Saturday, May 03, 2008



I found out at my last lesson (#50) that I have not been playing shift extensions properly; particularly those where the first finger plays immediately after the shift. My teacher pointed out I should wait to extend to those other notes until after playing that first note (I have been shifting directly into the extended hand position and reaching back to play the first finger). In other words, move my hand (and thumb) into third position (for example) play the 1-D (on the A-string), and then extend (hand and thumb) to play the 2x-E, 3x-F or 4x-F#, and so on. I've since spent a couple days "relearning" several passages... they are coming out better, as I've gotten used to it.

We worked on the Bach Allegro Moderato in considerable detail. I've made progress in the past two weeks, and we went over my "tricky" parts, talking about ways to practice each one. Since I'm learning this one using the alternate fingerings for this piece, my progress is slower than normal, but I feel as if I'm gaining a little more "sense" of the fingerboard and comfort moving around in the upper positions.

We also went back through La Cinquantaine. I didn't do so well on it this time... for some reason - too conscious of those extended shifts. I also flubbed a lot of the hooked bows (among other things). This has not been a problem at home. Oh well, now I know what to focus on for a while.

Also I'm supposed to get a copy of Mooney's "Double Stops" book.

I've spent a lot of time these last few months practicing single-string scales (the open A, D, C and G scales and the C, F, Bb, and Eb scales), and those upper notes are starting to sound cleaner and more accurate. My fingers are beginning to "know" exactly where to go. Yet, when I'm playing a piece that calls for a shift to one of these upper notes, they're not coming out quite right, yet. Not until after a lot of repetitions. still, it's nice to finally hear these clean crisp notes so far up/down/out(?) on the strings - it helps that the high A resonates nicely on the G string and the high D on the C string.


My LP conversion count is up to 121. After overflowing my iPod a few weeks ago I decided to do my share of stimulating the economy by buying a 160 GB iPod. I ordered it online Friday night, it was shipped from Shanghai(?) on Saturday and arrived at my door Monday morning. So whose economy got stimulated with this latest government handout, ours or China's? And for that matter, what about all those people who complain about WalMart and the Olympics and stuff, while happily listening to their Chinese-manufactured iPods? Anyway, I "sold" my old one to Z in exchange for labor this summer - painting the house and washing the cars. He swears not to let this iPod get out of his sight even for one moment... By the time I convert all my LPs, all my brother's LPs, and all my CDs, I expect to fill almost half of it.

On those shifts to extended lower 3rd position, my teacher would say the opposite -- sort of. In going to that A string D, she wants my thumb all the way up to the crook of the neck, so that I'm reaching back to the D with my 1st finger. I'm kinda lazy and resist, unless she pushes me. I'd rather go to the D and then extend.
BTW, that double stops book is much harder than it seems at first glance. I oughta go back to it, some. I never did finish it.
Interesting contrast in teaching philosophies...

I had been playing my extensions as your teacher wanted you to, but my teacher insisted I play them your "resisting" way. Maybe we ought to trade teachers? :)
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