Friday, May 15, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday - vol. 7

It's amazing how hard it is to find something to do when you're not on a schedule. I almost wish I was back to school so I could know what I had to do in the mornings.

My last grades are up on my web-page... and I got a B+ in Music History, to mar an otherwise straight-A semester. Darn. But well... my GPA is still 3.74, well above what I need to keep my scholarship, and not so bad.

I am anxiously waiting for my Well-Tempered Clavier to arrive in the mail so I can set to work on that awful (in both the old and new senses!) prelude and fugue in G Major... awful in the old sense of flippin' sweet, and in the new sense because the prelude is insanely fast and the fugue is very long. Another of those instances of leaping before looking in choice of music; I was warned about the prelude, but didn't look at the fugue, so it is my own fault. If fault it can be called. I enjoy the challenge. (And yes, I am a musical nerd -- and proud of it! My name should have been Cecilia!)

Yesterday some kindly mothers from the school came to help Mom pack our library. No small feat, as the so-called library alone contains at least 1200 books and probably more. Yet they managed it in less than three hours, with my younger sister helping and me keeping an eye on the small fry, who ran madly from dining to living room where I was playing the piano to our musically insatiable baby sister. I'd swear, the kid gets high on music! She gets all tensed up and her eyes and mouth fly wide open and her little hands wave when I play a particularly brilliant passage, and at the end she yells for more. I guess the other girls will have to play to her when I am still here and they're in Boston!

Last night I was reading an incredible book called Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, by Oliver Sacks. Here is a quote from a review on Sacks' website.
Oliver Sacks's compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own brains, and of the human experience. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people--from a man who is struck by lightning and suddenly inspired to become a pianist at the age of forty-two, to an entire group of children with Williams syndrome who are hypermusical from birth; from people with "amusia," to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans, to a man whose memory spans only seven seconds--for everything but music.

I'm a musician, not a neurologist, so some of the complex explanations were a bit over my head; but the book held me enthralled. I couldn't put it down. I would recommend it to anyone; I get the impression that this will be one of those books I will find more and more fascinating in years to come.

This afternoon I went to college to return some books and then spent at least a couple of hours (I didn't really keep track) practicing at one of the few grand pianos in the music building, the fine Boston grand that I had the good fortune to work on all this semester. It may not be the best piano in the building; but it's a very good one. I only stopped when my hands started aching. Remembering the mixed feeling of exhaustion and triumph, my former voice teacher's Gmail "status" today, a quote from Muhammad Ali, seemed very appropriate.
I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."
I understand it from a musician's point of view too. Practicing can drive us crazy (it often does me); but in the end the glory of music makes it oh, so worthwhile!

7. Tomorrow I'm auditioning for the Ladies' Friday Musical Club of St. Louis' annual music prize. I wonder how the competition will be. If the other pianist from Webster that I know is competing is a fair sample, it'll be tough. But it'll be fun, no matter what. Amusingly enough, we are playing the same two composers: Bach (she has the Prelude-and-Fugue in F minor from WTC II, I the Prelude-and-Fugue in F major from the same book) and Debussy (she one of the Images, I the first piece from Children's Corner.) I'm looking forward to it.


Joe Strain said...

Good luck and have fun..

Agnes Regina said...

Many thanks!

crusader88 said...

Wow, 3.74 is a great GPA; my old one was a mere 3.59, but I expect it to rise when my new grades come in in approximately 25 hours.

Agnes Regina said...

good for you, let me know how they end up!