There's been a bit of a change of pace here in sunny Nice for Annelise (hehe).
I started my week at the 'Conservatoire National à Rayonnement Régional de Nice' (or as I like to call it, the Academy) last Tuesday! Figuring out the bus systems to get to this Academy was a little humiliating, considering my lack of French, but I finally figured out how to get there, alone! Which is a big deal for me, as Raylene is the constant navigator on this trip.
They don't do a very good job of informing at this Academy, so I was very lost as to where I should be and what I should be doing.
Desk person: "Here is your studio number and your ID card!"
Me: "...Ok do I just go practice now...?"
I soon found out that my teacher, Boris Garlitsky, will be giving numerous lessons that the students are to sit in on and watch, and I have four lessons this week. Mr. Garlitsky is the former concertmaster of the London Philharmonic, current teacher at the Paris Conservatory, as well as a concertist. Intimidating? VERY! So naturally, having my first lesson yesterday, I was a huge mess the day before. I got that whole 'inferior comparing-myself-to-other-musicians-I'm-not-good-enough-for-this-syndrome' and didn't know how to handle it. Raylene, being the constant as she always is, gave me some comfort and decided to accompany me the next day to the lesson.
Warming up the next day I felt like I was preparing for Concerto Finals or something! After all, I was playing the same piece as I did for the Concerto Concert last year- Prokofiev Concerto No. 1 First movement. Sadly, I am getting a little sick of this piece, and it is a ton more difficult to play on the 'junk' violin I have with me on this trip as opposed to my nice one at home. Oh how I miss my other violin.......
Anyway. The lesson began, I played my piece, and it wasn't wasn't too bad! As soon as he started to conduct the lesson, I felt much more at ease. He had wonderful suggestions, such as comparing a section to a Russian fairy tale about a really mean limping beast who is actually a big softy inside. If you heard the piece it'd make more sense. :)
Whew! Now that the first lesson is over, I know what to expect and prepare for. Besides the lessons and masterclasses at the Academy, all there really is to do is practice and make friends while eating lunch. ...It is a little awkward looking for a table with some people and asking if they speak English to see if it's even possible to make friends with them.
It is very refreshing to have a week to focus intensely on violin and sort of get in that mode again. And what better place to do it than sunny, beautiful, warm and colorful Nice!