Jackie

Hi Jackie, welcome to your online lesson notes page!

Here is a link to a playlist of music theory videos from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. I think they’re really clear and witty at the same time so I hope they are helpful!

Tue 19th Jan 2021

Bow and finger warm up – long bows, and alternating between fingers: 0 and 1, 1 and 2, 2 and 3. Add 3 and 4 if you’re feeling good!

Scales

  • In C major, make sure the first note is in tune (use the first 4 notes of G major to help).
  • In F major, make sure your thumb is also in second position. Practice the arpeggio too.
  • In all scales, try to play them 3 times in a row once you’ve “got it”.

The Boat to Inverie

  • Brilliant bowing and tuning!
  • Sometimes your dotted minims could be a bit longer – work with a metronome for this, set to 100.
  • In the doted crotchet bars, make sure the crotchet lands on the 3rd beat of the bar. You could count yout yourself in “1 2+ 3”.

AndantinoPlay the hardest bits EVERY practice, even if you’re not playing the whole piece.

Make the difference between low and high 2nd fingers very obvious. They are all low from bar 9 until the 3rd note of bar 16, then they are all high for several bars. Think of it like flicking a switch.

  • 2nd finger warm-up exercise for bar 16: Slur C and A, then F sharp and A. Play this on a loop. Text me if you want me too write it out for you!
  • Play the open string version of this bar every time you practice, even if you’re not playing the whole piece.
  • Also play bar 22 each time you play.
  • Look at the exercise in the 26th Oct lesson notes.

Mon 4th Jan 2021

Scales

  • Read last lesson’s notes and have a look on the VIP page (password violinviola) for practice tracks.
  • If practising with a tuner, play semibreves. If you don’t get it in tune, go back to the previous note and try again, keeping it calm at all times.

Let me know if you need any help finding rosin!

The Boat to Inverie

  • A Major 2 octaves warm-up. Super high 3rd fingers.
  • Great rhythm!
  • Silk scarf bowing.
  • Dynamics now. Plan out the dynamics before you play. Use bow length to help the hairpin dynamics.
  • Think about the tempo markings too.

King George

  • G major scale and arpeggio warm-up – let gravity give you a rich sound using the weight of your bow arm.
  • Practice the first bar without the upbeat. Make sure you’re playing both quavers in bar 1!
  • Think about all fingers when you place your 3rd finger for the first note, then check your first two notes are in tune. Practice finding your first note in tune from scratch several times each practice.
  • Play the first 3 notes of bar 7 as long notes with your tuner to warm up the 4th finger.

Mon 14th Dec 2020

Scales – recap your Grade 1 scales every now and then, as you’ll keep coming across pieces in these keys. Work on the Grade 2 scales too, and you could also take a look at the Grades 1 and 2 technical exercises set by a new exam board Sam and I have started using (it’s more COVID-friendly!) here.

O Come All Ye Faithful

  • G major warm-up, thinking carefully about 2nd finger positions.
  • Up bow start, as for many Christmas carols!
  • Aim for a lighter bow: push yourself to the stage where you bow is too light, then come back slightly from there.
  • Prep your 3rd finger before you start.
  • In the bar with the 4th finger, prepare your elbow early.

The First Nowell

  • You’ll also find this in your Fiddle Time Christmas book, complete with useful slurs.
  • D major warm-up.
  • This has C#s, so make sure they’re nice and high.

The Holly and the Ivy

  • Use the Fiddle Time Christmas version.
  • If it goes well, record yourself and play the duet part along with it.
  • You could also have a go at playing along with Mimi on the advent calendar!

In general, try to imagine the sound you’d like to hear. Remind yourself of that sound every few bars to help yourself keep it up for longer.

Mon 7th Dec 2020

The Christmas Song

  • Prepare for your first bar by playing A B C# D with the tuner. Then imagine putting a needle on a record and relax your arm onto the string as you start bowing.
  • Aim nice and high for your F# at the end of bar 26.
  • Remember you can have a few false starts on the same video, but always make sure you’ve buit your fingers up with the tuner before you start.

