Mimi

Welcome to your lesson notes page Mimi!

Fri 26th Feb 2021

Elgar

  • 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.

Elgar

  • 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

Elgar

  • 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!

Dvorak Sonatine

  • 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.

Dvorak Sonatine

  • 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.

Dvorak Sonatine

  • 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

Dvorak Sonatine

  • 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:

Corelli

  • 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

Alard

  • 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

Vibrato

  • 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.

Alard

  • 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!

Alard

  • 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!

Alphabet

  • A this week. Here are some ideas: Arne, Albéniz, Arnold, Albinoni, Arensky, Abreu.

Fri 23rd Oct 2020

Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻

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