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Mendy Smith

Just a Wiggle Will Do

January 19, 2008 at 5:51 AM

I did my first C-major scale practice with vibrato. YUK! I ended up going back and playing it several times without vibrato first to warm up (and gain back some intonation confidence), then back to the vibrato version with half notes. Still YUK! Slowed down, tried it with whole notes... I got a vibrato on the Cing!!!! A total of 4 wiggles on one beat with my 3rd finger! Wooohoooo! The whole experience was out of tune, but my fingers were wiggling when they could, and I was close to the right note. My first finger won't wiggle in first position on any string but the A right now. It wiggles in 3rd position & higher though, and it wants to in 2nd position. My 4th finger wiggles, but I don't get a vibrato sound when I do it. Haven't figured out why yet...

Onto a few shifting studies (with a few wiggles). Made it smoothly up to 7th position, even on the C string! Wow! Not so in tune way up there on the lowest string, but I made it without tensing up, which was the whole point of the exercise.

Finally, I started practicing Hummel on my own tonight with an intense focus right from the start. When I first started Bruch, I didn't work much with a metronome and my rhythm suffered. I also didn't start adding vibrato until much later. This time, I'm trying something different:

I'm not leaving a measure behind that is out of tune, out of rhythm, out of tempo (slow to start), incorrect bowing, or without vibrato when called for (if I'm technically capable of doing it in-tune at the moment) and with the proper dynamics. If something isn't right, I work it a few times until it is corrected, back up a bit and approach the trouble spot, work it more if needed, and so on.

Two hours later, I made it through 3 lines (with the metronome going) in tune and in rhythm with some vibrato and the correct bowing. I turned off the metronome, and played the next few lines to work out my shifts and bowing's (with not much consideration for anything else). Played it through a few times to make sure my right arm and left hand knew what they were supposed to do for the big moves, then went back to the first 3 lines again (with the metronome back on).

This may be a slow process...

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 21, 2008 at 1:23 AM
Greetings,
it`s good to be self criticla and self aware but if one overdoes this way of working then the bog picture is lost and the piece never quite sems to come together. I would suggest you don`t always strive for perfeciton in the earlier stages. If you go for overall musicla shape by focusing on dynamics and phrasing the technique often fall into place.
In more coicnrete terms, another good way of praciticng is to play a piece through at about 70 percent of the tempo (give or take). As you play observe what is not corretc in a nn judgementla way `Oh, that f was sharp` and just carry on. Repeat the piece or page in the same non judgemental observant way. Perhaps the f was sharp again or perhaps it corrected itslef as a result of your observation. Repeat this low key run through approach many times. It is not a good way to practce all the time but it is veyr helpful and will balance out what you are doing.
CHeer,s
Buri
From Mendy Smith
Posted on January 21, 2008 at 1:40 AM
Buri -

Your advise as always is very good. I have played this piece already sevearl times through without the intense focus and took mental notes on the areas needing more work. The last two times were with my teacher playing along with me, with some focus on how to execute the turns. Now to get down to some business...

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 21, 2008 at 4:46 AM
and never lose sight of the er `bog picture` I seem to have written...;)
From Mendy Smith
Posted on January 22, 2008 at 6:30 AM
Buri -

Yes sir. I won't lose sight of the "bog picture". :)

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