Welcome to your online lesson notes page Lyanna!
MTB: Here is the Grade 5 Syllabus. You can ignore the first two pages, but scroll down to p.3 to find links to the scale options and technical exercises. You’ll need to decide between the scales from memory and scales from the sheet. Please print off whichever you’d like to do, and also print off the technical exercises page which we can start looking at together.
There is also a choice of musicianship exercises, which you can also read about on the same page.
Tue 21st Sep 2021
- Remember to start in the lower half for a punchy opening.
- Work on bar 27 and 28 with a tuner, picking a different note to pause on each time.
- Work a bit more on the next section this week.
Tue 14th Sep 2021
General technique to think about – are you standing strongly with a straight back and your weight equally on both feet?
- How strong can your f be at the start?
- Start your first semiquaver where you’d like your next note (lower half of the bow).
- Start all trills on the upper note.
Fri 6th Aug 2021
- Remember the long tonics!
- In D flat flat major – higher 4th fingers on the bottom two strings on the way down will keep you in tune until the end.
- Stand confidently to feel and sound confident. Imagine the scale in your head confidently too.
- Practice these with a metronome and keep your sound strong to the top!
- Listen out for your tuning in the dom and dim 7ths now that they’re feeling a bit too easy!
- Imagine diving on your shifts – look past the shift (dive) to the top of the scale or arpeggio (the end of your first length).
- Practice each scale til they feel bullet-proof.
- Practice the accents by playing bow tennis first.
- Watch out for quaver rests.
- Nice big lead!
- Practice with MTB’s track fairly regularly to make sure all the timing is good.
Fri 6th Aug 2021
- Decide if you’d like open strings or 4th fingers in the first 4 bars, and the start of line 2.
- Nice and dramatic at the start!
- Keep your dotted rhythms really tight.
- Have a listen and play along with the recordings on the website.
- Subdivide your count-in bar into quavers or semiquavers if you need to to help you with the first bar of each exercise.
- For exercise 6, remember you can think about a simplified rhythm of quavers and semiquavers.
Tue 27th Jul 2021
Practice your scales with the metronome only this week
In A minor, practice the upper octave on a loop up and down on its own (with a metronome too!).
Listen carefully for your tuning on the chords (arpgeggios and 7ths) this week, using a tuner as part of your pracatice.
TE1. Clarity of first 2 staccatos.
TE2. Don’t let the th finger extension disturb the flow of the bow and the melodic line. Work on your double stop bow accuracy.
TE3. Practice lines 3 and 4 the most. See if you can push the tempo up just a little more.
Tue 6th Jul 2021
Hay Barn Blues
- Practice this with a metronome this week. The more solid you are on your own, the more confident you can feel with the piano!
- Bar 18 – careful not to go too sharp.
- Careful with bar 19, coming in exactly on the 2nd beat.
- More on the crescendo in 47, changing bow smoothly into the next bar at the climax.
- Try not to accent the start of the tremolo at the end.
- Ex. 1: Listen out for the 4th finger tuning and the clarity of your first few staccatos.
- Ex 2: try this a few times with the metronome too.
- Ex. 3: Practice the last beat of 4 and the 1st beat of 5 a few times to make sure the join is seamless.
Practice your 3 octave arpeggios with the metronome too, but starting with one octave and adding a note each time you feel confident.
Tue 29th Jun 2021
General note: keep your little finger curved on your bow.
- Practice the harder passages in rhythms, making sure you stay in the lower half of the bow with a strong sound.
- Really play out in the f passages.
- In places like bar 5, equal articulation on all crotchets.
- Grow in intensity at bar 16.
Tue 22nd June 2021
- Great relaxed left hand!
- Try standing with feet a little further apart and free up bow arm a bit more. With this, try a bit more in the lower half.
- b. 41 lower Ds.
- Add more shape into the semiquavers with our added hairpins.
- Don’t lose momentum as you get to bar 55.
Tue 15th June 2021
- Well done for sorting your page turn! 🙌
- Generally, try to keep more of it in the middle/lower middle.
- Rhythm after trills from 8.
- Can it sound a bit more like a coda at 55?
- 63 more separation.
- I really felt like you were performing this today! I loved how heartfelt the top of the 2nd page felt.
- Practice your higher section 45-52 more so it sounds as secure as everything else.
Hay Barn Blues
- Careful of the bowing in 15 – and can the slide be more exaggerated here?
- Make sure you’re counting your rests at 28.
