Friday, November 16, 2007


This week's lesson

was quite focused - we only worked on the Beethoven Minuet in G. Since I revised my practice routine, I've been able to put a lot of extra time into this piece.

With the new positions (half, upper third, and fifth), the slurs across position shifts using both up and down bows, and lots of new bowing patterns, this has been one of the most complicated pieces yet. I've stuck to my practice pattern - separately working on the new positions, the shifts through the slurs, pizzicato fingerings, the rhythms, the different bowing sets, etc. I haven't yet put it all together.

So we stayed with the various practice parts. We dissected and discussed each of these points, playing them through several times each. We discussed lots of minor technique adjustments - "try it this way", "let your (hand/arm/fingers) relax, as you...", "maybe you should add this to your 'practice points' until it's comfortable", etc.

This approach to learning a new piece seems to be working out well. Waiting to put it all together has been hard; still, the anticipation of eventually playing it out makes me want to wait just a little longer until I've gotten better on some of the practice points.

All of a sudden the hour was up. She mentioned I should start listening to the next piece on the Suzuki CD - Bach's Gavotte in C Minor. Just listen for a couple weeks, and we'll talk about it at the next lesson.

Our orchestra has a gig in mid-December, and we're working through a couple carol medleys. Several members of our group have another concert at the same time, and won't be playing with us. That makes it an interesting challenge... Cellocracy will also be playing a bunch of traditional carols, and we might be adding a viola for a few other pieces. There's been some discussion about one or two other small concerts, but nothing solid yet.

"Focus" seems to be the key word for me when it comes to practice. Most of my practice sessions consist of playing "bits and pieces" of whatever I may be studying at the time. It's a rare occasion that I "put it all together."

Good luck with your gigs. Performance opportunities are great on so many levels. I especially like the social aspect, but they are great motivators as well.
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