Sunday, July 26, 2015

Holberg Suite - Air (onenaoko)

Holberg Suite!

Every string player eventually plays this piece.  I have definitely forced more than one former class to play the Prelude (I have these vague memories of talking about galloping and coconuts.  Props to you if you get that references).

This is the Air, which is the slow and very pretty movement.

A student once said to me, "I wish my bow was this long" and spread his arms out as far as they would go.  Yeah, that's basically how I feel about this piece.  I wish my bow was ridiculously long so I could sustain a note FOREVER.  In lieu of that, I opted for a lot of staggered bowing.

I doubled up on the parts for two real reasons:
1.) Most of the parts had divisi parts
2.) I thought 10 mimicked a chamber group better than 5, and created a fuller sound

On another note, I'm looking for new video editing software that can handle multi-track videos.  My software is nice but....once all the parts are in, the video gets super choppy and I can't properly align everything toward the end.  I have both a PC and Mac, so if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

Okay.  Here it is:


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My First Racial Slur

Today, someone emailed me back, after I tried to help with a problem, and said merely that I was dumb and was writing from a third world country.

I had two reactions:
1.) Eugh, just because you haven't seen my name before doesn't mean I'm writing from not-America
2.) Uh...Japan is not a third world country.

And also, this person did not write anything else in their response to me.  Not exactly giving me a lot to go on to help you out...

I wrote back asking if she had tried any of my suggestions, and what the results were.

She wrote back, saying she was from America and she knew I was writing from a third world country.  And then called me "chingy".

I gasped out loud and went, "Oh.  My.  God."

And then I laughed.

Monday, July 6, 2015

BUS STORIES - Can't a white man ever catch a break?

Going home, I took my (now) normal #2 bus home.

Since they prefer you going through the backdoor rather than the front, I walked up to the bus, held down the button to open the door, and walked into the bus.  Easy, right?

As soon as I sit down, a man starts angrily muttering.  "Oh, you open the back door now, huh?  You open it for HER?!  That's DISCRIMINATION!  I'm being discriminated against!"

I peaked over at him and furrowed my brow with confusion.  It was a 60 something year old Caucasian man.

Uh.

Yeah, man.  You have it so hard.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

3 Years

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of my last last day of school.

It's a little crazy that it has already been 3 years.  It feels like it was both a couple months ago and a lifetime ago.

On Friday, a co-worker asked, "Do you miss it?"  I do still tell a lot of teaching stories...

My honest answer was, "No.  Not really."  And everybody laughed.
Another person asked, "Did you like it?"
My honest answer was, "Yes.  I loved it, at the time.  I loved it until I didn't, and then I stopped."

Especially when talking with people who have not been in education, it's hilarious to me when they ask me about my classes and ask me which was my biggest one.  The look on peoples' faces when I say, "I had a beginning 4th grade class of 100," is priceless.  It brings me such amusement, I can't even tell you.

"How did you do it?!"
"I don't know.  I didn't know how I was doing it at the time...I just did."

Everyone asked me this at the time, too.  "I don't know how you do it," is the phrase that was told me the most often.  It's the phrase that people still say to me.

I miss the good kids.  I miss the banter and the funny things that would happen on a daily basis that only happens with kids.  I miss making a difference and seeing that difference over time.

However, there's such a long list of things I don't miss.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin'

I'm not sure if I would know who Meghan Trainor is if I didn't work for a music company.

It started with All About That Bass.  It was a divisive song at work.  We agreed that it was almost empowering except that it wasn't and it fell short.  We supported Ms. Trainor's notion of being all about that bass, but were worried that she still sought validation from men about it.

Personally, I just changed the lyrics:
"Because I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake (no veggies),
I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake (no veggies).
I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake (no veggies),
I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake.

I'm bringing JUNK FOOD BACK....go ahead and tell them skinny b*****s that..."

I like my version better.

Then came Lips Are Movin.  And then Dear Future Husband.  That sealed it.  Meghan Trainor is a feminist icon.  (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

Nobody wanted to do any of these songs for work, so I ended up doing every Meghan Trainor song (because I always blink first) for all of our apps.  A quote I never thought I'd hear anybody say, "So really, Naoko IS Meghan Trainor."  No.  No, I am not.

However, her music IS catchy.  And once you remove Meghan Trainor from it and...like...the words, I think it's quite enjoyable.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

SF Symphony Workshop

Apparently, there's this thing where you can sign up to be part of an SF Symphony workshop!  You go and rehearse, and then have sectionals that are lead by an SF Symphony member, and then you rehearse as a group and play.

I got an email about it, since I'm signed up for the newsletter, and thought...yeah, sure!  Why not!  That sounds fun!

There was a Thursday night rehearsal, and I thought do I really need to go?  It's not mandatory...I'm kind of tired.  The music isn't that hard.  In the end, I figured...why not?

It was mostly professionals who had picked up cello later in life, or maybe had come back to it.  I quickly realized that it probably wasn't fair to label myself as an "amateur", so I tried to discreetly warm up.  I really didn't want to be show-off-y, or make anybody self conscious, so I did my normal scales and a little Bach.

Tonight was the rehearsal.  I really wanted to sit 3rd chair - one of our pieces was the Elgar String Serenade, and there's a cello divisi part.  I wanted to play the top because that's the fun part (and the melody).  I didn't want to be the jerk who was like, "I am going to sit first chair!  Because I'm SO AWESOME YOU GUYS!"  But I also wanted to sit close enough so I could hear all the parts.  Unfortunately, 3rd chair was taken when I got there, so I sat in the second row next to the second stand.  I don't even know what chair that was.

People filtered in.  A fun woman announced, "I will be brave!" and sat first chair.  The guy sitting behind me covertly told me to save the seat next to me so that our coach, Sebastien (the sf symphony cellist), would sit there.  I shrugged and put my purse on the chair, though at that point almost everybody had come in and....nobody wanted to sit with me :D

So that's how I ended up sitting next to an SF Symphony cellist.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Police Report

I filed a police report yesterday.

This time, I called the police at around noon so that they wouldn't show up at 2 in the morning while I slept again.  They arrived after 6pm.

Two guys came in; one looked like Mike from Mike & Molly (but slimmer).

Highlights included:

"Yeah....it's gone." - when talking about my phone.

"The bus was full and nobody helped you??" - said in disbelief.  Nope.

"So you were on the bus, not paying attention to your surroundings..."
Seriously?  Who is alert for a 60 minute bus ride that's taken twice a day ever day??  I'd have an ulcer.  Again.

"My daughter wants to play cello...god knows why," he says with misery.  WHAT?!
"Because cello is awesome??" I respond.
"Yeah, I guess," he says halfheartedly, while looking at my cello.

Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath.

But at least I did SOMETHING, right?