March 6, 2009 at 4:26 AM
I had one of two of my remaining lessons with Joel today. It started with a new double-stop exercise, and then onto the C major scale. But instead of stopping at 4 notes per bow, he pushed me to 6 notes, then 8, then to my breaking point. When I asked how many notes per bow, he said "Don't think about it and just do it". Well, I made it up the 3 octave scale OK after a few false starts, but then stumbled my way back down. I still don't know how many notes per bow that was.
He introduced me to another movement of the Bach - this time from the 6th Suite, the Gavotte. I would had expected this to have been much more challenging than it was. With a little bit of work the double-stops will become comfortable under the hand.
Then it was time for the review of the Bruch. I played through the beginning with some new fingerings a little higher up on the string. On the C, Joel starting laughing - STILL - after 2 years I held that C much too long!!! I started over with the correct duration of the note, then "faked" my way through a very fast run of notes that had become a bit rusty on me, and then got to a section where I was experimenting with different fingerings but never came to a solution. He helped me figure out the pattern, and then I finished off the piece.
I can now fully appreciate why Joel's nickname is "Sul C". He restarted the piece with me and suggested different fingerings, but not in a way I was used to. I simply followed along, doing what he was doing. Instead of a string crossing to make the note in a lower position as I usually did in this piece, I followed his shifts up the fingerboard to the note and back down again. I don't know what positions I was playing, but I followed him up and down the fingerboard. Some of those shifts had me right near the very edge of the fingerboard. When I asked once what finger to use, he told me not to worry about it and just make it up there with whatever finger worked. Most of the original fingerings were erased over the course of this review and replaced with "Sul C", "Sul G" and "Sul D" instead.
After we were done reviewing the Bruch, I was struck by something quite profound. Somewhere along the way I had become completely comfortable with the ENTIRE length of the fingerboard on all strings. I didn't have to think overly much on intonation. I was vibrating naturally in positions that a few months ago I was having monumental stuggles with having it happen at all. For the first time Joel actually suggested a different "flavor" of vibrato and I did what he asked without a second thought. Somehow over the course of the past two months, I DID make up for come of those lost years.
And finally, we ran through the Hummel Fantasy non-stop together. This piece ends with a very long and fast passage that a year ago I could never quite manage. He kept pushing faster and faster but I kept up with him (with a few wrong notes). It almost was like a little "speed competition".
When we ended lessons and I got into my car, the clock showed that lessons were nearly an hour and a half long!!!!
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