- More slide in 33 – maybe experiment with the A string?
- Keep the lazy feel at 39.
- Check the metronome mark this week. Report these back to me next week!
- Rate these in order of difficulty and try to work on the harder ones more.
- Tempos were pretty good for these, but still worth checking with your metronome just in case.
- Remember to finish with crotchets, and to play long tonics in the scales.
Tue 8th June 2021
- In D flat major, watch the tuning of the 4th fingers as you come back down the scale.
- Start working almost exclusively from memory, and work out how close you are to the metronome mark.
- Isolate the shifts in your 3 octave arpeggios to get them really confident.
- When practising your 3 octave arpeggios, you could stick to the top octave when you get there and play it up and down a few times before you come back down to the lower octaves.
- Add slurs to your arpeggios.
Tue 25th May 2021
- Ex 1. Do the recorder finger strentch to help reach the 4th fingers, and shorten the 2nd notes of the slurs on the 2nd line to help keep your tempo up.
- Ex. 2. try to think ahead to help with finger placing.
- Ex. 3. Try to keep the angle between your string crossings as shallow as possible, keeping the elbow relatively still and circling your right wrist. Practice this resting your elbow on the piano on D and A with the metronome. You can also practice the left hand separately by just playing crotchets at the right speed, DEF#E in bar 1 etc. When both left and right hands feel confident, try it as written with the metronome.
Hay Barn Blues
- Be braver on all the glissandos still!
- If you have any ensemble issues in any of your rehearsals with your Dad, take a recording, listen to it following the piano and violin parts and if you’re still not sure send it to me and I’ll try and help!
Tue 18th May 2021
Hay Barn Blues
- Make more of the slide in 14.
- Whenever you have a dotted crotchet at the end of the bar , make sure the next bar isn’t early.
- Prioritise dynamics now.
- Make it sound easy from the start.
- Isolate all your shifts and strip them back to basics til you’re really certain of them. Then listen carefully to see how neat you can get them.
- Practice 35 stopping on and holding the A# and checking with your tuner. Aim for it in tune 5 times in a row.
- Keep the beat going 36-38 over the trill.
- Finish the crotchet at 55 neatly to give a feeling of rest before restarting after the rest.
- Beatiful sound in this, well done!
- Open out the bow in 33 – fill the whole of the Tun. Wells assembly room!
- Practice the shift in 48, using the d as a ghost note with your 4th finger.
- Keep the bow flowing and crescendoing in 56 as you change string.
- Practice the shift down from the harmonics on the last line so it’s secure.
Tue 4th May 2021
- Make sure you’re keeping a constant tempo.
- In your 3 octave arpeggios, make sure you know how far you’re shifting. Practice these every practice session, even if you do no more scales.
- Start adding slurs to the scales and arpeggios.
Hay Barn Blues
- Make sure your first 2 notes don’t sound too energetic. This will set you up well for the whole piece.
- Be over the top in bar 7! I’ll tell you if it’s got too much.
- Nice low tuning in bars 17 and 18.
- In general, go over the top with all of your slides. Let the audience really know you’re doing them!
Tue 27th Apr 2021
- Ex.1: Hold the minim for its full length – imagine the semiquavers continuing. Practice with a metronome to help avoid hesitation.
- Ex.2: keep the crotchet pulse consistent, especially through the last 2 bar.
- Ex.3: Do an open string warm-up, circling your right wrist to change string easily.Place the fingertips nearer to the G string than usual and swing your left elbow forwards.
- Don’t rush into your trill in bar 6, and take your time at the start of the next bar too. This applies to any bars throughout the pieces with crotchets and rests.
- Start working this up in tempo: you’re around 70 at the moment, so maybe aim for 80 by next lesson?
- Check your 3rd and 4th fingers in bar 41.
Hay Barn Blues
- Use your imagination to make this feel super lazy and laid back.
Tue 20th Apr 2021
- For D flat major, have a tuner handy to check your last note.
- Work with a metronome to make sure long tonics are precise.
- Keep working on memorising these.
- Feel the triplets in the chromatic scale.
- In the 3 octave arpeggios, memorise which note you shift back down to.
- Really nice style in the first two bars and every time that material happens!
- Practice it this week with a metronome, starting at crotchet = 70 – only move it up to 75 when it all feels comfortable.
Hay Barn Blues
- Even though there’s no piano at the moment, count the rests really carefully.
- Do a few practises with a metronome for this piece too.
- You’re making such a lovely sound in this piece: your vibrato is in exactly the right mood, well done!!
