In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Day 3 of 6 Days of Crazy is over.

I am just physically worn out. That’s all. At least we’re halfway there now. Alhamdulillah, there are no new chicken pox cases. My friends, let’s press on. The battle’s half won.

On a completely different note, A has been dabbling in music again. He’s been working on making each note in his composition more meaningful and expressive. That made me think about my own development in music. Where do I stand? Definitely far beneath him. I want to catch up to him but I know that I can’t rush my musical development. A has more or less established his fundamentals. So I will need to work on mine first. Neither of us received any formal musical education besides the general ones we received in our compulsory school years. I suppose I am lucky enough to be part of a concert band in JC and pick up a few concepts here and there. However, the problem is I have completely forgotten everything I have learnt during my time in JC. D’oh!

Well, it’s a good thing our conductor prepped some notes for us and it’s a better thing that I actually kept them! Here are his ‘Tien Commandments’ (his name is Dr. Lee Tian Tee):

  1. Rhythm — keep in time.
  2. Notes — start off with a comfortable speed and then slowly proceed onto the actual speed for the difficult parts.
  3. Articulation — Marcato, Accent, Staccato, Tenuto.
  4. Dynamics — ff, pp, crescendo, etc.
  5. Intonation — Vertical (Individual) and Parallel (Groups).
  6. Phrasing — placement of climax, breath marks.
  7. Memorising — memorise the piece and watch the conductor.
  8. Playing together — listen to each other and across each section.
  9. Balance and Blend — synchronise, dynamics, do not overdo.
  10. Musicality — three floors of performance technique, 22 golden rules.

He told us that when we approach a piece of music, it has to come in that order. Steps 1 to 5 should occur during our individual practice. Steps 6 to 10 should occur during our group practice.

Hahahaha! I seriously feel bad for A because a lot of times my rhythm and tempo are off! Hahahaha! That man has got some serious patience with me. I better keep at it and be better already! Poor chap.

So yeah, I’m now more aware of the importance of getting the timing right first. If you were to look again at the 10 commandments above, you can see that once you know how to play a piece of music according to the correct timing and the correct notes, then you can play it more expressively. Even so, it occurs in a series of steps. What is the note asking for in terms of its duration and the way to play it? Then how loud should you play the note? And then who is else is playing the same note as you? Is there somebody else who is playing a different note but in harmony with yours? Once you have got #1 to #5 right, which is pretty much your own part, then you can move on to #6 to #10, working it out with the people you are playing with.

Hais. Wish I can completely immerse myself in music but not now. Let me finish the remaining three days of my 6 Days of Crazy first.

Keep the rhythm going!

And Allah is Knower of all things. – MM