Sunday, January 06, 2019

Week 34/66: Happy Violin News

Work is slowly progressing.

In violin news:  I've been working on three pieces, with different emphases.

Seitz, the third piece in Suzuki book 4, has really a hard double stops passage that goes on forever.  I was working on this for a while, and then got it good enough that Strings started me on the next piece, the first movement of Vivaldi's concerto in A minor.  That one has no double stops, but serious shifting, and some fast passages where you have four notes, and one changes and the other three repeat, and so on, with other changes.


Those are difficult for me.  First, I tend to mess up the rhythm, so I have to work slowly with a metronome.  Second, well, string crossings!  (Here's Itzhak Perlman's recording.)

Finally, during viola studio, a couple of the students played a viola transcription of a violin concerto by Oskar Rieding, opus 35.  (Here's Itzhak Perlman's recording.  I don't sound this good!)  The Rieding is beautiful, really.  And it's a student piece, so not hugely difficult on the face of it.

And then there was a break while Strings and I were both away.

I have to confess, I have a pretty strong dislike of the Seitz.  The double stops get my left hand all gummed up.  But for the last week, I almost totally focused on that piece.  And it payed off!  Strings has checked it off!

She also told me that the focus of the Rieding has to be really good, smooth bowing, and that the more I pay attention to my bowing, the better.  That's a continuing thing with me (as with most students, I'd guess, you pretty much always need to improve bowing until you're darned good).

So the good news is that I can focus on Vivaldi this week, which is a total joy, though really difficult.


In other news, I'm doing a Coursera course on music theory.  It's an 8 week course that looks like it ran last year from the University of Edinburgh, and it's interesting, but also a bit irritating.  I kept failing one of the quizzes.  I finally asked Strings, who teaches music theory, one of the questions, and she explained it, but also, it was a bit unfair.  There were two or three correct answers (describing a chord), and I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't accept one of them.  But I finally passed that quiz, and now I'm onto the next section.

My plan is to then start reading the stuff from NWU's music theory courses, so that I'll get it more deeply.  I probably should have just started there, to be honest...

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