July 2008

Shifting: The 'Crawling' Method

July 12, 2008 19:46

Currently, I working on a learning a new shifting method. It's annoyingly hard to do. Which part of the hand moves first in this new method? Well, on the way up the scale, the first finger leads. For instance, when starting on B-flat, play the B-flat for two beats, play the C but almost immediately start moving the first finger up the fingerboard, pushing the C out of way and continue with the first finger to D and move the rest of the hand when the D is cleanly hit on the new bow. There, now you've gone from first to third position in one fluid movement.

In order to shift down starting on the 3rd octave B-flat and desend 4-4-3-2-1. Play each note for two beats. When on the third finger, reposition the thumb to be around the B-flat of the E string in the second octave. When you reach E-flat, play it briefly and slide the first finger to the B-flat by the next beat. Play the D on the next beat. Do the same to continue to the first octave on the E string.

Of course, this method is to be used in fast tempi and for shifts of less than a third. I'm currently working on this with my summer teacher. Essentially, it aims to make shifting fluid, elegant and fast. Right now, I'm practicing it at incredibly slow tempi in order to incorporate the unusual movements into my hand. It's actually going fairly well. Since I've noticed quite a bit of improvement in only two, two hour lessons, I've decided to take 2 hour lessons every week for the remainder of summer. I need to make some serious improvement in these last two months of the summer. I think that will the things this teacher is showing me that I can make it into grad school next year. These are things that should have really been shown/taught to me even before I arrived at Luther but I started taking lessons late in my career.

I'm excited to take these lessons because we'll be able to work on excerpts, Bruch and Bach, and technique. I've decided against auditioning for the LaCrosse and Waterloo-Cedar Falls symphonies to have more time to focus on excerpts for Luther and solo repetoire. It would be of greater benefit for me to be in the first violin section of our symphony and to be our Chamber Orchestra. Also, it will give me a greater chance of being granted a senior recital because I'll know the music better sooner. It should also have the same effect on my grad school auditions.

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The Last 2 Weeks

July 9, 2008 19:43

Chamber music, even when it's being prepared for a wedding, is fun. My friends and I are getting ready to play for a wedding and this Friday we are playing for the bride, groom and the groom's mother. I'm excited to play for them actually. We're just going to play basic music suitable for a wedding. At our rehearsal tonight, on a whim, we decided to play Hoe-Down. It was a blast and I sucked at it unfortunately. I'm so completely excited to have a string quartet this coming year! I'm also excited that I have a lesson again tomorrow. The bow grip/bowing technique change is going well and I've definately developed a greater flexability in my wrist. It's still not fully there, but it's close and I love it. I think I actually sound better and I don't have to worry about my right hand as much. It's become much more of an extension of my arm.

Because of changing the bowing stuff, I haven't been able to practice as much repetoire. I've been mostly focussing on excperts. Don Juan is freaking hard to play. My main focus though has been on Sheherazade, for my college orchestra auditions. I just really want to be in the first violin section and in the chamber orchestra. I'm so tired of being thought of as an ok player. I have the potential to be good...at least I think I do and so does my teacher, past and present. I mean, my biggest problem is rhythm, but that has never been a huge part of my musical training and I used to learn rhythms by my teacher dictating them to me or just getting them to be approximate. My brain also really fails to remember that there is a differce between a C# on the violin and C# on the piano. My intonation with piano is often not of the greatest quality. It's not because I don't know it or hear it but because I just don't have a ton of experience playing with a piano. I need to work on that...a lot.

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Big Changes

July 2, 2008 12:39

All I have to say is...WOW!!! I'm much busier than I expected to be this summer. For the most part my summer started out slow. I did not get up until noon, practiced, did some homework here and there, ate with my roommate, hung out with people and watched a tone of movies. The last two weeks has been crazy. I was working 8 hours almost everyday, getting up at 6am and going to bed around 12am. I had rehearsals for Pippin, homework for 2 classes and I needed to practice. On one day I spend my entire day down in Cedar Falls getting my bow rehaired and proceded to have a 3 hour lesson with Fredrick Halgedahl

This was an amazing lesson. We talked about what I hope to accomplish this summer and my background with the violin. I played some for him so he could get an idea of were I was at. He said that I presented myself as very disciplined but perhaps to rigid in my playing as far as interpretation and choices goes. So, we're aiming for freedome this summer my veritable cage. We're working on changing my bow-grip...indeed my entire bowing technique. In the end it should be more relaxed, my wrist looser, and my elbow a little higher. We also changed the grip itself to be more "in the hand" as it were. I hope this will take no longer than a couple of weeks to settle in. Most of my practice is to set this new bow grip so I haven't played much of my music at all. I'm also finally going through all of the major and minor scales with their arpeggios. I've played lots of scales before, but hardly ever the arpeggios and never sytematically. We're also planning to work on excerpts for regional orchestra auditions as well as my Luther College Symphony Orchestra excerpts. And my repetoire.

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