Still, still, still

  • Let the bow flow smoothly.
  • Remember to use more bow on the crotchets to help get the rhythm right.
  • You could try this with a metronome.

Mon 23rd Nov 2020

The Christmas Song

The Christmas Song

  • Play a D major scale before you start. Make your right arm as relaxed as possible and try to return to this feeling whenever you feel it tensing up during the piece.
  • Practice any tricky spots first. This will include:
    • Memorising any bars which you find particularly tricky;
    • Practising C#, B, B flat, C natural a few times as long notes with your tuner (for bars 8-9);
    • Practising bar 17 open strings;
    • Practising bar 26 with the added notes, then doing the fingers but no bow.
    • Holding long notes for their full length (imagine a metronome in your head!)
  • Get your backing track ready, then get your left hand ready and play the first bar a few times.
  • Play along with the track.

Fri 20th Nov 2020

The Christmas Song

  • Once you’ve practised a few of the tricky spots, try playing along with this track. There are two bars of metronome at the start – one bar rest and the second bar would be where I play. For the pause, I counted 3 ticks. I’ll send my part over once I’ve finished arranging it!
  • Always play D major before you play this.
  • Keep your bow as smooth and flowing as you can – aim for no crunches!
  • Remember that bar 9 is in half position, except the last note, so really make sure you consciously shift back up into 1st position.
  • Wallow in the triplets a bit more! Remember they are longer than quavers but shorter than crotchets.

Mon 9th Nov 2020

Theory Quiz

For the following questions, make sure you have worked out what key each piece is in first.

  • In Hoe Down (p.9), find one bar which contains the notes of the tonic triad (tonic = the key note and triad = the notes of the arpeggio).
  • In Hoe Down, what degree of the scale does the piece start on?
  • In Kemp’s Jig (p.11), how many bars ONLY contain notes found in the tonic triad? Include bars which only have one or two of them.
  • In Kemp’s Jig, what degree of the scale is the second note of the piece?
  • In Andantino in G (p.12), how many bars start with the tonic?
  • In Andantino in G, what degree of the scale is the first note of bar 9?

The Boat to Inverie

  • Warm up with the recorder stretch, then play A major 2 8ves. Remember the high 3rd fingers on the G and D strings, then keep this in mind as you play the piece.
  • Keep the bow flowing all the way through, especially when you change direction at the heel.
  • Try adding 4th fingers instead of open strings (except bars 18, 23 and 27).
  • Think a bit more about the dynamics.

Andantino

  • Keep practising last week’s 4th finger exercise, but make sure you play all 3 bars! Listen carefully for the tuning on the E string.
  • From 13-16, low 2nds and high 3rds.
  • Play bar 15 plus a note. Stop on the first note of 16 and hold it, then check it with your pano tuner.

Mon 26th Oct 2020

Theory

  • Print off the bass clef cheat sheet from your emails and keep it with your theory things. See if you can answer the bass clef questions in that theory paper without my help!
  • Have a look at the rests quiz (attached to the same email) and see if you know the answers.

Theory Quiz

For the following questions, make sure you have worked out what key each piece is in first.

  • In King George I’s March, find one bar which contains the notes of the tonic triad (tonic = the key note and triad = the notes of the arpeggio).
  • In King George I’s March, what degree of the scale is the dotted minim in bar 8?
  • In Daisy Bell, find one bar which contains the notes of the tonic triad (tonic = the key note and triad = the notes of the arpeggio).
  • In Daisy Bell, what degree of the scale is the dotted minim in bar 17?
  • In The Boat to Inverie, how many bars contain ONLY the tonic?
  • In The Boat to Inverie, what degree of the scale is the dotted minim in bar 11?

Scales

  • Practice F Major scale and arpeggio in 2nd position (don’t leave your left thumb behind!).
  • Add C major to your scale wall.
  • Practice your two types of minor starting on G and D – try to memorise them.
  • Practice your two octave scales and arpeggios too. Text me if you have any problems!

