Welcome to your lesson notes page Mimi!
Fri 16th Jul 2021
- Practice bars 3 and 4 for light, detached quavers.
- At fig. C and the equivalent in the last section, make sure you are waiting for the rests. Akso watch your tuning here.
- Bar 31 is still feeling a bit C#-ey!
- You started the middle section really well – see if you can ahead to help keep the momentum going.
- Aim a bit higher with the mordents on a 3rd finger above a 2nd finger note.
- Practice figure I (bar 43) to get more familiar with the notes, especially bars 45 and 46.
- The icing on the cake for this piece would really be making your vibrato more present in your mind as you play it. Think about it especially on any long notes.
- The cherry (or sprinkles?) on top of the icing would be even bigger contrasts in your dynamics – imagine wanting to convey them to someone on the other end of a Skype call!
- At 102, try not to rush into it – make sure you ground yourself in the crotchet rest.
- We also did some work on your dotted rhythms (eg. 122, 135 and 170).
Well done Mimi on a great 9 months – I’ve really loved teaching you. I hope you have a great Summer on all your music courses and all the best with your future pursuits, be they musical, artistic or on the stage!
Fri 2nd Jul 2021
- The angle you and the camera were at today were perfect for me tot see what good posture and bow hold you had – well done!
- Always be on the lookout for places to add extra colour with your vibrato.
- Practice from 60 to end of page aiming for fewer hesitations.
- Keep going with your metronome practice from 102, but you could mix it up a bit by also practising it in rhythms.
- Just go over last week’s notes a few more times.
- When you have a pair of quavers (like the end of bar 3) keep them short and light.
- Practice your C naturals in bar 31 to get those C#s out of your head!
- Careful from G to make the mordent quick and early – the third note of the mordent should be longer than the first two. This is the same in bars 2, 44, 45, 46 and 51.
- Careful of your C natural and F# tuning from H. The outer sections will benefit from a bit more thought about high and low 2nd fingers too (and check your 1sts are in tune too!).
- Work on bow distribution from the middle of 46 – less bow on the slurs and scoot down the bow lightly for the down bows. Careful not to slow down as you do this.
Start looking at your G piececs – Gershwin and Gossec.
Fri 25th Jun 2021
- Bar 11 articulation – can all the notes sound the same? Almost staccato but not quite.
- At 35, show that tenuto is different to staccato.
- Can 70 and 71’s staccatos be spikier? Less bow on the slur at 70 will help. Same thing in 86.
- Work on making your shifts at 80 and 82 neater.
- Keep up the good work with your metronome from 102 – it was much better today but still a little more work to do.
- Aim for accuracy in your tuning from 116 – it was sounding a bit wiggly!
- Start 132 with a smooth bow stroke.
- Practice 142-3 for the shift.
- 163 at the heel with a nice quick retake.
- Careful of your rhythms at 176 and 178.
Keep using last week’s notes for your Fiocco.
Fri 18th Jun 2021
- Work on the triplet section from 102 and work your way up one or two metronome levels each practice.
- At the beginning, think about keeping your right shoulder nice a low (but don’t forget you can still elevate your elbow to change string!).
- Get more familiar with C, E, H and bar 35, practising in small chunks. Don’t forget the rests!
- Mordent section – focus on the landing note so it’s a bit longer, meaning the twiddles are before the . Also think about your bow not slowing down. Put the twiddles before the beat.
- It’s currently around crotchet=50 (outer sections) and 40 (middle section). Why not use the metronome on the middle section to see if you can get it up to 50?
- Think if there’s anything from the first section that needs copying into the last section.
Fri 11th Jun 2021
- Less bow in 16 to stay in the upper half, then keep your bow on the string 17-20 so it’s easy to zone in and out gently with the dynamics.
- Watch out for the A natural at the end of 31!
- Zoom to the tip bit by bit from 32 to help your smooth tenuto articulation in 35-6.
- 43 – don’t let the last notes of phrases spill over into the rests.
- Can your staccatos at the end of 70 be just as good as the ones in 72?
- Don’t let the vibrato slow you down at 87.
- Practice 102-108 slowly with good articulation, then speed it up bit by bit using a metronome. Only speed up when you think it’s really neat and tidy though!
