Watch the Indianapolis Competition Livestream

Printer-friendly version
Karen Allendoerfer

The Hard Stuff

September 30, 2008 at 10:59 AM

As principal of the 1st violin section I've been feeling much responsibility for learning orchestra music this fall, and so my viola has spent the month of September in its case while I get to know my violin again.

For the most part, switching back has not been a big deal, except for something my teacher pointed out, which is that I'm tending to play too heavily and lean too much on string crossings. Sometimes I'm trying to pull sound out of the instrument as if it were a viola, when a lighter touch is really what's called for.

What this observation has done, moreover, is gotten me to focus more on the bow arm and hand than I have in the past. And I don't always like what I hear: in fact, these days it seems like I'm always ending up in the wrong part of the bow for doing what I wanted to do. And then a frantic journey from, say, the frog back to the tip ensues, with accents in all the wrong places. I don't think that this is evidence of halcyon days of pre-viola bowing bliss, from which I've sadly fallen. Rather, I think it's evidence of having moved from ignorance into experience.

Right now I seem to have two kinds of problems on string instruments: things I can't do, and things I forget to do. Most of my playing life I've concentrated on the things I can't do, like octave leaps from G to GGGG! on the Eing. I'll work this shift over and over, I'll do repetitions, I'll discuss Brian's blog with my teacher. Sometimes I nail the shift, sometimes I don't. The percentage varies, and (hopefully) increases over time. But there's never a question of forgetting to do it.

Whereas getting in the right place in the bow is different. It's something that, if I pay attention and plan ahead, I can do correctly on the first or second try. But the trick is remembering to pay attention and plan ahead, and not move on, thinking "oh, that's easy, I can do thaaaat, let's get to the hard stuff" too soon.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on September 30, 2008 at 5:26 PM
I love your description of the two kinds of problems. Sounds very familiar. Keep at it and see if you can decrease the former so that those problems go into the latter category where they are easier to deal with.
From Terez Mertes
Posted on September 30, 2008 at 6:00 PM
>Rather, I think it's evidence of having moved from ignorance into experience.

Ah, yes, well put. Funny how uncomfortable this kind of enlightenment can feel. I'm experiencing it in a great variety of levels/settings these days. And it's not getting more comfortable. : (

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 1, 2008 at 10:42 AM
That's funny, I don't find the latter category that easy to deal with. It's a lot harder for me to motivate myself to practice when the goal is remembering something that I already know. I find it much more satisfying and fun to learn to do something new.

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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Virtual Sejong Music Competition
Virtual Sejong Music Competition

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

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Coltman Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Bein & Company

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

String Masters

Bobelock Cases

Things 4 Strings LLC

Violin-Strings.com

Viola-Strings.com

Baerenreiter

Fiddlerman.com

FiddlerShop

Sleepy Puppy Press

Jargar Strings

J.R. Judd Violins, LLC

Southwest Strings

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe