April 12, 2016 at 2:53 pm #14794
Hi everybody, last month I was practicing the Concertino in G Major by Komarowski. I really enjoyed it very much and wanted to share my recording here.
Now, there are many things I want to improve. Based on this recording, I’m now working to improve my dynamics because that’s the most urgent thing to improve I think. I’m also trying to get a nice vibrato but it’s still hard to use it in pieces.
What do you think I should work on? All tips appreciated! 🙂April 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm #14810
Mariko this was WONDERFUL!! Thank you for sharing this! I will have some technical advice, hopefully later today. I have to run for now. Back soon!April 12, 2016 at 6:36 pm #14811
Dear Dianne, thank you so much!! I’m glad you liked it. I’m looking forward to read your technical advice! 🙂April 12, 2016 at 9:38 pm #14817
Hi Mariko, I’m finally back! I wanted to tell you I LOVE THIS piece! It is a perfect fit for you. I commend your teacher for selecting this piece. It is quite an achievement to play this piece with a recorded piano accompaniment and you did amazing!
Some of the things I loved about this piece.
- Its use of ‘moving’ 2nd finger. Sometimes you have to play C natural, sometimes C sharp (on A string)
- Its increasing complexity of rhythms and running notes in the melody
- Its requirement of use of the 4th finger
- Its requirement to plan the bowing, involving lifting/ setting the bow; use of slurs; resting between piano riffs; string crossings, double notes and double stops!
- Its ‘finger drill’ like quality, while still sounding fun and musical
- Its varied musical style changes.
This piece is so great because it uses all the strings. It makes you use 4th finger on all strings. It has finger drill work embedded in the melody that automatically is prepping your left hand for trills, and for all the difficulties players encounter from the very beginning. Just listening at the beginning, you see a lot of 0-1-0-1 on G string. Then soon after you have 0-2-1, 0-2-1 on E (with a low 2, and then it is repeated double time!) This is genius drill work made delicious! Five yummy cupcakes for you!!
So, around 2:20, you play the double-stops. I think this portion is worth some unit practice. Right now, it sounds like playing on two strings is accomplished by a bit more pressure (weight) into the string than you use to play individual strings. If you can practice the double-stops section with a goal of keeping the bow weight the same as it is with single notes, your sound will instantly improve. It may help to take away the fingers and play the double strings notes, open strings, with bowing as indicated. This will allow you to look at your bow and perhaps keep weight and speed consistent. That spot is automatically awkward as it requires you to pick up the extra string on the UP bow.
Then around 2:30 you have a repetitive motif that starts on G string, crosses to D string in a rising scale pattern, then is played again after crossing to the A string. This string crossing was a little rough and maybe doesn’t always happen, but solve string crossing issues by taking away the fingers and playing the open strings with bowings as written to see what is required of the bow and fix.
Not knowing this piece intimately, I feel like the doubles at 3:10 should definitely each start DOWN bow as playing doubles UP bow first not only feels backward but looks awkward, too. It is true that sometimes we just can’t get around it, or it’s bowed that way for a specific challenge. But if it were me playing, I’d do a double down somewhere before that to allow me to do the doubles starting DOWN bow as in an orchestra, it will always be done that way.
So, just a few suggestions for an otherwise great performance. Your bow grip is looking good and your tone sounds ringing and rich, so keep it up. After you are done with this piece, I would recommend coming back to it and picking out segments to use as fingering exercises for practice warm ups!April 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm #14819
Hi Dianne, thank you soooo much for your extensive feedback!! I do love this piece a lot too. By the way, I don’t have a teacher 😉 So I really appreciate this feedback. I can figure out the notes etc myself but it’s nice to hear what I should focus on. The double stops are indeed very hard for me. I did practice them a lot already but I’m still playing them with too much pressure. I didn’t know doubles should start on DOWN bow. That’s good to know. Thanks for the tip!
It’s so funny how you can just see where I had troubles. 😉 The string crossings you talked about around 2:30 were indeed difficult. And they do feel bumpy 🙂 I think I should prepare those string crossings better, leaning more into the direction of the next string.
