1. To play beautifully, as well as practising diligently, pay constant attention to the dynamic signs (i.e., sounding levels) of the music.
2. To achieve exact intonation (i.e., the musical intonation), practise slowly and know the name of the note you are playing. Also, keep your fingers on the string as long as you can.
3. To acquire skill in bowing, practise all the principal examples of bowing.
4. To achieve a strong tone, practise at the point of the bow forte with a lot of different kinds of exercises.
5. When you practise bowing, play every note piano and produce a soft flute-like tone. When performing, keep the edge of the hair near to the finger-board.
6. To play rhythmically, count aloud the eighths and quarters and do not beat time with your foot. When playing a piece that you know, pace to and fro in time with the music.
7. When playing up the diatonic scale, don’t take off the fourth finger before you put the second finger on the next string.
8. When playing octave and tenth double stoppings, put the middle finger on the higher string.
9. Without active practice on the strings, the sound of the perfect fifth will not be pure.
10. The notes between two double bar lines should be repeated several times for practice.
(I don't understand 5, and I'm not sure 7 and 8 should be practised strictly; 10 has relevance only to Ševcík's exercise books.)
There is an interesting paper about Ševcík's life and works, by Minori Nakaune. It can be found here.
This is a first attempt to extract some of the principles behind Otakar Ševcík's repertoire studies. I'm sure others are much more qualified to do this than I am, but as far as I know, no-one has tried, so here goes. Of course, corrections and additions are most welcome.
On the first page after the Introductions (in eight(!) languages) Ševcík writes:
"Each section of the concerto should be played only when one has finished its relative study. But it lies entirely with the pupil to treat each section according to its grade of difficulty resulting from it."
By putting analysis before synthesis, Ševcík avoids a lot of trouble. One gets used to the correct intonation, phrasing, dynamics, etc. as soon as possible, and more importantly, one is spared the feeling of "oh dear, this is difficult! I'll never be able to play this!"
More entries: November 2011
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