- B flats in 125!
- Practice mostly the 2nd half this week, including the 2nd time bar.
- Practice from 164 to 166 three ways – opens strings to practice getting the bow on both strings for the double stop, then a few times just playing the G in the double stop, then a few times just playing the B. Then put it all back together!
- How clear can you make the notes in bar 187?
Fri 28th May 2021
Remind yourself about curving your thumb on your bow hold this week.
- In your warm-ups, concentrate really hard on shifting in he arpeggio.
- We started from G. Watch out for tuning on your 4th fingers in G and H.
- From fig. I, see if you can keep your lower notes’ fingers on the string as you play the higher repeating notes. Add the mordents here.
- In the whole piece, keep your quavers light.
- WELL DONE, this piece isn’t easy and you’ve made so much progress on it!
- Add details to this now, like accents, vibrato, dynamics (you may be thinking a bit about them, but can they be more dramatic and contrasting?).
- Look out for places where you’re holding notes into rests, like 48 and 88.
- Practice the 1st and 2nd time bars from 60 so that they’re both as strong as each other.
- Work on 102 with a metronome to see if you can work it up to the same speed as the rest of the piece.
- Work on 156 onwards to get it just as good as the rest of the piece.
Start looking at the Gossec piece I’ve sent your Mum.
Fri 21st May 2021
- Add 4-note slurs to your warm-up scale and 3-note slurs to your arpeggio. See if you can minimise the wiggles in your arpeggio!
- In places like bars 3 and 4, lighter on the quavers.
- High 2nd fingers can generally be a bit higher.
- Great progress on this! Work on any sections that aren’t yet comfortable at crotchet=50 using the two techniques we worked on in the lesson (open string practice for string crossings, and the add-one-note method for tricky finger passages).
- Discuss the dynamics from G with your accompanist – choose if you think it needs to be quieter from G or from the upbeat to H, making room for the crescendo.
- Keep the Cs nice and low at H.
- Work on the middle section more this week so we can start working that up to the same metronome mark.
Fri 14th May 2021
- Work on your G major scale and arpeggio to get them as neat as you can. In the arpeggio, think about how big your shifts need to travel.
- Great progress on the Fiocco! Like we did in your Elgar, see if you can start to look ahead a bit further, to help plan your finger patterns ahead of time.
- Work in sections (beginning to A, A-B etc) to neaten things up, learning the finger patterns really well. Work on adding the dynamics as you do this too.
- For any bars that need troubleshooting, start with the first crotchet beat (first 4 semiquavers) at tempo till it feels comfortable, then add a note, then another etc. just like we worked on for bar 5.
- Try to keep your bows neat and small, mainly in the lower half.
- Keep focusing on the last section this week.
- b 122 – careful of the rhythm! It’s not like the beginning.
- Get to know your shifts really well 135-145.
- B natural at 156, to make the sun shine!
- Practice your bowing at 163.
- Watch out for more B naturals at 172 and 174.
Fri 7th May 2021
- Be ready for your low 2nd fingers at the start, especially the Cs.
- Try upping your speed to crotchet=50.
- Be on the lookout for the dynamics
- Write in some bar numbers.
- Work up to the pause on p. 2 this week (or further if you have time).
- Some really great wor on this!
- Focus on bars 112 to the end this week.
- Practice the double stops in 167 and 168 one line at a time, then with the fingers on for both but only playing one line to listen for tuning, then both lines together.
Fri 30th Apr 2021
- Warm up with G major 3 octaves (scale and arpeggio). Try to get your fingers as stable as possible, with less sliding.
- See if you can find the first note of the piece based on your knowledge of your hand shape, rather than sliding your finger around til you like the sound of it.
- Start in the middle of the bow and try to keep most of the piece in the lower half.
- Beware of the “dancing 2nd finger”. You’ll find it at the start of line 2 and at the end of line 3, bar 2.
- Don’t worry about the speed this week, focus on tuning and getting to know the notes. Work out what speed you’re playing it at and find out how fast it should be, so you know your goal speed.
- Work up to 2 lines up from the bottom.
- Keep working on a constant beat. You can practice this by starting at bar 99.
