Hi Paula, welcome to your online lesson notes page!

Wed 23rd Sep 2020

Grade 5 violin scales for you (remember not to slow down for the last few notes!):

Kreutzer 2

  • Try the pencil squeezing exercise to get control over finger strength;
  • Don’t forget to start right at the heel – touch your wrist to your nose and bend the wrist diagonally down and onto the string;
  • As you head to the tip, check shoulder is low too.

Ashokan Farewell

  • Here is Jay Ungar playing it;
  • Try with a metronome to help keep a good skeleton, i.e. a steady, consistent crotchet pulse, and try to strike a balance between rhythmic accuracy and sounding improvisatory;
  • Careful with bowings;
  • Let the bow glide in the double stops;
  • Open strings are good! It’s folk music.

Mon 14th Sep 2020

G Major scale in steps (practice first in 4 note slurs, then 8)

As you have been so busy and didn’t get a chance last week, have a look at last week’s notes for some tips too!

Bach Allemande

  • At the start, fall from the upbeat onto the G and D strings, then think about rolling the chord.
  • In 3-note slurs (especially bar 7), keep the semiquavers flowing and fight against gravity with your bow arm (in a floaty way)!
  • Think of a constant stream of semiquavers everywhere.
  • I’ll try to remember to send you the exercise for shifting up and down the bow (it’s Kreutzer, not Schradieck!), but here is Pekka playing it, and here, for light relief, is his famous Proms encore!

Mon 7th Sep 2020

  • G Major scale as last week – in the repeating notes version, get your head around the note patterns first, then think a bit more about the tuning.
  • G major in 6ths, one octave
  • When playing broken chords (i.e. arpeggios and dim/dom 7ths) don’t elongate the penultimate note.

Bach Allemande

  • A brilliant start on this piece!
  • Write in bar numbers.
  • Practice the start without the first note a few times, then when you add it, start in the same part of the bow. Try not to have a gap between the upbeat and the chord.
  • Remember: long notes naturally create rest and we don’t need to add to it.
  • Be aware of the tuning at the end of b.13.
  • Practice the last 4 notes of 21 with the chord at the start of 22 a few times.

Bach Prélude

  • This sounded beautiful!!!!!
  • When practising last week’s exercise for bar 34, shift as soon as you move to the open string.
  • From the beginning, just a tiny bit more flowing into the start and middle of each bar, but you’re almost there!
  • Spend a bit of time on your tuning for bar 6 (usually the G is a bit flat).
  • From 32, the start of each down bow note was a bit diggy, so try to make it as smooth as possible.
  • Really register the fact that in the rising line in 37 and 38 it’s all semitones from the 4th note of bar 37. Try to play 37-39 correctly at least 5 times in a row.

Wed 2nd Sep 2020

  • G Major scale, watching out for 2nd finger tuning – slowly and listening for resonance, then play a version that repeats pairs of notes, as we did in the lesson (eg. GAGA BABA BCBC DCDC etc.);
  • Practice G major in 6ths, as in the WhatsApp I’ve just sent you!

Bach Prélude

  • Same thought process as last week before you begin. Really ground the first note – don’t be worried about it maybe being a bit longer than the rest.
  • Smooth bow changes (and not too much bow) on separate seniquavers in places like bar 20 and bar 25.
  • From bar 20, the eighth semiquaver should lead to the 9th, not delay it.
  • Don’t slow down too much in 22 – if you do a rit it should be minimal so as to feel natural, not too laboured. Sometimes if we think there should be a rit somewhere we over-egg it and make it into a bit of a cliché, so it can be easier to play it completely in tempo a few times so we can really feel how little rit we need to 
  • Keep momentum of bar 23 going throughout bar 24.
  • Smooth bow change in the middle of bar 26.
  • From b.29, try to feel it in half bars to help with keeping track of where you are in the melody line. The bouncing ball imagery may help – think of how the ball doesn’t stay on the ground, it immediately bounces up and forwards.
  • Exercise for bar 34: A(2) A(0) B(2) A(0)
  • Last chord – practice just the bottom two notes with the last 4 semiquavers of the previous bar for a smooth G and D chord.
  • Start looking at the next movement.

And here, as promised, is some overtone singing!

Wed 19th Aug 2020

  • Play a careful, slow G major scale before you start to centre your tuning and get you in the right headspace.
  • Think the piece through before you start playing. What sound would you like to achieve? What do you need to focus on when you’re playing? Remember the flower imagery (maybe play the first few bars whilst watching this? Make sure it’s on mute though!)
  • When using this imagery, try not to focus on how you will achieve it, just focus on the imagery and the mood you are trying to convey.
  • You could practise the first few bars in an open strings version.
  • Don’t delay on the eighth semiquaver (the end of each half bar).
  • From bar 20, keep your shoulder low and your elbow high. Think of a tennis shot’s follow-through with your right arm when aiming for the C string (impetus from your shoulder blade).
  • When starting, your bow should land like an aeroplane, not a helicopter.
  • Light bow in 29 & 30.
  • 31 keep string crossing angle small.

Fri 5th Aug 2011

Your first lesson with me! 😄🎻

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