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Musicality in Mendelssohn- ARIA Day 2

Hi from ARIA! I'm already knee-deep in a great amount of learning here in Massachusetts! I've had my first private lesson, and attended two fascinating group classes! Oh, and of course, I've enjoyed the mere experience of visiting this wonderful place!

On a beautiful, sunny morning here on the campus of Mt. Holyoke College, (more pics like the one on the left to come) I received my first private violin lesson with Hal Grossman, the Oklahoma University professor who kindly invited me to this camp. I played the first movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, one of the "great five" violin concertos in terms of emotional depth and content, as Mr. Grossman explained. The first movement, which I'm working on, contains lots of turbulent emotions, from despair and sadness to melancholy optimism. After I had played some of the beginning, he pointed out a number of sections in the music where I could play with more musical intent, sometimes using more analytical study of the music to find patterns and sequences, and other times by searching for the emotion that Mendelssohn incorporated so beautifully in the piece.

Mr. Grossman asked lots of questions to gauge how I viewed different passages or notes. He didn't impose a viewpoint, but inquired as to what I thought, and compared my idea to his suggestions. I quickly adopted the advice he brought. Once, he asked me to come up with my own words to match the notes, like lyrics. Once I began to think about a spoken phrase, he was immediately pleased with how I played the notes.

The Mendelssohn concerto is an epic work, full of timeless beauty, just like a classic novel. It's played often and by many professionals and students, and I will enjoy continuing to work toward bringing out every feeling and character that this music has to convey.

I'm also having a great time enjoying the scenic and historic campus of Mt. Holyoke. Each and every majestic brick building looks like it was plucked right out of a story book. The residence hall I'm staying in was built in 1901! How's that for 'living in history'? I'm enjoying hanging out with new friends I've met on this trip, and even a few old ones I've known for a long time. Even the food is good here! They serve numerous freshly-cooked options for each meal, each dish prepared with care. Highlights: gourmet blueberry muffins, and lasagna-for lunch!

I'll write again soon! I'm going to be preparing for another busy day tomorrow. I will be performing the Mendelssohn in an open masterclass, as well as playing some technical exercises in a class too!

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