Welcome to your online lesson notes page Flora!
Tue 12th Jan 2021
- Play the dotted crotchets for their full lenght in 11 and 13.
- No need to shift between bars 26 and 27.
- Careful in bar 34 wth the C naturals – build that chord from the top down to help the reach.
- Pluck with the pad of the finger, not the tip, and spread the chords slightly so you can hear the tuning. Keep reminding yourself to relax your left hand.
- Practice the pizzicato chords with your bow and as separate notes to help hear the tuning.
- Spend some time practising the fifths in the middle of the chords at 30.
- Watch out for B flats in the ad lib section.
- Lots of lovely thick vibrato!
Mon 14th Dec 2020
Grade 6 book
- Start having a look at some other pieces and send me a WhatsApp picture of any you’d like to start on 4th January.
Jingle Bell Rock
- Have a listen to the real thing (here) and hum along with it just before playing it – beware I think it’s a semitone lower than your version so don’t rely on it for tuning!! Just get into the swinging feel of it.
I know you’re not signed up for my advent calendar but thought you might enjoy these two videos from it anyway – Happy Christmas!
Mon 7th Dec 2020
Ladies in Lavender
- On the first page, how smooth can your string crossings be?
- Don’t run out of steam on long slurs and bash the next notes.
- At the top of page 2, keep practising the way you have been as the work is paying off!
- Gradually speed up the run in 33 so it fits within its allotted space.
- In 34, more contact with the string using your index finger on the bow and try to make down and up bows equally strong.
- Careful of the tuning at the end of 36 – it’s just a semitone back remember!
- Now you’re comfortable with how 38 should sound, think more about the rhythm.
- Bring your thumb around for the last note.
Jingle Bell Rock
- Don’t forget to look out for the notes that are on the beat!
- Keep your bow arm relaxed.
Tue 1st Dec 2020
- In your scale in 6ths, aim for bigger tones across the string.
- Have your bow on both strings before you start your up bow.
Ladies in Lavender
- Read over last week’s notes first as there are a few useful things there you can be working on.
- Practice the first two notes of 33 slowly (as two semibreves) with a tuner each practice until you’ve done it comfortably 5 times in a row. Then do the same with 34.
- Play 34 as long string notes into a tuner too.
- Play the phrase from 35 an octave lower to help bar 38.
- Practice bar 38’s first 3 notes a octave lower, then at pitch, and alternate a few times.
- Watch your tuning in this final section (35-end). If you ever feel like your having a bit of an off day, just play a slow, careful 1 octave D major scale in 1st position with the tuner to settle everything.
- Aim for a smooth bow 51-52.
- Practice your shifting in bar 56 – D F# (ghost note) B A.
- Careful to keep the tempo steady.
Mon 23rd Nov 2020
- Practice all your scales with slurs a bit more this week. For the chromatics, think of the phrase “higgledy piggledy” to help with slurring.
- B flat chromatic – check your tuning on the G and E strings with a tuner.
- Here’s B flat major in 6ths.
Ladies in Lavender
- Leave enough bow to complete the slur in bar 4 into the start of bar 5.
- Be really aware of the tuning on the first page.
- Practice bar 33 in overlapping blocks of 6.
- Practice your leaps from the first note of bar 33 to the next note, and likewise bar 34.
- Try to memorise the trickiest bits, ie. these two bars.
- Add a bit of squeeze from your index finger on the bow to help keep the scrubbing in bar 34 strong. Gradually lengthen the bow as you slow down, to help you get to the heel for the start of 35.
- From 35, careful with the tuning of the D. Practice the first phrase here down an octave to familiarise yourself with the melody.
- Practice sliding your fingers all the way up the fingerboard, sliding the thumb around under the top lip of the violin body.
Mon 16th Nov 2020
- Practice diminished 7ths with your eyes shut for tuning.
- When embarking on a dim or dom 7th, make sure you’ve got a definite major/minor 3rd to start.
- Dominant 7th in F is in 2nd position. Maybe write this on your scales list? The last two notes are in 1st position, so just reach back a semitone with your 1st finger.
- Show some love to your dominant 7ths this week! 😄
- I’ll post up the fingering for B flat major here a bit later.
