Merryn

Tue 19th Jan 2021

I think Merryn’s violin might need a bit of a tune!

Fiddle Time Joggers

  • Stamping Dance: With the track, so remember the repeat! Well done for all your work on this 🙂
  • Summer Sun: Remember you don’t need any 3rd fingers! Hold the semibreves for 4 full beats. Make sure the first note of bar 10 isn’t too long. Start putting pairs of lines together.
  • Cattle Ranch Blues: Warm up with D major.

Tue 12th Jan 2021

Scales

  • These can go a little faster now.
  • Careful when you’re slurring that you slur the right notes!

Fiddle Time Joggers

Use two stars and a wish when you’re practising: two things you did well and one thing you’d like to do better next time through.

  • Stamping Dance – Practice this with the backing track now. Keep your eyes on the music! Be ready for line 2 by making sure you retake your bow.
  • Summer Sun – Practice this with the track too.

Tue 5th Jan 2021

Scales

  • Aim for a straight bow at the very tip in D major. Imagine you’re making it wonky the other way and this will help it be straighter.

Fiddle Time Joggers

  • Lazy Scale – we used this as a sight reading piece. Work on it again, noticing the slurs, but also pick another sight reading piece. Play the relevant scale before you try each sight reading piece.
  • Ready Steady Go Now – Try to keep your left wrist low to help with your tuning. Add the second half. Careful to play the crotchets in 10 and 14 nice and long.

Tue 15th Dec 2020

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

  • Sing each line of the carol before playing it.
  • When you’re happy with putting it all together, add the piano accompaniment!

Fiddle Time Christmas

Some more to try: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 16, 18.

Sight Reading

To help improve this, work through the string sheets, especially the G and D string ones. Also try a different piece from Fiddle Time Joggers each practice.

Tue 8th Dec 2020

Deck the Halls

  • After your official warm-up, play the first bar plus 1 note 3 times in a row to make sure you won’t get in a muddle when you go over onto the D string!

Scales

  • Keep practising them all, but especially G major 2 octaves, including the arpeggio.
  • Keep the top note of the arpeggio nice and low.

Follow Me

  • Build the fingers up from the D string before you start to help with tuning.

Hornpipe

  • Start up bow.
  • Keep 2nd fingers nice and high.
  • 4th finger on the 2nd line! It’s best to learn this as soon as you can.

Tue 1st Dec 2020

Deck the Halls

  • Warm up with a G major scale.
  • Before you play the piece, do this warm up:
  • Start practising Away in A Manger.
  • Keep playing your scales and Fiddle Time Joggers pieces!
  • Start practising Away in A Manger.
  • Keep playing your scales and Fiddle Time Joggers pieces!

Tue 24th Nov 2020

Scales

  • G major scale 2 octaves. Don’t worry about the slurs! Try to get the minims and crotchets precise and think lots about your 2nd finger being close to the 1st on the A and E strings. (This will mean there needs to be a big gap between 2 and 3 on the A string).

Deck the Halls

  • To warm up, practice C A F# A a few times, like we did in the lesson (A2, A0, D2, A0). Play with the piano to get tuning really good.
  • Another good warm up would be to play the first bar plus one note and someone can join in on the piano with octave Gs at the start of bar 2.
  • When you’re ready to play the piece, get your hand ready by playing ABCD on the A string.

Distant Bells

  • Switch the bowing switch in your head! Separate bows for bars 1 and 2, slurs for bars 3 and 4 on each line.
  • Practice singing the finger numbers of bar 4, then playing the notes to get used to missing out the F#. Can you then play bars 3 and 4 right 3 times in a row?
  • Practice with the track/piano accompaniment.

Tue 17th Nov 2020

Watch my posture video – might help with the neck issue…

Scales

  • Now you’re familiar with the notes, think about your sound quality. Are you bowing straight? And is your first note just a little too long?
  • Careful with tuning of 2nd fingers.
  • Try the rhythm game at the bottom of the G major scales page. Can you make up some rhythms and write them in the box?

Follow Me

  • Practice this and have a go playing it as a round.
  • Make sure you start bar 6 with an up bow!

Distant Bells

  • Add the slurs.
  • Add the dynamics.
  • Can you name the finger numbers in the last bar of the line? That will help you get the notes right every time. Can you see it’s a D major scale with one note missing?

CHRISTMAS!!

