Hi Paula, welcome to your online lesson notes page!
Mon 4th Jul 2022
- Nice and light on the last note of 3-note slurs.
- Try not to slow down too much for the chord.
- Improvise some dynamics for a few weeks, then decide on your favourites to write in.
- See how you can change the mood when you have 3 quavers under a slur instead of the jumpier bowing.
Bach Menuetto II
- Play G minor before attempting this one!
- In bar 2, aim for all 3 crotchets to be as lifted as each other.
Mon 6th Jun 2022
- Put your bow on the string in the on-beat rests between your off-beat quavers.
- Memorise the section between 21 and 36.
Mon 9th May 2022
Dvorak Slavonic Dance I.
- Practice the quavers at a speed you can play without panic!
- Try to make the bow changes as inconspicuous as possible.
- Practice it pp with both hands as light as possible.
- Try and memorise it!
Wed 20th Apr 2022
- In your warm-up scale, try to keep the fingers lazy as they go down on the string.
- At 73, how smooth can your slurs be? Especially as you shift.
- Play the staccatos lower in the bow.
- Subdivide the crotchet beat into piccadillies in bar 84 so 85 isn’t too fast.
- Practice D in 4-note slurs.
- In 179, use your 2nd finger at the end of the bar to help get the A# high enough.
- Tidy up the pencil markings so it’s not visually stressful!
- In the second movement, play 105, 106 and the first beat of 107 in 2nd position.
Mon 14th Mar 2022
- Make the second note your aim, and have the down bow feeling in your arm as you play the semiquaver, so your upbeat isn’t too long. The same technique helps at A.
- Use bow amount to do the dynamics for you.
- In the triplets, keep your head still! Think of a 3-syllable word on each one, and remember the groups alternate down and up bows.
- Try to avoid upper half in most places!
Mon 7th Mar 2022
- Play the A minor scale with a slow mordent on each note.
- Vivace non Troppo – try to nod the hand from the wrist, with your elbow at a right-angle. It should just be a general scrubbing motion with no heavy down bows.
- Any bits like 15 need stripping right down into tiny segments.
- Try 97 in 2nd position and with the Cs on the string.
- For bar 25 of the last movement, try an A minor scale with triplets on each note.
Mon 24th Jan 2022
Mozart Haffner Symphony
- Don’t forget to play the fast bits slowly and gradually speed it up.
- Be really precise with your dotted rhythms and semiquaver upbeats, using a squeeze from your right index finger to help with crispness.
Wed 19th Jan 2022
- In your diminished sevenths, name the notes before you play. Remember to use other fingers to help you position the 2nd and 3rd notes.
- Spend some time with A minor arpeggio!
Bach 1st movement
- End of 62 is still sometimes the wrong note.
- Practice at a slower tempo keeping it nice and light – always ask if you are using more energy than you need to.
- Listen for good rhythm in places like 89 when you have 3 slurred semiquavers.
- Strip bars 117-126 down into a simplified version the way we did in the lesson and really think about all the tones and semitones.
Bach 2nd movement
- Despite the abundance of notes, see how calm and serene you can make this, especially in the higher positions.
Thu 16th Dec 2021
Add dominant and diminished 7ths to your scale warm-ups. Remember every interval in the diminished 7th is a tone and a half.
- Practice lots of first notes of phrases, starting the down bow in the air beyond where you want to start.
- How smooth can you make the bow change as you move up onto the E string for the last note of bar 18?
- Aim super low for the E flat in 31.
- 39 – smooth bow changes, especially on string crossings, and a clean string crossing onto the A string in your 2nd triplet.
- Don’t forget to be short on your quavers! Bars 4 and 8 will set you off well.
- Work on consistent tuning on the A G# slurs in 4, 5 and 6.
- Finish writing in the bar numbers with a cuppa!
- Practice the shift in bar 44 by playing from the middle of 43 and then holding the D# to check with the tuner. Try to get it 5 times in a row each practice.