Fri 23rd Apr 2021
- Keep warming up with some vibrato to wake your left hand up, but remember not to make it too wide.
- Practice bar 105 thinking about how far the shift goes (think about your 1st finger).
- Watch out for the tone between the F and G in 107.
- Work on 106-115 to keep a consistent crotchet pulse.
- New word: hemiola. Can you remember what it means? You’ll find one in bars 114 and 115.
- Another new word: recapitulation. Which bar is the recapitulation?
- Make sure you spot the differences between the beginning and the recapitulation – there are a few rhythms and notes that are different.
- Careful of the tuning in 128.
- Practice the shift at 135 as a shifting exercise.
Thu 1st Apr 2021
- Write in some more bar numbers.
- Make shifting exercises out of the shifts in bars 91, 95 and 99. Work out:
- What finger your note before the shift is on;
- What your ghost/guide note is;
- The gap between the two;
- The gap between your ghost/guide note and the destination note;
- Play these 3 notes as a 3-note slur ascending, then descending.
- When your tuning is secure, shorten the ghost note bit by bit til you can’t really hear it but are still thinking about it.
Keep going with your Elgar, and use the Easter holidays for some good vibrato warm-ups too.
Fri 26th Mar 2021
- In your warm-up scale, try to get the fingers in tune first time – this is much better than it was though!
- Next, do a vibrato warm-up.
- Scan through the music before you start to remind yourself of any places that need extra concentration.
- Next, imagine the sound you want at the start. Then begin!
- Try to think of your vibrato everywhere.
- At the bottom of p2, a bit heavier and broader like you’re pulling something heavy up a hill.
- Work on your tuning on the last line, especially the 2nd & 3rd notes. These got really good in the lesson!
- At the end of the A flat crotchet in bar 40, imagine the energy has been zapped out of your bow. This will help with the diminuendo.
- When you play your warm-up scale, practice the bowing from bar 51 (crotchet and quaver on each note). Stay near the heel.
- Practice 47-48 for the bowing.
- Practice from 56 with a heavier 2nd beat (nice long crotchet).
- Practice the 1st time bar in a bit more detail.
- In one practice this week, start at the 2nd time bar and explore a bit further – let me know how far you get!
Fri 19th Mar 2021
- Think of the sound and atmosphere you’d like before you start.
- 1st bar accuracy – 3rd finger up a semitone, 1st finger up a tone to get the F in tune.
- Narrow almost shivery vibrato at the start.
- Work on the dynamics on the 2nd page.
- Careful not to rush the last line of page 2.
- Practice the start of p. 3 with a really big sound and rich vibrato. Then go back to bar 20 and practice building up to it, with super legato bows.
- Make sure you’re really secure on the syncopations in 32 and 33 so you won’t get put off by the other parts.
- Practice the bowing (fast bow at the start of the bar, rich sound on tenutos) and tuning (C flat) of bar 38.
- 51 shorter on the staccatos.
- Feel 3 beats on the line of 51 so you don’t play too many triplets!
- Lean on the Cs in 56-58.
- Have a closer look at the 2nd bar of the 2nd time bar (bar 69) and make sure you know your finger spacings!
Fri 12th Mar 2021
- Work on getting 21-37 more comfortable, noticing all the bowings.
- This is all sounding so much stronger this week! Can the sound be even stronger from 49? Remember the E crotchets are long at the start of 52 and 53, and watch out for the bowing in bar 55.
- In general, be a bit more picky about doing the right bowings.
- Go on a bit further – at least to the end of the page. If you have trouble with the notes at the beginning of the 2nd time bar, just play E, G, F natural a few times.
- Remember your incredible pp that we got a few weeks ago, imaginging you don’t want the person in the next room to hear you.
- In this piece too, pay much more attention to what direction your bow is travelling in.
- Get more familiar with your shifts on the last page.
Fri 5th Mar 2021
- Warm up with a 2 octave scale (4 notes per bow) and arpeggio (3 notes per bow) of G Major.
- Warm up your vibrato, then think about how this feeling translates into the the beginning of the piece as you start work on your Dvorak.
- Try not to hesitate at the end of bars 5 and 13.
- Do a bit of tuning work on 13 and 14.
