Have you ever played in a band? Tell us all about that experience of making music with friends. If you’ve never been in a band, imagine you’re forming a band with some good friends. What instrument do you play in the band and why? What sort of music will you play?
It has arrived everyone – my personalised prompt. Of course this was completely coincidental. This topic is so vast and I have already covered so much music in my life that I think I will tell you about one of my favourite performances.
I was 12. It was in a music competition, and I was in the Strings Under 19s’ Class. I played a Tchaikovsky Nocturne for Cello, a piece which I liked but didn’t really love. I arrived 20 minutes late for the class, and I was supposed to have been on first; however I was rearranged to play last so I got the chance to listen to the other performers. It had to be said that there was a high quality of playing in that class, certainly higher than the previous classes I had participated in. A majority of the players were, of course, violinists, none of which I knew. So when I got up on stage I was perhaps a little bit more nervous than I would had it been at my school.
I tuned to the stunning Steinway which belonged to the Church venue. The pianist was one of the official accompanists, so I had had absolutely no time to rehearse with him. This, however, didn’t worry me as it had been something that I was very much used to. The crucial thing to make sure you explain to an accompanist who you haven’t rehearsed with is the tempi of the piece/s you will be playing. I once played Faure’s Élégie for Cello and piano/orchestra in an audition whereby the pianist played it two thirds of the tempo. If you listen to the piece you can hear it’s already marked Adagio, a very slow tempo (although I tended to make it flow on a bit), so when the pianist played it that slowly it came as a shock and I struggled to make sure my bow didn’t run out. I was not going to repeat this mistake, so I carefully went over the tempi for the Tchaikovsky.
So I got started playing, and immediately the first problem I encountered was that my spike kept slipping on the wooden floor. Being the silly person I am I had left my spike-holder at home, and ended up holding the cello firmly with my legs. The performance itself was really enjoyable, and apparently it was a success as I even won the class! A very peculiar but equally entertaining day.
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