It took me a few minutes to relax and loosen up at the start of today's lesson. This was my first lesson since early December, when I began working on Chanson Triste.
I've really worked hard on this piece. The A part was "relatively" easy, even with its high Bbs. The B part was much more challenging - at one point each new note seems to require a separate shift. So I carefully deconstructed this segment and began with the hardest shift - playing the two notes across that shift over and over, listening for the sweet sounds, getting comfortable with the proper locations on the string. Then I added another note (and shift) and repeated the process. I spent a few days working on just these three measures. Then when I played it with the bow, it came out pretty good. There were two other small segments that got this same treatment.
At today's lesson - after loosening up on some of the "Percy Such" etudes, we played Chanson Triste through, together. For a change, I was quite pleased with how I had played it. I didn't miss any notes and kept the tempo more-or-less steady. My upper Bbs were clean, although my lower Bbs were a little sharp. Afterwards we spent some time analyzing those lower Bbs and I realized my thumb was gripping the neck too tightly, hindering the extensions as well as the upper third position extensions.
We also talked about some of the dynamics and bowing techniques - I need to concentrate on keeping my bow hand loose and use the "paintbrush" technique. Replaying just a few measures this way produced a noticeable improvement.
I was really quite pleased that I had managed to play this piece as well as I did at today's lesson.
Then we opened "Suzuki Book 5" ! and began talking about the Verdi piece, Sonata in E minor. I'm going to spend a little time working on the first line of the opening section (the part in Tenor clef) and also begin working on the second part (in bass clef) before the next lesson.
I'm also going to start the next piece in the Percy Such etude book...