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Karen Allendoerfer

Bach Bach Bach

January 5, 2007 at 12:25 AM

Practice time has become a sacred space. Lately it's the only time and place where I can hear myself think.

The Hasse Bouree from "Solos for Young Violists, Book I" is harder than it looks, harder than it sounds when Barbara Barber tosses it off. Easy to go sharp, sharp, sharp without even noticing until it's too late. Hard to keep it light and joyful at the same time.

But the Courante from the Bach Cello Suite No. 1 is like an old friend. I've never played it before, that I know of. Yet, Jennifer is so right about it feeling like slipping into some well-loved, well-fitting garment. It practically sight-read itself, and sight-reading on the viola is still overall a pretty dicey proposition for me. I'd been looking for an audition piece (for the LSO next September) to announce itself. Maybe this is it.

People are talking in the discussion about how much they hate to practice and I probably would too, if I had time to do more than 30-40 minutes a day. But the 30-40 minutes seem to go by before they even get started and then it's time to do something else on the to-do list. I feel like I'm getting clobbered by deadlines at work and home, and it's only the 4th of January.

From jennifer steinfeldt warren
Posted on January 5, 2007 at 2:45 AM
I'm working on the Bach cello suite no. 3. It is quite a bit more unweildy than suite no.1 and 2. I kind of wish to go back and play suite 1 again. It is one of my favourites as well.

I find that when there is so much to do and I am struggling for practice time, I covet it more, as well. Whereas when I have whole days to practice it gets to be evening and I've done a whole lot of other things....

Enjoy Bach and solos for the viola player! I think I have that book...the first I used on viola. Is the cover a brown-orangeish colour?


From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 7, 2007 at 12:42 PM
Solos for Young Violists has a picture of a viola on the cover and is otherwise bluish-purplish. I have another pinkish book called something like Solos for the Viola Player that I got last time I was playing the viola 7 years ago, but I like Solos for Young Violists better because it has a CD with it and listening to it, finished, and getting how it really sounds in my ear is turning out to be really essential to the learning process in the absence of a teacher. It's a series of 5, actually, and this is book one. There is also a companion series, Solos for Young Violinists.

Something that probably should have been obvious to me too, when I was younger, is that I should have played more pieces like these on the violin when I was studying: short (2-4 minutes of playing time), pleasant, accessible, melodic, and not too onerous to learn and even memorize for performance. As a violin student, I learned mostly concertos, etudes, and orchestra music, and none of these are what laypeople want to hear when they say "oh, you play the violin, how nice, can you play me something?"

From Man Wong
Posted on January 8, 2007 at 9:54 AM
Hi, Karen (and Jennifer).

I'm just a new adult beginner w/ the violin -- not quite 1 year yet -- and took it up alongside/ahead of my 2 grade school kids who started doing Suzuki violin at the local conservatory about the same time. I'm not actually taking regular lessons yet, but am mainly just getting occasional lessons and 10-min pointers here and there as time permits during my kids' weekly private lesson times, but I do plan to get regular lessons soon, probably when I'm ready to move on to Suzuki Book 2.

And oh, recently, I also got tempted into taking up the viola thru an awesome deal off eBay. :-) A couple of our Suzuki violin teachers, who are also violists, told me that the Bach Cello Suites are actually not that hard on the viola, and your descriptions of certain pieces of the Suites seem to concur. I love the Cello Suites, and would love to play them on the viola some time down the line -- and my viola outfit even came one version of it. Certainly sounds far more doable than on the cello, especially in my case. :-)

Anyway, I was wondering if it makes sense for me to get those couple Solos for Young Violinists/Violists books you mentioned. At what level of playing would I need to be before I can make use of those books? Currently, I'm working on Bach Minuet 1 in Suzuki Book 1, and will probably move on to Minuet 2 soon enough. Presumably, I will move along a bit faster when I start regular lessons -- and I might go for combined violin/viola lessons. I did also recently buy a book called 50+ Easy Classical Solos for Violin, and I'm not sure if there's any overlap there. That one didn't come w/ CD though.

Thanks for sharing in general and for any help w/ my questions in particular.



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