Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Missing Ireland

So after what seems like an eternity of flights and waiting, checking in and picking up luggage I'm finally home. I flew from Dublin Sunday evening, arrived and stayed in the London airport all night until my flight left at 8:30 the next morning. Then flew to Toronto and then to PEI. It's funny how my first flight was about 2 hours long and it went by fairly quickly, then the flight from London to Toronto was about 8 hours but I had movies and an interesting girl sitting next to me so the time passed fast enough. But the flight from Toronto, about one and a half hours, felt like an absolute eternity. I don't know how many times I fell asleep and woke up feeling like I slept for a long time but it turned out it had only been like 2 minutes. I just wanted to be home!
So during my overnight stay in London I decided to stay in the airport since I had all my luggage with me and it was pouring rain. I hung out outside for a long time under an overhang roof where I read and stuff. I took out my violin when not many people were around and played a few tunes. While I was playing a leaf fell off a tree and into my case. The leaf is now my London souvenir.
First thing I noticed when I came home was when we got in the car and we were driving on the wrong side! haha It's funny how quickly you adjust to these things.
So now I'm getting back into the regular swing of things. I played Anne and Gilbert tonight and in many ways it was nice to be back, though in others...well, you know. Back to the Mackenzie theater tomorrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homeward Bound

Last day in Ireland! I can't believe it's over. I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Dublin after a couple hours of liesurely walking around. My camera batteries are dead so no pictures but it's very cool. I've been on Connor Street for a while and it is a very busy place.
The whole time I've been here I've noticed that the parts of Ireland that I have seen are very similar to PEI. Except for the ancient stone walls and crumbling stone buildings everywhere. It will be nice to get home and actually rest a bit though I will miss this very much. I'll miss my roomies and my friends that I've made here. Happily I will see some of them soon in Ottawa but some I'll just have to miss :(

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sick Day

We traveled to Ennis yesterday to perform our Mini Mozart Opera and Benjamin Brittan's "Noah's Flood". It was a beautiful church but it didn't have a bathroom so we had to walk to the nearest hotel to use their facilities.
Noah's Flood is the student opera that they have been working on since the beginning of camp 2 weeks ago. They have a nice set, very cute costumes and spot lights. I'll post pictures later but the little girl that plays the dove is so adorable. She looks like a little angel. I was sitting watching the opera from the audience and I happened to be right behind her parents and they were so proud. At the end of the show she gets carried off the stage on Noah's shoulder and she flaps her arms like a bird. It's just too cute.
I've got a bit of the flu today. I just took a nap for an hour and I feel a bit better but hopefully a good nights sleep tonight will get rid of it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beach Day

We've finally got the internet back up and running. The highlight of the last couple of days was definitely Sunday. We all were planning on sleeping in since it was our only day off of the week. I woke up at 9:30, looked out the window and it was so sunny. I jumped out of bed, ran to the front door and walked out into the most beautiful of days. It was already very warm and it was only early! I was so excited I ran upstairs and woke everybody up. I ran over to the guys house (Fabio and John) across the road and yelled at them through their open windows until they finally both peeked their heads out through the curtains and saw the beautiful weather.
We had a big breakfast all together and then left for Salt Hill which was about a 20 minute walk from town. By the time we got there it was very hot and three of us (Sarah, Nora and myself) laid on the beach while the others went to this big cliff. We had seen similar cliffs on the Aran Islands so we stayed and basked in the sun. Nora and I went swimming in the very cold Atlantic ocean. Not too much different then home.

Went to an awesome concert tonight. David Stewart played this amazingly virtuoso piece that impressed everyone. During the intermission of the concert David informed us that we, the violinists, are playing in a concert tomorrow night. So I better get back to practicing! I'll be playing the first movement of the Ravel violin Sonata.

I'll have pictures up on facebook soon!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Still Alive

The internet has been down in our flat for the last couple days. I'll update soon when we get back online!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

So much music!

Yesterday we went to a concert in the evening at the "grand hall" on the University campus. It is a beautiful old church like building with a huge courtyard and small recital halls that are perfect for chamber music concerts. Before the concert we had a lot of fun taking pictures in the courtyard and on the steps outside the building.

The concert opened with a solo performance of a Bach cello suite, then a contemporary piece performed by piano, clarinet, viola and an alto singer. The second half was a Schuman piano quintet (piano, two violins, viola and cello) and was performed by the String quartet, Contempo, who have been leading our orchestra at camp.