Mon 6th Dec 2021
A minor scale
- You are currently slowing down for the shifts, so try and prepare mentally for them at least 2 notes in advance so you have a sort of running-jump.
- Listen really well to the tuning of your top 4 notes.
- Play the arpeggio slowly in minims and plan each note ahead of time.
- Practice the top octave for tuning.
Bach 1st movement
- Don’t forget the retakes in your first two quaver rests.
- In 5 and 6, featherlight on the down bows and make sure the down bows end ready on the A string.
- From 25, play a little under speed whilst you get used to the slurs.
- Work on the tuning in bar 44.
- Check the tuning of any Cs, especially high ones.
- On retakes like bar 17, let the second down bow start in the air.
Mon 29th Nov & Wed 1st Dec 2021
Bach Concerto in A minor: Andante
- This movement is in C major, so warm up with scales in that key.
- Think calm, collected and stately.
- Try to listen for tuning as if you are someone else listening to you!
- In bar 5, don’t rush the semiquavers at the end of beats 2 and 4.
- Beware of slowing down for shifts (e.g. bar 9) and bow changes.
- Save bow on the notes before trills in 9, 23 & 39, and let the bow lighten off as you get towards the tip.
- Use less bow on separate triplet notes (e.g. in bar 13).
- In 14, analyse when your hand needs to be curled up and when it needs to reach.
- When using the tuner, be really aware of what the right intonation feels like in your fingers so you can recreate it without the tuner later.
- Work on the sound quality on the semibreves – a gentle still note to start, then warm it up with some vibrato and more sound from your bow in the second half of the bar.
- Faster notes should always flow into longer notes with as smooth a bow-change as possible.
- In places like 44, let the bow float over the string.
- Make sure all your semiquavers are the same speed – you tend to slow them down when they are in smaller slurs!
- In bars like 44, make the hooked bowing more audible.
- Keep any separate quavers nice and short.
- Be on the lookout for bars not starting on down bows that should!
Wed 28th Jul 2021
Bach Concerto in A minor: Andante
- Practice your scales with your eyes closed this week.
- Finger warm-up: GAGAGAGA BABABABA BCBCBCBC DCDCDCDC DEDEDEDE F#EF#EF#EF#E FGFGFGFG AGAGAGAG
- Think about large bow circles in the first 4 bars, with a very smooth touch-down. All this material should be refined, especially the first note! Imagine you’re leading the section.
- When playing with the backing, don’t rely 100% on what you’re hearing – get the pulse in your system in the opening 4 bars and rely half on this and half on what you can hear. Remember the analogy of accompanying someone on a walk and walking beside them, not behind them.
- Work on your C naturals at the start and end of 24 and start of 25.
- Keep moving forwards in long lines of triplets, especially when shifts are involved.
- Troubleshoot any areas with consistent iffy intonation/accidental accidents.
Wed 21st Jul 2021
Bach Concerto in A minor: Andante
- Practice the scale and arpeggio, but make sure you know the key signature and the notes before you start.
- Practice C major too as this movement is in that key.
- Think calm and stately.
- Practice the first 2 bars with a quaver pulse on the metronome.
- Aim for 1st position in most places.
- Count to 8 on any semibreves! Don’t be afraid to use 2 bows on these.
- Let the semiquaver triplets really flow, especially over shifts or bow changes.
- How smoothly can you touch down after rests?
- Careful not to go sharp as you climb up the E string.
Wed 14th Jul 2021
Bach P2 Giga (p.31)
- D minor – use this to settle your tuning, especially on the 2nd and 4th fingers.
- Think of some bowing patterns to practice on this scale. How about the bowing from bar 25? Try to keep it in the lower half.
- Be gentle with your string crossings in 23 and 24.
- Work on the tuning in 25 and 26.
- When you’re working on tuning, try to keep a constant tempo, even if it is slow and with lots of stops and starts – otherwise you’re likely to practice in the hesitations (watch out especially for shifts). Crotchet = 80 would be a great speed to start at.