- Work on flow on this first page now, and take the 1st time bar.
- When it’s quiet, make sure your bow changes are nice and smooth.
- If you’re using the metronome, try to really feel the pulse. If you’ve come in early for a few beats, start again as it probably means you’re not quite feeling the right tempo yet (but do try it a little bit feaster than 42!).
- Work on the rhythm in bars 32 and 33.
- Watch out for the C flat in 38!
Fri 26th Feb 2021
- Start with a vibrato warm-up using the scale of E flat Major one note at a time like we did in the lesson.
- Before you start playing, imagine the sound quality you’d like to hear (including how you’d like your vibrato to sound!).
- Check the tempo with a metronome and play along with that until you feel like that speed feels natural (maybe even try it at 42?). Use this slower speed to help give you time to look ahead and plan your finger placement.
- To practice reading ahead, ask someone to cover up the notes you’re playing so you can only see the next beat.
Keep practising your Dvorak for next lesson.
Fri 12th Feb 2021
Well done on your Corelli! It had a really great style and you’ve really got the lightness in the lower half of your bow now.
- Keep practising the 2 octave E flat major scale in 4th position, aiming to reduce the wiggles.
- Think vibrato from the start, whilst still keeping it just as quiet as it was last week.
- Can you keep the first page all in the upper half of the bow?
- Careful not to make notes on higher strings stick out (eg. bar 5).
- Can bar 9 be as quiet as the beginning?
- Practice from 15 to 19 to get familiar with the notes and the fingering.
- Count carefully from 20.
- Please could you send me a photo/scan of your part so I can see your fingerings?
Keep practising your Dvorak! And I’ll see you in two weeks.
Fri 5th Feb 2021
- Start with an 2 octave E flat major scale in 4th position. No wiggy notes allowed!
- How quiet can you be at the start? Play so that someone in the room next door won’t hear you!
- Watch out for pesky A flats!
Keep working on your Dvorak and see if you can get your Corelli ready to perform to me next lesson.
Fri 29th Jan 2021
Corelli – Giga
- Make sure your right shoulder is relaxed – this will help your bow flow.
- See how smooth you can make the start of each down bow.
- Careful of the rhythm in bar 37.
- Careful of your 1st finger tuning 38-39.
- Practice the second half more than the first – it is harder after all!
- Zing at the beginning – right and left hand!
- “Monet” bowing in the upper half of the bow from bar 17.
- Stay in 3rd position in bar 30, til the end of bar 36.
- Practice from 38 to get used to the bowings.
- From 51, nice and strong, like orange juice with bits!
Look for some Elgar!
Fri 22nd Jan 2021
Corelli – Giga
- Try to get your F major warm-up closer to the metronome mark of 92.
- Practice with a metronome. Find the speed you can play it all at comfortably and write it at the top of your music. Try a tiny bit faster each practice.
- Remember to keep the slurs light, eg. from bar 20.
- Work on any bars where you hesitate. Write in fingerings if you need them.
- Put a bit of string around your bow stick so you can easily see where the middle is. Try not to pass this point!
- Practice 54 and 55 for using hardly any bow on the slur, then jumping back to the heel on the separate quaver.
- Keep doing your vibrato warm-up.
- Notice any places where your note isn’t stable, e.g. the second note.
- Well done with your bow control from bar 38!
- See if you can get up to bar 59 now. Aim for a good string tone near the heel from bar 51.
Sat 16th Jan 2021
Corelli – Giga
- Remember you warm-up: F major in 2nd position with a crotchet and quaver on each note. Keep the end of the crotchets light, and then do this in the piece too.
- Keep it in the lower half of the bow.
- When slurring two quavers, keep the second one light (a bit shorter).
- Watch out for 3 note slurs in the second half!
- Practice 54 and 55 for using hardly any bow on the slur, then jumping back to the heel on the separate quaver.
- Warm up with a G major vibrato scale, after sliding your light fingertips all the way up and down the string.
- Write in your bar numbers.
- Careful of the rhythm on the first line.
- Get used to the new bowing on line 2.
- Keep practising the rest of this page up to the repeat.
Fri 8th Jan 2021
- Do a vibrato warm up like we discussed a few lessons ago.
