Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vivaldi Double

It's been a long time since I posted anything related to cello playing! I have been busy practicing and playing. We had a few orchestra concerts, including real church bells and a cannon for the 1812 Overture during the 4th of July concert. I've been playing with an all-cello group led by my teacher, and we've had a few gig+party events, with the next one coming up on Saturday.

A few weeks ago a friend who teaches flute asked if I would play the cello part of Haydn's London Trios with her and her graduating student. She wanted her student to record a CD for her family - what a wonderful gift that will be for her parents! Of course I agreed and our friend Tim provided the recording equipment and was our sound engineer. Tim plays the cello, and during a break we decided to play the 2nd movement of the Vivaldi double cello concerto, and because we could, we decided to record it. Here it is:


There are moments that I cringe, hearing myself (I'm playing cello 1 part) but it has been a long time since I heard myself on a recording and such are those moments of truth!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More customer service woes...

I ordered Zuill Bailey's Brahms CD and much to my surprise received 43 CDs. The company claimed I had ordered 90 CDs. I wondered why there was such a big box for 1 CD when I received it. Since then, I have been trying to return the extra CDs. I haven't been successful. At the rate they are going they may never get the CDs back.
the email thread is from the latest date (today) going back in time.....


Response
---------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for contacting customerservice@concordmusicgroup.com,

Please do not reply to this automated notification. We prioritize our e-mail by the order in which it was received, so there is no need to send multiple messages regarding the same issue. We typically respond to messages within one (1) business day, excluding holidays, but we may take longer due to the high increase of traffic.

Again, thank you for contacting customerservice@concordmusicgroup.com. We appreciate your business.


Regards,

Concord Music Group
Customer Support

www.concordmusicgroup.com
Discussion Thread
---------------------------------------------------------------
Customer (Sent:Wed 3/30/11 8:56 AMTo: customerservice@concordmusicgroup.com







any update?

From:
To: customerservice@concordmusicgroup.com
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2011 09:40:17 -0700




UPS did not contact me and managed to come 3 days in a row when I was
out of town. They have not picked up the CDs and have left a tag saying
that they will not come again because they tried 3 times.

Had they contacted me in advance I would have arranged for a time for them to come when I was at home.

Can you arrange for pick up again

I assume they have a shipping label? I don't know where to send the box.

Also I am only home until so it needs to get picked up soon if you want the CDs back.

Thank you,


> From: customerservice@concordmusicgroup.com
> To:
> Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:31:15 -0500
> Subject: Your order with concordmusic.com [Incident: 110319-000279]
>
>
> Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support
> center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.
>
> If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it
> within the next 7 days.
>
> Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.
>
> Subject
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Your order with concordmusic.com
>
>
> Discussion Thread
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Response (Jennifer) - 03/22/2011 02:31 PM
> Thank you for contacting Concord Music Group!
>
>
We have issued a call tag for pick on your duplicate items. UPS will be
contacting you for a date and time of pick up of the merchandise.
>
> Please contact us if you have any questions.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Concord Music Group
> Customer Support
> www.concordmusicgroup.com
>
> Customer - 03/21/2011 11:13 AM
>
Please deal with this soon if you want the CDs shipped back to you = I
am about to leave for xx days trip and if I can't send the CDs back to
you soon you will not get them back until ..
...
>
>
> Response (Nichole M) - 03/21/2011 08:29 AM
> Thank you for contacting Concord Music Group!
>
> We have forwarded your request to the correct department to be reviewed. We apologize for any inconvenience.
>
> Please contact us if you have any questions.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Concord Music Group
> Customer Support
> www.concordmusicgroup.com
>
> Auto-Response - 03/19/2011 06:41 PM
> Thank you for contacting customerservice@concordmusicgroup.com,
>
>
Please do not reply to this automated notification. We prioritize our
e-mail by the order in which it was received, so there is no need to
send multiple messages regarding the same issue. We typically respond
to messages within one (1) business day, excluding holidays, but we may
take longer due to the high increase of traffic.
>
> Again, thank you for contacting customerservice@concordmusicgroup.com. We appreciate your business.
>
>
> Regards,
>
> Concord Music Group
> Customer Support
>
> www.concordmusicgroup.com
>
>
> Customer - 03/19/2011 06:41 PM
> I ordered 1 CD and you mistakenly thought I had ordered 90 and shipped me 43 CDs
>
I called to get this straightened out and talked to someone named
Jenny. She told me that she would ship a UPS return shipper so that I
could return the 42 CDs that I did not order. She said it would take a
day or two. She canceled the rest of the order so you wouldn't ship me
more CDs (below)
>
> It is now 5 days and I haven't seen
the shipper label. I would like to return the CDs I didn't order. I
don't think I should have to pay for shipping when it was your mistake
to send all of the extra CDs.
>
> Please let me know when and how you will send me a return shipping label.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Visit to Parikrma School in Bangalore

I've been remiss in writing - yesterday I returned home after a week in India. I spent the week in Bangalore for work. The best part was the last day, where we volunteered at a school that serves the poorest children in the slums of Bangalore. It was an amazing experience that made me ashamed of how much we take for granted at home and disgusted with how students in the US squander the opportunities in front of them.

Parikrma has 850 children in 4 schools. They have diverse backgrounds but common stories include abuse, neglect, lack of food and medical care. The school feeds them, provides medical care and outreach programs into their communities, and supports them through university if they pass the entrance exams. The school has 96% attendance and 100% attendance for parent-teacher conferences. The children take a demanding curriculum that includes English and university preparation classes. What impressed me the most was that the children are also transforming their communities: the director told us stories of parents who came for their conferences and signed the report cards with a thumbprint, but over time started initialing and then writing their names, thanks to their child's tutoring.