Andantino

  • In the first section, keep the bow flowing when you change direction at the heel.
  • Practice this exercise to help with your 4th finger tuning:

Pracitce The Boat to Inverie for next lesson.

Mon 12th Oct 2020

Theory: compete 2017 paper Y and drop it in at my parents’ house.

Scales: We’ll go through all of these next lesson.

Low D High D

  • In the first half, smooth bowing with no stops.
  • In the second half, light left hand and strong right hand.
  • Warm up for the second half by playing an open string with a sow long bow and gradually lowering your harmonic finger onto the string to see how light it can get away with being.
  • Don’t forget the crotchet rests!

Andantino

  • Work on the first section for smooth bowing and dynamics.
  • You can make a p dynamic by:
    • bowing at the edge of the fingerboard;
    • tilting the stick away from you, so you only use the side of the hair;
    • using shorter, slower bows;
    • less bow arm weight.
  • Remember that the left hand needs to keep the same structure despite the quieter dynamic.
  • Troubleshoot the tricky bars in the second half by building it up note by note. Start it this way every practice and it will get stronger and stronger!

Mon 28th Sep 2020

Theory – Send me a list of the year and letter at the top of the papers you’ve already done.

Little finger – Rest the bow on the string at the heel then tap your pinkie a few times to curve it.

Scales & Improvising

  • Once you’ve warmed up with a scale, improvise around its notes to free your bow. Why not try it on something easy like D major, then you could play Low D High D to practice your harmonics too (p.3).
  • D melodic minor – make sure the F natural is low. Great work on the top of the scale!

I gotta play those fiddle blues

I gotta play those fiddle blues
  • Keep 2nd finger low on the D string.
  • Question the placing of 1st and 2nd fingers on the A string according to the key signature and the accidentals.

Andantino

  • Practice tricky bits in smaller chunks, adding a note each time you feel secure.

Mon 14th Sep 2020

The TwoSet video I mentioned is here.

A general technical point to watch out for this week is a curved little finger on your bow.

Scales

  • After working on accuracy, follow with a play through of the scale focusing on flow.
  • Practice the top half of your D melodic minor scale slowly, thinking about magnets repelling each other when you get to the crotchet rest:

King George

  • Remember flow in this too!
  • To warm up, play the first line of Fingertips (Fiddle time scales) on the A and E strings, keeping your A string fingers on the string.
  • Practice the first two notes of the piece as semibreves, up bow start, trying to apply the Fingertips technique.
  • Try stopping on the F# in bar 11 5 times in tune.
  • Practice from the upbeat of 13 with a relaxed bow.
  • Find the place in bars 16-17 where you pause and use the troubleshooting technique: practice the two notes either side of the pause, then add a note afterwards, then one before etc. etc.

Mon 31st Aug 2020

Have a go at another Theory paper – I’ll put together a bass clef info sheet for you to have on hand though – I should get that to you on Wednesday. It might be worth doing a bit of revision on the Circle of Fifths before your next paper.

Scales: Don’t forget to listen out for the sound quality – keep the bow gliding smoothly and freely. Practice D harmonic minor and D melodic minor, being particularly aware of the tuning of the 6th and 7th notes.

King George

  • In bar 1, make sure you detach the last two crotchets.
  • Let bar 3’s scale lead into bar 4 without delay and with a clean string crossing.
  • Careful to give a crotchet’s worth of silence in bar 4!
  • Practice the first 3 notes of bar 7 for tuning, perhaps with an open E every other time to keep as a reference point.
  • Aim higher with the 4th finger in bar 14.
  • Sam has brought my attention to a fantastic feature on YouTube whereby you can slow down the speed! Look in the bottom right-hand corner of the video and you’ll find a settings cog. Click on that, then “playback speed” and then choose how slow you’d like it. Then you can play along with the video you found, and then work up to normal speed!

Whenever you’re aiming for a 4th finger note, remember to relax and reach as opposed to stretching and tensing.

Mar 2020

Grade 1 Distinction! 👏

Sat 15th Mar 2014

Your first violin lesson! 😄🎻

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