- Make sure your C#s match in bar 35.
- Remember that if you look ahead you have all the time in the world!
- Try not to nod on each quaver beat!
- Keep up the good work on the G flat major scale! As long as you’re not complacent on your 4th fingers coming down you’ll be fine.
- Watch out for the tuning in anything arpeggio-ey, like bar 5.
- Remember bars 11 and 12 aren’t in 7/8!
- Now that you’re getting more comfortable with the notes, see how much of the lullaby atmosphere you can get.
- Let your ear lead you in the climbing 3rds on the last line – you know how it should sound, just like Bobby McFerrin’s audience here!
Mon 21st Jun 2021
- Play your scale slower with really smooth bowing using the tuner.
- Check the A flat with your tuner before you start.
- As smooth as you can with your bow – really work on floating it over the strings.
- Make sure 11 and 12 aren’t in 7/8 instead of 4/4!
- From 11, breathe in and out with the hairpins.
- Keep working on the bowing from 13.
- Check your tuning as you shift down in bar 16, and then again on the low B flat in 18.
- Not too long on the quavers at the end of 19 and 20.
- Remember you don’t always need to use all your bow, eg. the start of bar 17.
Bach P2 Giga (p.31)
- Be prepared for the string crossings in 24 – you can practice this by just playing the first 7 notes of that bar.
- Also be prepared for the massive string crossing between bars 26 and 27, and the slightly smaller ones in 35.
- Work in small chunks (between the figures) to get really familiar with the notes, especially where accidentals are involved.
- Watch the tuning in the last bar, especially Fs and As.
Wed 9th Jun 2021
- Warm up with G flat major in 6th (!) position.
- Once you have G flat settled in your head as the tonic, just let the line of the melody lead you. If anything is sounding iffy, stop and think about the tones and semitones.
- Careful of the bowing patterns in 13 and 14.
- To help with the tuning in 16, think of the A flat and G flat as G# and F#.
- Make sure you’re not vibratoing upwards from in tune as this will make it sound sharp.
Bach P2 Giga (p.31)
- Really settle your tuning in the D minor scale, checking the Gs in particular.
- Treat yourself to a nice drink (I would say tea but maybe it’s a bit hot) and sit down with my fingerings and bowings 😊
- In any passages with 3 slurred 3 separate, keep scooting back to the lower half.
Wed 26th May 2021
Bach Double 3 (p.14)
- Maybe it was just the immense pressure of a lesson with me (!) but I think you can have a slightly more relaxed tempo in this. It will help the character of the whole movement.
P2 Giga (p.31)
- I’ll send you my part so you can copy in any fingerings and bowings you like the look of.
I’ll send some more piece suggestionss too!
Wed 19th May 2021
- How confident and flowing can you get your warm-up scale?
- Count the rests very carefully at the start (out loud?).
- Start 3/4 of the way up the bow and use the triplets to propel you into the up bow.
- In the pizzicato, listen out for the tuning even though the notes are super short! You could work on the tuning playing arco with 4-note slurs.
- Take time in 13 and 27.
- Watch the tuning 24-26.
- Pull the chords diagonally towards you and ping the top note.
- To help get the string more reliably, keep your violin as still as you can and don’t move your right hand to far away from the string.
Wed 12th May 2021
- These were sounding good today! Maybe try playing them with a metronome this week.
P1 Double 3 (p.14)
- Careful to always feel the musical line, looking ahead so you can plan ahead.
- Practice the end of bar 3 for security.
- Aim for a paintbrush stroke in the 2nd quarter of the bow, so that you can use a slightly longer stroke to highlight notes of interest as opposed to making them heavy.
- When you’re focusing on intonation, you could try this with 3-note slurs and a smooth gentle bow.
- Practice 13 building it up: first 6 notes and checking the last note with the tuner, then when you’ve got it in tune 3 times in a row add a note and do the same.
