Monthly Archives: January 2015

Pala mennyttä

DVD cover

DVD cover

Taas huomaan miten aika etenee nopeasti. Yli vuosi sitten syksyllä 2013 käytimme paljon aikaa Particle Plays- nimisen tanssiteoksen musiikin harjoittelemiseen. Soiton ohella tanssista ei saanut käsitystä kuin muutamilta osin. Kuultuani, että koko teos kuvataan, aloin innolla odottamaan omaa DVD:täni.

Vielä viime keväänä muistin kysellä DVD:n perään, mutta kesällä unohdin asian tyystin. Jostain syystä uusi vuosi palautti mieleeni, etten vieläkään ollut saanut omaa kopiotani. Olin yhteydessä muutamaan henkilöön ja DVD löysi lopulta tiensä minun käsiini. Yllätyin siitä, miten paljon myös me muusikot olimme esillä. Ja olin täysin unohtanut antamani haastattelun extroja varten. Olikin yllättävän kiinnostavaa palata vuoden takaisiin tunnelmiin ja nähdä itsensä soittamassa. Ehkä oli parempi, että aikaa on kulunut näinkin paljon. Asioihin saa etäisyyttä ja niihin suhtautuu eri tavalla.

Loppuun vielä linkki kirjoitukseen, jonka tein kyseistä blogia varten.


One step forward

20150114_182103This poster happens to be in the class where I am teaching. I ended up choosing this mouthpiece for me for my next mouthpiece. Let’s see. This is at least one step forward in the mouthpiece hunt. But let’s see if it will be the last one.

Working in Theater – Last shows of Amadeus


photo by Hilla Mäkinen

Vielä on kuusi näytöstä jäljellä Amadeusta. There are six more shows left of Amadeus.

9.1. klo 19.00
30.1. klo 13.00
7.2. klo 19.00
12.2. klo 19.00
20.2. klo 19.00
21.2. klo 13.00

I also wanted to write about my experiences in working in the theater. I had a great feeling of combining both the music and the theater world in a new way for me. Usually musicians are wearing black black black and for these kind of shows we are not to be seen. We are situated in a pit and it means sitting still and quiet for the time not playing. This time we got our own dresses and make up. Of course after a while it becomes a routine and loses its glamor. Few times the dresses causes troubles while getting stuck in shoe heels or other places. The dress got even one of our singers stuck under the stage!

Usually we have conductors to guide our enters of the music. Now our small ensemble had to learn to begin with text cues. Now it feels all happens automatically although you still have to be careful not to lose concentration on the spot.

That is one of the main differences I think. Musicians are mostly used to work for one or two performances with one repertoire. In theater you must find the energy to do the same thing all over again. Sometimes after a concert I wished to have a chance to repeat it. But after doing the same thing for 10 times it doesn’t feel so fresh as in the beginning.

One thing that I was thinking during the rehearsals was the acting and playing. If some actor forgot his or her line, they simply snapped their fingers and the line was said to them. Also there is usually a way to say things differently without losing the meaning. In music it’s different. We are thought to stick on the notes and play in the correct time the correct notes. Otherwise it doesn’t work well together. And if a musician forgets something… Well, we have to begin again or hope that it works for the next time. I think using the live music was new in this way for the director as well. Live music is certainly alive and doesn’t happen the same way almost ever. Slightly difference in tempo and it’s either one second longer or shorter than before. Despite the problems we patched it together and I’m happy with the result.

While we are on the stage it means also interesting positions. Usually not all of the players see singers or hear them or even musicians are apart. We have to walk across the stage while playing. As soon as the music becomes easy, the things to remember are where to be and where to go next. First times when you hear that somethings is coming out of the ceiling you are ready to jump anywhere. Also they might yell “The wheel will spin!” and you check panicking if your both feet are either on the wheel or outside of it. Jumping off or on the spinning wheel is one experience. As we are most of the time playing by the notes (which seemed to be weird for theater stuff) we need light to see our notes. Still some places we are left in the dark but we have learned those places by heart already.

Of course we don’t have to be on the stage all the time. During longer brakes the soft sofa and bad jokes on the “Mocca square” let us relax before next enter. It’s amazing feeling to change a poker face just when stepping back on the stage. How does it work? It’s somehow a different world on the stage and even after those 10 times you will get those same feelings on the stage while listening the dialog and being part of the scene.

I wish you welcome to the shows!

Musicians’ Holidays

I just got a pile of new notes to start with after about two weeks break. I have less than one week time. I’m excited. I also have few mouthpieces for testing. It’s going to be a good start after loading my batteries traveling.

I think sometimes musicians believe that they are not allowed to have any holidays or free days from playing. I’ve met people who might say that the Christmas Eve is the only night of the year that they don’t play. But as in any profession, I believe that people need holidays. We need time to get away from our job. Our body and mind demands it.

You can for sure remember times when you are totally tired but you just need to do these few more things and practice few more hours. But still you are not making any progress. I’ve been lucky to have teachers who see my struggling and advice me to relax for couple of days. Sleep over it and everything feels better.

When I was a kid I never played during the summer holidays. Probably also any other holidays I skipped playing. During my studies I of course realized the fact that you must practice. The beginning after two weeks brake is… not always pleasant but I’ve learned to deal with it.

For my thesis I was reading and writing about smart practicing. Use the brain more not to harm your body. If you keep repeating same mistakes you will learn them but if you would stop and think really what you are doing wrong and correct it after thinking, you would also save a lot of time. I found out that for one day brain can focus fully for 4 hours. Only 4 hours! Of course it might be individually as everything. Other time the brain needs to relax and restore the new learned stuff. Rest of the day you can for example do sports while letting your brain automatically repeat all the played music.

Also sportsmen have totally free days from doing sports so their body have enough time to recover. Also musician’s body needs to recover because the playing is static physical activity. So actually you shouldn’t play at least for one day per week. If you are athletic musician you might have to give a free day same time both from playing and sports. My friend got in a state of over-training since they didn’t give a thought about how demanding the playing can be with her personal trainer.

Anyway you might feel that you lose time if you don’t practice but the result might be the same if you practice when tired or not at all. Or I believe you will feel better after resting than after practicing in a bad mode. The risk of getting sick and hurting yourself is higher too, which can lead you to skip anyway the important performance.

During Christmas holidays 2013 I stayed alone and came up with a routine of going outside walking after breakfast, writing my thesis until lunch time and then practicing between lunch and dinner and maybe writing a bit more in the evening. I was extremely “busy” and had to be careful to give me every fourth day just a brake day of it all. I was training for audition in Oslo. There was many things to do but all in all the practicing season was really good and I enjoyed it. Only thing I was missing was the sun. And for that reason I spent Christmas 2014 in Morocco learning how to surf and enjoying the sun and warm weather and singing with my guitar playing friend.

Now back in Finland I’m full of energy and excitement looking the snow fall quietly outside. It’s a good way to begin a new year with many interesting plans I’ll let you know later.

Welcome the year 2015 with happy feelings!

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