- Write in some bar numbers. We worked on bars 1-37.
- Think about playing in the right mood to match the tempo marking.
- Careful of the tuning of your 2nd note – the forzando makes it obvious!
- Aim for a good kick on the first two notes.
- Work on the contrast of mood in the first line.
- Start line 2 at the heel.
- Practice bar 13 slowly to work on the fingering. Speed it up each practice.
- Use vibrato and bow speed to phase in and out at 17.
- Think about how you can use your bow and left hand to make all the different characters come across.
Corelli – Giga
- Warm up with F major 1 octave in 2nd position, using the same bowing pattern as the first few bars (crotchet and quaver on each note). Try not to go past the middle of your bow.
- Try to get the same lightness in the piece.
Things to keep working on: Check previous lesson notes to help you work on the Bizet and the vibrato exercise from 11th Nov.
Fri 18th Dec 2020
Corelli – Giga
- Warm up with F major 2 octaves in 5th position (2nd finger on the G string). Aim for good tuning from the start of each note rather than wiggly notes!
- Then warm up your bow by playing the rhythm of bar 1 on one note, trying to get the lightness in the lower half that we practised in your lesson. We’re trying to mimic a baroque bow, so you can try this holding the bow further up, then aim to get the same sound holding it in the usual place.
- Here are the two videos I mentioned about baroque bows!
- Work on your tuning, especially in the parts in 2nd position.
Bizet – Habañera
- Keep practising your shift until it’s bullet-proof!
- Check you’re as good as you can be on all the points from last week’s notes on this.
See if you can find a copy of Dvořák’s Sonatina in your music stash!
Wed 9th Dec 2020
Bizet – Habañera
- Warm up with D chromatic, being careful not to squeeze your fingers together too much!
- See if you can remember the “I must practice my semitones” song!
- Watch out for smooth up bow slurs followed by another up bow, like bars 6, 10, 15 & 19.
- From 13, centre your tuning – no slides!
- Watch out for the two ups in bar 22 and similar places.
- When in 3rd position, listen out to see if your C#s are high enough.
- Be super observant of where you have semiquaver rests instead of a dotted quaver (ie. 46 vs. 47)
- Watch out for 4th finger Bs being high enough, like bar 50.
- To practice 52, play the semiquavers then sing the top note a few times! Then try this ghost note exercise, making the D shorter and shorter until you hardly hear it at all. Make sure your shift is slow enough at first so there’s no risk of sliding too far:
- Keep this light and in the lower half of the bow.
Wed 2nd Dec 2020
Bizet – Habañera
- Great start on this piece! As always, warm up with appropriate scales. In this case try D major and all the types of D minor, two octaves. Also the D chromatic scale (try both fingerings – 0112234 and 0121234). Are there any other types of scale you can think of, starting on or in the key of D? Let me know what they were next lesson!
- Pay careful attention to whether slurs are smooth or have staccatos underneath them.
- Watch out for your rests – the rhythm of those is just as important as the timing of your notes!
- Practice this to help with the double stops, keeping your fingers down once you’ve put them on:
Keep practising your Alard and Rieding! And I’m going to send your Mum some Corelli to start looking at.
If you fancy a challenge, why not see if you can work out what key the Aristocats song is in and see if you can play any of it yourself?
Wed 25th Nov 2020
- Warm up with a 2 octave B flat major scale. Set your standards high, as this is a grade 3 scale! Practice the scale at crotchet=63 (your notes are quavers) and the arpeggio at dotted crotchet=40. Also remember to plan ahead with your left elbow for the 4th fingers coming down the scale.
- In the piece, aim for a softer sound quality (especially the start of the piece and when you start again after rests).
- Try some gentle vibrato throughout the piece, after having done my vibrato warm-up from 11th Nov.
- Make sure your 4th fingers are ready from bar 49.
Rieding 2nd movt
- G major scale 2 octaves to warm up – this is set for grade 1 and 2!
- Remember to convey your story – calm waters and clouds approaching towards the middle.
- Add vibrato to this too.
- Focus on the dynamics, even when the piano isn’t there to prompt you!
- Again, smooth starts after every rest.