- Open out the sound a bit more in the section from 33, using whole bows.
- Make sure you shift properly in37, moving the 4th finger down a tone as you move to the C.
- Use a combination of bow articulation and electric vibrato to really bring out the accents in 40 & 41.
Tue 23rd Mar 2021
- Practice with a metronome to make sure you crotchets are the right length.
- Practice finding a D flat in between every scale and piece you play so you’re really secure in finding it.
- In both 3 octave scales, practice the top octave up and down a few times.
- Play over the fingerboard in the p sections and near the tip. Keep checking to see that your bow stays over the fingerboard as it might naturally stray back to where you’re used to playing!
- In the f sections, use lots of bow and aim for a nice rich sound with your vibrato.
Tue 23rd Mar 2021
- For the trills, don’t try to fit too many notes in! Make sure the trill doesn’t disturb the crotchet pulse. Focus on the note that the trill starts on.
- Light quavers at the end of bar 2.
- Pick a speed that enables you to play the semiquaver bars without slowing down.
- Practice loosening up your right wrist so you can bow your semiquavers more smoothly with most of the movement coming from the wrist and fingers.
Practice the Scales From Memory sheet and let me know next week if you need help on any of these or any technical exercises.
Tue 16th Mar 2021
- Start with an A flat major scale to get your mind and ear in the right key.
- Practice 112-114 for security.
- After any shifts, try to get comfortable in that position so the notes are easy to find.
Tue 9th Mar 2021
- Exercise 1: work on the 4th finger tuning. Off the string for the staccatos and very little bows for that line.
- Exercise 2: repeat this in your practice. Nice and light on the slurs.
- Exercise 3: Equal down and up bows. Try to keep the fingers on the lower string whilst you play the open string above. If this is tricky, bring your left elbow forward. Your 3rd finger should stay on for the whole of the last line.
Decide whether you’d like to do the scales with the sheet or the ones from memory.
- The vibrato in the lower positions is starting to sound really good now! See if you can develop this in the higher section from 45 now too.
- Get used to the new fingerings from bar 42.
- Always be thinking about the bowings.
- Careful of how you finsh the G in 24 – remember it’s the end of the previous phrase and the previous mood.
- A bit lighter on the staccato quavers from 25.
- Make sure all the minims in the middle of bars are long enough from 33.
Tue 2nd Mar 2021
- Great work on these today! Check how comfortable you are with the recommended metronome mark.
- Nice and light on your quavers, as if they had staccato markings. Places like bar 1, 36 and 46 are all the same.
- Make sure the crotchets are long enough in bar 6
- As contrasted as possible on your dynamics from bar 12
- Keep doing the semiquaver focused practise like last week – great progress on this so far though!
- Take a picture of page 8 on your tablet so you can practice the link between pages.
Good work on Hay Barn Blues! We’ll look at Chanson Triste next lesson.
Tue 23rd Feb 2021
- Work on a few sections each practice so you don’t get overwhelmed, but end each practice with a run-through.
- Try to keep it more in the lower/middle of the bow. This will help with lightness, particularly on quavers.
- Practice any tricky semiquaver passages in rhythms like we did in the lesson – in groupss of four, and then in groups of eight.
- From 55, try to get two upper notes into your trills, slur them to the next note and shorten that second note to lighten the end of the slur.
- Photocopy page 8 to fix the page turn.
Tue 9th Feb 2021
Two things to think about – the exam options we talked about in the lesson, and whether you’d like to play in the virtual concert I’m planning for the end of next half term.
- Your left hand is looking nice and relaxed. Try to keep this while adding some more emotinon to the music with vibrato.
- Have a go at the finger switching exercise which I’ll send to your Mum.
- Practice finding your note at 45 securely, using the octave frame of your hand to help.
- Use your vibrato to get a nice sweet sound in the higher section from 45 – don’t forget 4th fingers!
- Try not to bulge with the bow: if you’ve got loads of bow left, don’t feel you need to use it all up.
Tue 2nd Feb 2021
- Spend 90 seconds looking at n.14 and send me a recording.
Hay Barn Blues
- Careful of the pulse whenever you have quaver rests – careful not to cut the note before the rest too short.
- Practice the diminuendo in bar 25.
- Rhythm in bar 6 – the F should feel like a crotchet.
- Do quite a bit of practice with a metronome before you put it back with the piano, set to 60. Focus mainly on the section bars 9-13.
- In bar 33, long quaver before you start tremming.
