I should have practiced more. I do not feel as prepared for the auditions as I should be by now. I’m going to have to practice every chance I get until the auditions. That means waking up early before work on Monday and Tuesday, and possibly even practicing Sunday evening when I get back home. Gah! Well, I work better under stress anyways, so let’s hope all goes well.
Is it bad that I want to practice my guitar more than my clarinet? I mean, I practiced my clarinet for about 30 minutes yesterday, but then my cheeks starting puffing and my lips were getting weak, so I just put it away. I know it’s because I haven’t played all summer, but the motivation to keep practicing my clarinet and build up my lip strength just isn’t there. I’d rather have sore fingertips than a sore mouth…
So, I’m listening to music on my iPod and To The Pirates’ Cave! comes on. I remember playing it in high school, and it was one of my favorite songs. But I also remember having a really hard time tonguing “that fast”. I would get so frustrated and just give up on the straight 16th notes. It was pathetic, really. But now, after 2 years of lessons from a great clarinet professor, 2 years of challenging myself with the bands at Texas State, 2 years of improving my skills, I listen to that same song and think “I used to think *that* was hard? Pfft!”
This winter break I had set some goals for myself: read The Hunger Games, learn all of “Go the Distance”, hang out with old friends, and practice my clarinet. For the most part I kept up with these goals. I surpassed my reading goal and finished The Hunger Games as well as Catching Fire and I’m even halfway through the third book, Mockingjay. I even started the Uglies books and finished the first three: Uglies, Pretties, and Specials. So, in total, I read 5 and half books this break, and that was all in a matter of 2 and half weeks. I guess you could say I’m a fast reader.
As for learning all of “Go the Distance”, well I learned all but the last page. I’m not all that great at piano, and the last page was too difficult for me. Maybe one day I’ll get there, but that day is not today, or tomorrow, or next week. Not even next month, haha.
I most definitely accomplished my goal of hanging out with old friends. That was the best part of my break. I really enjoyed the time I spent with them, and I can’t wait to do it again when spring break rolls along.
Now, practicing the clarinet. Well, let me start off by saying that I had the intention to practice it. I brought music, brought my clarinet, and even brought my music stand. But…yea, that never happened. I don’t care what kind of musician you are, if you say you’re going to practice over the break it will NEVER happen. Face it, you’re a lazy musician, I’m a lazy musician, that’s just how it is.
As well as this break as gone for me, I am SO ready to go back to school and see everyone and get away from my crazy family. San Marvelous, here I come!