I really didn't think it was possible but I'm now convinced. Has anyone ever experienced finally achieving like a maximum level at a piece and then slowly losing it all? I hope this isn't just me. I've been working on the second movement of the Brahm's E flat sonata for my jury. It's an intonation killer being that it's in 6 flats and then modulates to 5 sharps. Boo hoo I say. (clarinet's have it easy!) In addition, I've been trying to work in my slow vibrato with it, which has been the most difficult task for me this semester, making sure I keep a continuous, not tense vibrato. About 2 weeks ago I was feeling great about everything. I was weeks ahead of my jury and playing it wonderfully. All of the sudden, honestly, over the past 2 weeks or so it's gotten very tense and almost as if all the vibrato work I've been working on has gone away. I'm more tense in general when I play, and I've also noticed this in my orchestral playing. It's like I reached my best playing of the semester and ever since then it's declined. My practice habits haven't changed; if anything I'm practicing more now to make up for how terrible everything sounds now.
I've started doing my vibrato exercises again.. as much as I hate them. Hopefully some slow vibrato work with the metronome and on long bowed scales will ease up my tenseness again. Suggestions?
So I've decided to start a blog here, and I'm hoping I'll get some discussion/insight on my troubles/successes in my journey. I am, in fact, a violist. However, this is one of the best websites I've found for violin and viola technique. I've learned a lot here and hoping to increase my playing.
Some info about myself..
I'm a sophomore Viola major at Syracuse University. They do in fact have a music school with some very talented faculty that I'm happy to be a part of. Nevertheless, I enjoy the confinement of the music school within the larger university setting. I can get some serious work done and still have fun outside of the music building. That is always good :) I'm currently working on the Brahms E flat Sonata, which has been one of the most challenging pieces I've ever played. I performed the first movement for my jury, and the second will be played at the end of this semester. I hope to have the entire sonata completed in a few months.
One of my major setbacks would have to be my vibrato. Sadly enough, I was never taught how to do vibrato, and thus developed my own sort of impulse/tense movement that some what resembled vibrato. No one really told me otherwise. When I got to the university, I went through and overhaul. It wasn't really until the start of this year when I really started practicing in abundance, playing more often in recitals/groups and started working on a lot of things. I started painfully re-learning vibrato over the summer. I decided to learn an arm vibrato since that came easiest. For about 6 months I began each day practicing with a metronome until I had the motion down. Then came the real test; for what ever reason, I had difficulty vibrato-ing without the metronome, which led to it's own recovery phase. I'm almost complete with that now, although when I tense up/become nervous I usually revert back to my old style of vibrato. My right had technique, thankfully, has improved, as well as my intotation. My tone has as well. over the past semester, although my vibrato is such a setback and causes me such distress. I drives me over the edge sometimes, but I realize everyone has their faults and its okay. I've made a lot of progress with that aspect of my playing and it's on the brink of being fixed. Just need to get the bad feelings out of my head.
That is all for now. I'll update whenever I feel need be. Hopefully before juries in a couple weeks. Wish me luck.
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