- From C, listen to see if your E string sounds in tune. If not, you might be a bit sharp with your 1st finger.
- Work on your G# in 24 and then the high A# in 28.
Have a look at the Delibes piece on my Pizzicato page.
Mon 3rd May 2021
P1 Double 3 (p.14)
- Keep a close eye on your 1st finger tuning in D major.
- When working with the tuner, try to memorise how your hand feels when it’s in tune.
- Aim for stately, calm and composed in the piece. Always be thinking ahead to where the phrase is taking you.
- Try not to slow down for the shift in bar 12 – be aware of whether your bow flow gets disturbed.
- In 13, try to get your 2nd finger on both strings for the B and E.
- Get used to how the right notes sound in 24 (trust the finger spacing).
- Also in 24, be ready for the string crossing so the A# isn’t delayed.
- Watch the tuning in 32.
Mon 26th Apr 2021
P1 Double 3 (p.14)
- Warm up with D Major, checking a few key moments with a tuner. Try a few times with your eyes closed too.
- Practice 3 and 4, checking any notes at the start of new position with a tuner.
- In 5, practice keeping the 4 and 3 on – you’ll benefit from playing this bar really slowly.
- Make the string crossing at the end of 4 much smoother – the next note is the destination.
- Practice 9 open strings to help time your string crossings well, concentrating on how this affects the sound quality.
Wed 21st Apr 2021
Bach P3 Bouree
- Warm up with E major scale, arpeggio and dominant 7th.
- Next practice the first two chords with the left hand in chords but playing the notes separately (EBAC#). Then practice the beginning of the 2nd half the same way.
- Use less bow for the chords
- Do some slow practice on the 2nd half for note familiarity, especially bar 19 (using the 2nd finger as an anchor).
- Once you’re more familiar with the notes, start to think about flow. Working with a metronome will help with this – start slow, at around crotchet=70. Only speed up when it all feels easy.
P1 Double 3 (p.14)
- Enjoy getting to know this 🙂
Mon 29th Mar 2021
- For F minor, find the F in 1st position first, then move your 2nd finger up a semitone. Make sure all your 1st fingers are low enough.
- In minor arpeggios, remember to check your low 3rds.
- Start the chromatics 122. You could try 1231234 on the G string. Don’t forget to use PAULA CAREY to help you with the slurs.
- Otherwise, keep up the good work!
Bach Minuetto 1
- Practice getting the rhythm really strong (yet sounding effortless) on the first three notes’ string crossings.
Bach Minuetto 2
- Play a G minor scale to warm up for this.
- Try to feel the first beats of the bar a bit more.
- Imagine there being a low voice and a high voice.
- Don’t be in a hurry to finish bar 8!
- Try to bring a sweeping feeling to your bow arm in the chords.
Mon 22nd Mar 2021
- Keep practising the minors, trying to think about which degree of the scale you are on.
- Put some slurs in every now and then – 2 beats per bow!
- Start the chromatics 122. You could try 1231234 on the G string.
- Light edges to your down bows. Let the bow ride the curve of the bridge.
- Try not to let the chords disturb the melody – think how you would connect the melody notes if the chords weren’t there.
- Read last week’s notes again to see if you can get any more out of them.
Bach Menuet 1
- Pick a speed and try to stick to it, flowing though the melody lines, especially in bars with longer notes.
- Light quavers.
Mon 15th Mar 2021
- We worked on Grade 4 today.
- Keep listening out for that lovely rich viola sound! Imagine sinking into the string like a big comfy armchair, bow fingers a little wider apart than usual and even down and up bows.
- Practice the minors a bit more this week.
- Think about the notes and get ready to listen before you start each scale.
- Always make sure your melodic line is flowing somewhere – check the metronome speed before you start, and sing it through in your head with the beat.
- Build up the chord in bar 9 like we did in the lesson, starting at the top of the chord. This is the order you should put the fingers on when you’re playing the whole chord. Then play the bar in tempo, but with a thinking gap just before that chord.
