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Mendy Smith

Day 40 - Expressive and Sometimes Silly Shifts

March 13, 2009 at 3:17 AM

Tonight was my final lesson with Joel, at least until we meet up at Interlochen again the summers.  I was greeted by both Joel his wife.   His wife and I shared a hug and chatted a little bit.  It was time to start, so Joel and I headed upstairs and exchanged gifts - he gave me one of the most fun lessons I've ever had gratis, and I gave him his card & gift certification. 

After having had studied the Bloch so hard, I was picking up the last piece I auditioned with years ago as a bit of a break - Bruch's Romanze, but this time exploring the world of expressive shifts and the length of the fingerboard.  Working on this piece again over the past week filled me with many new questions on how to incorporate this new found skill.  So, lessons tonight were focused on the various and sundry ways this piece could be played, from which strings to use and how and when to gliss a bit on the shift.

Things stayed relatively serious until we got to the section with 16th notes.  At that point we both became quite silly.  Just how high CAN you play that passage on the G string?  or the C?  Well, it turns out, pretty darned high.  Oh, and two passages can be played with NOTHING but harmonics  - just in case I ever get bored...(my new teacher will raise an eyebrow on those alternate fingerings - 0 0 0 0 0 0 ). At that point we were almost rolling on the floor in laughter.  He had me play that section again, to see what option I would choose, serious, profound, or silly.  I tried silly (with the harmonics) but  I floundered a bit trying to find all those harmonics quickly.  We laughed even harder.  

We got relatively serious again worked through a few other parts, focusing on my bowing and the more serious expressive shifts.  Until the end of one passage ending with the C (normally on the A string) with a trill.  Well, that ended up being a harmonic with a "trill" on the C string.  For you violinists, to make that high C on the C string, there is NO fingerboard remaining at all. Much to my surprise I was able to maneuver my arm and hand around the upper bouts to get there, and it was comfortable!!!!  

So on a "high note", my final lesson with Joel came to an end.  We shared a hug and both he and his wife walked me out to my car with a "see you in August!!!".

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