Thursday, December 20, 2012

Doctor Who Fan Orchestra #6

I've wanted to be part of the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra since I first heard of them, but I've never managed to sign up before due to Facebook being stupid and not showing me all of their posts.  Well, I finally found out about the Christmas Carol (Suite) submissions on time.  Of course, they said it was one of the harder pieces they've played.  That's how it always goes for me.

Although I have kept up my piano playing since high school, I've barely picked up my viola since then.  I definitely wanted to play the viola part, since I never played piano in orchestra.  I was so worried because I don't read music very well, and I was always last chair in high school because I didn't care enough to practice (it's one of my regrets - how things that change when we grow up!)

All I can say is thank god for the click track.

I practiced for hours.  I practiced until I thought this would happen.  In fact, I can say with a fair bit of confidence that I put in more practice on this piece than I ever did with all the pieces I played in high school.  Combined.  In fact, I did what I do with most piano pieces: I memorized the entire thing (playing to the soundtrack in my headphones - I don't think I could do it without the click track).

I even took my viola, which actually was my mom's (or my aunt's - there is quite some debate about this) to be tuned up.  They did all kinds of gluing and fixing and replacing, and when I got it back, I couldn't believe how rich and full it sounded.  I was just about ready to film and record when I got a stiff neck.  And I don't just mean my neck was stiff, I mean that if I moved it a millimeter from the strange position it had gotten stuck in (just picture me as if I were giving you THE LOOK), I was in blinding pain.  I couldn't play for two weeks.  I finally was able to hold the viola comfortably about three days before the recording was due, and the first time I recorded myself, I burst into tears.  I sounded AWFUL.  Now remember, I never was good, but geez.  After two months of practice, you think I'd have been better!

So I recorded it dozens of times, and, being the talented editor that I am, I pieced together all the best parts until I got something that seemed passable.

When I finally filmed it, I decided that because I had memorized the whole piece, I could get away with playing as the Clockwork Droid.  And you know what?  It worked.  I can't see words through the mask, so reading music was definitely out of the question.  Because I couldn't see well, it was also difficult to bow on the proper part of the strings.  Aside from two measures that I messed up (but it was okay, because I blocked my fingers with the music stand), I did quite well.

Here is the final product.  If you haven't watched the other pieces that the DWFO has recorded, take a half an hour to watch them.  They're not the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but I think they're quite good for being a mish mosh of people from all over the world, playing without a conductor, playing without anyone else, with nothing more than a click track.  I absolutely love it, and I'm so glad that I was able to be a part of this "performance".  I am looking forward to participating the next piece, though I won't wear any costumes for that one.

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