- Try to still have a singing bow even when you’re playing a long slur of semiquavers (eg. the beginning of the 2nd half).
- Try to flow straight into bar 31.
Mon 8th Mar 2021
- When practising the lower grade scales, focus on things like sound quality, bowing and rhythm.
- Try to do even notes on even grades and long tonics for odd grades.
- If you practice any scales or arpeggios with the tuner, pick a note value (minims or semibreves) and stick to one tempo. If semibreves, try it eyes closed for 2 beats and looking at the tuner for 2 beats. BE STRICT about this! No looking out of the window! Or immediately at the tuner!
- Focus mainly on Grade 3 this week.
- Light on any quavers like the beginning.
- Watch out for tuning on the last note of 14.
- Work on the bow distribution in 20 and 21.
- Learn the new bowing in 31 and 32.
Mon 1st Mar 2021
- Just keep doing what you’re doing! If you’re having trouble locating the tonics, play the scale with long tonics.
- I’ll email you some more scale resources!
- Add bar numbers.
- Keep your quavers nice and light.
- Try to stay in the lower half a bit more.
- Bars 14 and 15 – fast light bow on the separate semiquavers.
- Work on 31 and 32 with your tuner. Adding the previous 4 semiquavers may help.
Mon 22nd Feb 2021
- Practice a one octave D flat diminshed seventh, 13024 to warm up. Then practice the one octave E diminished seventh.
- Listen really carefully and ask yourself if the notes are really slotting into their rightful places – can you sing them in your head before you play them?
- From E, identify what arpeggios you’re playing.
- Try not to beat time with your viola – stay calm!
- How smothly can you change bow when you’re breaking a slur? Tai Chi bowing 🙂
- Experiment with using less bow at the start.
- Practice the shift in 18 in isolation til it’s bullet-proof – first with just the last 3 notes of the bar, then with the whole bar. Don’t move on til it’s really secure.
- Then move onto building up the next bar bit by bit.
- Careful of the rhythms in bar 20 and 21 – keep the triplets the same speed as they were in the previous bars.
Wed 17th Feb 2021
- Warm up with F major 2 octaves. Watch the tuning of your 1st fingers.
- Think triplets all the time – within this make sure you hold the minims for long enough.
- Foor the semiquaver within the triplet, make sure it in’t just a triplet quaver.
- Make a big thing of the dynamics and directions after them.
- Practice bar 18’s shift several times – try to get the right pitch at least 5 times in a row!
Schubert Unfinished 1st movement
- D major scale: try to make your bow arm sound as comfortable in the higher octave as it does in the lower ones.
- Work on the tuning in bar 177.
- Watch out for the D naturals from 180.
Mon 8th Feb 2021
Schubert Unfinished 1st movement
- In your D Major warm-ups, the arpeggio fingering is 131/131/1314131\424131.
- From figure D, pick some destination notes to land on and check with a tuner several times in a row.
- Let me know if you’d like me to record any play-along bits for you!
Mon 1st Feb 2021
Schubert Unfinished 1st movement
- From 73 – as smooth as you can, and not too much bow on the crotchet. Upper half for the legato phrases and lower half for the staccato phrases.
- As strong and clear as you can in the the staccato phrases.
- Learn from D like a study. Try it in 4 note slurs.
Schubert Unfinished 2nd movement
- Use your warm-up to help remind you which strings you can’t play as opens!
- From 103, take it at a speed at which you know you have time to think about the next note before you play it.
Mon 25th Jan 2021
- Try the scales with long tonics, slurring 3 then 4 notes to a bow (crotchet and two quavers, then four quavers). Having an inner metronome will help!
- Try to think ahead with your shifts.
- In your 3 octave scales, your first shift down is on the E string to a 4th finger.
Elgar Chanson de Matin
- Warm up with G Major.
- Keep the tempo flowing (check the metronome mark to get a feel for the flow even if you don’t play it that fast). Maybe even listen to some recordings to really get the right feeling just before you play it. If you’re watching on YouTube, ask yourself how much bow the violinist is using, and notice how the performer shapes the four-bar phrases.
