Feedback on my Mozart

January 13, 2018, 9:05 PM · Hi all,

I have an audition coming up on Tuesday and I'm playing Mozart's 3rd violin concerto (exposition 1st mvt). I just need some feedback on things that could be better.

Thank you!

Replies (13)

January 13, 2018, 9:31 PM · Metronome, metronome, metronome.

You have a particular tendency to underhold notes. You need to make sure that these are precise. Mozart is music of precision, but you're underholding more than a fraction of an instant -- you're underholding enough to distort the rhythm.

In general, your pulse isn't steady. Take a pencil, and tap the beat while listening to the recording of yourself play. You'll rapidly see that you're all over the place.

The other thing that I suggest you strive for is cleanliness. You should be able to hear the places in that recording where it's not clean. Woodshed those places. Slow them down a LOT and work on getting them precise at a slower tempo before attempting to speed them up.

This is an audition for a new teacher, isn't it? I seem to recall that from your previous posts. I'm sure that person will see immediately what you need to fix technically, so you won't "impress" them by trying to give the impression that your technique level is higher than it is.

However, sloppy playing tells a teacher that you may not be a sufficiently diligent practicer, or you don't listen critically to yourself while practicing, so I'd suggest that you work on that.

January 13, 2018, 9:52 PM · Everything Lydia said. Slow it down, clean it up, practice with a metronome. You need to release more on your shifts; thumb and the finger you're moving on should be very lightly touching the neck and string respectively when you are shifting.

Plus, you are playing a very strange wrong note; you're playing Eb instead of E natural at 30 seconds in.

January 13, 2018, 10:27 PM · Definitely practice with a metronome, as that tempo is kind of all over the place.

When I did Mozart 4, I made the unfortunate mistake of not doing so, which ended up forfeiting my spot at the State Solo competition and the All-Northwest conference.

January 13, 2018, 10:38 PM · Agree with others, generally speaking. It might also be worth it to practice counting out loud while you listen or play. It was generally clean with a few messy spots. Your bow sometimes came to a literal hault, which resulting in a screech. Be careful of that. Also, try to avoid hitting other strings. Your spiccato could be more crisp. Perhaps a more relaxed right thumb may be in order.
January 13, 2018, 11:53 PM · This concerto is a wonderful one to practice hitting all of the ringing tones (open strings matching fingered notes).

If you can hit all of them in the basic Tonalization exercises (they're at the beginning of most of the Suzuki books from 2 onwards), then the challenge is to do it in the repertoire.

The side effect of this though, is that you will end up being much more in tune. At this point, your whole and half steps are inconsistent from phrase to phrase, and even from string to string in scalar passages.

January 14, 2018, 10:28 AM · Could your violin be out of tune?
Edited: January 15, 2018, 6:49 AM · I don't think the violin is out of tune, but even if it is, the OP still needs to be in tune.

Whether or not the instrument is in tune is largely irrelevant in this case, because it's clear that the OP pitch consistency is weak in general, for repeated pitches on the same string.

Best of luck, OP -- remember that an audition for a teacher is to assess your playing level and possibly your practice habits, so don't stress too much over it.

January 15, 2018, 2:26 AM · Good luck with the audition!

January 15, 2018, 8:22 AM · I just wanted to add my 2 cents since you haven't yet played the audition. All the other comments about rhythmic steadiness are right on, so I won't talk about that. My comments are:

1. you have a really nice vibrato. The only issue with having a really nice vibrato is.....the listener really notices it when you suddenly don't do it. Keep it going!

2. note length. The lengths of every note need to be meticulously planned, practiced, and executed. It takes much musical judgement and practice to do it convincingly. Mostly you're fine, but it's inconsistent. In the opening line, for example, I heard some gaps and shortened note lengths my ear didn't like. And sometimes at the ends of phrases, notes are held a little too long. Phrase endings, especially in Mozart, are sooooo important...

Edited: January 15, 2018, 10:41 AM · You already know your intonation is not perfect. Gene has the right idea. Slow down and make sure every G, D, and A are well ringing notes. G ... B . D . D ... that passage, with the shift up to the B. Work on that one. Make each pitch be exactly the pitch you want. As the passage winds it way to the G#, remember that this is a leading tone to the A. There is a Sassmannshaus video on intonation where he uses this passage as an example. Watch it.

You've got some staccato / spiccato going on ... listen to those. They're uneven. Groove that stroke on Kreutzer No. 2. Make sure you can get them even at any tempo (obviously within reason at the high end).

Phrasing ... D-C#-D-F#-B-A-G. Plan how you want that to sound. Then *think* about how you will do it with your bow.

Edited: January 15, 2018, 12:32 PM · Mahika,
You have I think a nice sweet sound. Question: what do you think are/is the main characterstic(s) you are brilliant at : perhaps better than most anybody, or perhaps better than anybody else at all? (Since in this world there is nobody who does not do their thing better than anybody else could, without any exception) . While you focus on the valid criticisms above, could you also focus on that . Thanks.
January 16, 2018, 7:24 AM · Note: using for the bar numbers.

I think OP could work on relaxing the right hand and some flexibility. I feel like some of the spiccato passages didn't come out the way it should (with the "bite") because the hand was way too grippy, i.e. mm. 44, mm. 64-66, instead of fully relaxing it and just let the natural bounce of the bow hair to take care of itself.

Also the other suggestion I could think of are the phrase endings. A lot of it ended very abruptly, kind of like if someone choked a singer's throat and the voice suddenly stopped. 2 small things that could be of help:
1. persist the vibrato until after your bow have stopped/came off
2. tapering. i.e. once you have the hand relaxing knocked down, try to feel that you are just ever so slightly lifting the bow off the string, such that the sound will dissipate into the air.

February 3, 2018, 6:47 AM · And listen - intensly - to top players' recordings. Many times.
Our inner ear has to know what to aim for.

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