Do you know of similar pieces? I am now working on the Concertino in G Major Opus 11 by Kuchler. I think it’s very similar to this one, but a bit easier maybe. It doesn’t have double stops and is a bit slower. But it does require more vibrato or at least I want to play it with vibrato. I also worked on Oskar Rieding Opus 35 which I think is also similar in difficulty? Do you have other suggestions?April 12, 2016 at 10:01 pm #14820
And thanks for the cupcakes!!! :-))))April 12, 2016 at 11:10 pm #14824
Mariko! I teach mainly from the Suzuki Books. I think you should go through them, even though you will probably find the first 1/2 of Book I very easy. It will allow you to cover all the beginner details you may not have covered as a self taught violinist. Around the middle of the book, you’ll do Minuets I, II, and III by Bach, very familiar and easy for you. The last piece, Gossec Gavotte will be easy with a few small fingering challenges like this piece you’ve just done.
Books II and III will present low 1s and flat 4s, other accidentals, some third position but will be pretty easy and I think you would benefit from having these pieces, though many of them are simpler, in your repertoire. They will introduce some new concepts that will come together in Book IV which starts with three Seitz Concertos that are going to be extremely challenging for you, if you don’t walk your way through previous Suzuki Books.
The supplementary material I use are mostly etude books and drill work books as they relate to a student’s particular needs. I rarely introduce supplementary material until Book IV or V because all the technique is already being covered. It really doesn’t matter what you play, but how you play it. There is technique to be sorted out, but it can all be done in the Suzuki books at your level. I do recommend that you try to memorize at least some of your performance work. There are so many benefits to memorization, and I can tell that you are reading the music in the video. Even though the music is cleverly positioned out of view and you do occasionally look up, your eyes are fixed to one spot. If you were not reading music, I would accuse you of day dreaming, but I know this is not the case. 🙂 So perhaps if you start Book I Suzuki, you could memorize as you go through. Be sure to listen to the CD that should come with the book. Listening helps memorization. Memorization trains the ear. You play better in tune and with better tone when you memorize.
Regarding music reading in this video, I should just say, it is such a small, picky thing – you’ll find I will only attend to the very pickiest things when you have done extremely well on everything else – so congratulations are indeed due to you, and I promise, never given lightly! 🙂 🙂
I tell my students I’m sorry if I forget to say well done! I am so excited when a student plays well! I am anxious to give more information and the next steps in the learning process! But you can know you did well when I change what you practiced all week into something harder. While that often frustrates a student who doesn’t know why, it is much more disappointing for them to hear me to say the same thing in a lesson that I said last week. 😉
Also, it does my ego a great good to read your words saying I have caught most of your problems just by looking. That is so second nature to me now so I’m glad you are a brave, enthusiastic person who happily submits the video and eagerly accepts the critique. You will go a long way because of this, and you already have done so since first I saw you play here on this forum just a few months back.
I checked out Concertino in G Major Opus 11 by Kuchler. This is much the same as the one you just did, maybe a little easier, so by all means, go for it! The Oskar Rieding Opus 35 is a minor key, which will be fun and technically, it is also aligned well to your skill set. With 4 movements, it should keep you busy for a couple months.
As for vibrato, for now, I would practice this separately on a tonalization exercise so you can memorize and think. When you are playing performance pieces, you don’t want to be thinking of vibrato. It should just come naturally to the performance. It is not always so. In fact, I had a student who recently entered her freshman year as a violin/ music performance major who, up to her last lesson, I was still reminding her to use vibrato! So, it is still early for you in terms of where you are in your study, but practice vibrato as a specific exercise that you watch and purposely add. Suzuki Book II has a nice exercise in G major and G minor at the beginning called ‘Tonalization’. I recommend this and we can get into more specifics about tone production and vibrato in another post.
Please don’t hesitate to continue to ask questions or request feedback. I really enjoy it!April 13, 2016 at 11:00 am #14857
Hi Dianne, thanks so much for getting back to me so soon! It’s nice to read all your great tips! First of all, yes I do always use sheet music. Honestly, I don’t feel the need to memorize. But I do see that many violinists memorize their music so it makes me wonder what are the benefits of memorizing music. I think it would be fun to play for friends and not having to worry about where to put the sheet music or that the sheet music would fall from its stand etc. But what do you think are the real benefits of memorizing music?
