What is a full rehearsal?

It is to sing the entire piece through in your head.

The purpose of this training is to develop a skill to play through even when you hit the wrong note or get bowing wrong. At the time of practice, it is very common to stop playing every time you make a mistake, focus on the part you made a mistake in, and then go on to play the rest. But if you keep practicing like this, you are likely to develop a habit of stopping, and you will get distracted by many things at the time of your recital. To prevent a situation like this, you need to practice to not stop no matter what happens and play through. Trying this at a different time of the day is very effective, such as the end and/or beginning of your daily practice, or at the exact same time frame as your scheduled performance, etc.

Another important tip is to never get down or start wondering why you made a mistake during a full rehearsal. What’s important is how quickly you recover from your mistakes. Don’t ruin the rest of your performance by dwelling on the errors. This is one of the essential points in mental practice.

To make full rehearsals even more effective, have someone listen to your performance or record yourself. Training yourself to be able to sing the entire piece in your head anytime anywhere is also very important.

What should I do for practice right before my performance?

1. Record and check yourself during practice.

While you are playing, you are probably listening to your own music at around 60% of your full concentration, even if you think you are fully paying attention. When the day of your actual performance comes, your hearing ability lowers even more, so the rate will be down to around 40% at most.

So, you should record yourself during practice and strengthen the good points and improve the weak points by listening to your own performance. This allows you to be objective, which is a very crucial element. This is very similar to checking yourself in the mirror before you leave to school or work, or even going up on a stage. Even when you know you are appropriately dressed and your hair is combed, you would probably still check yourself in the mirror.

So, in order to listen to your performance objectively, I strongly recommend recording yourself when playing the entire piece etc. This is very effective for making improvement. I, of course, practice using recording devices too.

 

2. Mental Practice.

Unexpected things happen on stage, all the time actually. For instance, you are bound to experience discomforts such as the room being too hot / cold / loud, audience being too close, or the sound system being awful. The biggest problem in such situations is focusing on the surroundings so much that you can’t concentrate on your own performance. If you blame the surroundings, I’d have to say you haven’t matured as a performer yet, because a real performer doesn’t stop for anything until his or her performance is finished.

The important thing is not to expect a perfect environment for you to play in. It’s better to expect the worst environment possible, if you want your performance to be at its best at the recital. Practice being prepared for the worst. You need to cultivate the ability to concentrate and mental strength to complete your performance in any type of situation you may be in. Full rehearsals play an important role here, too.

 

How should I decide fingering?

Find the fingering that works for you.

 

Every player has different sized hands. For smaller children, it’s good to follow the fingering patterns indicated in music sheets, since it’s an important experience. However, it’s a different story if you are performing at a recital or contest. If you looked at it objectively, there may be such a thing as “ideal fingering”, but the most important thing is to choose the fingering that fits you the best.

Very often, the fingering that worked at practice doesn’t work at the actual performance. So, I suggest finding a different fingering pattern if you feel that your current fingering doesn’t suit you or feel very uncomfortable with it after 3 or 4 days of hard practice. Make sure to avoid interrupting a beautiful flow of music because of fingering. Try different fingering patterns and find the one that works for you.

How do I go about “part-by part practice”?

Have a clear goal. Don’t just repeat it recklessly.

Once you’ve decided the bowing and fingering patterns for the bracketed part to a certain degree (although you may change them later on), you need to practice the part until you are completely confident in yourself. If you feel that the bracketed part is no longer a problem for you, add a few bars preceding and following the part and make that into one phrase. Play the whole phrase through and see if you can still play the bracketed part without an error. It is a very common phenomenon to make the same errors in the exact same part again as soon as you add a few more bars.
If this happened to you, take a moment and ask yourself why. Is it your bowing pattern? Or is it your fingering? More often than not, you may be able to solve the problem you make with a small change. Here’s an important tip. When you make an error during practice, don’t panic. You need to think why it happened. It has an adverse effect if you keep practicing without thinking about the reasons for the errors: like you are practicing to make the same mistakes again and again.
If you don’t take the time to figure out the reasons, which takes only a very little bit of time, you may not be able to fix the problem even if you practice for tens of hours. So, get in a habit of putting the instrument down when you make a mistake, and think why you made the mistakes!

