June 2008


June 5, 2008 11:40

This has been a great year so far for violin progress. On Mother's Day I played Vivaldi's "Spring" for my teacher's studio recital, in what he called my best performance yet. I felt great about it too; despite one minor memory slip in the third movement where my accompanist and I got out of sync for a measure, I thought that for once I gave a truly musical performance, instead of just hoping to hit all the notes in tune and not blank out. It's somewhat embarrassing that it's taken me so long, but I'm really now beginning to understand how much more there is to playing the violin well than just playing the right notes at the right times.

It helps, too, to find a piece that's perfect for my level. Over the last year, as my teacher and I were getting to know each other, we had some hits and misses. I need to work on something that's difficult enough to challenge me technically and help me develop in my weak spots (double stops, arm vibrato) but not so difficult that I have no time to think about musicality. The Kreisler Caprice Viennois we attempted last December was a bit over my head, but "Spring" was just right.

That being said, a few weeks ago I fell in love with the Wieniawski Scherzo-Tarantella, but my teacher was reluctant, saying that it was extremely difficult. He suggested instead the Legende, which I frankly thought was boring until I started working on it and realized it was fun, beautiful, and appropriate. (Recording recommendations, anyone? I've heard good things about Gil Shaham's) I'm also starting on the Rode Caprices and the Gavotte from the Bach Partita No. 3. And I'll still get to work on the Scherzo-Tarantella slowly as a side project. If nothing else, it will hammer home the value of slow practice, as I can't yet play it any other way!

I'm so happy to be working again on new stuff and steadily becoming a better violinist. Life is good!

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