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Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 25 Video Update

This was the week I decided to get something above 90 on video. Monday was a day off from work, and I decided to make a video of the Mudarra Galliard. That morning during my right hand practice session, I’d hit the Galliard at 92. So that afternoon I set up the camera and warmed up on the guitar. Then I’d run a few takes, pick the best one, and upload it. Piece of cake.

I turned on the camera and played for about ten minutes. When I thought I had some good takes, I got up to turn off the camera. It was then that I noticed it wasn’t recording. Dammit! Examining the camera, I found it had recorded for a few minutes, then shut itself off. Did I have too many old files cluttering up the memory disk? Thinking this was the problem, I deleted every old file I could find. Then I started again. Looking up at the camera between takes, I found it again had shut itself off after a few minutes.

Great. Now I apparently had a defective camera that would run for only a few minutes. I again deleted the recording I’d made—there was nothing good enough to keep—and started over. I began running through the Galliard knowing that the camera would stay on for only two or three takes. This made me edgy. My playing devolved as my anger increased. Finally I gave up. It wasn’t going to happen on this particular day. I broke down the camera gear and put away my guitar. To cool down, I took a walk.

Mulling this fiasco as I walked, I saw that I’d let my emotions sabotage my playing. I couldn’t allow this to continue. To develop a consistent technique, I needed to better control my reactions to bad circumstances. After all, concert artists constantly have to deal with less than perfect situations: bad halls, noisy audiences, broken nails, strings that refuse to stay in tune, et cetera. The best artists make the best of it and play well. The bad ones pitch a fit and play badly. While I’m no concert artist, I’d like to model myself on what the best concert artists do. And I don’t want the quality of my technique to depend on however I happen to feel at the moment.

Tuesday, I took another crack at making a video. Knowing the camera would give me only a short window of opportunity, I decided to run takes of the scale section of the Galliard. I wasn’t yet ready to hold my emotions in check for the entire Galliard, so I’d leave that for another day.

The result of this session is on the video below. The first take on the video is at a metronome setting of 92—the second take is at 94. I did five takes at 92, which explains why you’ll see me say “that was five” on the video. The fifth take wasn’t the best, but it was right before the good take at 94, and that’s why I used it.

My next goal is obvious: get the entire Galliard on video, preferably at my target tempo of 100. I’m working on it.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with my camera. Turns out it had a lot of old files that didn’t show up on the camera display, but did show when I hooked it up to my computer. I deleted the old files. So the next time I try to get a good performance on video, I’ll have more than a few minutes to get it. That should improve both the quality of my playing and my blood pressure.

——[My next update will be March 4, 2012]——

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