April 21, 2010 at 2:22 PM
Does one practice and how?
Yesterday I received this email from a student, high school freshman, preparing to perform the Sibelius Concerto 1st movement with her school orchestra in about 2 weeks.
Dear Mr. Lecher,
Last Sunday afternoon I fell and broke my right wrist/bow arm. I went to the hospital today and the doctors gave me a cast. They said that I have to have the cast on for about 6 weeks. I don't think I will be able to go to my lessons until the doctors say I can play again.
I am so very sorry to hear of your accident and pray you have a speedy and total recovery and healing.
As you mentioned, you will not be able to do lessons for a while. I will temporarily take you off the schedule, so give me notice of about 2 weeks before you can start up lessons again. Figure approximately 2 weeks after the cast is off.
We will use this accident to your advantage:-)
You can and should still work your left hand.
Do a lot of Repetition Hits in all of your technique—scales, 3rds, arpeggios, etc. Remember Rep Hits are to be accomplished with balance and ease of action—not fast. They are never heavy and/or tight. The left hand remains alert, agile and free at all times. Refine the form, balance and action of the left hand, wrist and arm—no reactionary wrist kick-outs when a finger hits the string with light precision.
Especially look at Basics II, III, IV & V. Do these in many rhythms and varied Hand Groups.
Make note of balance, shape, form, clarity and accuracy of the left fingers, hand & arm.
Posture should be impeccable with strings parallel to the floor.
Up shifts: maintain the angle of the fingernail during shifts on a given string. The rest of the finger, hand and arm do the adjusting while in shift motion. All is simultaneous.
Down shifts: Particularly watch the return of the left thumb, fingers, hand and arm, i.e., 3rd position up to 9th position and return to 3rd with precisely the same balance posture, shape and form of the hand. The return shift down is like a movie of the shift up going backwards with simultaneous actions.
Practice the passages and memorize your Sibelius II & III movements and Bach G minor Partita. Do you want another piece to work on along with these?
When you do begin work with the bow, take it easy and gradually develop the strength and movement.
Ask your Doctor about therapy and remind him that you are a serious violinist. When part of the cast is off, or earlier, ask your Doctor and Therapist whether you can do some motions from the shoulder—such as, raising and lowering the arm as you would with string crossings from the E to G strings, etc.
I still want you to target the complete Sibelius for the August 8th recital and perhaps the complete Bach. The vast majority of our work is in the mind. Practice there, going through the motions you will be doing in great detail, and hearing the phrases/musical line with it's many variables.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Also, let me know if you want to come for a lesson to have help with all of this.
Let me know how you are doing.
Take care and God bless,
Repetition Hits of the left-hand fingers thrown from the knuckles to gain a freer action with greater accuracy — do not pound the fingers as in knocking loudly on a door.
1. The action is to be decisive and light.
a. For dramatic and/or intense passages we do apply greater strength, always maintaining freedom of action with flexibility.
2. Best done in rhythmic patterns.
a. For the longer rhythm, feel the finger hold the note like an electro magnet that you simply turn off when the note ends — the finger rhythmically and automatically releases the string.
b. The fingers must remain close to the string and above their note.
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