April 12, 2012 at 2:12 AMI have not decided if there is a correlation between how well I practice on the morning of my lesson and how well my lesson goes. It seems that if I have trouble during practice, if my fingers are slow, my intonation is off, my bow is moving around and striking two strings, then my lesson is good. That is what happened today. I have been struggling daily with Sevcic. Each measure presents new challenges. I try to keep the bow moving at a constant speed and start with one note per bow, then two, then four, eight and sixteen. I am supposed to divide the bow evenly so I put a little sticker in the middle of the bow so I can see were half-way is. But often I run out of bow, or I just can’t get the 16th notes to come out even. Then I play at my lesson and with a pointer or two my teacher has me playing better. Usually it has to do with relaxing my left hand or relaxing my right shoulder. I try to remember these points and apply them when I practice, but I am only partially successful.
Then there is the Brahms Waltz, Suzuki book 2. I can hear it in my head, the even, flowing, danceable waltz, notes swelling here, a gentle crescendo here, pianissimo at then end. But when I try to play, it sounds out of tune (because it is) and the dynamics are hard. It seems like a simple piece and I have broken it down into measures, phrases, and practiced them. But I still find something difficult to grasp about playing it correctly, let alone playing it well. Again, a couple pointers from my teacher and things sound a little better, I feel that I am on my way. I guess that’s why she gets paid the big bucks!
This week, actually last week, I started a new Kayser etude, number 3. I said that I was getting burned out on the first one. I like it but it was getting to be too much to play over and over, even with different bowings. We agreed to return to it in the future. So we moved on to the challenge of #3. Lots of accidentals, slides from C to C# and F to F#. Reach from F# to E-flat. Lots of fun! And I can see the improvement when I just play a measure or two several times. I can improve the slide and improve the intonation.
So I think there is hope for the over-fifty group. I am benefiting from a teacher who is not too perfectionistic. I am not planning on being a concert violinist. I want to play for fun and I am happy to improve at whatever pace works. I figure that if I can enjoy practicing then everything is good. I enjoy practicing!
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