January 7 Lesson Notes

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My lesson today was a very good one. Due to the Christmas and New Year’s break it was the first I’d had since mid-December. I presented four études and two Suzuki pieces to David today.

From the {{ “B003ALLX16” | amazon_link }} book I’ve been working on 4 études.

Lee #36
For this piece the goal was to play faster. I managed to accomplish that, although measure 5 still gives me fits. With a slur spanning C-A-F-C (starting on the C-string and ending on the A-string) followed by a slur of the same notes in reverse order, this measure requires that you double stop the D and A strings with your second finger. Somehow getting into and out of that “mashed” position slows me down and throws off the tempo of the piece.

Lee #37 This one was fun. I even did a reasonably good job extending back for the E-flats.

Lee #38 Written in 3/4 time with each measure container three triplets the challenge of this étude was playing the tied notes. Rhythmically the ties threw me off. Initially I ignored the tie and just played two separate notes. Once I had the melody of the piece in my head I started playing hooked notes for the tie. This gave me “bowing parity”, if I can coin a phrase. By using a hooked bowing pattern for each tie I keep my down and up bows in sync with the music. Eventually I replaced the hooks with ties.

Lee #39 The slurs in this piece threw me. I tend to play slurred notes far shorter than their assigned values, which screws up the rhythm entirely. Separate bows helped here. Today when I played it for David I had trouble with measure 8. The first three note pattern is A-Eb-G, and the second is A-E-G. Due to my tendency to not point my 1st finger far enough back for half-position notes, the Eb wasn’t very flat. I need to polish this for the next lesson.

{{ “0874874831” | amazon_mediumleft_image }} Humoresque This piece has really improved in the two weeks or so since I last played it for David. The only problem area remaining is in measures 34 and again in 38. I tend to make the first three notes a triplet rather than a 16th followed by two 32nd notes.

La Cinquantaine Oof. This piece is filled with shifts, and the occasional harmonic just to see if you are paying attention. The comment I am most likely to utter under my breath while practicing it is, “this is just plain mean.” I’m still working on the open three lines. Today in the lesson we worked on the grace notes in measures 2 and 4. This piece will be with me for a while.

{{ “0825802628” | amazon_mediumleft_image }}

For my next lesson David wants me to work on Lee #40 (the last Lee étude), La Cinquantaine, and to start Allegro Moderato, the “graduation” piece from volume 3 of the Suzuki books.

He also asked me to buy a copy of Schroeder 170 Foundation Studies for Violoncello, which I promptly did after the lesson.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Mastodon.