A few years back, I auditioned for a prestigious Asia-wide orchestra summer camp. To put it very mildly, the panelist declined me and gave me his very frank thoughts on my playing. What he said about my playing I was able to shrug off after a few days, but something else he said haunted me … More Pesach Cleaning: Ghosts and Gold Cracks
Over the weekend I found myself thinking about my violin career and well, frankly, how limited the opportunities are, at least those on the professional orchestra level. There are only so many orchestras in the country, which only need so many violinists, and there are armies and armies of violinists ready to audition at every … More Unlimited Job Openings
A few days ago, I found myself in an all-day orchestra rehearsal. Typically I enjoy these – except I really, really needed to send someone an email, and the file I needed to attach was in my laptop at home. As the day went on I gradually got more and more aggravated as I thought … More Are You More Stressed Than You Need To Be?
This entry is dedicated to the memory of Shimon Zev ben Yeshayahu. May the inspiration gained from this give his neshama an aliya. This Sunday, September 4, 2016 is the centennial anniversary of the College of Music at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. As part of the celebrations, a huge 80-plus-piece orchestra was formed, … More Whose G-d is Running Your Life?
A few days ago I had my first professional orchestra audition. Standard in the audition process is a part called sight reading where a piece is placed in front of you and you are expected to read and play it on the spot. So there I was: just finished my prepared repertoire and about to … More Living the Life of our Dreams
Tonight I went to watch a friend perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto. It was a full house, and she was beyond fantastic. What struck me the most about her playing though wasn’t how clean all the notes were but how she was able to interpret the music. The movement that was patterned after a dance … More Playing Your Music
Playing the violin involves both of your arms: the fingers of your left hand are positioned over the strings to press down on them and play the notes, while your right hand controls your bow. Your bow goes up and down – simple enough – leaving you enough brain power to focus on your left … More Believing in our Potentials
“Bernice, play this,” my violin teacher said (in case there are any other violinists reading this, it was Kreutzer etude #33). I started playing it, regularly starting and stopping to grimace at how bad I sounded, not to mention out of tune. I had been playing for about thirty seconds when my violin teacher stopped … More Keep Trying
“Bernice.” My violin teacher said, stopping me while playing in the middle of my lesson. “You need to realize something. You are no longer a beginner or even an intermediate player. You are very advanced. Therefore, you need to learn to practice like an advanced player. The way you practice has always worked for you, … More Breaking Free
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to be in the orchestra that played for an extremely well-known, extremely important, and extremely influential ambassador who visited the Philippines. The event was attended by millions and it remains one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had. But afterwards, I found myself thinking about all the … More Respecting Ambassadors