March 13, 2012
My last lesson for the next three weeks was a good one. Next week is spring break, so no lessons for anyone. And the week after that we are on vacation, so no lesson and no practice either.
I asked David about replacing the hair on my bow. It was last done a year ago. He examined my bow and said it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Not very many hairs have broken, so I still have a goodly amount. However, they do lose their roughness over time which makes them less effective. Since we’ll be out of town for a week, and since I can’t practice that week, I am still considering having it done. Last year only cost about $45.
I also asked him if he thought voice singing lessons would help my intonation. I’m one of those myriad people who’ve never been taught how to sing. My thought was that some basic singing lessons would help my intonation as I’d have a better idea of what a scale sounded like, or a 4th or a 7th. David said that my intonation is pretty good overall. Where I get into trouble is letting my hand drift down toward the bridge. I still have a 4th between 1st and 5th fingers, it’s just that all the notes are a bit sharp. I’m still considering taking a few months worth of lessons just to add to my musical knowledge and ability.
He was pleased with my progress on #27. There are several tricky slurs and some shifts required for this piece. I’m able to play it at a moderate tempo now. He would like it to be faster. A lot faster.
We started #28, which is surprisingly melodic for an étude. The entire piece, except for a couple measures near the end is in 1st or 1/2 position. And the whole thing, except for a couple measures, uses the same rhythmic pattern: an eighth-note followed by two sixteenth-notes. “Ham-bur-ger, ham-bur-ger” all the way through.
We played through Allegro Moderato several times focusing on intonation, particularly around notes that are played with different fingers. The piece is filled with shifts where you replace one finger with another. Paying close attention to intonation is critical, as the listener will hear each and every missed shift. On the whole this piece as come together rather quickly. It helps that I like it. We did not play La Cinquantaine but rather looked ahead to the first piece in book 4. Book 4!
Since I’ve got a couple of weeks of practice time before my next lesson he wants me to start the Bréval Sonata in C Major, Op. 40. He went through the first page of the first movement and highlighted the various pitfalls. Right off the bat he said to ignore all trills and grace notes - focus on the base rhythm and only add the extras later. Speaking of rhythm, there are some interesting traps for the unwary where things that look like a repeated pattern turn out to be different.
I shall be making use of this Abigail McHugh video as I work my way into this piece.