Printer-friendly version weekend vote: Do you have a piece ready to play, right now?

The Weekend Vote

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Published: October 25, 2013 at 6:51 PM [UTC]

This week we had a really cute video blog from member Vlata Brouwer of Netherlands, called Why Can't You 'Just Play Something'?

Well, it's a good question! Practice sessions often focus on the new piece -- the very impressive new piece that isn't quite ready to play. But it's important to reserve a little time for keeping a nice, crowd-pleasing piece in your hands, so you have a few pieces at the ready, to play for friends, or family, for church or even for a gig that comes up very fast. Of course, it's always possible to read quartet music and for kind of thing, but it's nice some high-quality polished pieces: a slow piece, a show-off piece and a few more.

Recently a few of my students learned "Meditation from Thais," and I found myself advising them, "Keep this one in your fingers always, because it works for lots of occasions when you are called to play!"

Whether you are a student or professional, you should have a few pieces that are always in your fingers, ready to play. Do you? Feel free to share which are your favorite, too!

From Steve Reizes
Posted on October 25, 2013 at 8:09 PM
I go back a couple of pieces if this comes up. Also a good reason to play through "old music" on occasion.
From Juan Manuel Ruiz
Posted on October 26, 2013 at 3:38 AM
Aside from my current etude books and orchestra parts, I always keep a small folder with personal "repertoire to play at the drop of a hat". It is mainly filled with short pieces and tunes that I like to listen to over and over and can play/memorize fairly easily: Celtic tunes and airs, Irish waltzes, tango melodies and some Secret Garden pieces I'm very fond of. There's also the Suzuki repertoire starting from the second half of Book 2, which is, to my surprise, rather pleasant for the non-violin savvy people who have yet to listen to those pieces 300 times a day ;).

I remember seeing one of Buri's posts some time ago where he stated that regardless of one's skill level, one should always have something ready to play when asked for it. I try to hold on to that compromise for two reasons: it helps me establish and increase my own confidence as a musician (someone who can deliver a short but enjoyable musical experience for others, rather than just a student who takes regular lessons), and it gives one the opportunity to apply new techniques to old repertoire.

From George Mitrou
Posted on October 26, 2013 at 8:15 AM
I feel embarassed...
From Ray Nichol
Posted on October 27, 2013 at 4:30 AM
This was a very good question and quite frankly your questions usually makes me stop and think on how relevant they are to anyone from a beginner (myself), a professional, or anyone else who picks up the violin.

As a beginner, I have fallen into the trap or the allure of exploring all the repertoire my beginner hands can get a hold on. This may mean (at least for me)in leaving the 'old' in favor of the bright and new and shiny score sheets which has never seen a pencil mark.

You've given me something to think about and perhaps I'll dust off Twinkle and follow in the footsteps of Hilary Hahn to see how my new found skills will interpret a previous favorite.

From Kim Vawter
Posted on October 28, 2013 at 1:42 PM
Embarrassed. I am also! I wish I played better. I wish I could grab that violin and launch into a Vivaldi. It is nice to dream! Realistically I do work on pieces that I can play well and that are familiar to folks who I know might ask me to play. I need to be sure that I have a couple of pieces ready to go. I want to participate in music. The violin is my voice now.

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on October 30, 2013 at 2:41 AM
yes I did blog about this once. It was one of the bets bits of advice I got at RCM from john ludlow. He told our assembled group of embarrassed fresh men to always have a piece of unaccompanied Bach ready to play anywhere anytime. When Ss come for a one off lesson this is the firth thing I ask for an am always amazed by advanced players who ummm and err and then play a half forgotten piece of Bach. It's not only being ready, it's also re entering that the bach is , along with the Paginini caprices and kreutzer ├ętudesum the violinists bible. Don't know if that has ou be changed to Playboy for atheists though.....

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