Ladies in Lavender
- Tune the first two notes and check left thumb is comfy.
- If you’re having an off day with settling the tuning, play a slow 2 8ve D major scale in 3rd position.
- Check last week’s notes for practice techniques for the top two lines of the second page.
- Practice the second half of 34 slowly with separate notes. Remember it is an arpeggio and a dominant 7th.
- From 35, keep your bow confident.
- Careful of tuning in 37.
- Practice bars 37 and 38 by replacing the D in 38 with a G til you think you’ve got the top A in your head.At bar 41, try to return to the calm feeling you had at the start.
- Plan your bow distribution to get the right tone bars 50-53.
- Practice b. 56 with the ghost note, which you’ll shift to with your 1st finger.
Mon 9th Nov 2020
- Practice your C diminished 7th slowly with long strong bows and plan where the next note will be whilst playing the previous one.
- Chromatics – listen for the intonation of the 1st finger shift.
- Play them at a flowing speed to keep track of where the tonics are and see if you can find a way of sustaining the key note whilst you play, either on the piano or on your phone. You could even hum it!
- The fingering for B flat chrom is 2234 on the G string.
- The fingering for C chrom is 34 on the G string and 12121234 on the E string.
Ladies in Lavender
- The first page is sounding great! To make it even better:
- flow right from the beginning
- focus on the singing tone and smoothness of line
- careful of the tuning in bars 16-19
- count carefully on the last line of the page.
- Practice the shift in bar 32 by playing A(2) E(0) then A(2) E(1)
- From 30, let the quavers lead into the long notes without hesitation.
- Practice the first 2 notes of 33 a few times to get the G# in your head.
- Build up the scale from the G# one note at a time each practice. Remember:
- Keep good bow contact with the string;
- No sketching!
- Don’t move onto the next note til you know you are hesitation free and solid with your intonation;
- Start from scratch each practice.
- Once you’ve built the whole scale, focus on the first of each half beat as rhythmic landmarks.
Mon 2nd Nov 2020
- Diminished 7ths – Focus on just two octaves of G. In both G and B flat, careful of the D flat on the A string. Always keep the tone and a half gap in mind. In the C diminished 7th especially, think about how each string’s fingers can help you find those on the next string.
- Dominant 7ths – Watch the tuning of the sevenths. In E flat, left elbow swing to help with 4th finger tuning. Finish the last two notes of the one in F in 1st position.
- Chromatic scales – a little faster to help them flow. When playing separate bows, keep the bows small and bow changes smooth.
Ladies in Lavender
- Focus on the dolce sound quality – not too much bow, closer to the finger board and imagine the sound you’d like from your vibrato.
- Check the metronome mark and aim for this on the first page – it can flow a bit more now that you’ve got to grip with the rhythms.
- Lead with the bow (so don’t let shifts and string crossings disturb the smooth lines).
Mon 19th Oct 2020
- In Dominant 7ths, think about which fingers are opposite over the string and which are a semitone down/up.
- Think about your top note so as to play whether scales start in 1st position or not.
- Work on tuning carefully in Diminished 7th on G, then use that work to transfer directly onto the one on B flat, as they share most of the same notes!
- In your chromatics, careful not to squeeze your fingers too close together.
- Aim to keep a consistent quaver pulse. I think the whole thing could be a bit faster.
- Find a rubber and get rid of the slide line you wrote on the first note of bar 16!
- Practice problem bars by adding a note at a time and only move onto the next note when you’re feeling completely comfortable. Keeping the rhythm secure in this exercise is particularly important, especially when string crossings happen, and at bar lines.
Mon 12th Oct 2020
- For G Major, play up to the top and then spend a little while going down and up just the top octave before descending all the way.
- When your new book arrives, start looking at the Grade 6 scales listed inside the cover.
- Smooth bowing, especially when changing at the heel.
- Focus on tuning, perhaps with a 4th position 2 octave E flat major scale warm-up.
- Think a bit more about dynamics.
- Relax the dotted rhythm figure.
- Set up your tuner to check Cs, perhaps by pausing on one every two bars. Be especially careful if they are coming from a 4th finger E (they tend to be in tune if you’re coming from open A).