So during the concert there was a lady sitting beside me who was obviously very interested in seeing this concert but also very obviously falling asleep. I really wish I could have gotten a picture of her while her head was hanging about an inch away from my shoulder. Then the music would end and the sudden applause would jolt her out of her awkward slumber in she'd sit up very suddenly and vigorously rub her face, cross and uncross her legs and then slowly fall back to sleep with the next piece. So I don't have a picture of her sleeping but Simon took this one...

We have orchestra rehearsal every day at 1:30 and our conductor, Paul, always has this huge clock on the floor beside him so that he knows exactly when to start and when break is and everything. So today Paul looked down to check the time while we were playing a bit of the Dvorak Symphony and couldn't see his clock. So while we were playing he squatted down and started rummaging through all the papers and sheet music on the floor around him trying to find his clock. Eventually he stopped the music and asked if anyone had seen his clock. Meanwhile the principal cellist had a very devious look on his face and as Paul looked closer he saw that the cellist had taken his clock, put it on his own stand and hid it under his music. We all had a good laugh and then Paul discovered that the time was turned forward so that we could all get out of rehearsal early, which unfortunately didn't work. Then when he went to fix the time he found that the batteries were missing. Bogdon, the concert master, then pulled the batteries out of his shirt pocket. Great moment.

More to come!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 1 of Music Camp

There is a yellow bus that takes us to and from the residence university campus where we spend our days at the camp and back home to the Glasan Residence. Now that the camp has started all the students have arrived and many of them (those who aren't locals) are living at the residence as well. So this morning when we got on the bus at 9:00 it was so full with people and instruments that there were many people standing in the aisle. They decided that it would be helpful to have the bus run twice to the University in the morning, one at 9:00 like usual and one at 8:15. I can see why then would do that but I will be very surprised if the bus is any less crowded tomorrow morning at the 9:00 run...I'm not taking the 8:15! No way!
The first day of camp was a little unorganized while we (the teachers assistants) were struggling to find a place to be helpful and productive. Now at least we have an idea of what a day will entail and we're organizing our days so we all have something to do and also have time off to practice our own solo stuff for our lessons with David and coachings with Elise, our Pianist.
We played another orchestra concert tonight that went well. We did a Strauss horn concerto, there was a couple of brass ensemble pieces, a Vivaldi piccolo concerto and Mozart's 29th Symphony. The most interesting part was when we played through the first page and a half of the piccolo concerto when the soloist stopped everything and announced that she didn't have the right music on the stand! So she ran off the stage to find it. While she was gone the principle cellist stood up and told a funny story that he said was about this particular concerto though I think he may have been pulling our legs. It was something about a flutist playing this particular concerto for a nudist colony and they required her and her accompanists (string quartet) to be nude as well. So they decide it's worth the money and strip down to play some Vivaldi and then the curtain comes up and everyone in the audience is dressed in long black dresses and tuxes. Everyone was laughing and the ice seemed to be broken well enough when the piccolo player came back out with the right music and it all went well after that. She even got an encore and played a cute little celtic tune with a lot of trills and fanciness involved.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aran Islands

We (David, Elise, Sarah, Nora and I) got up very early this morning and three hours of taxi, bus and ferry rides later we were on Inish Moor Island, the largest of the three Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.
As soon as we arrived we went straight to the bike renting shop. David and Sarah paid extra for electric bikes which the rest of us were jealous of but we were also happy for the exercise since all we've been doing is sitting a playing music for days. We rode straight (after a couple of stops to fix my bike chain) to just below the fortress which was at one of the highest points of the Island and then walked the rest of the way up a rough stone path. One there, we saw the most beautiful views of the very steep cliffs which are apparently very similar to the cliffs of Moor. We laid down right up close to the ledge to get pictures straight down the drop. It was pretty exciting!
We sat up in the fort on the grass, surrounded by the cobblestone walls, basking in the sun and being blown around a lot while eating our lunches.
When we got back down we met a boy who lived on the island and was taking his dog, Ruben, for a walk up to the fortress. On the way down we also met them at the beach where the sand was incredibly white and fine. It was a beautiful day, though quite windy at times, but there were some women swimming at the beach. We chatted with them for a few minutes and as we walked away they began to strip off their bathing suits right there on the beach and we got a nice view of more then we would have liked!
We stopped at a pub about five minutes away from the pier where we needed to meet the ferry and got some refreshments. I've tried the famous Guinness beer but I can't say that I'm much of a fan. Though I don't like any beer I've ever tasted so that say much of anything about the Guinness.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sunny Day!

