Practicing

Waterfall at A Sort of Notebook has started up her practice pact again. Each week participants make notes in the comments to record how much time they’ve spent practicing their instruments. Besides me (hammered dulcimer), there’s a pianist, an oboist, and a bassist. No other folkies (yet). It’s a little added motivation, and interesting to actually keep track of how much I’m practicing or not practicing (I’d like to average two hours each weekday), and fun to hear what other people are working on.

My practicing is usually organized around gigs or other projects. Right now, the main projects are The Hanshaw Trio‘s home recording, a concert with Pas de Deux, and a wedding with another harpist.

The trio CD is moving so very slowly. We missed two weeks while Craig was on vacation, then we were away, then this week didn’t work… and we have four gigs in September to work around, and then it’s time to review our Christmas material. Personally, I’d just as soon put the project aside until January when there’s really nothing else going on. But we’re going to try to do some more recording after our Farmers Market performance next Thursday afternoon. If I’m still sufficiently in tune after playing outside for a few hours. This is one of those times when I really wish I could tune in twenty minutes like all other dulcimer players, instead of my average of two hours (and that’s assuming I’m at home and calm without a deadline or any other pressure).

Pas de Deux is a duo with harp and flute player Lisa Fenwick. She teaches flute at a local community music and art school, and we’ll be performing in late November, one of three faculty showcase fundraiser concerts. We’re also playing at the Farmers Market this Sunday, which will be a good chance to try out what order to put things in and so on. Our repertoire is a mix of classical things, especially Bach, and Celtic things, especially O’Carolan, with some other things sprinkled in. One thing I’m excited and nervous about is “For the Beauty of the Earth.” I adapted John Rutter’s lovely arrangement for dulcimer, flute, and vocalist, and I’ve been learning how to sing and play at the same time. Most of the range is fine for my voice, but in the higher key (three verses) there’s some really high notes, and in the lower key (one verse) most of it is in the awkward place between my folky chest voice and my choral head voice. You know, it takes a lot of energy to play an instrument and sing at the same time. Especially if you’re trying to do both well.

The wedding is a week from Sunday. Lisa wasn’t available, so I asked Lynn Ray to play with me instead. We met at a community concert last Christmas that featured a number of choirs and soloists and small groups each performing two or three pieces. She sang and played a lovely thing on Celtic harp. For this wedding, we are doing mostly Celtic pieces, mostly O’Carolan, with some classical and Irish and other things thrown in. The mothers and grandmother will be seated to “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar, then the matron of honor and bride will process to Pachelbel’s Canon, but in G instead of D (lovely on harp and dulcimer), and we’ll do another Ungar piece, “The Lovers’ Waltz,” for the recessional.

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Published in: on August 25, 2005 at 5:13 pm  Comments Off on Practicing  
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