This last week in Vermont was quite busy, everyone’s ensembles are performing, and I had my last two lessons of the festival with Karen Ritscher.  Last week was a nice break to not have lessons, but practicing 4 hours a day and not having a lesson for over a week makes my mind wander and I tend to lose focus.  I should write out a schedule/plan for my practicing, so I don’t lose focus and can prioritize my practice time.

My quartet’s Kodaly performance went really well!  It was about 100 degrees in the church we played in, and we only played one movement, but I was very happy with it, and even happier that we only had to play for 6 minutes.  I’ll miss my group and my coach, Renee Skerik.  We had such a great time and we all got along great.

My lessons with Karen Ritscher were great!  We went over some things that I had gone over with Dr. Dubois, but she explained them in a completely different way, so it was great to get the two different perspectives on the same subject.  Also, they were both students of Karen Tuttle, it was really interesting to experience two very different teachers who studied with the same person.

Intonation is probably my biggest pitfall right now, but I think the focus of changing my hand shape and how I approach things, like using 4th finger and shifting, will help with that.  Ms. Ritscher suggested I work on scales for the next month (oh fun…), but I think it will (hopefully) help dramatically with my intonation.  Also, my third and fourth fingers are apparently very weak, so I’m looking to get a grip strengthener to help them.  Working on feeling the space between my base knuckles will also help with intonation, and making sure everything stays nice and relaxed.

As for repertoire, I worked on the Schubert Arpeggione with Karen Ritscher in my lessons, which is an intonation nightmare (of course), but she gave me some great insight on the style it should be played in.  It was really great to study with my current teacher’s former teacher, and I’m definitely considering NYU as a graduate school option, as she teaches there.  I have lots to think about, and even more to practice!

Happy practicing!