It's actually a beautiful day today. It started off cold but now the clouds have parted and the sun is shining! Better go enjoy it while it lasts.
Plans are to go to the Aran Islands tomorrow, rent bikes while were there and check out the very old fortresses and the crazy steep cliffs.
Had a lesson with David today, he gave me a big so called "kick in the butt" to get back into shape. Shouldn't take long since all the things I need to work on are things we've figured out before.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away...

So we went for a walk to find a grocery store tonight since, for once it wasn't raining, and because for breakfast we only get bread and cereal. We went to one place but it was closed by the time we got there so we ended up walking for about 35 minutes to get to a Centra grocery store where we bought eggs and cheese and juice and a bunch of other stuff.
It was so funny seeing brands that I know but with a different look. (see pic of Rice Krispies)
We missed the bus this morning, I don't ever know the time because my phone is not working and so I'm thinking I'm going to pick up a cheap watch tomorrow.
We have an orchestra concert tomorrow of all Beethoven rep, it should be fun. Rehearsal tomorrow morning at 10:30 am, then lunch, coaching at 1:30, lesson with David at 2:15, then shopping for a watch.
All we've been doing is practicing so I only have pictures of that so far! That and the grocery trip...
I also got attacked by some kind of bug while I was sleeping and woke up with many red bites on my neck! It's not very pretty...I won't post pictures of that.

Getting warmed up

Adam and Nora at rehearsal

Myself and my very professional teacher, David

Funny Rice Krispies

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Irish Pubs

After orchestra rehearsal this evening some of us went out to a pub. We saw a few "sessions" which is just like a ceilidh and saw some really great fiddlers, Irish whistlers, mandolin, guitar, drums, and this weird mini bagpipe thing that I'm not sure the name of. Our plan is to go to the Aaron Islands on Sunday for the day. We'll drive to the coast, take the half hour ferry and see the sights.

Finally Here

As soon as I arrived at the Montreal airport the final boarding call was being announced for my flight to London. So I ran down the seemingly endless hallway of terminals starting at 1 and having to get to terminal 56. During my rush I got a nice glance of what looked like seconds after a guy hurled all over himself and the seat and floor around him. When I ran by I got to see the expressions of total disgust on peoples faces yet they did nothing. When I got to the desk they told me I was the last person to board. I was expecting to get much more stink eye then I did but luckily people were still settling in so I didn't look like too much of a dweeb and didn't notice any glares coming my way.

I sat beside a pleasant man, Alan, who I chatted with for a while about many random things. I find music is always an easy topic to build upon and we talked about that for the magority of our conversation. I had a very unpleasant ear ache while descending on all of the flights and I can't say that I looking forward to the flights home in that sense. At the moment my right ear is plugged and I can't hear much. Apparently I just need to wait for it to pop...I've tried plugging my nose and blowing air "out my ears" but it only pops my unplugged ear. I didn't really sleep on the flight because of my ear discomfort but I slept pretty well on the 3 hour bus ride to Galway.

I am now sitting in my little private room. It looks like I will be sharing a 6 bedroom house with a bunch of girls who have not yet arrived other then Sarah and Nora who just walked in the door. I am on the ground floor where there is one other room, bathroom, kitchen and tv room. Mom was right about the plugs, BUT Nora was smart and organized and brought a converter!

My phone doesn't seem to work here so I may not be doing the texting. Stupid Bell. Always a disappointment.

Pictures to come...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Charlottetown Airport

Looks like I'll have no problem getting on the plane with my large carry-on bag and my violin. Thank you AirCanada for being slack in your rules and regulations. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ireland tomorrow!

I'm starting to feel the traveling jitters. I hope I catch all my flights and arrive with all my luggage and not lose anything and be able to find the bus and find a place to exchange my canadian money for Euros and get off at the right stop in Galway and take lots of awesome pictures and make lots of beautiful music and meet awesome people and...too much to ask?
Since I only have about 40 minutes between my arrival into Montreal and my departure to London I'm going to try to get away with taking two large carry on luggage. I don't want to be totally stressed out about waiting on getting my little bag at the baggage claim when I could possibly just zip from one terminal to the next. This seems like a much less stressful plan to me.
Once in London (seven hours of, hopefully, mostly sleeping later) I'll have about three hours to kill before my flight into Dublin.
Sarah Williams, another goer of this trip, is arriving in Dublin about five and a half hours before me so if she decides to hang out in Dublin until I get there then we may take the bus to Galway together to meet Nora Pellerin, who is presently on a plane on her way there.
Havn't heard anything from Adam yet, not sure when he will be arriving but I guess we'll meet up at the residence.
I fear I've practiced more fiddle music then my own classical rep...I'm just too excited about the Irish pub music to be able to practice my Ravel Sonata and Barber Concerto!

