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Mendy Smith

Shifting Exercises and Bach's 6th

February 1, 2007 at 6:33 AM

This blog is like how my orchestra sometimes rehearses pieces: do the ending first, then the beginning then middle sections:

Lesson number 3 with Joel was completed today with a recital start to end with minimal interuptions (of my own doing) of Bach's 6th Cello Suite - Prelude for viola from start to finish. There were a few minor hiccoughs in intonation, a bit of a shaky bow and major slowing down in the one nose bleed section. I managed the the section where there is a drone for a few lines without a major hitch. I was so amazed that I accomplished this feat that I stopped and gave myself a "wooowhoo!". In the last three years of working on this piece, this is the first time I've ever played it in front of someone else without stopping or having a major problem somewhere. HUGE accomplishment.

For the first time ever playing this piece, I had a "page turner" which threw me off since I got used to stopping at the end of the first page, flipping it over, then beginning again. He suggested that I teach one of my cats to turn the page for me. Talk about teaching an old cat new tricks! I think I will just make a copy of page 1 so I don't have to worry about page turnings. In the end I was rewarded with a "that was really good"! To my ears, it wasn't as good as what I did at home alone. But isn't that always the case? :) Then was the inevitable "next time we will work on the stylistic aspect of the 6th". My good echo technique at home didn't come through tonight.

We started with an interesting (to me at least) ear training of perfect octaves and 5ths while tuning. (Dad - you are going to love this - physics was involved.) I had a hard time hearing the perfect 5th tonight, so he took my viola and started de-tuning (him moving the pegs while I held the viola and bowed it) it until he saw my face crunch up in distaste, then re-tuned until I gave him a thumbs up with my now-free left hand. All the while describing how the waves would appear if you were to see them on an oscilloscope. I'm a geek at heart so I could actually see in my mind what he was describing. (Dad - thanks for introducing me to the oscilloscope when I was a kid!)

After the lesson in practical phycics, the next 30 minutes or so of the lesson was working on orchestral pieces that my orchestra is playing right now. Sooooo much easier than Bach's 6th! Then onto the shifting exercises. At one point when we were discussing the form of the hand he showed me his fingers. There were permanent callused grooves from a life-time of playing on the spot every time! I looked at my fingers - I don't have grooves, I have small dots of calluses (lightening never strikes twice?!?).

Note to self - new goal is to transform the small dots into grooves.

Back to shifting exercises :::sigh:::

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on February 2, 2007 at 12:50 PM
You might get grooves within the dots . . . that's what I have right now.

I didn't play for 7 years and they never totally went away, and now they're really back.

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