If you cannot figure out a reason for making errors, talk to your teacher and work together to find a solution. Once you found the reason and fixed the problem, play through the phrase that includes the bracketed part one more time. If you could play it without an error, play it more than 5 times and see if you can play it naturally without any errors. If you find no problems, go on to the next bracketed part and repeat the same procedure. After you finished all of the part-by-part practice, play the entire piece in a slower tempo again. If you find different sections that need to be bracketed, mark them and practice the same way. Have this practice repeatedly while you still have the time before your performance.

When you are trying to master a piece of music, make sure to follow this pattern: Play the entire piece through – part-by-part practice (practice bracketed parts) – Play the entire piece through again. Also, it is important to start your practice with a different bracketed part each time.

Is there anything I should be careful about when doing “Partial Practice”?

It is important to have a clear goal.

Once you’ve decided on how to go about your bowing and fingering to a certain degree ( although you may change them later on ), you need to practice the bracketed part until you are fully confident with yourself.

If you feel that you have successfully mastered the bracketed part, then add a few bars preceding and following it and make that into one phrase. Play the whole phrase and see if you can still play the bracketed part without an error. It is a very common phenomenon to make the same errors in the bracketed part again as soon as you add a bit more bars. You were able to play it so well before,but all of a sudden, you make errors again. Why does this happen? Take a moment to figure out the reason. Is it the bowing? Or is it the fingering? More often than not, you may be able to solve the problem with a very small change you make.

Here’s an important tip for you. When you make an error, you need to think why it happens. To keep practicing without thinking about this actually has an adverse effect. It is almost like practicing to make the same mistake.

ベートーヴェンサイクル 〜第9〜

IMG_7568 (1)
ベートーヴェンサイクル最終日にヤープさんがくれたご褒美のサイン

 

 

昨日1ヶ月に渡るベートーヴェンサイクルコンサートが無事終了。

この間、マエストロヤープもプレイヤーも1分たりとも無駄にせず、一生懸命香港フィルのベートーヴェンを創ってきたと思う。

プレーヤーもかなりプレッシャーと疲労の狭間で苦しんだ…と思う。

おまけに風邪が大流行で、多くのプレーヤーがcough drop や薬を服用しながら頑張った。

中には最後の最後でダウンして、第九の本番に出れなかった人もいた。本当に可哀想。

人生何が起こるか分かんないとはよく言ったものだ。

やっと出来上がりかけた第九。皆んなそれなりに気持ちも高まって来てる時に、まさかのソロソプラノシンガーが体調不良でダウン。

本番まで後1日を切って代役を探す暇もない。最悪ベートーヴェンサイクルなのに第九を他のナンバーに変更するしかない所まで追い詰められた。

そんな時に飄々と現れた救世主は、今回共演する合唱団の若い女の人だった。

私歌いますと!名乗り出てくれた。ヤープさんも’’ほ、ほんと?ありがとう!’’と手を合わせて

彼女に拝んだ。

彼女がソロパートをオケと練習できるのはリハーサルで1回、ドレスリハーサルで1回、計

たったの2回。彼女の歌を聞くまではヤープさんも、私たちも内心ドキドキしていたはず。

彼女が歌い出した。’’え!!この人ほんとに合唱団の団員?’’ と思うほど堂々と歌う。他3人のソロイストたちは世界で活躍するシンガーだ。なのに緊張も表に出さず、のびのび歌っている。

そして、2回の本番も無事大役を果たした彼女。

IMG_7558
左手端の紺のドレスを着ている方が救世主!

