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Mendy Smith

Blue Gumby

February 7, 2008 at 7:38 AM

"Blue Gumby" is the name I gave the blue rubber band my teacher put on my bow a week ago. At first we hated each other, then we called a truce. As of tonight we are best friends!

The hard work over the weekend paid off (woohooo!). My bow hold is confirmed "much better" than before. I'm going to keep Blue Gumby close to me for the next month though to be certain. My teacher mentioned how this "rubber band technique" only worked on 1 out of 3 students and that maybe by having his students give a name to the rubber band, it would increase the success rate. LOL!

Almost 80% of tonight's lesson was on Kreutzer and scales plus some music theory. What a Major & diminished 7th was finally clicked. I LOVE those "ahaa" moments. Then he had me practice my bowings in front of a mirror. The moment I looked in the mirror though, my bowing went wild on me. When I looked directly at the contact point everything went straight again. Darned mirrors! "OK, take that home or to the hotel room in front of the mirror - if they have mirrors in the hotel rooms in China -to figure out."

The last few minutes of lessons were spent on the first page of Hummel: the turns, dynamics, and a few rhythm issues. Someday (hopefully soon), I will remember to sub-divide beats in my head as second nature without needing to be reminded to do so. Maybe I should try using a "Post-It" note on my sheet music... hmmmmmm... At least my trills are good and don't need any help (fastest on the planet according to my teacher). I still don't remember when or how I learned trills. I can't wait to make it to the end of the piece where there are three full measures of nothing but trills.

He mentioned that he had remind himself that I was not like his other students (music majors & soon to be music majors) that have more practice time than I do with a full time job. He asked me to tell him if he put too much pressure on me. I gave him "The Look" - this is NOTHING like the pressure I have at my day job. I took this as a compliment - having him forget that I'm not one of those young (in my eyes) aspiring professionals he normally teaches means alot to me.

At the end of lessons while I was packing up, my teacher tried to find a recording of him playing the Hummel with Orchestra to loan me. Unfortunately, it was not found so easily. I will have to wait until later to listen to it. RATS!!!!!

So my homework assignment: scales (3 of them now) AND Kreutzer WITH vibrato, focus on bowing (hold and sound point - in front of a mirror), left hand patterns & frame, and sub-dividing beats. Arpeggios if I can work them into my "free" time, and an admonishment to actually HAVE some free time.

From sharelle taylor
Posted on February 7, 2008 at 9:39 PM
Medny, I'm enjoying reading about details of your lessons and self learning.
I'm waiting for the ahaa moment on dim7 scales - I just haven't been able to hear the progression in dim7, so i can't anticipate where to go next. I can read it accurately, but its not internalised.
My stand partner (who is a great pianist and excellent violinist) suggested getting a keyboard and trying to get a visual of how the scale progresses, so I've just done that. Only thing is, I now need to learn how to find the notes on the keyboard.
I'll let you know if it works.
From Mendy Smith
Posted on February 8, 2008 at 8:59 AM
Sharelle, it's just a third with an extra note thrown in for good measure. Take a look at your major 3rd, then the dim7th. The 1st 3 notes are the 3rd, the 4th is the diminished. This repeats as you go up. Ahaaaaa!

As far as the piano goes, just remember that the white key between the two black keys (not the 3 black keys) is D. You can start working it out from there.

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