Sunday, February 21, 2010


All Pizz

This morning I had to choose between not practicing at all or playing VERY quietly. I decided to leave my bow in my case and just use pizzicato. I went through my complete daily routine - playing all my scales, the etudes, a handful of pieces from Suzuki Book 4, and the new Vivaldi piece.

What an interesting experience!

Almost everything I play has some sort of stumble point, such as a shift in the middle of a scale, or a string crossing in an etude, or a fingering combination in one of the Suzuki pieces. I'd gotten into the habit of just playing through them - assuming I guess, that I'd eventually fix them by simple dogged repetition.

What these stumble points really need, however, is some focused attention. I soon realized this morning that this was going to be an ideal opportunity to work on these tough spots. Since I didn't have to think about bow hold, bow position, bow styles, etc., I was free to concentrate on my left hand.

I set the metronome on "normal" and plucked each scale, etude, and piece all the way through. After each one I went back to any trouble point, and slowly and carefully worked on them. I lost track of time and ended up practicing an extra 45 minutes today.

I've learned not to expect instantaneous results, but I'm pretty sure that this approach will pay off.

This isn't the first time I've had to try to practice quietly, but now maybe I can turn it to my advantage.

Certainly sounds like a good way to focus. My advisor has often mentioned that pizz-ing is a good study tool. I just find it painful myself.
A band director a couple years ago drummed into us to forget the parts you know and just work on the stumble points during practice time. I finally got it through my head and it made a positive difference in my playing.
I like using pizz. It gives me a chance to learn a piece of music without letting my bowing mistakes get in my way. I don't start with pizz too often anymore, but if I have a piece that I just can't get...for whatever reason, I'll put down the bow for a little while and then go back to bowing. It helps me sometimes to really get a feel for the music.
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