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Advanced Solfege Portfolio by: Benjamin Thacher, (Spring 2007)

Goals and Thoughts

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Goals/Thoughts
from this semester







What is Advanced Solfege?

Advanced Solfege a way of opening up my mind to musical things that I have never been aware of. To do this, one must be solid with the fundamentals of solgege such as: Syllabals, Clefs, Theory, Balance, and most important, curiosity.


Goals this year:

To feel like I can communicate the skills of music in an educated, expressive, passionate way. The reason why I am taking this class, is because I don't currently feel comfortable with these essential skills. This is preventing me from being a good teacher, and performer.


Knowledge and Doing:
I believe that many people can play music well. It is important that the knowlege that you have learned reflects in your talent. When I play Bach, it comes from my heart but not from my brain! My goal is that this class will help increase my knowledge and will make me more satisfied with my performance.
Why is learning advanced solfege so meaningful?
Ear Expansion
-It will hopefully help expand my ear which.  This leads to better understanding of intonation, rhythm, sight reading, and productive practicing.

Performance Understanding
 
-Understanding a performance in a more profound and intellectual way would be so much more fun then just thinking how beatiful it is. This applies to live performances, recordings, and my own performances. I  have always loved music from the bottom of my heart, and it has been a very meaningful addition in my life, but do I really understand what is going on?  I want this class to open up my curiosity about the world of music making because this is the activity that occupies all of my time! 
Improved Auditions: 
(Orchestra, Solo, Chamber Music, Teaching, etc...)

What makes an audition good? For an example, when I go for an orchestra audition, what makes my excepts different from others?  Everyone can play a clean excerpt, but maybe that is not what they are looking for.  I want to improve my score study skills so that I can realize what is going on around me with the instruments. I took a couple of summer orchestral auditions last year and went in just thinking about the violin part and playing with good technique.  I was not very successful! I am going to use this class as a tool to build experience so that maybe when I do an auditon in the spring for a camp, I will do well. 


Goals that I accomplished in Advanced Solege.
 
-I got into the Schleisfig-Holstein Musik festival in Germany!!!  I strongly believe that after this class, it made me aware of more important aspects of my music.  The way I practiced the orchestral excerpts were the following.
 
1. Studying the Score:
 Before I even touched the piece, I learned the score and was a bit embarrased to know that I didn't do this last year, and as a result failed the audition. I looked at the main voices and solfeged them trying to single out the most important lines.  This method inspired my project on the great C major fugue by Bach. 
 
2. Stop Method Practicing:
 
One of the most valuable practices that I learned from this class was "Stop Method"  I use this method every single day in my practice room because it makes me more confident.  Confidence is the key to good musicianship.  It comes directly from understanding, not for show.  Before taking this class, people would  comment and say, "I look confident on stage".  I think to myself how unconfident I felt on stage!  Now I would say, "close your eyes and try to hear my confidence coming out through my music making."  This is something that I would never say before this class.  Because I have been working in this focused and patient manner, I have made tremendous progress.
 
Rhythm: Textual Conducting, Breathing.
 
I have always heard people say that you need to have perfect rhythm in an orchestral audition.  Little did I know that I have rhythm all wrong.  The first question that came to my mind was, why don't teachers teach rhythm the right way.   I never knew what a "true" triplet was. 
1    (1)   2  (1)         3
do  o   re  eh  me  ee
Tri       Po       LE

Also: 2 against 3 :  DO and Eh would be inside the triplet.  I had a very fun time using this knowledge in Don Juan.  Before I knew this kind of precision of this commonly mistaken rhythm, I would  play the triplets at to narrowly.  I now understand that they need to be spread out.





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