Practice the piece I send you on Thursday! Think about your violin hold (low left wrist) and bow hold, as you’ll want it to be good when you’re watching yourself back on camera!

Tue 10th Nov 2020

Scales – try to play them without the book! Try to keep your right elbow at the right level for each string to avoid tickling the other strings.

Super Sprinter – it’s sounding great! One last thing to fix – 4th fingers in bar 2.

Start looking at Distant Bells in Fiddle Time Joggers. How many D major scales can you spot in this piece?

Hornpipe – add the slurs and see how much further you can get.

Tue 3rd Nov 2020

Scales – Keep up the good work on these! Remember there’s one thing to focus on in each hand, and your 2nd fingers could go higher – keep listening out for the tuning.

Super Sprinter – Don’t forget the 4th finger, and see if you can up it to 100!

You could start having a look at the pieces on p. 7 too.

Listen to the rhythm – Careful that all the note lengths are right, especially semibreves, and crotchets that happen before rests.

Stamping Dance – Higher 2nd finger in bar 5, and keep the bow on the string after the crotchets in bars 9, 10, 13 and 14.

Hornpipe

  • Start at the tip for your up bow slur.
  • Work in little chunks of about 2 bars.
  • Once you’re happy with the notes in one chunk, see if you can spot the slurs and add them too!
  • If you find it hard to get your brother’s hornpipe out of your head, look your piece up on YouTube and sing along following your music.

Great work today, well done!! 🎻👏

Tue 27th Oct 2020

Scales

  • Keep left wrist down to help with 2nd finger tuning;
  • Don’t let the bow go wonky at the tip (thinking of the hand extending in front of the body might help).

Super Sprinter

  • Same point as in scales for tuning of 2nd fingers;
  • Can you get it up to crotchet = 80 this week?

Step, Skip, Jump

  • Keep tempo on the 2nd and 4th lines – careful with the crotchet rests and rhythm of the last bar!

Revise the names of the dynamics, including the word dynamics.

Stamping Dance

  • Practice with the track to make sure you are keeping the 1st line’s tempo throughout.
  • Long crotchets in bars 9, 10, 13 and 14 (so don’t take your bow off the string!).
  • Remember to play the 4th line!

Mon 19th Oct 2020

Scales

  • A Major – WELL DONE on putting the slurs in today! Flip a coin to decide whether to play it slurred or separate bows each time you practice.
  • Your C#s could have been a little higher.
  • Think your way through your arpeggio before you play it to avoid false starts.

Super Sprinter

  • Use shorter bows to help you play faster.
  • Play at crotchet = 60 now, and if it goes well, try even faster!
  • Try not to pause before bar 2.
  • Check out this tool for helping to bow straight and see if you can make one out of a loo roll tube!

Step, Skip, Jump

  • Can you spot where the arpeggio is?
  • Careful to make the last bars of lines 2 and 4 different rhythms.

Fri 9th Oct 2020

Scales

  • Remember to use the upper half for the crotchets on the way up, and the lower half for the crotchets on the way down. I think it would be good to put that marker back on your new bow (the little piece of string).
  • Don’t worry about slurs this week – I’ll help you with that again next time you’re here.

Low D High D

  • Read last week’s notes again. Keep looking at the music and aim for a performance of this next lesson!

Super Sprinter

  • Try to keep your bow cleanly on the A string for the first 5 bars.
  • Don’t forget your 4th finger in bar 2!
  • Start to practice it with a metronome, starting at crotchet=50. If it goes well, push yourself up to 60!

Fri 2nd Oct 2020

Hooray for your bigger violin! Hold it up nice and high and remember to stride with your fingers to make them in tune.

General reminder: left wrist down. This will help with finger tuning.

Straight bow warm-up – Nice long down bows on your open strings to practice straight bowing. Stop in the middle and at the tip to do a seesaw and check it’s straight. Your hand should travel out in front of you to help this.

D Major Scale and A Major Scale

  • Practice separate bows for tuning
  • Then practice with slurs – nice long bows! And don’t panic if the tuning goes off when you’re concentrating on your bowing.

Low D High D

  • 3rd finger ready before you start!
  • Don’t forget up bows on the harmonics on the 3rd beat of the bar.
  • When playing harmonics, rest the thumb against the body of the violin.

