Monday, July 10, 2006
I've been spending a lot of time working on the "Target Practice" in the Mooney book, the basic Second Position Etudes in Suzuki Vol 2, and the Countdown Etude. This is all to learn the second position. At first I just played them by ear - trying to hear if I hit the right place. I realized this approach is sort of after-the-fact; if I miss the note, I make a correction with a slight adjustment of the appropriate finger. Today, I started consciously thinking about exactly where I was going to put my fingers - and then occasionally glancing at the fingerboard for a visual confirmation. It seemed to help a bit. Of course I don't want to develop the habit of looking at the fingerboard (again); it took so long to get out of that when I was working on first position. The biggest gain seems to come from the act of consciously thinking where the finger should go, rather than just let it "find" it subconsciously. Clearly that is the ultimate goal, but obviously, my fingers won't find where to go before they actually learn it.
Along with the target positions, I also started playing the new fourth finger notes on each string - listening for the ringing tones. The more I did this, the better everything sounded.
With the three new pieces to learn, along with the two (American) fiddle pieces from the Mel Bay book, the four (British) fiddle pieces I've been working on for a while, and (still) "The Happy Farmer" and "Bach Minuet #2", I have a lot to work on.
I'm still excited about being in second position.