I was assigned to the kindergarten class with 2 of my colleagues. The classroom held 30 kids and 2 teachers. The kids sat on the floor in designated spots - no desks. They were happy, cheerful, and completely engaged with as we shared songs, asked them to spell, and told stories.







Other colleagues were assigned to other classes. We all agreed at the end of the trip (a long week at work) that the visit to the school was the highlight of a busy week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the mozy nightmare continues...

I am sitting in customer service purgatory. the restore nightmare continues. For some reason it is impossible for Mozy to burn a DVD to replace the defective one...which turned out to be a duplicate of another disk. I now have no idea what files have been restored. I spent hours manually pulling together all of my data but now I have no idea what files are missing. There doesn't appear to be a tool that can tell me what files I don't have so that I can just request those files. I asked for a replacement set of DVDs even though I'll have to go through that awful manual process again but apparently after requesting it multiple times all I get is an email every 3 days saying that they would like to close my case. And I got an email saying that the price for the service is going to increase. It's getting so ridiculous that it's almost funny.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Backup and restore nightmare

Our old Windows PC died, unfortunately before I had a chance to back it up locally. But, I had it backed up online with Mozy and I thought I would be ok. With the amount of data I had backed up I needed to get DVDs to restore all of my data. Also we had purchased a Mac and had to get DVDs anyway to migrate the data

So the nightmare begins.

I started pulling data off of DVDs and one DVD has an error and won't completely finish pulling out all of the files. But I keep unpacking all of the DVDs.

I look at the files in the DVDs and discover that the files are scattered all across the DVDs and that I have to manually recombine the files back into their original file structure. An example...I have multiple folders with MP3 files organized by album. The song files were spread across multiple DVDs and I had to do the cutting and pasting to put the album back together - usually songs were spread across 3 or 4 DVDs. This took more than a few hours to put my files/folders back together - we're talking thousands of files.

Then I discover that the DVD with the error appears to have duplicate files - as I try to put those files into the original folder structure I discover that those files are already there

So now I can't tell which files were restored and which ones are missing unless I comb through each folder manually (would you want to figure out which song got left out from an album, and it's worse with thousands of pictures - how can I tell which ones were restored or not?)

So where is Mozy support during all of this? Suggesting each time I correspond with them that I've made a mistake.

I am not pleased with this process.


Moral of the story: back up locally and back up online. I have been dealing with this data restore and Mozy for 2 weeks so far and still don't have everything recovered.

I am looking around for another online backup service so if any of you have recommendations I'd love to hear about it! Plus I am looking for a recommendation for a network storage system so I can back up multiple PCs over on my network and house music centrally - any recommendations there?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I added up my practice hours in 2010 and it totaled 561 hours. It is almost the same number of hours as last year! I was pretty happy because I traveled so much more this year - nearly 120 days - taking out nearly 4 months of practice time. Each year I've set a goal of averaging an hour a day for the year. Maybe this year I could try to break 600 hours, which would be a worthy stretch goal.

I looked back at the year and am happy with my progress and am looking forward to next year. Some of skills I'd like to improve this year:
--better vibrato. My teacher called the current state of my vibrato "acceptable for ensemble playing" but I'd like to get more of a "solo vibrato" and be able to keep it going.
--a singing line more often. One of the biggest improvements I made this year was that sometimes I can actually hear phrasing and a musical line. I'd like to turn that "sometimes" into "most of the time"
--control the volume. Would love to control those crescendos and decrescendos!

My Dungey cello is starting to develop a wonderful tone as it goes through its terrible twos - in February it will be 2 years old. In early December I was able to see Christopher and have him do some overdue work on the cello. I met him at the house of Ken Finch, a member of the Portland Symphony and owner of an older Dungey cello. I asked for and got a lesson from Ken! It was very exciting to play for him and get his encouragement and tips on what I could do better. I also got to hear him play my cello. He was loathe to give up both my cello and my bow :-) He's agreed to give me additional lessons if I make it down to Portland again!

So here's to 2011 and happy new year to all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's been ages since I posted

....but I've been busy, playing, traveling, working. I had to go to Singapore for work a few weeks ago and was able to fly my husband over to meet me. We went to Bali for a few days before returning home. That was wonderfully relaxing but coming home has been hard. Going from 12 hours of daylight to around 8 or less has been difficult. My travel for work has picked up again, so it's been hard to get consistent practice time.

This summer I hit a lull in my cello playing but the travel break seems to have done me a lot of good. My cello teacher commented at my lesson that my tone has improved and that I am starting to play lyrically. That felt good!!! I noticed the improvement after my trip...think I'm more relaxed. After expending so much effort to learn I forgot that I didn't have to work so hard as my skills improved. Last night we worked on vibrato and the basic message was to not work so hard at it. When I relaxed my left hand it immediately sounded better. I'm also working relaxing my right hand while keeping pressure down on the string; working on a smooth change of bow direction. Occasionally it's hard to tell when I'm switching bow directions (wish that could be any time I wanted it!).

My cello teacher started a group practice log where many of his students post practice times. It's pretty amazing what competition will do. I find myself playing a little longer because everyone sees my time. The good news is that when I'm home I'm getting in at least 1 hour a day, which is my goal. I've also started playing the piano more frequently. I finished reading through all of the Beethoven sonatas and am now reading Schumann's piano works. So now what, it's time to go play ...hmm.. piano!