Wrapping up the year 2018

This year is soon coming to it’s end and I think now is the perfect time to go through what I have been doing. Of course I have been blogging all year but there are also moments I didn’t write down yet.

The beginning year was difficult professionally. Due to the education that is part of my job, I didn’t have much time to play the clarinet. I think it shows also in my texts. I have had more thoughts about being a musician than stories of what I have been doing.

In May I got back to work and playing. Summer was quite busy with work but also during the holidays I was preparing for the concert I was organizing in August. I have made a decision to try to make at least one musical project outside of my work every year and this concert was that for this year. I already have some ideas for the coming year, but we’ll see what the new year will give.

After the concert in August with the Estonian music we had two big concerts in the Navy Band in September. In the first concert I was playing the first clarinet part and I was enjoying it a lot. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to play little solos?

In October I continued my education but this time the focus was on the instrument so I really got to play and plan what I want to do. I was lucky to get also few personal lessons with my instrument. For a long time I haven’t been this motivated with the playing. I prepared for a small concert with other participants of the course. But I also decided to take a part in the audition. I wrote about my preparation for the audition in November post.

Our course included also improvising lessons. I was a bit nervous in advance but the teacher had confronted so many nervous classical music students that he knew how to break the ice. I learned that for sure I can improvise because it is not what I was assuming it to be. It is not composing or creating something that no one has ever done before. It is putting together small pieces and variations. Often it is based on playing licks that players have practiced well before. So why are we nervous? Because we think we don’t come up with anything or the second reason is to play something “incorrect”. What we consider incorrect notes are mostly creating dissonance with the harmony. So we were actually having fun with that. If you keep playing the dissonance longer, it loses it’s power as an error and becomes just a contrast. It can also be a musical joke. We got good tools for improvising in two days and I was amazed of the solos I could make in our final jam session. I was also enjoying the playing a lot. I definitely felt like I want to do this more.

This period reminded me of my time as a student. It is great to have a possibility to plan everything you want to do. After that coming back to work and straight to a concert project in Sweden was a stressful experience. I have learned that when you have time to plan everything and practice enough it is less stressful to do my job. However, it seems to be for most of the time just chaos and busy timetables with not enough time to get to know your own parts. It feels bad to know that you are not able to learn the pieces with the given time and show that you have the skills. But I hope people understand that it is not my fault. Of course I try to play always as well as I can. The project with the Swedish Navy Band was anyway a nice experience with lots of new people.

December is always a busy month with many events. I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas but Christmas concerts are also part of the job. And of course I was sad to miss the famous concert of the year on 24th of December being ill at home. Anyway, there was one project in December that was maybe the best thing in the all year. Even for this concert I had very little time to prepare but luckily the program wasn’t too difficult. We played for Finland’s Independence Day Concert on 6th of December. The Navy Band played with the wind instrument players and percussionists of Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. And also one double bass player! It was so pleasant to play with this combination and also I got my first and perhaps the last experience of the legendary Leif Segerstam. He was conducting us and I just felt something different that I don’t remember for so long time. It felt great to play. Music was alive. So maybe that is why I keep doing this. To find those rare lovely moments with music.

screenshot form the live stream of the concert

I have no clue or expectations for the coming year 2019 but I wish lots of great moments with everyone!

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