Tue 26th Jan 2021
- Spend 90 seconds this time looking at n.13 and send me a recording.
Remember to keep your scales up to scratch, as you did a really good job on them at the start of term so it would be great to keep the standard that high!
Hay Barn Blues
- Try not to lengthen the last note of bars 5 & 9.
- Practice bar 11 with the upbeat triplets to get used to the down bow on the C at the end of the bar.
- Be really vigilant about the bowings, changing bow at the start of each slur.
Tue 19th Jan 2021
- We did number 10 today. Try number 11 yourself, with 2 minutes to practice, and send me a recording of it (this can be done on your Mum’s phone and sent on WhatsApp).
- Make a list of all the tempo markings on all the exercises, look up the definitions and learn them like a vocab test.
- Practice the scale in steps to warm your fingers up (start slow and speed it up):
- Work through the piece looking for shifts you can practice to make as clean possible.
- Practice 23 just the first 9 notes, 3 times in a row. Then 10 notes 3 times, etc, until you have the whole bar feeling comfortable.
Tue 5th Jan 2021
- In 2 octave scales, check the tuning of the first note on the D string. Have it ready before you start.
- In B minor, almost think like you’re in 1.5 position to help with the tuning of your A sharps.
- Practice melodic minors too. Careful that the raised 6th and 7th notes send you sharp. Remember they’re only tones!
- In minor arpeggios, make sure the top note is high enough.
- Aim for neat string crossings in arpeggios.
- Practice your dominant sevenths thinking about finger patterns before you start: you won’t get penalised for taking an extra few seconds to think.
- Spend some more time on your diminshed sevenths.
- Chromatics – for G, have a go at 0123 on the E string.
Check all the scale speeds and make a note of any that need to be faster. Work them up gradually.
Brilliant work Lyanna!
Tue 15th Dec 2020
The Christmas Song
Here’s a recording. Keep an eye out for the rhythm when you’re playing this.
See Amid the Winter’s Snow
- Look out for the slurred dotted rhythms.
- Try to play the second half at the same speed as the first half.
For the New Year
If you’re up for trying the MTB exam board, you can find all the details of technical exercises and scale requirements here. If you scroll down to the last page, you’ll find links to the technical components and can start having a look at those whilst refreshing your Grade 5 pieces. You can choose to stick with the pieces you have, try others in your book or if you see anything on their pieces list that you like the sound of that’s fine too! Let me know how you get on when I see you in January.
Tue 8th Dec 2020
- Well done with the Christmas duet! You could try recording yourself playing one part and play along with it playing the other part.
- Brilliant work on the rhythm especially!
- Keep working on your scales.
Tue 1st Dec 2020
- Well done with sight reading the Christmas medley! Keep doing it as I think it is really good sight reading practice. Pick a few out to play for me next lesson that you think you could do with some help with.
- I’ve just emailed your Mum See Amid the Winter’s Snow and here’s a guide track to practice along with. You’ve got 4 bars of clicks as an intro, plus I gave the last bar of each verse 6 beats to allow for a little slowing down. I ignored the metronome at the end and slowed down a bit.
- Keep up your scale practice!
Tue 17th Nov 2020
- Think before you start playing so you are more likely to play a one-take wonder!
- Use a lighter bow in the upper octaves so as to match the lower octaves. The bow doesn’t need to make things sound difficult, and hearing a good sound may even help you feel more confident in what your left hand is doing.
- We looked at tidying up the rhythm in bars 16, 23, 47, 48, 56 and 62.
- Work on the double stops in single lines, then playing single lines whilst having your fingers on for both lines.
- Once you’ve done that, single out the trickiest double stops and practice them along. Then add one chord before and one chord after, then another before and after etc.
- Start looking at the next section until the end.
- In one practice session, concentrate exclusively on getting the bowings right. If there’s one that keeps tripping you up, find out where you’re coming unstuck and pencil in a reminder.
General note – keep a pencil in your violin case so you’ve always got one handy for both practice and your lessons.
Tue 10th Nov 2020
- Make a special project of practising your 3 octave minors slurred, using the book til you’re completely confident. Don’t forget the long tonics, which will help with knowing where to change bow.
- For your 2 8ve scales, play the first and 4th note before you start, to make sure your 1st finger knows where it’s meant to be. Your left thumb can help by being opposite your 2nd finger.
- Practice your dominant 7ths without the bow first, naming the notes and placing the fingers.
- Well done – the rhythm is so much better!
