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Mendy Smith

An American's Revelation

April 10, 2008 at 5:45 AM

Another lesson night. Instead of starting on an "easy" scale, we jumped right into me demonstrating my mastery of the 3 octave F# scale. I use the term "mastery" very loosely - it means that I played it "relatively" in tune (again, "relatively" is loosely defined) and managed the shifts up to 8th position gracefully (somewhat).

One thing that I NEVER would have expected in playing a scale during lessons - stage fright, or at least one of my stage fright symptoms (though I didn't have the "butterflies"): the shaking bow syndrome. Once I started playing something that I felt a little more comfortable with technically, the shaking stopped. I need to think about this a little more.

The upside to this scale experience, is that my left hand position in 8th position over several days of intense focus and practice received a positive comment, though my intonation and approach (too fast of a shift) to the nether-region got a workout.

My teacher is now moving me forwards to new methods of torture: the minor scales, and more forte/piano bowing exercises at the tip. I received a music theory crash-course (after re-confirming again that I've NEVER taken a music theory class in my life) on the various minor scales: harmonic, melodic and natural. All of which he wrote down in my scale book. Afterwards we played an A Minor scale two of the three ways.

Then onto the fun! Sight reading!!!! I had brought with me all my newly acquired quartet music (viola parts only), plus two concertos and a sonata (Clarke's) that I haven't tried playing on my own yet. Joel rummaged through the stack of music and picked Dvorak's American Quartet.

I learned quite a few things tonight about my sight reading skills.
- after a few tries playing with someone experienced that I can pick up a new rhythm fairly quickly
- I think alot and often on the best fingerings (not a sight reading strong point)
- when I get lost (or start on the wrong measure) I can quickly find my place again
- I adjust my bowing to match the leader in my "section" without thinking about it.

Next week, who only knows what I'm going to be playing (outside of scales and bowing studies).

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