- At the start, staccato quavers but wall-to-wall sound on the crotchets, avoiding leaning on them too much though.
Mon 5th Oct 2020
- Try for even more concise movements in string crossings – just nod your hand, rather than committing the whole elbow, as you would if you were only visiting the next string for one note.
- Count carefully when you have crotchets, e.g. from line 5 in the 3rd bar (make sure you feel the 3rd beat) and from the last bar of the page (make sure you feel the 1st beat).
- Keep checking to make sure your tuning is low enough.
- To warm up your bow arm for the middle section, pick a note (E maybe?) and play two semiquavers and a quaver several times, thinking “Flora Moys” as you play it.
Watch to this video to get used to the lilting feeling before you practice this piece.
- The main rhythmic fix is playing the last quaver in the bar a little longer.
Mon 28th Sep 2020
- Practice slowly for tuning, then check 80 with the metronome. Always try to imagine the sound of the next note to help with tuning, especially when practicing the diminished 7th slowly.
- Your last week on this! Check over last week’s comments again as I think I managed to explain some of them more clearly this week!
- In the opening melody, flow more in the slurred semiquavers and sit on the longer notes a bit more as a way to catch your breath!
- In places like b.5 and b.53, closer to the heel, more punchy and try not to take the bow off the string.
You could start looking at B3
- A bit lower in the bow.
- Try to use small, concise bows and minimise movement on string crossings.
- Use open strings to check tuning – things were heading a bit sharp at times.
- Try to incorporate the dynamics – the earlier we add them to a piece, the more integral they feel.
- Practice tricky passages in dotted rhythms.
Mon 21st Sep 2020
- Grade 5 suggested scale speed is crotchet=80. Add G minors too – in melodic, map out your first octave’s finger placement before you start (esp. E and F#!).
- Dim 7th – try to keep the whole thing at the same speed.
- E minor warm-up – use a tuner to check the top 3 notes of the scale.
- Remember that working with a metronome should help you feel more in control, not less! So if you are panicking, try a slower speed.
- For the first page, play the metronome before you start and really listen to it, imagining the melody and internalising the beat. You can then turn it off.
- From bar 20, feel the heaviness of the crotchets to help you hold them long enough.
- Practice the Andantino section with the metronome. Place the bow on the string and count along with the metronome before you start – there’s no hurry, so start when you’re completely ready.
- Careful of the G#s at the end of 44 and 45.
- Warm up with a 2 octave G Major arpeggio.
- Listen carefully for the tuning of your 1st and 2nd fingers.
- In the middle section (the bit after the coda sign), start by practising it without the mordents. Then play it slowly with the mordents, trying not to let them disturb the rhythm of the semiquavers.
Mon 14th Sep 2020
- Practice the shifts before you play the scales as a pre-warm-up, esp. in G major;
- In E minor, when in 4th position, check tuning of 1st fingers with open strings;
- G dim 7 – Start with 2 8ves to get the notes in your head. Then when shifting, imagine the notes before you play them. Playing it slowly will help give you time for this whilst keeping things rhythmic.
- Practice this for tuning, plus 1 8ve higher:
- Practice with a metronome. You’ll notice your semiquavers can relax a little but that long notes need counting carefully so as not to become too long!
Mon 7th Sep 2020
G Major scale – left elbow swing to help with 4th finger tuning on the way down.
Add G diminished 7th to your scale practice. Maybe start with one octave on your first day, then add the second octave when that’s solid, then the third.
- Two semiquavers at the start of a bar (e.g. b. 5 and 8) should lead into the next note.
- Remember to keep counting! This will help you hold long notes for long enough (e.g. bar 9) and help with the rhythm from bar 20.
- Playing the semiquavers at the end of page 1 slower will calm down the pulse ready for the Andantino section.
- Practice from b.32 carefully to centre the tuning – think more about the spacing between notes in places of uncertainty.
- From b.4, observe the dynamics well but careful not to slow down too soon. Don’t forget the a tempo in the 1st time bar.
I’ll send you Fiocco’s Allegro now!
Wed 19th Jul 2017
Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