Packing time... :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

I talked to Ireland today!

I spoke shortly with Robert Creech, the Artistic Advisor of "Summer Music in Galway". Now I know to take the citylink bus (ticket to be reimbursed) from the Dublin Airport, after I arrive on the 4th at 11:55 AM, straight to Galway. I get off at the Mayo Institute of Technology, which is right across the road from the Glasan Village Residence where I will be staying. And I wait there until people come for supper.
I won't promise that I'll stay put if I think I have enough time to roam a bit, depending on when I arrive.
4 Days! Yay!

Monday, July 26, 2010


So, I am going to Galway, Ireland for three weeks and it is coming up really soon. I leave from Charlottetown, PEI on the 3rd of Aug. and come back on the 23rd.
I will be with my violin teacher, David Stewart, at a summer music camp at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). I believe there are three or four of us who were invited to go from the University of Ottawa music department and this is what it looks like will be happening:
Along with assist in coaching young students either in ensembles or in private lessons we will be participating in the Chamber Orchestra with the senior SMS faculty which will be conducted by Paul Exergailis, Leader of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. We will be participating in the "grand finale" concert at the end of each week along with all the students and the Teacher's and Professor's Assistants.
David will arrange our lesson and master class schedule and NUIG's Quartet-in-Residence; ConTempo, will coordinate chamber music groups and performances.
It looks like we will be staying at the "Glasan Village Residences" all meals and accommodation are paid for. I believe we have evenings and weekends off to go about doing our own thing. Hopefully we won't have to worry too much about practicing all our evenings away for chamber music and orchestra and everything else so that we can go out and experience Ireland.
More updates to come...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reflection String Trio

The Reflection String Trio is made up of myself (1st violin), Vincent Hughes (2nd violin) and Matthieu Hughes (cello). We are based in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island and we joined forces about a year and a half ago during which we have lived through many experiences that we feel are worthy of sharing. So, now I will attempt to tell some of our stories...

*no real names will be used other then those of the Trio*

During the summer of 2009 I received an email from "Lisa" who was planning the music for her outdoor wedding ceremony for the end of August. She informed me that her husband to be would be riding his unicycle to the altar for the opening of the ceremony. They thought it would be a great way to keep things happy and light hearted and was looking for some suggestions as to what music we could play while this was happening. The boys and I were quite excited about the idea and we scrounged through our repertoire and sent a list of suggestions to Lisa, who chose, to our delight, "the Entertainer".
The boys and I were quite looking forward to this wedding. For one, we hadn't really been playing together long and hadn't done many weddings together yet. And, most weddings where a string group is involved usually consists of pure classic wedding music, (for example; the Canon in D, Jesu Joy of Man's Desire, Bach's Arioso...etc) so to have something like "the Entertainer" that is so far out of that classical genre is a simple but exciting occurrence in this business.
The day of the wedding I was picked up by Vincent and Matthieu as they were coming home from a family luncheon in Charlottetown. The boys needed to grab their suits before heading to the wedding so we stopped by their house for a quick wardrobe change and this is where it all began. The house was locked and neither of them had a key. They were both wearing kaki shorts and t-shirts and most definitely could not perform like that so we set out to find a way in as quickly as possible. After we checked and double checked the doors Matthieu remembered that his basement level bedroom window was open. Now, this was one of those small, half windows that should only really fit something through it the size of a cat but none the less, we removed the screen and I was lowered in feet first, in my black dress, laughing hysterically, with Matt on one arm and Vincent on the other. I found my footing on Matthieu's desk, accidently kicking a jar of pencils over, jumped to the floor, ran to the front door, unlocked it, the boys rushed to their rooms and we were out of there in a flash dressed to impress.
On the way to the wedding it began to rain, so we called our contact who informed us where the wedding was being moved to which was the lovely South Shore United Church. We arrived with enough time to set up our chairs and stands, tune our instruments and organize our music.
The groom and groomsmen arrived and I made a point of catching him quickly and asked him; "how long does it take you to get to the front? and he replied; "oh, only a couple seconds.". So we had the music for the Entertainer all ready to go and were ready to switch quickly to something more elegant and wedding-like for the processional. We saw the men start to come out to the front of the church so we start up the Entertainer, when, to our surprise, there is no unicycle in sight. I am sure that if anyone was looking at us at that very moment, they would have seen panic clear on our faces. Here we were playing this ridiculous music while the men come walking out just like normal.
I will never forget the look on Matthieu's face when he looked at me while we were still in mid freak out moment and said "The groom is at the front! He's at the front!" So, we finished as soon as we could while the minister was looking at us and signing for us to end it and, red faced and very stressed, we started the processional music.
Now for the next 30-40 minutes I was sitting there thinking that maybe I mixed up the weddings and we weren't supposed to play the Entertainer at all at this wedding. I was so confused and embarrassed and full of stress and by the time we finished the recessional music I was convinced that I had made a huge mistake and had ruined this wedding with our corny rag time music.
We went home unsettled about the whole experience and I got dropped off at my boyfriend's house where I then told him about the whole thing. I got on the computer and checked my correspondence with Lisa and as so relieved to see that in fact it was the right wedding and I was not at fault. But I still didn't know what happened so I emailed the bride, out of pure curiosity, inquiring as to what happened.
Apparently when they decided to move the wedding indoors because of the rain, they also decided that they would not have the unicycle involved since it could seem unfitting, disrespectful, or something along those lines, while in a chapel. The groom was supposed to inform us of this important change when we spoke quickly before the service but it slipped his mind and well... the rest is history. Lisa was very care free about the whole thing saying that she heard people laugh, which I certainly did not hear since all I was hearing was a loud thumping heart beat in my ears, and she thought that it was still a great ice breaker.
It always works out in the end.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Master Class

