August 4, 2009 at 3:00 AM
Expand your skills and knowledge every day—don't rush the process, but don't hold back your efforts for fear of making a mistake, either.
If something has not improved in 5 minutes, stop and think. What do you want to improve at that time—focus, focus, focus.
When initially learning the notes and rhythms of a work, constantly challenge yourself to play musically—even when you are not sure of the musical interpretation you want to choose. You will quickly learn the tonal results of your efforts.
Anything we accomplish on the violin will be used somewhere in the repertoire. Throw in a crescendo or diminuendo, etc., and listen……listen to what happens to the sound and the character of the phrase. Then do the opposite and listen to the incredible difference that results. With and without vibrato, varied vibrato; shifts and slides of varying speeds and textures……varied bow speeds, weights, points of contact, degrees of hair.
Keep thinking, keep experimenting, keep studying.
Do this with all your playing and you will accomplish artistic results that will be refined many times over throughout the years.
This is what enables the heart, soul and passion to transfer from your hands into the bow and instrument and out to you and your audience.
Thank you so much for this post; it was insightful!
I'm preparing the 1st mvt. of Mozart 4 for orchestra auditions and I've taken a similar approach to that. Truly, it does help to draw all the personality out of the piece.
Good point, Drew. My superb teacher insists that even scales be played musically. Like Charlton Heston mesmerizing an audience by reading a phone book creatively, you would be surprised what you can do with familiar Etudes and scales.
When I was first learning to use Word Perfect, there were times when I was sure that what I did was right even though my computer disagreed. Sometimes I'd pound the same key over and over to no avail. I asked a colleague to help, and she used Reveal Codes to see what I had done. I felt rather sheepish. She told me that if I tried the same thing twice and it didn't work, try something else.
I like your advice to listen, listen, listen to yourself. Too often we get hung up on playing the notes technically, and we don't listen to ourselves and to the quality of the music we're making. I like your advice to try different types of musical expression (cresc., dim., changes in dynamics or bowing, etc.) and listen to the quality of the music. Even if you did not have a particular type of expression in mind when you started, you'll know what you like when you hear it.
Thanks. That was a very helpful blog.
This was a very encouraging post! Thank you! I'm just starting a contemporary piece written by a fellow student, and this is exactly the kind of approach I'd like to take with it.
Looks like a struck a chord…now play it 5 different ways:-)
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