Tuesday, January 02, 2007

 

Lesson 22


I haven't had a lesson in almost a month. But I'd been working diligently on my own. I hope it showed. I thought I did well today; much less awkwardness.

In response to her opening question (did I have any issues to talk about?) I jumped right into the Two Grenadiers piece, specifically my problems with some of the rhythms. As before, I have difficulties with the dotted-quarter spicatto-eighth note combinations. This isn't new; but eventually I managed to work out these same combinations in Happy Farmer and Judas Maccabaeus. It just seems to take a while for me to sort it out in context with the whole piece. (It's funny, though - I'm not having much trouble at all with the dotted-eighth spicatto-sixteenth note combinations in that same piece.) We talked a lot about rhythm and the importance of getting it sorted out at the beginning of a new piece. While I do use the metronome extensively, I still haven't been able to count in my head as I'm playing.

I came away with some exercises to try out (involving counting and rhythms). When I practice a piece I should work on just one issue at a time. It seems that no matter how much I want to fix something, I end up worrying too much about intonation at the expense of everything else. Somehow, I'm supposed to try to let go of the intonation and focus on rhythm (for example). To start with I'm going to break down these parts into just their rhythms on open strings, and play them this way until it feels right. Only then can I bring back the notes and worry about intonation.

We then worked on Witches' Dance, the Bach Musette, and Judas Maccabaeus - same general issues, although I am much further along with these pieces. I have to force myself to watch the music while I'm playing, even if I have it 'perfectly' memorized.

Finally she pulled out the harmony parts for Suzuki 1, and I played the harmonies while she played the melodies on a couple pieces. That was challenging - I'm 'hearing' the melodies that I know so well, while I'm trying to play something different. After a few false starts it seemed to come together. At our next lesson, we'll continue with these. I'm going to record them and then play along with the melody parts.

My teacher has scheduled a recital for the end of March. She asked me if I was interested in playing the LeClerc duet at the recital. One of her other students is a violist, who she thinks is ready to play it as well. We'll have to figure out how to transcribe it for viola and then blend the two parts. I'm looking forward to it... I think.


Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog always seems to find something new and different. This time he presents an innovative do-it-yourself paint-your-own music site, called Visual Acoustics. You select your own instruments and volumes, then use your mouse to "create" your own music. So far, after a half-hour or so, all I've been able to produce is some Yanni-like stuff, but with practice I think I can improve. Wait a minute... that sounds familiar; haven't I said that before? Whatever; sigh... another way to waste time on the internet.

Comments:
Playing on just open strings confuses the heck out of me. Probably means it's something I need to learn.

Boy you're sure getting lots of use out of that LeClerc piece! A violist duet sounds fun. Would the voilist play melody?
 
I also find it hard to play rhythmically on open strings. That's probably why my teacher is pushing me on this - to get past my obsessive focus on intonation.

I'm not sure how we'll divvy up the LeClerc piece. I don't see why we can't arrange it so we swap back and forth at appropriate points - it only seems fair..?

All this is just preparation, of course, for our internet duet for next Halloween, right?
 
What about just clapping or tapping the rhythm to get a feel for it? I find that helps me when I get stuck.
 
I have tried that, but when I then add the bowing and fingering, that all seems to evaporate. I think I must have "Intonation-OCD". :)
 
Thanks for mentioning my post. I'm glad you're liking my blog! I just discovered your blog and really enjoy it. I'm adding it to my blogroll for my readers, and I'll be sure to check in regularly.
 
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