Monday, July 13, 2009

One week since school has been done

I'm still only starting to come to terms with the fact that I am done, for the foreseeable future, with school. Okay, so I only had my viva on Monday and I had a presentation on Friday and actually I'm writing this from the school computer lab right now so "done with school" might be a bit of a misnomer.

The viva went well. I was nervous the whole way through, but very grateful for the prep help the night before (Thanks parents!) I managed to cut the repetitive bits out of my presentation so it was definitely under 10 minutes. I'm not sure how long it ended up being, but I know they didn't have to cut me off.

There were only two questions that I hadn't foreseen and already figured out how I was going to answer (pretty good, huh?). The two that I hadn't thought about were, in retrospect, really obvious ones: what would you change about the performance? and next time, how would you put more of yourself in musically? Those are rephrasings, I don't remember exactly what the panel said...

Lets answer the second one first- I'm not sure that I would put more of myself in musically. What I said to the panel and what I stand by right now is that in order to put more of myself in to the performance (and by this lets be clear I mean "compose the music") I would need to have that be one of the goals of the piece- one of the things that I set up at the very beginning of the devising process. It wasn't in this case and so because of that definitely did fall by the wayside. The other thing though is that I'm not sure how interested I am right now in looking at things from a particularly musical bent. I've been doing that for eight years, there are other ways of looking at things that I want to explore right now.

Which brings us to the other question: what would I have changed about the performance. At that point it was only a week after the performance and I was still pretty much on a high from it. (I spent most of the first week after the show turning to my parents and saying "you know what else was totally cool that we/I did awesomely?!") And I still think that we did a wonderful job for that point in the process. But could we have taken everything farther? Absolutely. And do I have ideas for how to do that? Well yes, now I do.

On Friday I had a presentation for my Action Research class with Dr. Helena Gaunt. I really enjoy working with her because she is a master at asking questions. Her questions tend to be about aspects of my project that I haven't totally considered and then in answering them whole new vistas open up and I'm constantly in a state of "Ooh...!" Things slot together and suddenly make a lot more sense when I talk them over with Helena. Which is one of the reasons I'm so excited that she is encouraging me to write up my research about the bass ballet movement of my final project piece. Oh, that was what the presentation was about. I didn't say that yet, did I?

Anyhow- the presentation was supposed to be about 10 minutes long and about an hour and a half in to the class we moved on to the next person. Pretty great, huh? So many good questions and new realizations. What I'm thinking I'm going to focus on in the writing up of this process is my relationship with my bass and how that inspired me to make this piece and explore my relationship with the bass in an artist space. Much of what I was focusing on for this first foray in to dancing with the bass was shapes, symmetry, really exploding wide open my conception of how I can physically interact with the bass (upside down with my feet instead of my hands? You betcha!). What I wasn't focusing on was the sound, the music. So here's and interesting question: what does it mean to be a musician, an instrumentalist, if you're working in silence?

I remember a day close to the performance when I had spent a good two or three hours working by myself on the piece, rehearsing the transitions between sections and trying top make sure that I could get the choreography as smooth as possible. As I was packing up my bass I began berating myself for not having practiced that day.... What on earth did I think I had just spent the last few hours doing? The realization that I had of course been practicing is the crux of what I'm going to look at. Sorry if this isn't very clear yet, I'm only just beginning to gather my thoughts on all of this and pull them together.

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