December 15, 2013

Classical Music for the Soul + a Touch of Nostalgia

Writing college essays really forces you to sometimes to really look at yourself and evaluate who've you become over all these years so far. To adults, 17 years old may still seem young, but it doesn't mean we can't still get nostalgic over our childhood. By childhood I mean the young young years when we were in second grade. One of my college essay prompts somehow led me to think about how I miss being young and being completely carefree. I have this one memory of just playing in my room with my stuffed animals while the summer sun shone into all four corners of my room and a breeze crept through my open window. At the time, it was just a typical day. But looking back, it's a precious memory of something that reminds me of my childhood. 

Now for those who don't know, I've been playing violin ever since I was four. It's been a long time and I've done a lot with it. I won't divulge into an entire resume but I have worked hard with music and I guess you can say I've developed a relationship with it. I don't practice much these days, actually basically never, but when I start feeling nostalgic or sad over sentimental things like this, I just get this urge to whip out my instrument and play something. I just had a lesson with my violin teacher yesterday and we read through the Dvorak Concerto in A minor and Bach Sonata No.1. Today I whipped out those two pieces and literally poured my heart into them. I feel like playing the violin really helps me to just let my emotions out, especially when the piece truly conveys what I'm feeling. 

I'm going to link some famous violinists playing two movements of the Dvorak Concerto and the Bach Sonata because I think they really convey the nostalgia, sadness, bitterness, and every emotion that is related to loss. I've never really had any piece of music mean anything to me but I've finally found meaning in this one. And it helped me to resolve all my feelings in a way since I was able to just get them out of my mind and into the notes.

If you don't listen to classical music or just don't get what I'm saying even as you are listening to the pieces, don't worry about it. Every piece of music has a different meaning for everyone. Maybe you can listen for what the piece means to the player in the videos (:

Dvorak Concerto Movement 1: played by Kyung-Wha Chung

Dvorak Concerto Movement 2: played by Itzhak Perlman

There's a movement 3 as well but I felt that it doesn't really apply as much. If you search for it on Youtube though, you'll probably recognize it (: 

Bach Sonata No. 1 (Adagio, Fuga, Presto) played by Isaac Stern & Itzhak Perlman 

Bach Sonata No. 1 is really tough as is most of Bach's compositions since Bach composed it partly to show pianists that violinists don't need them: we can play three even four notes sometimes to accompany ourselves. On violin, playing four even three or two notes is really difficult. It's also really nerve racking to play this piece, especially from memory, because there are just so many variations of the same theme and so many notes to memorize. It's a daunting task. Stern is even sweating at some point in the video! Even though it may not sound totally clean the way he plays it, I think it shows the passion that he's try to convey.

Here's Itzhak Perlman's way of playing the same piece. I like his style slightly more because it's similar to how I would play it personally.

These are probably two of my favorite classical pieces for the violin. I hope you liked them even if they're not pop, country, alternative rock, or some other genre of music ~ Give classical music a chance (:

December 10, 2013

First Snow Fall + Winter!

It's been exactly two months since my last blog post. I guess I'm slowly improving in a way...

But what's more important is that I have finally gotten a Canon EOS Rebel t3i DSLR camera!!! I have been saving for this ever since my sixteenth birthday, which is when I got a ton of checks for a lot of hundreds of dollars. All of that dough has been sitting in my special little savings box waiting to be spent on my new beauty. 

my new baby, taken with the iPhone

I haven't really talked about it in this blog, but one of my obsessions is photography. My first camera was one of those disposable ones that you could buy at an amusement park, then I got this Disney themed one for my ninth birthday which I was obsessed with. Overall, I've had a lot of cameras: point and shoots, one polaroid, and a couple of old film ones my parents had when they were in college. I even used my iPhone 4 for awhile to take pictures to post on instagram. But my dream was to buy one of those big bulky cameras with the lens that you could take off and change and with the high resolution that I would die to have. Black friday came and along with it, my camera. I got it from for a $700 bundle deal that had about a $1300 value. It came with a camera bag, DVD instruction, another lens (I think it's longer), memory card, a cable cord to plug into the TV, camera strap, and battery charger. I haven't stopped taking pictures with it ever since it came in the mail about a week ago, and because the first snow just landed in my town, I've been out in the freezing cold trying to take pictures. 

That's mainly what this post is going to be for, me sharing my pictures taken with my new camera. I hope you are all enjoying your Decembers, winters, and, if you had it, your first snow fall. Tell me what you think about my pictures! 

the Lee family wreath. not fancy or flashy, just cozy.

chocolate oatmeal cranberry cookies i made on a cold day

before the snow fell...

...and after the snow dusted the ground

the colors and white are brilliant

broken orange pot that's been there forever

pine trees & snow. the perfect winter combination

everything looks prettier with snow

a bare branch, beautified.

blueberry pound cake my mom baked

can't have winter without hot chocolate! (&my squirrel mug)