Super Sprinter

  • Be brave! You can play this!
  • Remember to keep your bow working well even when going tricky things with your left hand.
  • 4th finger is a tone away (a gap) from your 3rd finger.

Learn Stamping Dance in Joggers.

Fri 25th Sep 2020

General reminder: left wrist down. This will help with finger tuning.

Listen to the Rhythm – Sing the song first. When playing it, careful to use a straight bow for the semibreves (bow hand out in front of you). Pick another piece in this book (using 3rd fingers).

Scales – both D and A major keys. In arpeggios, think before you start, especially about what your 2nd note is!

Fingertips – Hold last note for 4 full beats with a straight bow.

Low D High D

  • Take a moment to read pencil markings before starting;
  • Remember the 2nd half uses harmonics! Try not to take the bow off the string, so the harmonics in bars 9, 11 and 13 are on up bows.

Super Sprinter

  • Start by describing it to Mum or Dad: what note patterns are there?
  • Learn the notes – no need to worry about using the metronome yet, unless you get really good at it!

Fri 18th Sep 2020

D Major Scale – great work using the middle marker! Make sure your violin is a bit further back on your shoulder, elbow is off your side and left wrist is straight, not scrunching up against the body of the violin. Why not turn over and try the A Major scale and arpeggio too?

Fingertips – also think about your left wrist here. Again, keep up the good work!

Low D High D

  • Again, think about left wrist.
  • 3rd finger on before you start
  • Use swinging elbow to move your fingers over other strings
  • If you have trouble finding the harmonics in the 2nd half, they are exactly half way between the bridge and the nut! Hardly touch the string – it shouldn’t dip under the weight of the finger at all.

Fiddle Time Joggers

  • Work on Listen to he Rhythm in particular, and you could try singing it to help understand what’s going on in the music.
  • Also play some other pieces in the 3rd finger section for sight reading.

Here are my mandolin videos!

Friday 11th September 2020

D Major Scale – Please could you attach some string to the middle of the bow stick as described last week? This should hep Merryn stick to the upper half of the bow as the scale ascends. 2nd and 3rd fingers could be closer together.

D Major Arpeggio – Sing the note names and fingerings before playing.

Fingertips – Try to describe the patterns in the piece before you start – what is the same in each bar? And what changes, and how? Keep your eyes on the music when you’re playing!

Also try to keep the fingertips on the string as you go up the scale. If your fingers get in the way of the A string, check these things:

  • Is your violin high enough?
  • Swing your left elbow forwards;
  • Is your left wrist down? Try not to grip the violin with a tight fist;
  • Can you feel the A string under your fingers? If so, move your fingertips closer to the G string.

Start looking at Low D High D.

Travellin’ Slow

Keep looking at the music and look ahead – can you plan how to get to the next note whilst you’re waiting on a long semibreve? Always listen to whether you’re making a good sound all the way through long notes.

Hornpipe (Grade 1 book)

(Or should I say “hornpie?) 😄 We’ll start looking at this together next lesson, but why not look at the piece and talk through the things you can see and recognise? Things like the key and time signatures and whether you can spot any scales.

Merryn was quite slow and chatty today – I’d love to see her listening more next lesson and I might have to start keeping count of how many times I need to ask her to stand up! See you next week!

Friday 4th September

It was great to see Merryn in person today and she did really well! I’m assuming lessons every Friday at 4pm until half term, but let me know if anything changes.

*Try to remember to righty-tighty your bow at the start of every practice session and lefty-loosey at the end before you put it away again.

Tiptoe Boo

To help play the first bar in time, listen carefully to the first bar of the introduction and then count to 4 out loud in the second bar.

Lazy Cowboy

Listen out for any scratchy sounds and remember there are two ways to fix it – not pressing too hard with your bow, and not bowing too close to the bridge.

D Major scale

Play the minims with a whole bow and the crotchets with half a bow. You could tie a little bit of string or ribbon around the wood of the bow to use as a marker for the middle of the bow to help with this:

Remember we have F# and C# in the key signature. If you forget their names, remember Father Christmas!

Think about your right elbow lowering when you go onto the A string, then coming back up when you go back onto the D string.

D Major arpeggio

Sing it first, with note names and then with finger numbers.

Follow your D Major scale and arpeggio practice by choosing any piece from you Fiddle Time Joggers book that is in the same key (that means it shares a key signature with D Major).

31st January 2020

Merryn’s first violin lesson! 😄🎻

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