Welcome to the official blog of the Highstrung String Quartet!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Step 3: Learning the music

Now we come to the hardest part of our journey. Learning the music. It is easy to pick out great music, buy the music, photocopy the music, and put it all in a notebook. It is a whole other ball game to learn that music.

We first start by just sitting down and reading the music through. This way we ll get an idea of which areas in our own parts need work and which parts are going to need to be practiced with the whole group.

When I use the word “learn” I don't simply mean know all the notes. The notes are the easy part! What I mean is to understand the story or spirit of the piece which we are trying to convey to you our audience. This is called the “musical interpretation” of the piece and it takes a lot of careful study and hard work. This part of the learning experience is constant and continues even as we preform in front of you. I'm sure We will be talking more about this part of learn in later posts.

Besides notes and interpretation there is articulation. That is, how each note is to sound. We spend many hours discussing and trying new articulation sounds. This is mostly fun and easy-ish but can become tedious quickly if you have to get your violist to match you or really anyone or anything.

There is so much more to share about the learning process but I want to save some stuff for later posts. This is just the beginning of a very long journey for the quartet. We will be posting stories and videos of our progress so you can follow along.

Below is a video of our second read through of the fourth movement to Haydn's String quartet Op. 74 No. 3. Everything within me screams not to post this because it is......well, it's just awful. And I'm not just talking about how we look! We sound bad too! And the online video quality isn't that good either! However, I really want you to be able to see the progress or at least pretend that we get better with time. =)


Victoria said...

The video said that it's "unavailable" and to "try again later". Well, I tried again later, and it's still not working. What's up with that, guys??

Loved the post though!


The Highstrung String Quartet said...

Hey everyone,
Blogger is having technical difficulties with video uploading right now. They have told us that it should be fixed "soon". Not really sure how long that will be so just keep checking back.

- Joshua Knopp for the gang

The Highstrung String Quartet said...

Victoria, The video link is up and running now. You should be able to watch it now and even again later if you so desire. That, my friend, is "what is up with that". =)

- Joshua Knopp

Victoria said...

Thanks. :-) You guys sound great for just a second read through. I have some questions:

#1. How often/long do you practice together?

#2. How often/long do you practice individually?

Thanks again for the vid.

The Highstrung String Quartet said...

Answers to the questions:

1. To be honest we have been having a hard time finding times to practice together. David is enrolled in school full time, Justin and Eric are still working through their High school studies, and I'm....well booking concerts and practicing. ;-) The schedule we are trying right now is rehearsals Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Plus practice without David on Tuesday's and Thursday's. The weekday rehearsals run around 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Friday's are when we receive coaching from, our music Mom, Cindy Petty and that's normally 2 hours. Saturday and Sunday practices run at least 1 1/2 hours. We push for 2+ if we can.

2. From what I understand, (I'm in and out a lot so I don't know for sure on this)Eric and Justin are practicing about 45 minutes to 1 hour daily right now. This will increase as the weeks go on and should be up to 1 1/2 hours by December. I have no idea if David is even practicing on his own right now do to finals preparation. He will practice a lot to get caught up over winter break. I practice at least 2 - 3 hours a day. I would like to get that up higher but my lower back hasn't healed enough to play more then 5-7 hours a day so in order to do quartet rehearsals I have to cut down on personal practice.

Thank you for your great questions! Everyone should feel free to post their questions and we will gladly post the answers for you.

- Joshua Knopp

Bisceglia Family said...

Very funny posts guys!
I think we should do something about how we pick out music on our blog...it really is quite as funny. You know, the main difference is that when we first try to rehearse new music together we all play off of a lead sheet so everyone is trying to make up their parts on the spot!

I love hearing about other people "missing music" problems! Hehehe!

Oh, and congratulations on your paid vacation to the beach!

Janna for the Bisceglia Family

Quinton said...

Very nice. You guys are just... uh... good. :)

Em said...

Hey!! You guys are amazing!! Keep up the amazing work..it's so encouraging to see such amazing musicians playing and doing this for the glory of God...well, I'm off...SAT prep =)...joyyyy...haha, and if Justin reads this, I think he might be able to figure out who this is :) -Em

The Reluctant Dragon said...

Awww... Don't be modest at others' expense. =D