The great Juilliard violin teacher Dorothy DeLay famously said that almost any technical problem can be boiled down to two notes, and how to get from one of them to the next.
As usual, she was right! In fact, sometimes the way we practice actually causes those problems between two notes. Have you ever played a note out of tune, then slid around on your finger to get in tune? Have you ever shifted to the wrong place, then fumbled your way to the right place? Have you ever taken several bow strokes "in between" while you are trying to fix something that went wrong? Then you may have actually been "practicing in" your mistakes.
Don't despair, it happens to most of us, and at all different levels of playing. In fact, to a degree, this is simply part of the learning process. But it's important to identify these areas of repeated struggle so that you can get rid of all those misfires that your brain is sending your hands. Once you find the problem area, you must reduce it to two notes, then figure out what you are doing in between. Put a big stop sign between the notes, and get rid of any extra notes, extra noises and extra actions in between notes. In other words, stop, get organized, then proceed correctly. Once you are learning to get organized with your mind and hands, you can shorten the amount of time that you stop. When it comes to correct practicing, it's much easier to get rid of a few stops than it is to get rid of practiced-in fumbling, extra notes, etc. Below is a video demonstration, using a passage from Vivaldi Concerto in G minor, first movement, as an example. Happy practicing!
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