December 2008

December 29, 2008 15:54

Here are some great things that have happened to me in the last two weeks; the semester is over and the grades I know of look good so far, I've had a lesson with Maria, I've gotten a TON of practice in, I've read Teaching Genius, I'm making  a little bit of money, I have a lesson set-up with Adam Han-Gorski in January and I had a TERRIFIC Christmas.  Though I'm tired from working slightly odd hours, it's actually been nice because it makes me more focused on practice since I have a set time of when I can do it.  Oh and Mr. Halgedahl sent me an email about 2 weeks ago saying that we should get together for a lesson.  This made me very happy. 

Teaching Genius is a wonderful book about Dorothy DeLay and it made me realize that that is what makes the best teacher.  That is how I have taught, how I want to teach and how I want to be taught.  It makes so much sense to teach the way Mrs. DeLay did.  It is incomprehensible to me as to why some teachers teach through yelling, pressure and intimidation of students.  More on that later, I have another lesson with Maria in about an hour.

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Juries and Practice

December 14, 2008 22:08

It would seem that every year I report here about Juries and how I thought they went well only to later find out the faculty didn't thing so.  I honestly thought I did a fairly solid jury, not to say it wasn't chock full of comepletely enexpected errors...it really was.  Things that only an hour before were terrific were not horribly out of tune.  I had some very...interesting octaves at the jury and I apparently had countiung issues.  I noticed a couple of them, but there were more than I thought.  Although my teacher and I don't always get along all that well, I will agree with him that the mistakes I made should NOT have happened.  Weird things happen in performance by mistakes like that are obviously from lack of experience with the accompanist.   

So, here's what I'm going to do about it.  I'm going to practice more often with an accompanist.  I'm going to study the piano score so I know all of the places where I'm with the piano, where I enter after rests and keys (which I transer into my part).  As far as my own practicing, I'm going to implement Kurt Sassmanshaus' method for practicing into my regime.  I've already made up the plans for it MM-40-60-80 etc. to concert tempo.  On top of the that, I'm going to incorporate drones into my rep practice and into my scale practice.  Over Christmas break and J-term I should have plenty of time to do all of these things and I will come out of it ready for grad school audtions. 

I discovered that my pitch is fine with a drone and that it wasn't a funtamental ear problem by playing various pitches on the piano and singing major arpeggios from the "tonic."  Then, I grabbed my violin and my chromatic tuner, walked into the choir room, hooked the tuner up to the speakers and turned on a "G" to drone.  I then played a G major scale slowly, locking in every pitch to the drone (even the dissonant ones).  Drone really have a double effect on improvement of intonation.  With a drone, the person eventually develops the ability to sing the drone pitch in their head so that all pitches can be related to that pitch.  Also, it trains your hand (muscle memory) as the where the heck the fingers go for that note.  After repeat practice with a drone, ones intonation accuracy without the drone should increase based on these two factors.  Drones also really get you to think harmonically about a piece because it forces to to know what key you're currently playing in at that point in time.  Hence, the need for analysing a piece of music harmonically.  Additionally, I will include doing things in rhythms to my practice.  They have been incredibly useful in my practice so far, but they're not having the full effect I would like them to have. 

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Busy...Violin...Busy...Concerts

December 7, 2008 00:03

I don't think I've ever quite felt this disenchanted with violin.  Right now, I don't even want to play anything at all.  Orchestra music doesn't thrill me, quartet music is boring and I find my solo material music to be avoided at all costs.  I just have so much to do and I can't stand to play the violin.  There are other reasons I don't want to play, but I won't get into them in this public of a forum.  During the past week, I've developed an aversion to the violin that I haven't experienced for quite some time.  I have juries in a week and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to play very well at them.  I've not really had time to work on Bruch since Tuesday because of Christmas at Luther and all of the homework I have.  Currently, I'm orchestrating Schuberts Sonatina in D-Major for violin and piano, for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 1 basson, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 trombone, timpani and strings.  I'm making it for my final project in Orchestration class and it will be read by Philharmonia on Monday.  I still have 20 bars to orchestrate and then I need to go into the detail work and edit each part individually.  Conceivably, this could take me around 10 hours to complete and I have one more performance tomorrow and my parents are here.  I have a 5 page paper to write and an important quiz to get ready for.  Not to mention, I have all of my normal homework to do. 

In violin news, when I finally get to practice again.  I'm going to try something new...or rather, something I knew about but never really did and that Kurt Sassmanshaus' method of practicing.  If if was taught by Dorothy Delay then it is probably of some value ;).  Not only is it a way to practice slowly, but it's also a way to practice ear training and eventually rhythm of piece combined with intonation.  It builds from the ear training side of things to the rhythmic side of things in about 45 min of practice.  Done daily, it should be of tremendous benefit.  However, I haven't even had the time to implement this, let alone any other real practice lately.  I honestly cannot wait for this semester to be over and am looking foward to Christmas Break, lessons with Maria, Dr. Thomson and maybe some other people.  I get to see the South Dakota Symphony for the first time in years!  I'm really excited for that.  It's been a while since I've heard an orchestra live. 

I'm having a lesson on December 13 with James Buchan.  It should prove to interesting and I'm really excited to see how it goes.  If all goes well, I may be seeing him more often for lessons.  I haven't heard from my summer teacher for a while, though I've email him 3 times to no replies.  It makes me a little sad because I really liked him.  Perhaps he has replied and I'm just not getting them or he's not getting my emails.  I'm going to call UNI to make sure everything's alright at that end.  I was planning on auditioning at UNI but since I haven't heard from him, I'm not sure if I will anymore.  I'm taking it mean right now, that he doesn't want me to audition there.  I hope I'm wrong, but I won't be too suprised if I'm right. 

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