How to prepare for graduate school audition

January 7, 2005 at 04:01 AM · I have been practicing hard the Lalo "Symphonie Espagnole", 1st movement for my graduate school audition. I am having a truoule playing the piece with accurate rhythm, especially passages where 3 against 2 occurrs.Also, in second and third pages of the piece, I tend to rush during technical passages. Especially, this passage includes odd bowing, and it makes me play fast 16th notes even harder. Advice, anyone?

Replies (3)

January 7, 2005 at 04:01 AM · Get a bunch of recordings and listen to how each performer handles the rhythm. When I was working on that movement, I noticed that many performers take some liberty with the rhythm. The espressivo marking, to me, is a license to steal a bit here and there from the beats. A little rubato adds to the Gypsy feel of it, I think. Listening to the recordings also helped me to internalise the quarter note triplets instead of trying to count out the hemiola. As for the bowings, I am looking at my edition (Menuhin) and I am not sure which part you mean. Which edition do you have? have fun with this piece! This is my all-time favorite movement of any piece I have ever played. as a friend of mine put it, it's "saucy!"

January 7, 2005 at 04:24 AM · Greetings,

Woonha, if you are rushing because of lack of technical control then the instrument is leading you rather than the other way around.

You might try playing around with the following:

1) Separate the problems into left and right hand. So, if the bowing is the probelm then practice it on open strins so thta you know exactly what you are doing before you even consider the left hand. Then work on the left hand.

2) Remember that the left hand leads and the bow follows. So the most important thing you need todo is get the left hand comfortable. Any practice you do with the left hand outside its confortzone is a waste of time and will damage what you are doing. The comfort zone is created when the brain is able to shoot out a single command that has been constructed from a number of small commands that you have made yourself aware of during practice. In performance we are not thinking about small commands but in broader brush strokes and colors. If the programming is correct then you are free to be artistic in the performance.

The only way t achieve this is to practice -very- slowly. -very= slowly and er then do some more slow practice. during this ridiculuosly slow practice take care of the differnet components very analytically. Practice a shift slowly and then before nad after the shift and put it together. Practice connecting fast notes smoothly with no garbage in between. If you can do this slowly then you are free to place the notes closer and closer together which is what is traditionally referred to as speeding things up.

Spped things up by taking a single small unit and play it faster and faster. Only as much as the brain can make a single command and it happens. perhaps 5 16th notes. Then practice the next group in the same way many times. then the next until you are sure your brain can do this. Then put the first and second groups together and practice them until the brain is only sending a single command. then the next two etc. Keep building up chunks until ultimately your brain only sendsout one command , `play the Lalo` and it just happens. Bit of an exagerrtaion but thta`s basically it.

3) After doing a lot of this slow and careful practice (without vibrato) consider making the passage more complex by applying the Galamian bowings and rythms to the passage. This will improve the coordiantion.

4)Make sure you have practiced the fast passages at leats ten or fifteen percent faster than oyu intend to perfrom them in case the pianist gets too excited. Agsain, the margin of error is part of your comfort zone.

5) You can@t do three against two? That begs the question, to what extent have you actually pracitced 3 against 2. IE you have corretcly identifed the problem but is it really an instrumental problem? And if it isn`t then are you praciticng with the insturment? Maybe you have a good violin but your voice and your body are much more important. You can dance, conduct sing and do anything to make this rythm patter part of your internal equipment. You can even sinfg it while going on long walks or conducting it or whatever. Or tape yourself playing a two beat and practice playing threes against or bang the table with both hands.....



January 8, 2005 at 03:47 AM · I think I know what part you are talking about and the bowings ARE pretty tricky. I agree with the poster above to think about the rythm in more of Gypsy free way and then it becomes easier to feel your way around the rythmical things in it. Try and be as creative as you can, exaggerate and do crazy things and if its too out there, bring it back a notch, but if you love it, go for it! You can take a lot of liberties with that piece.

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