Posted by bj on Sunday, February 8, 2009
So last week it was bowrocking (I'm still working on that! That's my lunchtime practice) and the week before I played every damn thing in sawstroke. This week I've been Going Nuts With Nashville. My big evening practice has been Nashville All The Way.
Even tunes that wouldn't normally get shuffled, like some of the slower waltzes, well, they shuffled off to Nashville this week. I even Nashville Shuffled a Jig, which was a lot of fun, though it ended up sounding like an entirely different tune.
I'm finding it easier to concentrate on one thing at a time, as you've guessed, rather than trying to mix it up. Yes, I know my playing will never get interesting until I start to mix this stuff up on the fly, but I'm just not quite at that comfort level yet. I can do it in very small doses, but not in big complicated doses. And I'm finding that once I get GOOD at something, so it becomes sorta mindless, that's when it becomes easier to just yank it outta the toolbox at whim.
So I concentrate on One Left Hand and One Right Hand new thing at a time.
The right hand was that Nashville Shuffle, repeated over and over and over, with just an occasional excursion into sawstroke on some of the transitions from one part to another to keep the downbow patterns happening easily.
My Left Hand thing this week was to keep the timing of the melody notes EXACTLY THE SAME as when I just play the melody, even though I was going nuts with shufflebows. In other words, finger the melody without worrying what the right hand was doing. Meanwhile the right hand was shuffleshuffleshuffle. The results were . . . interesting. Cool, even. Different. Intriguing. And it was hard to keep the left hand going the same as always. It kept wanting to change notes on the bowstroke, which isn't necessarily where they would usually fall if just playing melody. I think I have to keep doing this for awhile, and start speeding it up. It's good practice in hand isolation, and I think that's key to getting some of the more complicated skills down later.
I have been doing 20 minutes to a half hour in the AM with simple waltzes (not shuffled) to keep working on the intonation thing. I had gotten just a bit sloppy, and now it's coming back. I have a feeling that's going to be a recurring theme as I pick up more speed and more complications in skill levels. I'll have to, at certain points, retune the intonation. So I've been working on Greenwood Tree Waltz, One Morning In May, Tennessee Waltz, Rosebud of Allenvale, and I'm starting on one of Jehile's, the Kiss Waltz, and will be working on Moonlight on the Nicotiana next.
And I keep praying for the day when I record one of these practice sessions and don't cringe when I listen to the playback.
Monday, February 9, 2009 @1:54:00 AM
That's the way it works with me.
I learn a shuffle, keep it on the back burner till it smoothes out,
and then, at some point when it's under control, I go nuts on it and put it EVERYWHERE!
The latest one I've done that with is Offset Nashville.
Before that Syncoshuffle.
Before that (before the hiatus) Sawshuffle.
Before that, Smoothshuffle,
Before that, Georgia Shuffle
Before that, Nashville.
At some point after going nuts on a shuffle, you get tired of it, and then back off to using it where nothing else really makes sense.
Monday, February 9, 2009 @4:48:04 AM
Well, the impetus to using it was hearing Paul Riffon use it so lyrically and effectively in his playing. He uses it a lot but somehow makes it totally fit, similar to Bill Huber's playing in that regard. It never sounds overdone. Right now I'm sounding intentionally overdone.
Monday, February 9, 2009 @9:30:38 AM
If you must go nuts, then that is a great way to do it! We'll soon be eating your rosin dust, so to speak.
Monday, February 9, 2009 @9:39:37 AM
LOL! With only about an hour to an hour and a half of practice a day, I somehow doubt that! I wish I could afford more time playing, but if I let it, it would take over and my self employment income would drop to alarmingly low levels! What I need are more music related website design jobs to keep me focussed on work and still keep me thinking about music!
Humbled by this instrument Says:
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 @7:15:57 PM
Okay, okay, okay. I'll address a few things here so's to set you straight, Bj. Ahem. You Nashvilled a jig! You did what! That's entirely illegal here in North California. We may allow people to do all sorts of weird things out here, but by Gawd one doesn't Nashville a jig! Now one can jig a Nashville, I s'pose.... Moreover, it's good that you are concentrating on one left hand at a time, for it's confusing to concentrate on two left hands at once. I should know. Okay, and now I'm being sincere here, Bj, just try to keep an element of fun and enjoyment in it all, for that's what it's all about. Thanks for sharing,
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 @7:24:27 PM
Geez, I thought I knew what I said, but now I'm not so sure, Humbled . . .
Friday, February 13, 2009 @7:43:46 PM
Hey BJ, keep going on the shuffle. After awhile it will come naturally and fit into your playing like it does mine. I'm blowing the dust off of a bunch of Irish tunes for St. Patty's Day. Let me know how the Greenwood Tree is sounding.
Friday, February 13, 2009 @7:50:07 PM
Oh, Paul, I have been playing the HECK outta that waltz. And I'm going to have a surprise for you on that next we meet!
I've got the tunelist for the Northampton Irish Trad Jam and Hammerhead's, if you want it. Yell if you do and I'll send it. It's in .doc format. That way if you decide to show up one Wednesday you'll be prepared. :-)
Friday, February 13, 2009 @7:54:45 PM
Yes, please send it. I would like to see what they all play and maybe someday I'll get there!
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