Friday, February 12, 2016

Second Lesson

I had my second violin lesson yesterday.  I wasn't anxious (as I was the first time), but after a rough day, I was looking forward to something different.  And I got it!

I showed Strings what I'd practiced, and she praised the practice and the song I'd made up.  I did well on the quiz of the bow parts (probably because I'd written them all down in my practice book with a picture of a bow, which helps me remember).  And then we got down to new stuff.

I'm sure a lot of what Strings does is pretty standard for the Suzuki method, but she seems to be really thoughtful about what she's doing, and she's a good explainer, and good at showing stuff.

She put two little pieces of colored tape around my bow to help me know where she wanted me to focus on using the bow, and showed me that one of them is on the balance point.  And then I got to bow on open strings, a rhythm pattern (straight from the book: Mississippi Quick Step - say that and you have the rhythm, pretty much).  It's HARD to hit only one string, and to do it holding the bow right, and moving the lower part of the arm.  She showed me how to stand against the wall to help me not move the upper part of the arm. 

I did that horrid squeaky sound, and she asked me what I thought caused it, and I said it happened when I didn't bow right, and then she showed me how if you bow too slowly, the string can't vibrate well.  I think that will help me with avoiding that sound.

So, we practiced bowing a bit, on the different strings, and moving between them and then bowing the same pattern.  It may look simple, but it's not!

Then she put some colored tape on the neck, to mark where my index and second finger go for positions one and two.  And then I learned to pizzacato the melody part to Hot Cross Buns.  (I'd learned the harmony part last week, and practiced it over the week.)  And I learned what the notes for the first two positions on each string are supposed to be.  (Which is a little confusing, until she showed me the way the whole steps are on the piano, and that helped me visualize it.)

It was totally and wonderfully not like the rest of my day (stressful because I was trying to use my university's required travel system).  But holy cow, this is hard!  I'm going to have to work on the basics of bowing and the basics of pizzicato and fingering the first two fingers a LOT!  (I don't get to bow and finger at the same time yet, which makes a lot of sense.  It's hard to just bow well, and hard to finger well, so separating them out, working on each skill alone, that should help me.)

I went home and practiced (because I'm just that sort of student), and wrote everything down so I can look at it if I need to.  I get to make up a new song this week, and I haven't even started trying to work on that.  I can either bow the open strings or pizzicato and finger for my song.


  1. Having a lot of fun reading this. My kid learned "Mississippi Quick Step" as Peanut Butter Sandwich : )

  2. This is really taking me back! I had to take a whole year class called String Technique as a music major, and had to learn all the orchestral strings. It was a lot of fun, but WAY harder than it looked. Ahh... I miss those days. That was fun!

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