Two years ago, my recorder teacher decided to create ensembles from her students which are playing at about the same level. Ian, Steffie and I ended up in a recorder trio. We practice every other Tuesday at Steffie’s house, and that’s how we got our name: The White House Trio. The Tuesdays in between we have an ensemble lesson with our teacher, Judy Linsenberg (http://www.linsenberg.com/).
Who is playing?
Ian is an australian software engineer at SLAC working with experiments which are run in space on various satellites. He is the quiet guy who organizes our music. He also very passionately dislikes working with a metronome.
That’s why Steffie keeps us on time! She is a retired MS in Physical Therapy and taught me how to walk with crutches that lame December. She is a very energetic and unique person, and probably the best musician among us.
Well, then there is me. I am slowly but surely starting to catch up in recorder playing skills. I like to explore all kinds of music, but definitely need to practice more!
When we started playing together about a year ago, we did not know each other other than by name. It took us a few months to just figure out how to work with each other. From months 3-6 the dynamics between us evolved in the music as well as in personality. We got better listening to each other while we are playing, and working out the more difficult musical interactions. Some personal tensions as well; Stevie got quite frustrated with my travel schedule interfering with rehearsals. But we held it together. The last few weeks have been the best so far. We are playing really well together, which is moving our ensemble playing skills to a higher level. Last lesson, we were so synchronized that we even answered Judy’s question together!
At the beginning of this year, we played two pieces in a student recital and then again in a concert. It was fun, and also interesting to see how each of us reacted to performing on stage. Steffie of all people gets nervous! And I forget to bow. Twice. Oops.
Steffe has had some health problems recently, which changed our dynamics again. She usually is the one pushing us to work harder and longer. Most evenings (or all?), I am the one waving the white flag because I am exhausted and can’t play a right note any more. While Stevie was feeling ill, she requested to stop early. It was so unusual, I got really worried. But within a few days, she was bouncing right back and extending her playing stamina. Yay, Stevie back on track!
Summer is a busy travel months, so we are taking off from my favorite Tuesday evening activity for a months or two. But come fall, we will get together again and figure out what pieces we want to prepare for our next recital.