So, what did I do this year?
Here's a few highlights:
- In February I went to Stuttgart for a few days and took lessons with Katarzyna Mycka. She is one of very few people worldwide that actually makes a living playing the marimba, she is without a doubt one of the greatest marimbists out there. I consider taking lessons with her a privilege, and I feel very lucky to know her and learn from her.
- In the end of February I was in Oslo, attending the Scandinavian Percussion Days festival. Students and teachers from all the different music universitys in Scandinavia was there. We played concerts for each other, attended clinics and masterclasses with some great teachers, and there was also a couple of concerts with the great Steven Schick. I've been a fan of his for a few years, and seeing him play live was just a great experience.
- From Oslo, I travelled to Miami. I was there a whole week, taking lessons with Svet Stoyanov, another great percussionist. In Miami I also met Krystina again, who I got to know at the International Katarzyna Mycka Marimba Festival in 2009. Krystina was also there to take lessons with Svet, and meeting her again was great. We also played some chamber music together.
This is Krystina, Svet and me on campus at the University of Miami.
- In April I played my first master concert. The master degree here in Trondheim require us to play three concerts, and this was my first. It was not a great experience. I had started practising for this concert too late, and ended up not being ready in time. The whole concert was more a fight for survival than anything else, and it didn't feel particularly good. Especially since I also premiered a piece that a friend wrote for me. It was definitely a good learning experience, but there and then, playing a concert I wasn't well enough prepared for was just awful. I've never been so stressed out in my whole life as I was the last couple of weeks before the concert. I was frustrated and nervous, and after the concert I didn't actually play the marimba again for a couple of months.
Photo taken by Ronny Lauten.
- A week after my master concert, I travelled to the States again. This time to Minneapolis, for the Marimba 2010 International Festival and Conference. This was a four-day marimba festival, with some of the best marimbists from around the world. With concerts from early morning to late night every day, it was exhausting, but also incredibly inspirational. This was the best marimba performers in the world, in one place! I heard a lot of great performances at the festival, and I got to know a few new people. Rubbing shoulders with these great performers, many of them people I have been looking up to for years, was great, and exactly the motivational boost I needed after the dissappointment of my own concert just a week before.
- In the summer I moved to a new appartment outside of the city. It's the first time I live all by myself. I've always had roommates before, and as much as I enjoyed living with friends, having a whole appartment for myself is also great. It's so much easier to work on my writing or compositions when there's noone else around. I can pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want, the way I want, without anyone else complaining, or using the TV when I want to whatch something else, playing music when I want it quiet, inviting other people when I want to be alone. As I said, I loved living with other people. The social aspects of it was great, but right now living alone is better.
- The fall of 2010 has been a lot slower than the spring. I have been somewhat struggling with money issues, and have been working on cutting my spendings to a minimum. I've been reading a lot about minimalism. It appeals to me, and although I don't think minimalism is a fitting lifestyle for me, I will definitely try to employ some of the minimalist principals in my own life. I also decided that I would not take any lessons this semester. Partly because I couldn't afford it, but also because I wanted to see how much I could do on my own, without any help. This is more or less going to be the reality when I'm not a student anymore, and I think it's a good idea to learn how to work independently. I will take more lessons in the spring, especialy before my next master concert, which is in early May.
- In November I decided to try the NaNoWriMo-challenge of writing a 50.000 word novel in a month. It was a great experience. I finished my story on November 28th, with 50.189 words and two days to spare! The novel is pure crap, and need some heavy rewriting and editing if I'm ever going to show it to someone, but it was still an incredibly satisfying thing to do. At the end of November I sat with the feeling that "if I can write a novel in a month, what else can I do?" How much composing can I do in a month, for example? How much music can I learn in a month? Can I draw a comic book in a month? These are all things that I might try out in 2011. I just love the idea of a crazy marathon month of pure creativity, and it opened my eyes to some new possibilities. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to edit my novel. I might just let it be the way it is, as a testament to NaNoWriMo 2010, but it's not about the quality. It's about finishing something big. It's about getting in touch with your own creativity, which I think everyone should do once in a while, no matter who they are or what they do for a living.
I'm a winner!
Right now I'm celebrating Christmas with my family, and looking forward to 2011. 2011 is going to be a great year, I just know it! I have lots of plans and ideas, which I'm not going to share with you know, but I feel that I need to top 2010, which was also a great year.
Oh, and in June I played a solo percussion concert with the pieces "Castle of the Mad King" and "To the Earth". Two very different pieces, to put it mildly. The picture on my concert poster got a lot of attention:
Happy New Year to everone. See you in 2011!