Juliane Gallant, my former roommate, and I are playing in the Chamber Music master class tomorrow morning. We will be performing the first movement of Ravels Sonata for violin and piano. We just started putting the piece together about a month ago after finishing up our Beethoven experience with a bit of loathing and bitterness. The Beethoven Sonata we played first semester turned out to be a much bigger feat then we ever imagined to accomplished. It was very difficult to get together.
We are both much more at ease with Ravels music and are finding this semesters piece a much more pleasant undertaking.
Each semester every group is required to perform their pieces in front of the rest of the chamber music class with a Prof who coaches them and basically gives them a public lesson. That is what we will be doing tomorrow morning at 10:00.
Last semester the prof that was supposed to come coach us didn't show up for the class...so we didn't get to have a lesson on it. And on the schedule it has a list of who coaches when and it says "tbc" in stead of a name, which I'm assuming means something like "to be considered". So I'm very much hoping that they've been organized enough to arrange for someone to come coach us. Though I won't be surprised if doesn't work out so well. Ottawa U isn't the most efficient of schools.
Now I'm off to watch a scary movie; The Decent (#2)...why? To get out of my apartment! I don't like weekends.

Katie D

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Well, the event that I have been working towards since I got here in September is now over. I did my audition for the Master of Music Performance program at Ottawa U on Friday (yesterday). It went generally well.
I didn't play all of the music I have been preparing because in auditions they usually just want to hear bits and pieces, like the especially hard parts to see how you handle them and the very lyrical parts to see how musical you can be. So I played a little more then the first page of the Barber Concerto, a bit of the beginning of the Mozart Concerto in G major and then we skipped to the Cadenza, and a Wieniawski Caprice from beginning to end since it is only about two and a half minutes long.
After I played we had a little interview. Having been attending the school already for close to a year, and having my violin teacher on the panel, made for a short interview since David already knew all the answers to the questions they were asking. But we did talk about how I felt my year went, whether I thought I was ready for my masters (which I am!) and what plans and ideas I have for my post graduate future.
I had a bit of the case of the nerves while performing which resulted in a few silly mistakes that I wish I hadn't done but nothing happened that was too traumatic.
I was thinking about it and, for me, this was my end of year recital, my big final exam. And now it's over... It's such a weird feeling having the audition done and over with. But it's pretty great too.
After the audition I went out to eat with some friends, we played Mario Bros. on Nintendo 64, made Whoopie Pies, ate them and watched the Olympics (witnessing the gold medal run in men's skeleton).
Until my next lesson I'm going to take a nice little break from violin, then I'm going to start a sort of experiment with David. He's going to assign me a different Paganini Caprice (which are very short, virtuosic etudes) each week and I'm going to learn them and perform them for him at the next lesson. This will encourage...or really force me to practice extremely efficiently. No time wasting. No playing around. Getting better with every second.

