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New Horizons

Hi from ARIA! The last ten days have been among the most musically stimulating and educational days of my life! Here's a recap, and what I'm most looking forward to on the New Horizons ahead!

I was fortunate to receive a variety of learning experiences that each added incredible knowledge to my understanding of the violin and music. Ms. Keyes provided both practical knowledge in individual techniques and bringing out the best in our performances. Her creativity in teaching could be hilarious: one student needed to express more "character" in his playing, so Ms. Keyes enlisted eight students to sing and dance around him for inspiration. Frequently, she would reference a movie in order to convey an idea: the drama of a showpiece was compared to a horror film, trancending a familiar musical situation to The Matrix. She was friendly and encouraging and always had a helpful tip to share.

I also enjoyed a number of private lessons with Oklahoma University professor Mr. Grossman, who generously invited me to this camp. Our lessons were really helpful. I incorporated his many ideas on how to more beautifully play every section of music quickly. My last lesson today was especially enjoyable, as I was able to execute Mr. Grossman's requests easily, and often recognized mistakes just as he did. My playing improved even more today. His group classes included teachings on how to stretch the muscles that are integral to playing the violin, and a fun class on relaxation breathing, and a session on how to improve the most difficult parts of a piece.

One of my most special lessons was with Professor Lynn Chang, of Boston University, Boston Conservatory, and The New England Conservatory. It was an honor and a challenge to play for such an eminent musician and teacher. I played a slow movement of a Bach solo partita. His instructions started very specific: he wanted me to articulate a certain bowing pattern in a particular way, and feel the beats of the music as a dance. Then, as Prof. Chang noticed the notes I had put in the music regarding the structure of the chords, he began to open up the discussion to a more philosophical view. He pointed out how the music ventures farther from the original key, as though exploring unknown territory. He said, "New Horizons is a spacecraft we sent up in 2006, and it just flew by Pluto. It's now going out into the Kuiper belt, where we've never been before." It was perfect. He illustrated a way of exploring the beautiful depth in the movement of Bach.

Now that I'm entering my final year before college, every moment counts for bringing my violin playing to the next level. I'm looking forward to practicing the new techniques I've learned in every area of technique. My perspective of musicality changed and broadened, and I look forward to learning and refining my repertoire with this new knowledge. I'll be busy practicing! Thanks for reading my blogs from ARIA! I hope you've enjoyed each story, and I hope you'll continue to visit for future posts!


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