- Write in bar numbers.
- From the 5th line, make sure your semiquavers at the end of bars are late and short enough.
- Mordents can be closer to the start of the note.
- Careful you don’t get too excited and end up making bar 53 too high!!
Here’s the Viola syllabus.
Mon 18th Jan 2021
- Flip a coin for each scale to decide whether to slur or play them separate bows.
- G major – this was really steady until the very top – keep it really rhythmic all the way up.
- A major – remember the E string goes 12 12 1234!
- Arpeggios – try not to lengthen the penultimate note.
- G major – only the first 3 notes in 1st position.
- Finish dominant sevenths on the tonic.
- In the diminshed sevenths, tuck your 1st finger behind your 2nd finger for the 4th note.
- In the chromatics, check the tuning of the 1st fingers after you shift.
Bach P3 Giga
- Remember to keep the single quavers light, rather than leaning into the next lot of semiquavers (eg. bars 8, 9 & 10).
Bach P3 Bourée
- Warm up by playing the notes of the first two chords separately, but putting the fingers on as if they are chords. Do this for the start of the second half too. Have your left elbow in a place where you can reach all the notes.
- Practice the bowing for bar 5 etc. on an open A. Short neat bows for the quavers and a free bow on the slur.
Mon 11th Jan 2021
- Work on getting rid of the teeny tiny pause before your shift up in the scale.
- Practice 4 or 5 notes either side of the shift, up and down several times. Keep a constant speed – either slower in general, or make your bow be in charge of keeping it constant.
- In ex.2, make sure your string crossings under slurs are nice and clear. Aim for a carefree mood.
- In the Bach, ain for ease in the semiquavers – you may be in danger of being too low in the bow!!
- In places like bars 8 and 9, lighter on the single quaver.
- Aim for the groups of 6 semiquavers to sound like sixes, not 3 pairs of notes. It may feel like you’re on a rollercaoster, but that’s OK!
- Work on bar 19 in small chunks to get the tuning a bit more secure.
- At 21 and 22, let the two halves of the bar have a conversation – they are two voices.
- Imagine the tone you’d like on your first note before you begin.
- How smooth can you get the separate quavers just before A?
- Careful of the rhythm in the dotted rhythms after A. (And after E).
- Play A slowly and mp using the tuner to check tuning on shifts.
- How smooth can you get your bow between the 2nd and 3rd bars of D?
Mon 4th Jan 2021
- G Major – always think low with your shoulder to ensure a relaxed arm.
- Practice 4 note slurs.
- When slurring the arpeggio, try not to hesitate for bow changes.
- Think about the finger patterns before you play the dominant 7th.
- Stick to a consistent tempo throughout each scale.
- G minor – a consistent speed, no matter how slow!
- Look out for the B flats in the G minor arpeggio.
- In E major, shift to 4th position on the second E. Try not to slow down for the shift – slow the whole scale down for now.
Bach Partita Giga
- Don’t forget the warm-ups! Relax all the way from your right shoulder blade.
- Take a break at the end of each section to make sure your bow arm is relaxed.
- Aim for a lighter bow throughout, in the lower half.
- From b.8, lighten the last note of each slur. Same thing in bars 17 & 18, 29 & 30.
- The more reserved you are with your bowing, the easier it will be to speed it up.
Chanson de Nuit
- Beautiful tone in the opening section!
- Let the melody line lead you – sing it in your head so that technical hurdles like shifts don’t slow you down.
- Make sure the tenuto quavers don’t end up a faster tempo than your long notes – wallow in them.
- From A, give the dotted rhythms more definition: the melody has woken up here.
- 2 before B, careful to have a nice big tone between the E flat and F.
- How smooth can your bow be in the bar before C?
- Have a look through each section before you play it to take note of the dynamics.
- Aim for something really special in the pp at the end.
