January 2, 2009 at 3:00 AM
Finally! After the sight-reading with my teacher before the holidays, I was able to get some serious practice on the Bloch today. The first order of business was to play it through several times at tempo as well as I am able and note down the trouble spots. This process took the entire day.
Right now, those trouble spots seem both overwhelming but still manageable simultaneously. Surprisingly, the one thing that came out at the top of the list were the dynamic changes, not the shifts up to 7th+ position. Out of all the notes, the ones above the A and octave higher on the A string need the most work for intonation & vibrato. Bowings haven't given me difficulties, nor the rhythms, which in and of itself is a surprise.
I'm employing a trick taught to me by my stand partner to learn the fast runs of notes. That is to take it one note at a time, adding one note on each repeat of the phrase, working up to the entire run of notes. I'm starting off slowly, to get each note in tune, and practice the shifts. Then working it up to tempo notch by notch with the metronome. This has the added benefit of memorizing these sections somewhat quickly.
In the short term, my first goal is to memorize the basics of this piece by spring. That is to have all the notes, rhythms, dynamic changes and tempos of the first movement memorized (not necessarily mastered). This way I will be free to focus my time and energy on the execution, and not be so focused on the notes on the page. What I learned in my "graduation" performance of the Bach Suite #3 Sarabande was that when a piece can be played without ever pulling out the sheet-music, your focus is on the music itself, not making the notes as printed on the page. It is quite liberating.
Now back to studying the score....
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