Diary of an amateur viola da gamba player. Former member of most of the world’s gamba societies, but edging back into membership ranks, starting with the VdGSA. Currently at around Middle Intermediate level, according to the VdGSA criteria, with aspirations to move to Upper Intermediate over the next five years. Opportunities for consort playing are limited to maybe only a dozen a year, which affects personal progress with sight-reading and tackling Jenkins and Lawes on spec.
So current focus is on solos and writing about music perhaps more than playing it. Prone to grave doubts about my lack of ability, talent and slow progress, resulting in my moving away from the viol for a year or three every so often… only to return as a Prodigal Son. Witnessing a Jordi Savall masterclass here in Sydney Australia in Dec 2008 resulted in my attending a five-day baroque music workshop a month later, which taught me a lot about ‘attack’ – playing more like a baroque violinist or cellist, with very clear starts to notes, almost non-existent final notes at cadences, playing with the entire length of the bow and a greater preparedness to play faster tempi. Basically, losing the timid, the cramped and the nervous.
That has led to this blog (early 2009), going back to university to study musicology (late 2009), venturing into choral singing and sound recording with Julia Cameron’s music creativity books to hand (2010) and on to YouTube-type home movies (2011). 2010 is shaping up to be my personal Year of John Jenkins.
Treble (Doug Eaton); Division Bass (Ian Watchorn); French bass (after Bertrand, 41cm string length, Matthew Bolliger) with bows by Eaton and Watchorn.