Mon 14th Dec 2020
Here’s the Snowman music – available from most online sheet music sellers though!
Ding Dong Merrily on High
- Practice a scale with repeated notes and staccato bowing as a warm-up.
- Try to take all articulation and bowings into account.
In the Bleak Midwinter
- Enjoy the deep viola sound!
Mon 7th Dec 2020
Bach Partita 3 Giga
- Keep working on your tuning of the middle E in your E major 2 8ve scale. Flow through the shift.
- Ex. 1 – keep it in the lower half.
- Ex. 2 – keep thinking horizontally with the bow and check tuning for the higher notes.
- On the Bach, Know where the string crossings are to help clean it up a bit.
- Use a lighter bow and don’t try too hard to get it off the string – the lightness should help it come off naturally.
- 120 is a good choice of speed – no need to be faster for now. Enjoy the scenery!
Chanson de Nuit
- Lovely tone!!
- Careful of the tuning on higher sections.
- Try to observe the upside-down down bow symbols!
Mon 30th Nov 2020
Bach Partita 3 Giga
- E maj 2 octaves, shifting for the 2nd octave. Careful of tuning on the E just before shifting down.
- Next, try some half-bow down bow circles to practice landing the bow on the string, as a warm-up for exercise 1.
- In exercise 2, listen for the tuning – remember out E string eureka moment! The string is closer to us so we don’t have to space the fingers out so much.
- Remember 3rd finger positions in the 3rd exercise.
- Add the dancing 3rd finger exercises to your list of warm-ups – B D# B D repeated on the A string, then B D# F# A F# D# repeated on the A and E strings.
- Follow this by practising bars 5-8 slowly (maybe with half-bar slurs) for tuning.
- From the beginning, let all semiquavers flow from one bar to the next, especailly places like bars 1-2 and 25-26.
- Play the first 7 notes of bar 15 to tune the F#.
- At the start of bar 15 (and 2nd half equiv.), pretend you’re flinging a spider off your bow hand.
- Check your tuning in bar 19.
- Listen to a few recordings and decide on a metronome target you’d like to aim for. Then set a speed a bit slower to work with for now. Speed it up when you feel ready.
- Start looking at the previous movement if you’d like! I haven’t written any warm-up exercises yet though…
Mon 23rd Nov 2020
See Amid the Winter’s Snow
Here’s your guide track. 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 and some time for those who decide to sing along to breathe!! I also ignore the metronome at the end and slow down a bit. It’s OK if you don’t line up exactly though, as I will record my part again listening to your final version so can fit with you!
- Aim for a sweet bow sound.
- Take time to tune 1st finger G before starting.
- Repeat the first section and play the 2nd part on the repeat.
- Your part in the second half is like the icing on the cake – keep it calm and light.
- Keep Gs low in the 2nd half too.
Bach Partita 3 Giga
- For the warm-ups, use a lighter bow, thinking horizontally and leading with your right elbow.
- Try not to drift sharp from the high B in the exercises.
- Play a two octave E major scale, starting in 1st position and shifting to a 1 on the middle E. Don’t forget 4th position is where your hand meets the violin body.
- In the piece, set yourself a comfortable dotted crotchet pulse on a metronome.
- I’ll try to come up with an exercise for bars 7 and 15 for next lesson!
- From 17, let your knowledge of the correct hand shape lead you instead of your notion of what you expect to hear.
Mon 16th Nov 2020
- Play the following with a light bow in the lower half. Lead the down bows with your elbow and keep the right shoulder low.
2. Play this at the same speed as the first exercise. Think of your bow as being in charge – your fingers will just have to keep up!
3. Keep the string crossings as shallow as possible and follow all tips from exercises 1 and 2.
I’ll email the actual piece to you, but here is a link to the edition I have in case you’re interested in buying a copy.
Schubert Sonatine 2nd movt.
- Please send me a scanned copy of this and the remaining movement(s?).
- No hard edges to the sound, especially on the first note.
