Spring 2021 Season - Days/Times Forthcoming

Nation Building with Antonio Pacheco / A bi-weekly look at the state of public architecture in the United States, including interviews, news items, reading suggestions, and historical/theoretical frameworks for understanding public architecture more broadly.

Grounds with Amanda Ugorji / Inter-generational interviews with artists, designers, and planners that ask what existential questions they have been working through lately and how they make their decisions.

Still Standing with Eytan Levi and Ben Hoyle / Interviews with experts about the renovation of Soviet mass housing.

Conversations on Care with Ana Miljački

The Open Practice Room - Ep 02

In this episode I try to capture more of the ~authentic experience~ of a practice session from start to finish. That means including tuning and warming up.

For my warm-up I worked on a 3-octave A major scale. Scales are easy to skip because content-wise they can be relatively boring, but i talk about the importance of scales like meditation to get in the right mindset for practice and calibrate your intonation for a smooth rest of the practice session! I think there is a clear analogy in warming up before physical exercise, but not so sure what the analogy would be in the context of architectural design?

I finish out my warm-up with Dont caprice No. 2, thinking a lot about intonation and subtle phrasing of the changing harmonies.

Dont, Jakob - 24 Etudes and Caprices, Op 35 - Violin solo - edited ...
Come on, isn't the name of this composer just begging for a punny meme?

I also talk a bit about rosin, which is what you rub on bow hair to improve the grippage of the bow on the string and produce a much clearer sound! I'm currently using Melos light rosin, but I've also used Pirastro's gold and olive "flavors" and liked those (gold giving a brighter sound, olive giving a darker sound). There are different shades of rosin, light to dark, that produce different colors of sound.

Here's a photo of the rosin cake when I first got it new in April 2018! They last a while if you're a careful rosin parent and don't accidentally drop it on the ground and smash it to pieces, which always is a true tragedy.

And here are the other two "flavors" of rosin I mentioned above, from another popular brand that also produces strings:
Pirastro Gold Rosin – FiddlershopFree shipping! PIRASTRO Oliv Evah Rosin Model 900100 Used for ...
So shiny and satisfying, right? Equally satisfying to apply it and immediately hear a much clearer sound production :)

I spend the rest of the practice session working in more detail on the finale from Mendelssohn's violin concerto, which I also worked on last week. I made some good progress on some tricky popcorn sections and some very lovely themes. Because I know the piece by ear, it is easy to fall into tendencies of how I think it should go, so I need to pay attention when Mendelssohn asks us not to do a slurpy slide:

Translation: no slurpy slide!

It's both a blessing and a curse that the fingerboard of the violin, unlike a guitar, is a fretless continuum expanse... It means infinite possibility for pitches to be slightly out of tune (hence the importance of practicing scales), but it also means being able to do beautifully expressive glissandi (i.e. slurps)!

Some of my detailed practice includes working with metronome, which is brutal but honest work. It feels satisfying and freeing to take myself off the metronome after sanding down the rough edges.

I finish off by reading through the very last few pages which I haven't worked on much at all. It's very labored and painful but I include it, again, for the ~authentic experience~!

If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to the episode here. Alternatively, you can follow my violinstagram for more in video format (though as of this week I'm officially more active on WAWD.) Below is a post of my new rosin cake from April 2018 (the only reason I remember when I got my new cake.) Thanks for reading!