Posted by jonno on Sunday, November 22, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @9:16:22 PM
I think it's great to have the skills to make whatever sound you want. I've been working on Kenny Baker's "Roxanna" waltz for some time now, and it's kicking my butt, but also teaching me a lot. Such a simple tune, so hard to make sound like him. The guy's got some wicked skills. I think he may be the devil in disguise, but he sure sounds great!
IMO, good training gives you options, an assortment of tools that you can pull out and use when you need them.
Another year, huh? Well. Perlman will be retiring in a few years.......
Sunday, November 22, 2009 @9:39:34 PM
Hey Michael -
I've played along with his recording of Roxanna a few times and I know exactly what you mean (if I remember right it modulates in the middle). It took me a long time to learn Baker's Festival Waltz and it's one of my favorites. I took a one-day seminar with Bobby Hicks summer before last and boy did he make it look easy. As you say, what sounds simple at first is devilishly hard to imitate.
One of the reasons I took the fundamentals fork in the road was because embellishments were creeping into my playing - more as clutter than expressions of the music. I decided that I wanted to have the simplest versions that I play sound good. Like watching an elderly couple waltzing around the dance floor - no fancy steps, but perfectly in time with one another.
Monday, November 23, 2009 @1:24:05 AM
Ahh, Jonno. Nothing like making a pure, singing note. It touches the heart, and makes the spirit soar!
Monday, November 23, 2009 @3:08:09 AM
I am impressed you are continuing lesson. While reading your blog post I could feel so much of what you experienced in your writing. For the past 3-4 months I have thought more and more about doing what you have done. Now I feel like the next step is doable! Once in a while I hit a note just right and WOW it brings a smile for sure. I am looking forward to your future post. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.
Monday, November 23, 2009 @3:55:40 AM
I hope this works out for you. You've got some admirable goals.
The thing that gives me pause with this kind of thing is that I always imagine that If Kenny Baker signed up for lessons with a good classical teacher - the teacher would feel compelled to "correct" some things in his playing.
Don't know if that's really true or not - but it is what worries me... ;-)
Monday, November 23, 2009 @4:50:25 AM
Congradulations on your committment to improve your playing skills. I started with a teacher who was classically trained but was also a very good folk fiddler. I believe that the more skills you have the more versitile your playing options. Glad this is benifitting you!
Monday, November 23, 2009 @5:45:25 AM
This is what Hardy has been telling me all along. I know there have been forum "disagreements" about the value of classical technique -- but for at least some of us, classical technique is "the way" for us to get the tone we are looking for in the music we are trying to play! I'm going to see Hardy this weekend for a 2-day "boot camp" to try and improve skills. After reading your post though, I may have to get a classical teacher here as well so I don't have to go 6 months between lessons! Rock on!
Monday, November 23, 2009 @6:03:57 AM
Wow - it's great to hear from you all! I suppose I'm fortunate to find a teacher that is literally without judgement about musical styles. He is very much into the physics of producing the sound - the effeciency of motion and ergonomics. He often plays for operas that run for 5 hours and this is his career, so he's in it for the long haul and wants to protect his joints. He got tendonitis in his 20s and he re-engineered his playing as part of his rehabilitation.
As an adult learner, I am very interested in and helped by his explanations of "why" to do things a certain way. He doesn't frame his explanations in a way that infers judgement, but states if you hold your instrument, bow, arm, wrist, hand, etc. like so it makes this kind of sound or has this kind of wear and tear on your body.
Recently I was watching Ketch Secor (fiddler of Old Crow Medicine Show) and noticed that his bowing motion comes from his shoulder and his entire right arm moves back and forth. I realized that I could not play like that because I am prone to bursitis flare-ups in that shoulder (espeically after a few tennis or ping pong matches). I've adopted what my teacher taught me - to mostly use my elbow as the hinge that pulls and pushes the bow and (knock on wood) my joints are pain-free. I should add that what really struck me about Ketch's playing was that his intonation is spot on and his rhythm was right in the pocket driving the tune along. Learning his fiddle breaks note for note is teaching me a lot of stuff that my classical teacher doesn't deal with. I'm just happy being a sponge.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 @11:57:21 AM
Fair warning, John--I'm going to find out who your teacher is and try to get him *and* Hardy to move to Chicago. Seriously, though, as I said in the forum, this is giving me things to think about, and it sounds like you've found exactly the right teacher for what you're trying to do.
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