I’ve given myself one year to master the violin.

As an adult beginner, I should be playing Twinkle Twinkle; instead, I'm playing Paganini's 24th caprice.

I’ve been Demoted

Danielle pulled me off the Paganini, at least for the next couple of weeks, and put me onto Kreutzer etude #2.  She also has me working on Sevcik Preparatory Exercises in Double Stops #9, the one dealing with octaves.  Oh yeah, she also put tapes on my violin, which you saw in that guilt post.

There’s a reason for each of these moves, however.  As she put it, “you can’t go wrong with Kreutzer etude #2” and with it I’ll work on things like bow changes and different bowings.  Most of you are probably familiar with this particular etude.  Here’s me playing the first couple of measures:

Unfortunately those tapes are more obvious than I was hoping.  Oh well.  If you listen, though, there are a couple of specific areas I’m struggling with.  My intonation isn’t horrible (thanks to the tapes) but I’m having trouble not wandering onto the wrong string, and I’m also having trouble with string changes.

Another thing I didn’t think would necessarily be a problem is playing on camera.  I’ve practiced that etude for many hours in the last few days and for a good amount of time this morning preparing for my big screen etude debut.  Out of many takes, that was unfortunately the best, and I also planned to play the entire first two lines instead of just the first four measures you hear above.  It’s a bit disappointing.  I was excited to show off my awesome etude playing, but that didn’t happen.  In a way, though, I’m glad I have some sort of performance practice.  Not like playing in front of the camera is exactly like performing in front of a crowd of people, but it’s not entirely different, as the video gets posted on here for the world to see.  A musician can’t just be able to play in the solicitude of his or her practice room, but has to be able to play under pressure.

As for the Sevcik octave exercises, the reason for these is to prepare me for variation 3 in the Paganini.  Variation 3 looks like:

See how there are two notes being played at the same time?  Those are double stops and in particular they’re an octave apart.  For example, it we look at the first measure, we can see that the two notes form an octave:

Here’s Danielle playing variation 3:

See?  Even she messes up sometimes!  Here’s the full variation:

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5 Comments on “I’ve been Demoted”

  1. JRV says:

    Ah! Shades of Jack Benny (one of my very ‘faves’ of all time)

    Good progress on the blog —

  2. Gail says:

    Nice progress, Ryan!
    Kreuzter Etude #2 is a good one to be working on…Jack Benny has nuth’in on you!
    For string crossing practice, though, maybe
    start with separate bows – in the middle of the
    bow, then progress to slurring 2, 16th notes
    and finally, 4, 16th notes. The idea is to get
    the LH fingers working with the R arm with
    split second timing. Good Luck!

  3. Lili says:

    I’m an adult beginner and so inspired by this! How do you feel about the tapes ?

    I’ve only been learning for about 3 months and so far refused to get them after reading opinions about the crutch it can become and how you should learn to train your ear, etc. But seeing how you got them is making me doubt.

    I see Danielle didn’t put the tapes on from the start. Do you think she wouldn’t have done it if you were a normal student and didn’t have such a high goal in such a short time ?

    Thanks,

    • rrvaughn says:

      Hey Lili,
      Danielle, like most teachers, has mixed feelings about tapes. At first we opted to go without them, but my intonation of course was suffering. Lauren, a friend of Danielle’s and an awesome viola teacher, actually suggested we use tapes and after they conferred, my fate was sealed! I’m not sure whether my time frame for learning the Paganini was the deciding factor, but probably one of many.
      On a side note, yesterday I played on Danielle’s violin for a few minutes (which of course doesn’t have tapes) and found the transition surprisingly easy. Danielle said that my intonation wasn’t quite as good as with the tapes, obviously, but better than before I used them. Of course, this could also simply be that I’ve practiced a lot since putting them on. Either way, I didn’t feel uncomfortable without them and I’m definitely not afraid of the transition when I end up taking them off.
      Hope that helps. Good luck, and thanks for visiting the site! I hope to hear from you soon.
      Ryan


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