Printer-friendly version

Music Therapy

Mendy Smith

Written by
Published: November 15, 2014 at 1:49 AM [UTC]

Last month I blogged about how Music Matters . Since that blog, my teacher and I have worked closely together to develop a plan that makes the best use of what time I have available to practice until the project I'm running is completed. We've shelved new pieces and etudes and pared down what is on my stand to a well known etude and piece. The key is "no new notes".

The etude is Kreutzer #2 (I can play the notes from memory) with the focus on bowing. Every other week a new pairing of bowing techniques are introduced such as detache and staccato - changing bowing technique every other measure. It is simple enough to spend several minutes each day completely focused on just one thing - my right arm - no worries about anything else, just the right arm. In a surprisingly short period of time, my tone has become much more focused and controlled than before, and more delightedly my intonation improved (as my teacher said it would).

The piece is one from my Bach By 40 goal. Suite 5 is getting dusted off and polished up. Again, no new notes, but now I'm studying it again with a different perspective with the tools in my "musical tool box" I've gathered since I first started studying the suites many years ago. Week after week I've been having several "AHA" moments. Techniques that were in their early stages of development back then are now more easily executed in context. Vague understandings of some aspects of music theory are now making intuitive musical sense. But most importantly, my Bach playing has taken leaps and bounds. It is a complete joy to play. I can lose myself for hours exploring intricacies in Bach that I wasn't able to appreciate four years ago.

Rather than skimming the surface of many skills that need development week over week, my teacher and I are delving deeper into a select few to refine and perfect them to the best of my ability. We both expect that when this project is over, I'll break out of the plateau I've been in months and take another musical leap.

Stay tuned. In a month or so, I may post a recording (or not).

From John Rokos
Posted on November 21, 2014 at 12:18 AM
Mendy, you've used the term "Music Therapy". I know of two approaches, Norhoff-Robbins and Paul Robertson. The former is most often used, the latter is still under experimentation.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Protect your instrument this winter

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Starling-DeLay Symposium
Starling-DeLay Symposium

Los Angeles Philharmonic
LA Phil

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

ARIA International Summer Academy

Study with the Elizabeth Faidley Studio

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine