Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My name is Irene. (Public Practice)

Hey, they told us to "dress casual."
Saturday, I did my one hour of "Public Practice" at the Music Center. It was fun, and truly a real practice session for me (I know it was "real" because by the time I'd been playing for 54 minutes, I got bored. I know, I know, I'm a horrible person. Look, sometimes I really get into it. Sometimes I don't).

My brother and his partner Joe accompanied me and Exton, and that part was awesome. I picked them up, and since I've never been to their house in Los Feliz (Silverlake? I always get confused), I was a little nervous about finding it. In fact, I've done very little driving in that area, so it was kind of exciting for me to be making that big crazy right turn from Sunset onto Fountain (also, my stupid driving directions had me make a left off of Rampart onto Sunset! Talk about exciting!). But, the drive down there was fun; Ex stayed awake most of the time, and at one point while we were cruising along, listening to "Stairway to Heaven" on the radio, I swear he was singing along with me.

Because I had no idea how long it would take me to get there to pick them up and then get us back to the Music Center, I kind of overestimated. We were about an hour early. We took the baby in the stroller over to the Cathedral, and poked around there. We took Exton out to the courtyard, where I nursed him a little (fully covered; Dan and Joe wandered off while this was happening, and no one was around). He's really cutting his nursing sessions short (I think he's starting to wean? More on this later), so it wasn't a big deal. Then we took him over to the little garden area with the sculptures. Ex loved the big sheep, and got in the whale with my brother Dan. After awhile, we walked back to the check in booth at the Music Center for the Private Practice participants.

Exton: "Woof?"
Dog: [Nothing]

Anyone else reminded of that 80s song
"Belly of the Whale"?

Unfortunately I can't remember the names of all the people I encountered with Public Practice (only Richard, the guy who moved me midway through my session to another location. He was cool), but they were all super nice, and it was a fun experience. It was kind of noisy - there was a lot of street traffic (i.e., buses), and for some reason a lot of helicopters, but the echo I got off the side of the building was nice for my sound. I started out on what I think is the south side of the Ahmanson (on Grand).
I did my scales, and the loop pattern, but decided against doing too many long tones. I got out the Faure Fantasie for flute and piano. I played this in high school, which was sort of going against the rules of "playing something new." All week whenever I got a chance, I looked through my music collection for something new to try out there, and I just couldn't find anything I wanted to play. I even sat down with my big book of Bach sonatas (of which I've played... two), but all that did was convince me that I am right not to like playing Bach. So instead, being pretty rusty on this one, I decided to just go with it. The Faure is so pretty, and I can count a lot better now than I did in high school, so I think it was OK. As usual, when I am under practiced, I encountered the same issue I always encounter, which is that my fingers are just not up to speed. That was kind of a bummer, and I spent a lot of time working on that - the music has lots of passages where there's high F#'s to Gs, and that's mostly the problem area. It's fun, too, to replay measures over and over, to hear them getting better, or faster, or whatever you're looking to improve.
Dan, Joe, and Ex hung out on some benches in front of me, and they had a good time, I think. Ex is eating a lot more solids now, and so he had a turkey sandwich and half a peanut butter and jelly wrap that I brought for him. I think Dan and Joe got a kick out of playing with him. He's a great baby, really fun. He seemed to like my playing, and they walked him around to see what else was going on.

At 7, Richard came to help me move to another space just on the other side of the building (the Hope St. side). By this time there were a lot of people walking around getting dinner, there to see "American Idiot" and whatever else was happening at the Music Center. No one really stopped and listened to me, but that's fine, I think it would've embarrassed me. I was "only" practicing. At around 7, it was starting to get cold, and there was a street musician, a sax player (I don't think he was there for Public Practice!) pretty near to me, and he was a little loud... it was hard to concentrate. He was also pretty darn good, so I felt weird.

I got a cool sign to take home (I think I'll put it in my cubicle at work), and overall, it was a fun experience. I'd do it again.  

Afterwards, I filled out a little questionnaire, got a refund for my parking fees (sweet!), and took Dan, Joe and Ex to Brite Spot for dinner, where I had a pretty awesome steak ciabatta sandwich. Ex loved the restaurant, and bounced around to all the 80s hits (he likes the Cars, the Go-Gos, early Madonna, and Tommy Tutone as much as I do) that were playing on the stereo. He tried to talk to the group of people at the table behind us, but they ignored him. He wouldn't eat any of my sandwich, but he did enjoy the fruit cup I got instead of fries (he's really into cantaloupe and honeydew melon right now; also the blueberries). I took Dan and Joe home (Ex was out like a light practically before we even left the restaurant parking lot), got great directions from Joe for catching the freeway, and we were home by 10:00.

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