Blog Author: Jaz Villlanueva (student)
In the midst of isolation, collaborating with other people has never felt so important. And what better way is there to collaborate with others than with music? After being inspired by seeing so many other musicians come together this quarantine and collaborate online, I felt the sudden urge to jump in myself. I suddenly remembered an unfinished duet project that Alexia and I prepared for the supposed recital this summer, and found it as the perfect opportunity.
Diving into this project was novel and exciting, and overall fulfilling. But like every other project, it has had its own share of challenges. With our current set up, my teacher can no longer hold my wrists or sway my shoulders, and her perspective is limited to only one angle, not to mention the problem of letting dynamics be heard through the recorder of my phone. On the other hand, it has compelled me to reach a level of mastery in my pieces that I normally wouldn’t achieve. As a perfectionist, I wanted all my recordings to be as perfect as possible. It would take several takes for me to be satisfied, and a little background noise would mean back to square one!
Recording my every performance on video meant I had to watch all my slips and imperfections from a third person point of view. It was hard at first, but now I finally understand the points of improvement that my teacher would regularly point out to me. Above that, it made me more comfortable with my playing and has taught me to embrace my mistakes. The most difficult part of the project? Filming itself. Finding the “perfect” angle took a while, not to mention the many cardboard boxes I stacked under the tripod.
Then, it was time to perform. After a couple of recordings, I ended up with what was, in my opinion, the best so far… yet I knew I could do better. So I would then
come back the next day to the piano, determined to improve. After three rounds of trying for three days in a row, I finally had the perfect recording. What I initially thought was the “best” has improved drastically, and being able to watch the result of my labor was indeed a sweet triumph.
After submitting, I waited for the final recording which was along with Alexia’s other half of the piece. The long awaited day came and I finally heard the entire piece with our two videos combined; the experience was beyond rewarding. It was a sweet moment for the three of us -- Teacher Z, Alexia, and I. Throughout the entire journey, my teacher guided me and in the end, she made me realize that our sweet triumph was made possible through not only an immense love for music, but determination and hard work.