Since the strings section (feels a little premature to call us an orchestra at this point) will be playing at a benefit auction in two weeks, a couple of extra rehearsals are in order. Tonight we had an optional that tuned out to be a cello and viola duet (aka the mid-low strings sectional) with myself and our violist who is also newer to her instrument (although she plays several others)
The advantage of playing as two is that a lot of the cello and viola parts are complementary, so we had all the benefit of playing together (keeping time, hearing the overall sounds, etc) with the added advantage of being able to hear ourselves individually to make adjustments. We worked Brandenburg and the Quarttto in F Minor at slower than normal speed, paying attention to tone in the former and the more demanding eight note runs in the latter.
I was delighted to find I’m keeping time pretty well and I’m not missing nearly as many notes as I think I am in some of the faster passages. The rehearsal of two had the unexpected benefit of being a confidence builder – for the first time I could hear myself clearly the entire time WHILE playing with someone else. It didn’t sound half as bad as I feared I might, and even when I missed a note I was able to get right back to where I was supposed to be within a measure. I do still need to work on tone, especially my low F/F# (which keeps coming in a gastly flat foghorn if I’m not careful) and the backwards extensions G# on G and Bb on A but there’s always something, right?
But the whole session did leave me with that great sensation of appreciating how far I’ve come and having an enormous amount of respect for the process of growth. It also left me with a burning need to practice more. Which I am off to do right now.