April 5, 2008 at 6:12 AMIt will take some time to get used to it, but the re-positioning of my viola more towards the front of me has worked wonders for my bowing as well as my reach with my 4th finger. My left shoulder isn't as sore as it was yesterday. I'm wondering if I should try a center mounted chin rest.
I started working the F# Major scale (3 octaves) today. This scale starts in 3rd position on the C string, then up to 5th position on the D string, then up to 8th on the A string. By the time you make it to the top of the scale, there is only about 1/2 of an inch left on the fingerboard.
That last shift up to 8th position is extremely difficult for me at the moment, especially when I get to the 4th finger. It seems just too short to reach the string. Combine that with this contortion act to get my hand around the upper bouts. OUCH! I should have started this when I was younger and more flexible. After trying that last upwards shift a few times (with frequent breaks in between), I finally managed to play the upper part of the scale. Didn't make it down from 8th to 5th position gracefully. I'll work on that tomorrow.
To celebrate my second day of vacation, I went to the Community Music Center in Portland to listen to some truly amazing chamber music. The first piece was the Mendelssohn Trio in C Minor played by 3 extremely talented teenagers. The violinist and cellist both play in the Portland Youth Symphony (concertmaster & principal). It was both uplifting and humbling to listen to three very young musicians put on a professional performance.
After intermission, some of the OSO musicians and one High School violinist, Becky Anderson (who will be performing in "From the Top" in May) played Mendelssohn's Octet. This was a lively and highly entertaining piece to both listen to and watch. It was like being the proverbial "fly on the wall" listening into a private conversation between 8 people, complete with animated gestures to emphasize a particularly juicy piece of gossip.
Afterwards, I spoke with my teacher for a brief moment. He asked again if I had ever heard this piece. The answer was still no, but now I have. :) I almost had to chuckle when he said that "this is a fun piece for a reading". Hehe. The day I can site read something like that will be the day I'm ready to retire. Hopefully I can retire young.
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