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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Time Well Spent


The Bard Babe

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So, what has being going on in my life, I wonder? Well, I only seem to find the motivation to write an entry for this blog when I'm unbelievably excited about something and find myself with time on my hands-time being a rare luxury for me.

 

I suppose that's where I can start. Time. Now should be the part of the year where I have the most time: school holidays. I am however, trying to fit pretty extreme rehearsing for two entirely separate concerts, one of which involves a tour and a minor pop star from years long gone, and the other an internationally acclaimed guest violinist that used to go to our school and always caves when the head of our music department asks him to come and do a concert with us, should he be in the country. These two very exciting things resulted of course in many clashes, a few angry teachers, several many car trips, awkward early departures or late arrivals to rehearsals and my desperate longing for a time turner, but through the use of a fantastically tolerant tour manager, a conductor with a fairly relaxed attendance policy and some pretty badass sight reading skills, both I and the friend of mine also trying to be in two groups simultaneously have managed to keep both parties happy and have a fantastically brilliant time in both groups.

 

So, you can see why I comment on my lack of time, but I try to keep my comments to mere statements of facts rather than whinges or complaints, for as much as I do often wish for more time, for more hours in the day and more minutes to spend relaxing and having absolutely nothing to do, what I do spend that time on is something that I love very deeply, so I have no right to complain.

 

And that is of course, music.

 

The two groups I'm currently playing with are really two programs, one of which is the state youth orchestra, the other of which is the school music program. Both groups have several ensembles under their umbrella title, the school having several percussion ensembles, various choirs, three separate string groups, a big band, a brass ensemble, two wind groups, you name it, we've got it. For this current gig with the fantastic guest violinist from far away, we're playing the famous Storm, from Vivaldi's Four Seasons (believe me, you've heard it) in our string group, but we're also singing, and my string quartet is playing, along with various other groups and combinations. We've been able to spend time with this professional concertmaster, workshopping our quartet, an amazing experience I will take great care to remember long after he has once more gone.

 

The other group, the State Youth Orchestra, also has a bunch of different ensembles, a wind group, a big band, a junior string ensemble, and then the main three groups, the first, second and third symphony orchestras. Armies of musicians audition each year and are placed (or not placed) based on their performance in one of the ensembles they auditioned for, usually working their way up the ranks of the orchestras year to year. I spent one year in each group, meaning that every Saturday for the past four years, I've been going to the same old building, a beautiful, but crumbling ex-museum, constantly in a state of being repaired, but never in my four years have I seen it change in the least. I stopped playing with the orchestra this year in order to procure some more time for myself, but nevertheless, bits of the top group of which I was a member last year are going on tour for a week to the north of the state to perform our own material and also to play for Tina Arena as she does a miniature tour up north, and they were short of a cellist, so I got the call.

 

Both sets of mad dash rehearsals only started last week, and they have both been absolutely brilliant. At school I get the energy, the passion, the fire and enthusiasm that comes from playing with the people I do and the level of emotional maturity they give, the energy in our school ensembles is so much that I cannot imagine myself as a musician without it, it's the kind you can feel down deeper than your bones, the crackle in the air, the connection between the players and the audience, the energy and the magic so alive and so thick and real it's nearly tangible, you feel as though you could easily reach out and grab hold of it, draw it from the very air.

 

And then the symphony orchestra...it's different, so different, in many ways on many levels. For the first thing, it's a whole new skill level from the school groups. The music is rather challenging, you're in a much larger group and the skill of each of the players is just amazing. Everyone's much older, basically everyone in the group is in Uni. On top of that, the conductors are different. They are more serious than the one at school. They use true musical terms and expect skill, not just energy, they know exactly what they want and they will work you hard to procure their vision. It's much more professional, and it's a very good and fun experience, but that's not why I love the other group...anyone that's ever played in a full symphony orchestra can tell you that there is no experience like it. The best way I can think of to describe it is as a sea. A sea of sound. It's easy to drown if you lose your way, if you stop listening and paying attention to what's going on around you, if you refuse to work with the current and flow with the waves, but as long as you keep your head above the water, you will see and hear and feel the most amazing things. Orchestral playing is a true marvel of humanity to me. How is it that so many people, many of which have never even spoken, can connect on such an innate level to create such beauty? How they can feel the flow of the music and slow it down, speed it up, change the colour and texture without ever having to utter a word or even to think. It's telepathy on an unnaturally large scale.

 

And the conductor? They are magicians. They can see their vision, hear their dreams so clearly, that somehow, through a few gestures with a pointy, white stick, they can send those ideas, those thoughts, those urges to the scores of musicians with their eyes fixed on them. Then those musicians will play it. They will receive those thoughts and sounds and ideas and images through some feat of mind magic and they will play them, they will colour the sounds and paint them without even being aware of the scale of which they are communicating with one another. Somehow, they see and they hear these intangible concepts and make them real, they all agree on some way of communicating these wordless ideas, they translate them into vibrations, waves in the air, and these vibrations hit the ears of an audience, of willing listeners and grab their minds and their emotions and force them to react in ways they can't express with words, reach directly into the core of a person and drag feelings, raw and real out into the light and those ideas, those sounds and dreams and images that existed only in the conductor's head, are transformed and transported into the minds of every person that plays, and every person that listens.

 

I can never complain about being forced to spend my time doing that.

 

Seeing as this is already a soppy entry about music, I may as well keep going, as I have the feeling that this is going to take me in the direction I originally wanted this to take, but I will continue this in another entry so at least it’s not quite so hard to digest.

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This is an amazing entry.  You do have a way with words and music.  I want to be there.

 

"I get the energy, the passion, the fire and enthusiasm that comes from playing with the people I do and the level of emotional maturity they give, the energy in our school ensembles is so much that I cannot imagine myself as a musician without it, it's the kind you can feel down deeper than your bones, the crackle in the air, the connection between the players and the audience, the energy and the magic so alive and so thick and real it's nearly tangible, you feel as though you could easily reach out and grab hold of it, draw it from the very air. 

 

Somehow, they see and they hear these intangible concepts and make them real, they all agree on some way of communicating these wordless ideas, they translate them into vibrations, waves in the air, and these vibrations hit the ears of an audience, of willing listeners and grab their minds and their emotions and force them to react in ways they can't express with words, reach directly into the core of a person and drag feelings, raw and real out into the light and those ideas, those sounds and dreams and images that existed only in the conductor's head, are transformed and transported into the minds of every person that plays, and every person that listens."

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