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Happy New Year! and more practice

Posted by Andah1andah2 on Friday, January 1, 2010

 I've had this week off so have had a bit more time for practice.  But also had more time for spending time with the family, oh and more attacks on the "to do" list.

 My last lesson involved playing my scales in 2 octaves (G,C,D, and A).  I've been able to pretty much make it through all the scales without looking at the paper.  Also playing my recent tunes (Waterbound and Durang's Hornpipe).  Although the Hornpipe is more of a pipedream right now.  


My teacher said my bow hold and long strokes are finally on the right track and coming along.  That was good to hear as I felt lost for a while in that area.  I still need to work on getting  a good tone at the extreme ends of the bow.  So, I came away with these tasks for practice:

1.  Keep working on bowing 4 beat notes on scales.  But also add slurring 2 notes at a time on each bow stroke, and also some practice at alternating every other note on scales to increase my understanding of each scale.

2.  I have an issue on changing planes with my arm to go from one string to another.  In particular, the real issue is when I switch from let's say the A string to the E string for one note and then back to the A string.  When I make that brief shift and I sound the E string note with an upbow, it does not come off clearly because I'm "forcing" it by contorting my body rather than using my arm to pivot from the one plane to the next and back again.  I might not be explaining well, but my teacher and I understand what I should be doing and this is something I've been working on in the context of a few tunes.  Funny,because when I have to do the same pivot, but I sound the E string note with a down bow, I have much less trouble in the pivot.

3.  Working on letting your left hand fingers hover briefly on a string after hitting a note so you mute the string and prevent odd noises from coming from the string.

4.  Building up left hand strength on the ring and pinky fingers.  In particular, being able to hit a note with the pinky without causing the ring finger to seize up in pure stress.  It's coming along because a few weeks ago I couldn't even bring Mr. Pinky onto the fingerboard at all.  Now he at least wanders out for a brief cameo.

By the way, am I the only one who hates those stupid flaps on the outside of a fiddle case.  I'm sure they help deflect rain from getting into the zippered area but mostly they are these annoying extra flaps that add another step to opening and closing the case.  If I promise to never take the fiddle out in bad weather, can I cut them off?

Anyway, here's wishing everyone a good ol' Guy Lombardo "Happy New Year"!  I marked the occasion with 2 Guinnesses yesterday (or is it Guinnessi).  I think they help me play better.



4 comments on “Happy New Year! and more practice”

bj Says:
Friday, January 1, 2010 @7:29:09 AM

Your number two issue-- it's a common one. Think of doing little circles with your hand, and things become smoother. You can actually see the circles on other people's playing. You can see it pretty clearly in the second and third tune on this vid:
Notice too that Darci's circles can go either direction, depending on which bowstroke is starting the circle.

mudbug Says:
Friday, January 1, 2010 @7:39:54 AM

Hey, Stew! Whadda 'bout sticking some velcro on the back of the flaps, so you can tuck them out of the way unless bad weather. This IS Maine! BY the way, a real Mainiac would do it with duct tape!

Cyndy Says:
Friday, January 1, 2010 @9:09:54 AM

Well, I confess. I cut the flap off my old case but I'm going to leave it on my new one. Did you ever pick up the case without having it zipped and have your fiddle take flight? The Velcro flap doesn't do much, but I think it gives me a little better chance of catching that mistake before it's too late . . . C

Andah1andah2 Says:
Friday, January 1, 2010 @10:36:39 AM

Flap shmap. Duct tape may be in order. I'll have to get into my Maine toolbox consisting of duct tape and WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't , use the duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use the WD-40.
Thanks for the clip BJ, that is helpful to watch.

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