- Work on your tuning from the f in line 5.
Start the search for an alphabet piece starting with B! As promised, here’s the scales and arpeggios song from my favourite Disney film, the Aristocats! The kitten playing the piano is called Berlioz.
Wed 18th Nov 2020
Alard 2nd violin part
- Find your first note silently – 1st finger on A, 2nd finger on B flat, then replace your 2nd finger with the 1st. Then put your 3rd finger on two tones above that.
- Work in 8 or 16 bar chunks so as not to get tired. Make a note of where you got to and then start the next section the next day.
- Practice sections like the beginning by playing every other note – how smooth can you keep your bow? Then play as written and try to keep the bow just like it was before.
Wed 11th Nov 2020
- Before practising your Mum’s vibrato exercises, rest your fingertips on one string and lightly slide them up and down the string (remembering to keep your thumb brushing the side of the neck too).
- Gradually reduce the distance and put a tiny bit of weight on the 1st finger til you stay in place.
- Keep the movement coming from further down your arm, never from the fingertip itself.
- Repeat from step one on all fingers.
- Then give yourself a score from 1-10 for tension in your finger when you do Mum’s vib exercises. Is it improving?
- Pick a short phrase from one of your pieces to test drive your new relaxed vibrato.
Remember to try to find your starting notes as silently as possible, no matter what you’re playing.
- Warm up with a B flat major 2 8ve scale and arpeggio. How clean can you make your bowing? Use your 4th fingers.
- Now the piece – keep the mood in mind and keep it happy, light and carefree.
- Relax your bow arm and keep it flowing, smudging the bow changes.
- Practice the 2nd violin part for next lesson.
Rieding 2nd movement
- Warm up with a G major 2 8ve scale and arpeggio. Practice different slurring.
- In the piece, make sure you place your bow neatly after any rests.
- Practice the middle section the most, to get used to the accidentals.
Sat 7th Nov 2020
Rieding 1st movement
- I realise we jumped straight into fixing things and I forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed your play through! It was a great speed and flowed really nicely.
- Start your practice on your own – set a timer (10 or 15 minutes, based on how long you have in total) before grabbing your accompanist!
- Be your own teacher: turn on your ears and really listen carefully. If anything sounds a bit untidy, stop and go back a few bars to see if you can fix it.
- In the risoluto section, listen to make sure you are only playing the accents that are written.
- If you hear any untidy slurs, check you really know where the string crossings are.
- Spend some time working on your tuning at the top of the second page.
- Revisit your vibrato exercises and maybe you can talk me through what you’ve done next lesson?
Please send me a copy of the second movement, and I’d love to hear some more Alard next lesson.
Fri 30th Oct 2020
Scale warm-up – B flat major two octaves, using 4th fingers, with long tonics and slurred 2 beats per bow. The arpeggio too – think about left elbow swing and how your fingers move across to opposite strings. Then see if you can apply that thinking to the Alard too!
- How silently can you find your first note?
- Try to feel at home in 4th position – your left thumb can help this by resting opposite your 1st finger.
- As you change string, swing your elbow to stop your left wrist kinking.
- Keep thinking about the relationships between notes, especially in tricky sections: a tone or a semitone? Opposite or not quite? etc.
- For the chords at the end, be as gentle with the bow as possible – check it’s resting on both strings before you play the notes.
If you get time, you can start looking at the 2nd violin part too. And I’ll hear some Rieding next week! 😊
Dynamics quiz: can you work out the 5 ways to change dynamic on the violin?
Fri 23rd Oct 2020
Rieding Concerto in B minor
- Warm up with a slow 1 octave D major scale and arpeggio, then B minor scale and arpeggio. Try to drop your fingers onto the right spots first time. You can add the second octave if you feel like it!
- Notice the bars where you get your fingers in a twist and practice them carefully. Start with a few notes at a time (up to speed) then once you have got it sounding clean and in tune 3 times in a row you can add a note.
- Once you’re happy with all the difficult bits, try playing the whole thing a bit faster. Using a lighter, more flowing bow will help with this!
- A this week. Here are some ideas: Arne, Albéniz, Arnold, Albinoni, Arensky, Abreu.
Fri 23rd Oct 2020
Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