December 28, 2008 at 2:14 AM
Sundry Statements w/response:
1. "I absolutely will 'not' go there clumsily or in a mess."
It is valid to push the envelope and take on a work that is just beyond the player. It really requires the player to totally focus and think out every Hand Group, rhythm, string crossing, vibrato complemented with bow proportion and distribution and thereby bow speed––including acceleration and deceleration––all for the music:-)
If you are comfortable with the lower 4 positions, which I gather from your writing you are, then play the Haydn G Major Concerto. It is an absolute gem of a piece.
2. "I changed my bow-hold to Russian, and really like what I'm hearing, though a lot of adaptations will be necessary, because now I have too much weight."
I determine the use of Russian or Franco-Belgium more on the size of the player with many being able to do both well.
• Short players will constantly struggle with the FB as it is most difficult for them at the tip—they can't get there and/or the wrist is forced to an extreme angle.
• Tall players, myself included, are generally far too crowded at the heel of the bow as our wrist and arm come literally into the face. Even when opening the violin out to the left more, it can be too tight to the face.
The Russian is naturally more powerful and weighted––one of its great advantages––so all you have to do is 'lighten up' and enjoy. When I studied with Leonard Sorkin (a Mischa Mischakoff student, and he was an Auer student) it was easy to make this connection of flow and weight variations.
3. "I have serious articulation issues to surmount, and the Russian frees me for now, to focus on those hand shapes, intonation and other things like shifting. And to be honest, I have black-bread and vodka in my spiritual chops!"
I don't drink vodka, but love the black bread.
The Repetition Hits should help at least 90%+ in the coordination and articulation of strokes related to détaché and in combination with string crossings. The RH will constantly contribute to the actions and intonation required in the given passage and/or section.
Combine this with varied rhythms and you have an unbeatable combination that additionally helps both the physical and mental focus.
4. "To heck with microphones—drop those fingers!"
Absolutely, but don't pound them through the fingerboard:-) The throw of the fingers is clear, concise and free from the knuckles. When the hand is positioned in the most ergonomic fashion for playing the violin there will be an incredible balance and ease of action that is attained, actually given, to the player. If the left wrist is too far in or out the effort required to perform is increased many fold—it is all about ease and efficiency.
Okay, so I am a bit long winded—what else is new?
Hope this helps—
Back to my little room. Everytime Drew posts a blog it forcres me to go sit down and think. Am I playing now as he suggests? If not, why not? Would trying it Drew's way work better than what I'm doing now? Maybe, but first I have to make sure I understand Drew's concept so I'm not attempting to integrate Drew's suggestions incorrectly, thus not doing him justice. As I get older I have to forget something to make room for new things. Maybe I'll forget about doing our taxes this year to make room for Drew's lessons.
Thank you Drew, some good information here.
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