#14045 Reply

Dianne Adkins

WOW! That was REALLY good! I’m especially impressed that you have memorized the etude! You also set the metronome and did not miss a beat. Bravo! Move to a new etude! I will have to get really picky to find something to improve in your playing today! You are being so hard on me! I have to watch the video twice to find something 😉

OK, well by now, you know Ms. Dianne. (me) I will always find SOMETHING you can work to improve. One thing today for each hand. None of today’s suggestions have anything to do with the piece, just technique, which is already very, very good.

Left Hand
1. Sometimes the C natural to B natural is a little ‘pitchy’, a little flat. By just a hairs width. If you could imagine the note B natural having physical dimension, like a hair under the microscope. It looks something like this:


The note has a top side, a bottom side, and a width in the middle of top and bottom. Your choice in this piece should be to play the B natural on the top side of the pitch. Does this make sense? If you play on the bottom side, it may still be B natural, but it sounds a little flat. Especially when you have to play the pair of notes repeatedly within succession.

OH, I said one thing, but it will be two things, for left hand. It would be very useful to practice this unit, taken out of the beginning of the piece:

||: A0, A1, A2, A3 | A4, A4, A4, A4 :|| Fine tune the 4th finger and make it stay rounded. You may need to pull the left elbow under the violin a little more, allowing the thumb to drop so it is fully under the fingerboard. We repeat the A4 to listen and adjust the pitch. Next:

||: A0, A1, A2, A3 | A4, A3, A4, A3 :|| Watch the 4th finger. Make it stay rounded. Keep the elbow under the violin. Isolate the exercise further:

||: A3, A4, A3, A4 :|| Pinkie push ups. Keep pinkie rounded. Repeat 10 or more times. A variation of this:

||: A2, A4, A2, A4 :|| Hold A2 while playing A4. Keep pinkie rounded. Repeat 10 or more times. Make sure you play C natural not C #.

So the purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the pinkie of the left hand and make a very slight adjustment to the thumb and elbow position in order to help the pinkie start out closer to the fingerboard.

Right Hand (bow arm)
What I am concerned about here is the variation in the tone. The bow grip is good and the bow arm seems to function very well. But the sound sometimes is ‘edgy’ and the notes don’t speak readily especially on D and G. Make sure the contact point (where the bow touches the string) is staying in the right place. Not too close to the bridge and not too close to the fingerboard. This may just be caused by the violin itself, or the strings, or the bow or too much or too little rosin. So I don’t have a definitive answer yet, but see if you can hear it, too and we can talk more about it, if it’s a regular thing.

Oops! Two things for right hand, as well! This actually does have to do with the piece. In the measures where you have string crossings, say more than two, where you have to go from E to D to G and back etc. Take away the fingerings and practice the open string bowing. Let’s make sure the sound is good without the fingerings and that the bow placement is correct during the string crossings at all points of the bow.

As a supplement to your etude book, I would recommend that you get Sevcik School of Violin Techniques, Op. 1. Part 1. You can work from the beginning of that book for left hand finger work, but for bowing, I would recommend starting and memorizing #11 (shown below) and practice the various bowings after memorizing. We can talk about what the bow arm should do during string crossings in another post. Thank you for sharing!

Sevcik School of Violin Techniques, Opus 1, Part 1, No. 11