Help needed for Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso

January 15, 2020, 2:55 AM · Hi! I have started working on Saint-Saëns Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso about 20 days ago for a violin competition in upcoming June. I struggled with the fast passages. Just a bit of my background , I am currently 17 and wanted to do study music in the future , I am also working on Rode No.11 and Dont No.12 , I practice 3 hours per day. Can I manage to play the Saint-Saëns well by April ? Any tips for the piece? And is it possible to get in to a good conservatory (Ex. Singapore NUS) in your opinion in my current practice state right now? Thanks for your comments , really appreciated!

Replies (15)

January 15, 2020, 5:44 AM · Hmm. Do you "struggle with fast passages" because they are fast or because they are complicated? Or both?

I have two modes of practice for this:
- "pumping" the fingers in slow practice, and relaxing them to increase speed; or
- "moonwalk" slow practice (including slow note-transitions) and increasing muscle tone as we speed up.

I accelerate four- or five-note "chunks" before assembling them.

January 15, 2020, 6:35 AM · I learned a tip from a violin teacher on this forum. I can't guarantee it will work for your situation but it has helped me with several fast passages. Play a section at regular speed, but stop and introduce a deliberate gap whenever there is a string change or a shift. Those are usually the causes of my problems with passage and this method isolates them and forces you to think about exactly what you're doing for each one.

Or you could just do your performance playing an erhu ...

January 15, 2020, 7:20 AM · I also do what Paul says.
I find that two thirds of our technique is between the notes..
January 15, 2020, 7:40 AM · Have some patience, I'd say, recognizing that this work takes time to get up to full tempo with easy fluency. I assume that at this point in your study you must already know all the typical tricks to dissect a fast passage, and have already used them. Keep doing that slow work.

If there are specific places where your fingers get tangled, it's possible your teacher may have specific advice for those measures. Unyieldingly difficult problems of that sort often suggest that you should consider another fingering. Also, make sure that something you think is a left-hand problem is not actually a right-hand issue.

January 15, 2020, 7:46 AM · Thank you so much for the replies. I normally practice it in a slower tempo first. As it gets comfortable , I will increase the speed gradually. Maybe it is just that I need much more patience with it!
January 15, 2020, 7:49 AM · There are two passages in this that are just brutal for everybody (basically the whole two last pages). They require a whole lot of practice. You need to pull out all the practicing tricks -- practice the bowstrokes, practice on open strings for the crossings, practice in groups of 3-4-6-8+ notes with gaps between groups, practice in rhythms, and of course practice slow and build up for speed.

My son was able to learn this piece well in 6 weeks practicing it about an hour a day, but he is a pretty fast learner.

I don't know anything about Singapore programs, but with a well-polished Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso level here in the US, you would be a candidate for second and third tier schools.

January 15, 2020, 8:39 AM · Thanks for the practice tip! Wow , 6 weeeks. He's really a fast learner. I think I need to take quite some time because I haven't played any pieces before which its difficulty is similar with this.
January 15, 2020, 9:27 AM · What other pieces of similar standard have you played?
January 15, 2020, 4:06 PM · I'm in a similar situation, i'm studying this summer introduction and rondo capriccioso and this year i'll start mendelssohn's vc and paganini's 16th or 10th caprice, though i'm 16. Do you think i can enter a first tier college in US for when i turn 18?
January 15, 2020, 4:23 PM · The thing is I didn't play anything that has the similar difficulty with this piece before. The nearest difficulty to this piece which I played would be Bruch Vc No.1 second movement and Praeludium und Allegro. That's why I need to really work hard to push it
January 15, 2020, 4:34 PM · Another tip to add to Susan's is that you can also practice passagework with spiccato, as it forces your fingers to be there prior to the bow.
January 15, 2020, 5:03 PM · Or practice the spiccato passages legato (or slurred by various patterns), as that will change your focus and make the string crossings more obvious.
January 15, 2020, 5:32 PM · @Victor then perhaps you might want to work on a pieces that bridges the technical gap between the Bruch/Kriesler and the Saint-Saens? Maybe Wieniawski Concerto no. 2 or Lalo Symphonie Espagnole
January 15, 2020, 5:38 PM · Oh wait I just realised that the OP is playing this for an upcoming violin competition. Is it an international competition?
January 17, 2020, 3:10 AM · It's kinda like a local competition but it's sponsored by foreign music academies like Trinity and ABRSM. They gave few pieces for players to choose from which are also quite technically demanding, somehow I chose Saint-Saëns because I love the piece and I believe that I can push my limits with it

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