 

客席もほぼ総立ちだった。

彼女にはこれから明るい未来が開けるといいなあと心から思う。

彼女に教えられたこと。

 

チャンスはいつやって来るかわからない。

チャンスをつかむには、日々コツコツと努力をし、いつでもチャンスが来た時にその場に立てる様に準備万端にすること。

そして、チャンスが来た時に、名乗り出る度胸がなければならない。

 

…  といということかな。

 

 

 

コンサートホール

concert hallこの前、HK Phil  のリハーサル中に、たまたま客席を見たら、何か飛んでいるものを発見した。

え〜っ!!と思いそこを暫く見ているとまたパタパタと飛ぶ物体を見てしまった。

もうこれは何なのか気になって仕方がない。

じーっと見ているとまたパタパタパタと会場バルコニー席上を飛行してる。

ステージからではそんな遠くの小さな物体が何なのか確認できないけれど、

どうもスズメの様な気がする。

ステージに蚊やハエがやって来て、弾いてるプレーヤーの顔めがけて攻撃してきたり、指揮者の邪魔をしたりするのはたまにあるので驚かない。

でも、え〜っ!!鳥?

おまけによく耳を傾けるとピヨピヨ鳴いている〜。

コンサート中も住んでいるのだろうか?どうやって巣を作るんだろうか?などと考えていたら

自分たちの弾く出番が回って来た。

リハ終了後、スタンドパートナーにその話をすると、あ〜、居る居る、居るよね〜と笑っていた。

コンサートホールに鳥が飛んでても普通なんだろうか?

日本でもアメリカでも、ヨーロッパでも見た事ない風景だったのに、私のスタンドパートナーはそれほど驚いていなかった。これは香港ならではの何かかなー。

HK Phil  に移籍してかなりながいけど、ちょっと新鮮な気持ちになれました。笑

 

Maestro Jaap

with Maestro Jaap
with Maestro Jaap   

HK Phil の音楽監督マエストロJaap(ヤープ)さん。私の大好きな指揮者です。

彼の集中力、状況判断の速さ、メンバーへメッセージを送る時の的確さ等等、沢山学ぶ事が有るんですよ。また、ヤープさんが指揮を振ると’’彼と一緒にいい音楽作りたい!’’という気持ちにさせられるんですねー。とても魅力的な方です。

それにヤープさんは素晴らしいヴァイオリニストなんです。だから彼が音楽監督になってから今まで以上にオーケストラでの演奏で弾きやすくなった箇所が沢山あるんです。

彼は若くしてConcertgebouw のコンサートマスターに就任しただけあり、演奏をする時に難しい箇所を熟知しておられる。なので、’’ここはピアニッシモと表記してあるけれど、実際はもっとしっかり弾いた方がいいからあまり緊張してソフトに弾かなくていいよ’’ とか、本当に有難い助言をして下さいます。(こういう助言はバイオリニストにとっては涙が出るほど有難い事なんですよー)

管楽器の音程を正す時も、音程の高低をあまり言われず、例えば’’ここは一番クラリネットより、2番クラリネットの方がもっと音を出して’’と伝え、あっという間に音程が合ってしまうという事が沢山あります。

彼のリハーサルはとてもとても緻密で物凄い集中力と体力を要求されます。

自分にもプレーヤーにもとても厳しい方です。だけどそれはプレーヤーが満足できるパフォーマンスが出来る様にという彼なりの優しさだと思います。

現在ベートーベンサイクルを1ヶ月に渡りヤープさんと一緒に公演しておりますが、はっきり言って公演の後はクタクタになります。でも、それがとても気持ちがいいんです。

皆さん、お時間が有りましたら是非是非ヤープさんと香港フィルの熱い演奏を聴きに来てくださいね!

Is there a way to master a new piece of music in an effective way?

When practicing a new piece of music, first you should try playing it in a slower tempo than the actual one. See where you made mistakes and put brackets on those sections. Then you can start practicing focusing on those bracketed parts. We call this “Partial practice”.