Should be interesting.

Katie D

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A new sport has been brought to my attention that, right now is not widely known of, but, will soon be sweeping the nation and, undoubtedly, the world.
This sport is called "Tableing". It doesn't have many rules, only one: don't touch the ground.
What this sport entails is this...
You start by placing yourself on top of a table. Then you need to get yourself down one side, underneath, around and back up onto the table from the other side without touching the ground.
It's a game of shifting and swinging of your body weight and not necessarily a game of brute strength. I've seen skinny girls who can't do more then a few push ups do this better then some guys who do regular work outs.
The tricky part is getting back up onto the table once you're hanging underneath, spread eagle, one foot hooked on either side of the table. It's all about getting yourself into a position so that you can simply roll up onto the table surface. To do this, you need to get your body as straight and level with the table as possible before you go for the final push. It's always good to have some friends holding the table in question steady. Tables falling on people is not as much fun as it may sound.
So now, like me, you'll see a table in a hallway or at work or in a classroom or just in your own kitchen and wonder if you can conquer it. And when you do you will feel much accomplishment.

I think it's worth the bruises.

Katie D

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beaver Tails

If you've ever been skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa you probably know what a Beaver tail is. If you do not know, it's not the tail of an actual beaver, but a delicious gooey doughy delight. Apparently out west they are called "Elephant Ears" but are basically the same thing.
During the winter months in Ottawa, and when the Rideau Canal is frozen over, people flock to the ice with the Beaver tail cravings.
There are a few select spots along the length of the canal where there are shops set up on the ice where people can purchase hot drinks, pop, poutines, etc. But the longest line up is always found at the Beaver Tail shop.
They are a glorious treat to have after a bit of skating, but they are rough on the bank account if you're not careful. One Beaver Tail ranges from $4-5 dollars and some people purchase a number of these in one week alone.
So my friends and I decided, since we thoroughly enjoy these tasty treats but, being students, naturally don't want to spend the cash, that we'd have a go at making home made beaver tails.
We found a recipe online, followed it, and were all quite disgusted by the end. The only one of us who finished a whole one had an upset stomach after and the rest of us just felt like we needed to eat some health food and take showers. The recipe called for us to deep fry the dough which acted as sponges. So tonight we ended up with a pile of home made oil infused pancakes...
I don't know if any of us will be tempted by the sight of the canal shops for quite a while. And I wouldn't be surprised if all of us have fresh pimples on our faces in the morning.

Here is a recipe if I havn't succeeded in grossing you out. Maybe you can do it better.
Katie D

Well, I've been living in Ottawa since September doing a pre-graduate program in music performance at the University of Ottawa. I've almost totally changed all my technique this year and it's been a very interesting journey.
I've changed so many things it's hard to list them all but I'll see if I can give a small idea of what I've been working on so far with my teacher here, David Stewart.
-Making my bow arm smoother, and getting rid of the "jolty" bow changes. I used to have (and it still comes up every once in while) these hiccups in my sound when I'd change the direction of my bow.
-I've totally changed how I hold my violin, where it sits on my shoulder and under my chin, and I've got a new chin rest that puts my chin almost exactly over the middle of the violin. This helps me to be able to reach the tip of my bow more comfortably.
-Starting with scales, David helped me correct my shifting. I still do it sometimes but at least am more aware of it now, that I've used my wrist to hit the body of the violin to know where I'm shifting to. so I do this weird twisty wrist/arm action when I shift positions. I have been working on this, always practicing with a mirror, making sure I keep my wrist straight and simple.
-During the months of September and October I did only scales. That was a very frustrating time since I hadn't seriously worked on scales and arpeggios since...well...ever. I've done a number of studies and a couple scales now and then since I started in grade seven but never had I experienced such an intense session of technical training.
So then there was the challenge of applying what I was learning in scales into music. This became quite the challenge. For some reason I have this wall between technique and music, like they are oceans apart in my mind. It was a question of being only technically correct and no music, or only musical and having a very sloppy technique. It was meshing the two together that proved to be the hardest of all.
Now I am auditioning, again, for the masters program in music performance. Since I have been studying with David since September it is a great comfort that he will be on the panel of judges. I have a friend, Matty, who will be accompanying me and so new friends pulling for me. Nothing I'm playing will be perfect. But I've worked hard and hopefully they will see that in my playing.

Katie D