Monday, August 30, 2010

Room for Improvement

Today my new Kindle cover arrived. It's apple-green leather, very pretty. I don't yet have a Kindle to put in it -- they haven't even sent me an estimated shipping date -- but the cover pleases me anyway.

So does Viviana Viola. I practiced for at least ninety minutes today when I should have been doing other things, like writing. This is partly because I was teaching myself a new tune, the Sportsman's Hornpipe, which you can hear (on the viola!) on this page if you scroll down to the second video clip.

It's a lovely tune, and also fairly easy, and I picked the notes up quickly, although I'm fudging the ending a bit and hope Charlene can help me with it on Friday. The lady in the video of course plays it infinitely better than I do. No one but me would recognize it when I play it, but I hope that will change with practice. If I were still playing Felicity, I know the tune would already be in much better shape, but I need to be patient. I played Felicity for almost a year and I've been playing Viviana for less than a week -- and won't have a proper shoulder rest until Thursday -- so of course the sound's much rougher.

Yesterday I discovered that my BlackBerry has a "voice notes" feature, so this evening I tried recording snippets of myself playing to see if the sound quality's better than on the little voice recorder Gary gave me several Christmases ago. On that recorder, Felicity sounded like an accordian; on this one, Viviana sounds like a cross between a trumpet and a kazoo. I'm not sure this is an improvement, but if I ever get a decent recording of myself playing (which would require both competent playing and a decent recorder), I'll post it.

Listening to what I'd recorded was really painful, and showed me how far I have to go. Playing, I'd thought I sounded better than that. I think this is the dynamic I talk about with my writing students, where the story we want to tell is exciting and beautiful and makes perfect sense in our heads, but becomes garbled and dreary when we try to put it on paper. As I also tell my students, though, being aware of that gap is a good sign, because it means that we know we have to improve, and that's the first step in actually doing so.

I hope that when I've been playing Viviana a year, I'll sound a lot better. Even now, though, she makes me happy.


  1. That gap thing: I can't seem to bridge it and feel like giving up. I hope I get it figured out someday.

    That IS a pretty tune. I can't imagine trying to figure it out on my own.

  2. I love my Kindle. I hope you love yours. Any chance your books will be available from Amazon on the Kindle?

  3. Stacey: Figuring out the notes was simple and took about fifteen minutes. Figuring out how to *play* them nicely is taking considerably longer!

    Jill: I'm sure I'll love it! As for my books: interesting idea. I don't know, but I've e-mailed my agent and editor to ask, and will let you know if I hear anything. Thanks!


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