- Careful in bars 4 and 12 that the crotchet B isn’t too long.
- Carry on into the double stops section, and feel free to go even further if that goes well.
- Try to do all the suggested 4th fingers.
Mon 2nd Nov 2020
- Be super careful about remembering if they are slurred or separate bows.
- Check the metronome speeds this week and make a note of how far away from them you are.
- We’ll add 3 octave minors next week.
- Practice this with a metronome too to help keep the crotchet pulse constant – try crotchet=70.
- Focus on the section up to bar 33.
I’ll send some new sight reading now!
Tue 20th Oct 2020
- Same as last week, but I’ve sent you some new exercises. Remember to think properly about all your sharps or flats before you start, and to count yourself in to help with the rhythm.
- Add 3 8ve major scales and arpeggios to your scale pots.
- Be confident – try not to pause on the first note after each shift. If you feel you need to, work at a slower speed for a few days.
- Here is Jay Ungar playing it.
- Be precise with the rhythms (sometimes counting in quavers to help subdivide the beat) so that it can sound improvisatory later.
- Slides should start one semitone underneath the destination note.
Tue 13th Oct 2020
- Record yourself playing exercises 5 & 6 and let me know how you did.
- I Dominant 7ths, think of a 4 syllable word to sing in your head to hep with slurring in fours.
- Add chromatics and 2 8ve minors to your scale pots.
Hay Barn Blues
- Focus on making sure the rests are clear enough.
- Work on making quaver pairs like crotchet-quaver triplets, especially in the section from bar 11.
Tue 6th Oct 2020
- Test yourself in a few practices with the other examples on this week’s page. Record yourself and listen back – how did you do?
- Add the 2 octave Majors to your scale pot to practice on a rotation.
- Work on your dominant sevenths in particular this week to play to me next lesson. Think of the note names and play slowly til you are confident.
Tue 29th Sep 2020
Next week’s scale focus: 2 octave majors, slurred and separate bows. Let’s do both scales and arpeggios of these keys. Play them boldly and check the metronome marks too.
- Play a D minor scale to get your ear used to hearing notes in this key (3rd position).
- Start by finding E with your 1st finger, F 2nd, G 3rd and A 4th so you’re ready for the first 4 bars. Think about whether these notes are a semitone or tone apart to help with secure tuning.
- Try to write as few fingerings in as possible so you learn to read the position based on the notes, not the written fingerings.
- Keep thinking about the note names, the tones and semitones and things like whether notes over the string are opposite or slightly offset, eg. the F and B flat in bars 7 and 8.
Tue 22nd Sep 2020
Notes from our chat at the start of your lesson:
- I’ll send an email tomorrow with some exercises to help a couple of technical things, some sight reading and aural links.
- If you decide to postpone Grade 5, start looking at some other pieces from the book to keep things fresh.
- We’ll have a random scale test next lesson!
Just a reminder (as it’s great when you remember!) to keep that left wrist down!
- Scroll down to check last week’s notes;
- Most bars start with a down bow, so stay aware of this to check you’re slurring everything correctly;
- Think about how you can use your bow to help enhance the dynamics, e.g. tilted and over the fingerboard at the start, and boosting crescendos in places like b.7;
- Also use your bow to help keep the melody flowing, as focusing on vibrato can slow things down a bit.
Tue 15th Sep 2020
Left wrist was looking good today – keep thinking about that this week too!
Keep a note of any scales you’d like help with.
- You can hear an old recording of a violinist from the big vibrato era here. Try to keep a constant sweet vibrato going if you can.
- Watch out for the rhythm from 33 – maybe try with a metronome to make sure the minims are lasting long enough.
Tue 8th Sep 2020
September technical focus: relaxing your left wrist so it hangs straight. Keep an eye on this in a mirror if possible.
A minor shifts – make sure you know how far you are shifting by working out the spacing between your destination note and the note that finger was on in the previous position. At the top of the scale, bring your left elbow around to help keep fingers as curved as possible. Keep your first finger down as an anchor as you change finger positions at the top.
Hay Barn Blues
- Warm up with this scale, carefully at first but then faster so you appreciate the scale as a whole.
- Watch out for quaver pairs – the swung feel should sound like a crotchet and quaver under a triplet bracket, as indicated in the metronome marking at the top of the piece.
- In bar 11, tuck the C right up underneath your 3rd finger.
Have you chosen your B piece yet? If so, send it over and we can start having a look at that next lesson.
Mon 30th Mar 2020
Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