I was reminded of the importance of stagecraft recently. I went to a concert where the artist was clearly nervous and inexperienced performer. They apologised and said they were nervous and told us that they didn't want to speak to the audience, and when finished, took all the stuff off the violin. They were then asked to do an encore but hadn't prepared us one and told us so, but then played anyway - not properly prepared - so she had to stop and sort her violin. Well it will have been part of the learning curve for her and no doubt she will never go on stage again without having an encore prepared. We should all be as well prepared as possible and know whether or not we might be asked to do an encore. Try not to show any sign of being worried if possible - it spreads to the audience! Performing is so difficult. We were worried too! Anyway, if by any chance, the person concerned reads this - well done for having the courage to get up on stage and you will have learned a lot which you can use in the future.
My shoulder issues continue so I have had to down my practice time. However, I am still playing, often 2- 4 hours, a day just with things I am committed to. I have started some physiotherapy. I have also been looking at my set up. If you read my last blog you will see that I decided to try a Wolf shoulder rest. They are fantastically adjustable but they didn't improve things. I had bought higher screws for my Kun rest and I find the shaping as comfortable as the Wolf (don't be put off though - the Wolfs are great rests and may people love them).
My next try is with a Mach one rest. These are quite high and formed in quite a nice shape. I have added a longer screw to see if that helps. I have also bought a much higher chin rest. So we shall see. If that doesn't work my next plan is to try a Bon Musica one which has a hook.
I have been learning Danish tunes this weekend with Hal Parfitt Murray and Nikolaj Busk - both amazing musicians at the Northern Strems event which foster links between Scandnavian and Scottish music. It has inspired me to look at Danish Music more. I can't really afford the time at the moment but I booked ages ago.
Practice continues although I am trying to keep this to short bursts and then rest. Improvisation is coming up on Tuesday so that is the immediate priority. Dorian and mixolydian scales in Bb, Eb, F, Db and all sorts of other highly inconvenient keys on the fiddle, as well as blues scales and riffs. After that it will be back to my recital pieces for some relief in A and A minor.
There is folk band work. We are preparing for three upcoming performances in May and June - good new tunes. I also have Grade 8 - I will be using my recital pieces but there are far more sets to add. I also have strings group preparation (Dido and Aeneas, which is amazing. Very fast section.
I currently use a Kun shoulder rest. I have been playing a lot and have developed a stiff shoulder. I have been looking at whether I need a higher should rest. Wolf shoulder rests are the highest and come with plenty of scope for shaping and adapting. Time t tried one, although I do love the Kun rests too. They are light and comfortable and I've used one for years up until now without problems.
There is a lot of playing to do just now. We have started Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) and will be performing this in June, with a choir. In complete, contrast we are also doing a piece called Fiddle Faddle.
There is also the work for my solo recital. I had a rehearsal for that yesterday to begin to work out the accompaniment and to hear it with a harmony I am performing.
We have also started some new pieces for a folk group and finally I am working at improvisation. Four of us had a session yesterday. Simple is best.