Intermediate to advanced student problems
What are the technical problems that are difficult to solve for intermediate to advanced students? Please not shoulder pads, rests, instrument set up, etc.
Personally, I've found it difficult to really inject musicality into a student. The nice thing about true technical problems is that there's usually a way to solve them, even if it takes some effort in finding the exact solution for them. But having a "sense" of music is something that's very hard to develop in someone that doesn't already have that "Spark."
For me is was / is sajutillé and arpeggio (as in the Mendelssohn cadenza). In the left hand double stops, especially fifths and octaves.
The numbers of students who won't believe me when I tell them that sautille and spiccato are different sounding bow-strokes...
I would say the biggest is the development of sophisticated bow strokes, everything from spiccato to ricochet. Even just making a really, truly beautiful sound by coordinating bow speed/weight and vibrato is hard at this level. Generally, people at this level have a pretty uniform vibrato as well, so learning to vary that is a new skill for most. Finally, learning to play the harder double stops that are necessary for the "big" concertos, such as complicated series of thirds and sixths, lots of octaves in a row, and tenths.
@Susan, there is a teacher in my town who is sort of the go-to for students who are intermediate and who want to be advanced / competitive. He told me that when he takes on a new student at that stage, they always need a great deal of work on bow strokes. He immediately starts them on a steady diet of Sevcik. I know he works them hard on tone generation too. And this despite the fact that the other teachers that taught these students up to that point emphasize bow-strokes and tone quite appropriately from what I have seen and heard.
In the left hand, turning vibrato on and off, maybe an exercise perhaps best isolated and worked on when practicing scales. In the right hand, bringing out dynamics through bow placement, weight, and speed.
Musicality, developing facile advanced bow strokes. So far, I am not even to octaves and that stuff yet!
I consider myself to be at the intermediate level, and the following three are examples of playing that I've yet to master . . .
For my daughter specifically, the hardest thing has been developing good practice habits. She basically powered through to where she is mainly on her raw abilities and instincts so she doesn't know how to practice mindfully. She thinks she can practice randomly and it'd just come together. Sigh.
For me the main problems I’m frequently frustrated with are the following:
Based on my daughter, here are some of the ones not previously mentioned, and non-technical:
Yes, high positions!
Someone said to my daughter recently that Rosand had told them that as a prodigy he had learned most of what he needed in his left hand by the time he was 10 or so. And that he had spent the next 70 years trying to improve his right.
I think at the advanced level, it's detail -- beginning with awareness of the details, and then execution of the details.
Double-stop thirds: They are both physically awkward and difficult to exactly tune in just (chordal) intonation.
I find this to be a very interesting thread.
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