- The grace note should fall before the beat
Mon 9th Nov 2020
Some thoughts on posture for you!
- Great work on the chromatics! Play them a bit faster now so you can really feel the geography of each octave, but do pause on each 4th finger to check the tuning.
- Careful of the tuning 2 bars before A (and 11th after G).
- In places like figure C, let the bow glide over the strings.
- At D and L, rest the bow on the string and keep it simple.
- Practice 5-8 after E several times, firstly to decide on the fingering and then to get confident at it.
- Practice the start of the second half for dynamics – play the p over the fingerboard.
- Keep the bow light and smooth at G, especially when crossing strings.
- Play 5-12 after H in first position a few times to really get the tuning in your ear.
- At I, keep driving forwards in the quavers – no hesitating! Notice that each group is the same shape, just starting one night higher each time.
Mon 2nd Nov 2020
- Chromatics: check the tuning of 4th fingers.
- Diminished 7ths: Just 2 octaves first to settle your ear. Watch tuning of the second note.
Schubert (2nd half)
- Record the first 8 bars of this section and assess your rhythm.
- Lower half of the bow for the spiccato at the bottom of the page.
- Practice the shift in the second bar of G for cleanness – it may help to imagine this as a shifting ex. from A to D, with the F# as a guide note.
- At G, head for the fingerboard to get the right sound quality. Keep it super quiet for as long as it says!
- Practice the two bars before I in 1st position to get the tuning in your ear before trying it in 4th position.
Mon 19th Oct 2020
- To help with the first section of your Schubert, practice your chromatic scales with the 0112234 fingering.
- To help with the second half of your Schubert, practice a diminished 7th on G with a tuner like so:
- Semibreves (full, slow bows – be patient!);
- Just one octave til it’s feeling natural;
- Add the next octave;
- Add the A string shift plus a B flat at the top.
- Practice the opening phrase slowly with a metronome (crotchet = 120) so you really get a feel for where the quavers sit within the bar. Speed up gradually, then when you get to a certain speed you can halve the metronome number to get minim beats.
- Working from the second half, careful of the tuning and the quaver rhythms (although the previous bullet point will help this).
- From figure F, practice air bowing the notes that aren’t Es and Gs. Once you put the other notes back in, check the E with your open string every now and then.
Mon 12th Oct 2020
- A Major – a little slower so you can keep it all the same speed. Imagine you’re playing along with me!
- Playing with a metronome in all scales will really help!
- Diminished 7ths – even fingers on one string then odd fingers on the next, or vice versa.
- Chromatics – try not to think of each note individually, rather as part of a long string of notes.
- Reminder of A chrom. fingering: 12234 at the bottom and 12123 at the top. You can check your 3rd fingers with the string below.
- Practice 2 bars before A for tuning.
- In all 4-bar phrases , keep the connection between bars 2 and 3.
- At D, imagine crotchets in your rests.
- In general, aim for more dynamic contrasts.
Tue 6th Oct 2020
- I’ll leave them at the top of the page til we move onto grade 6!
- The top of A Major 3 8ves is 12 12 1234, then coming down is 321 4321.
- Play F Major in 5th position.
- For the dim and dom 7ths, think through the notes first so you haven’t heard them wrong first!
- Play the diminished 7ths slowly and evenly so you have time to think about the next note.
- Dominant 7th in the key of B flat – 2nd position.
- For the chromatics, think through your fingering for the G and E string notes before you play. Sit fingers comfortably next to each other, not too close! If you get lost, stop and register the note names.
- It’ sounding good! Work through last week’s comments again.
- When travelling tip to heel, use smaller down bows.
- When notes get trickier, i.e. from the 6th bar after H, Switch to half-bar slurs.
- Smooth bowing, like draping a silk scarf over the strings.
- Not too fast, especially the ornaments – we want to hear all the notes!
- Most glisses only need to be about a semitone, but keep them lazy.
Wed 23rd Sep 2020
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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! 😄🎻