I'm having a real problem playing spicatto with something other than my shoulder. In these days of virtual teaching it's difficult for my teacher to help with this. He tells me that I've the correct sound, and I'm using the proper part of the bow, but I'm working too hard for it and that it's coming from my shoulder rather than my wrist.
I understand how it is supposed to work - and I've seen how still his arm is when he demonstrates it - but it's really difficult to address this over Zoom. Any additional tips on how I might address this? My wrist is NOT locked for anything else - but as soon as my bow starts bouncing the wrist checks out and my shoulder takes over.
I must add that I can do this properly on an open string, it's when I start trying to play notes, say a simple 1-octave scale - that the wrist locks up.
Catherine, is there a specific piece or etude associated with you learning spiccato, or has your teacher assigned some particular exercise?
Catherine, like Christian said, slow down until you can do it. Also there are a gazillion videos on spiccato on the internet which may give you ideas. Nathan Cole, Todd Ehle, but many others.
Thanks to both of you - I've been looking. Many of the videos I've found so far appear to be for more advanced violinists - though I did find Todd Ehle. I will keep looking. My right shoulder has been torn in 5 different places (including a full-thickness rotator cuff tear - and all 5 places were fixed at the same time). Obviously we need to be cautious, but my right shoulder is probably more vulnerable than usual.
One of the better introductions to spiccato was given by Todd Ehle. He takes it from a simple vertical bounce, to a V shaped stroke, and then to the more standard U shaped stroke.
This is a weird tip: practise with your shirt off, in front of a mirror. It lets you see how how all the muscles in your right side are moving. Might be helpful for you as you try to move the motion down your arm.
Here is my basic method for spiccato and sautille
Without in- person private lessons, you won't find better technical advice than that from Prof. Berg or the Todd Ehle videos.
Thank you for the advice and video suggestions, much appreciated.
Professor Berg - I spent some time with your suggestions last night and it seems to already be making a difference- thank you! I need to stick with it, and my tendency to return to the incorrect way of attempting spicatto as soon as I start trying to play specific notes is still there of course. The difference is a better understanding of what the mechanics feel like and that was the missing piece I think. Thank you!
I suggest that you pick an easy piece like Suzuki book 1 perpetual motion and play 4 notes spiccato for each note in the piece. e.g. aaaa/bbbb/c#ccc/ etc. this way you can concentrate on the bow stroke.
That's a good suggestion, I will add that. My teacher wants me to do the same 4 spicatto notes for a 1-octave scale, Perpetual Motion will mix that up a bit.
Catherine you are blessed with the "correspondence course" teaching you are already receiving here on this forum, but since you mentioned the Todd Ehle Prof.V videos: indeed: the long series he made more than ten years ago is very detailed and very extensive.
They are great, aren't they? Short and to the point. Some of it differs from how my teacher prefers me to do it - but not much. References are good to have, even more so in this new virtual lessons world that many of us are in.
Sometimes it's the bow!
Do detache on open strings, then lift off the bow on each detache stroke, making the lifting off faster, lighter, and less tension with each stroke.
It’s a lot simpler than it seems.
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