January 2007

Mid-holidays: consolidating but not exciting.

January 12, 2007 14:52

I'm in the middle of my Christmas holidays slump, no lessons for 4 weeks now, so no feedback. I really love my lesson, I don't think there's ever been one session with my current teacher where I didn't have just something new to work on for the week that improved not just a phrase or passage I was working on, but developed my playing a lot too.
So now, its just a matter of consolidating what I was working on before the holidays, and getting as many pieces up to the level where I can LEARN them when lessons recommence at the beginning of February.
So things I wanted/needed to do over this six week break:
1. relax my right wrist and get my fingers soft
2. relax my left arm and keep practising vibrato
3. keep working on spiccato to make it more even and reliable sound production
4. shape the sound more on long bow strokes

I've started to video some my practise sessions. I'm going to load them on to youtube, because you never know what suggestion someone might offer that could help. First up will be Dancla variations on a theme, first filmed about a month month ago, after I'd been learning it for about 6 weeks. The first session shows my difficulty in working out timing. I refuse to use the audio materials that are available for the AMEB, so don't often have a knowledge of the pieces I learn. Counting is not my strongest point, so I messed up quite a few bars in this piece. I think I have it now, the second session should be more accurate. I had practised this piece a lot up to the second weekend in Dec, for a little session with other players at my teachers place. and by then I was thotoughly sick of it, and hadn't put it back on the rotation until this week, when I started just playing bits of it again, and then recorded it this morning as a comparison.

I'm thinking about how much there has been to learn since I first picked this thing up three years ago. Its about 2 years worth of lessons and I haven't missed anytime this past year at all, and the progress has been great. There were things that were really hard when I first started, and I truly wondered if I would ever be any better at, but if I think about it, there has been progress:
-I can usually get a long bow stroke with no shudders and without sliding.
-I can go straight to 3rd and 4th positions and only be a part-of-a-part-of-a tone out.
-I reliably know the location of notes on the top three strings up to about 6th position. I can't seem to get the geopgraphy of the G string past 4th positon.
-I sight read some of the material in my grade 5 book, and I didn't pass out when I met dotted and slurred notes. I didn't play them accurately as such :\ but at least I was still conscious so could try to work them out.

Othere things are still really hard, most notably - playing fast. I can't seem to make my fingers/bow coordinate for things like 16ths, when the tempo is more than about 70ish. upt to there, I'm not to bad, and on a great day I can get to about 80ish on the metronme, but ususaly I lose it for a whole lot of reasons.
- really digging into the strings and getting a strong sound. I think I'm still scared of sounding horrible, so I hold back.

So I know what I've got to do. I guess I should go and do it.

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More entries: December 2007

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