Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Conducting Class with Ari Rasilainen

Tuesday the 15th of April. Piano class at 9 AM went much better than I could ever have expected! My teacher was really happy and noticed I had improved since last week! And I who still 9 hours ago was thinking about cancelling class! So I was very happy!

After my piano class I headed straight to Pirkanmaan Musiikkiopisto. My friend Aarni Pennanen, who is studying violin and conducting in University of music Würzburg, is a great energetic spirit, who now has arranged a short conducting course! The teacher is his own teacher from Würzburg, Finnish conductor Ari Rasilainen, who has come to Finland for the term break.

Aarni has also arranged a string quartet to play at the course and someone played on a piano the parts that the strings didn’t cover. The conducting pupils of today were Aarni, his friend Dae Myeong Park from Würzburg (also studying conducting), the viola player Taavi Nachtingall and me.

My conducting was an absolute disaster today. I had chosen to conduct Edward Griegs piano concerto, and my study mate Tuomas Honkkila was playing the solo parts. The piece has a lot of tempo modulations and other things that are difficult for an amateur conductor like me.

Rasilainen was very strict and straightforward and shouted: “What the heck are you doing? You are waving like a metronome; every kid can stay in tempo! Make music! You have to throw your self into the music and do it fully 100%, and if it goes wrong, then let it go properly wrong! But don’t be so afraid to feel and show your feelings and ideas, that is what you are there for!”

Well, that is one of the hardest things to learn with conducting, to be confident although you have been conducting for only 5h in front of people in your whole life… But I really enjoy the course! Some reader might think that Rasilainens comments might have intrigued me, but they were accurate and truthful, so that is why I enjoy the course (although I of course DID feel a bit intrigued the moment I was in front of the others and he said these comments). But still, afterwards, all I felt was satisfaction. Isn’t it strange how “sadistic” a musician can be?

After this I had lunch, a piano pedagogic seminar, a lesson with my piano pupil and then I met up with my former flat mate, trumpetist Mari Pakarinen and we had dinner.

For the evening I headed back to school and made a new arrangement of the third movement “Kallare” from my song cycle Dagbok. I arranged it for string quartet and piano.  I had to also re-arranged the singing part for all these instruments, as I won’t have a singer tomorrow. This arrangement I did only for being able to practise the conducting of this movement at tomorrows conducting class. I thought it would be quick to re-arrange the piece, as it’s only about 1’30 min long, but I don’t know if it was due to me being so tired or what it was, it took me anyway like 3 hours! But at least I got it all ready and all parts (for each player) done for tomorrows conducting class.

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