Aha it’s great to know that I shouldn’t rush my vibrato. I love the idea of practicing vibrato separately. When I practice vibrato it goes pretty well because I only focus on that. But as soon as I add it to a scale or a piece, it’s not a nice vibrato and my fingers are not so relaxed at all. So I guess I should just give it more time. I think I’m pushing myself too hard to want to add it to a performance piece and your words make me realize that it’s OK to wait a bit more to actually use it.
Oh I love that Tonalization exercise!! Can it be that you mean the first pages of book III? Anyway, those are the Tonalization exercises I’ve started about a week ago. I did study Books I and II already. I especially liked playing Minuet by Boccherini and Gavotte by Lully from book II. And last week I’ve started Book III. I’m so looking forward to book IV!! But I’ll have to be patient because I think it will take quite some time study Book III because the pieces do get harder!!
Thanks again for your feedback, I’ve learned a lot from it and it’s very clear to me now what I’ll be working on the next months. 🙂
Have a nice day!April 26, 2016 at 10:18 am #15425
Hi Dianne, just wanted to let you know something funny that happened yesterday… 😉 While practicing, the electricity went down and it was dark outside already. So I stood there in the dark and I just wanted to keep practicing because I had only just started. I was practicing the 3rd movement of the Kuchler Concerto. I thought: “How am I gonna practice now??? OK, I’ll just have to memorize the piece then because I can’t see my sheet music”. Of course this made me think of your feedback here. 🙂
I tried to memorize it in parts and I did memorize it all but the last couple of lines!! This was so amazing!! I always need my sheet music to play, but yesterday made me realize that it’s not true. If I want to, I can memorize the music. It was not actually that hard. And it made me think more of the structure of the piece and I seemed to be able to feel the music more.
So being in the dark in my practice room was actually an enlightening moment :-)))April 26, 2016 at 6:22 pm #15441
Ha Ha! Mariko! That is a great story! I wanted to tell you a LOT of my students over the years think they don’t have the music memorized. But I can see, as they play, with the music in front of them, their eyes often go completely off the page. Their eyes look at me, at their hands, around the room, but if I then say “OK now without the music”, they look at me and smile nervously as if I have asked an incredible question. Then they start and every time they realize they know the music. Sometimes there are stopping points at which I sing what they need to hear, then, they continue on. This shows them what they have not internalized yet and they are always surprised they had it memorized!
I’m happy that you said you feel you know the music more now, especially the structure of the music. I like to think of the music as a map. It shows you the way to your destination. The first time you play, you need to refer to the map. As you memorize, you become more familiar and need it less and less. Imagine driving to a place for the first time. You look at the map nearly the entire way. If you drive to that place every day, you begin to know the route, infact, even detours if necessary. You refer to the map less. Eventually you never look at the map. You already know the way.
Now you can notice other things along the way besides the map which really is limited in information. You notice changes in the neighborhood. People walking around. New buildings and businesses. You really don’t even pay attention to the road except on occasion. In music without the map you notice other things too. Your mind envisions the structure, like you said. You are free to listen to the tone and intonation more. You can watch the bow. I congratulate you for your discovery! You have made great gains this week!
Here is your next piece!
April 27, 2016 at 5:46 pm #15453
Good comparison with the map! I still like to look at the map 🙂 but I’ll try to use it less. 😉 Thanks Dianne!!July 16, 2016 at 10:43 pm #16785
Hi Mariko! I would like to buy this music. Also I have had an inquiry from another violin teacher who needs the piano accompaniment. I’ve looked all over the net and can’t find it. Can you help?July 17, 2016 at 11:11 am #16801
Hello Dianne, so happy to hear that you liked this piece that much!! 🙂 I had posted the link for the free sheet music and MIDI file in the YouTube description but the link doesn’t seem to work anymore. 🙁 I will send the files to your email address.
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