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.

Not all practice sessions are created equal

As many of you know, Colburn holds a table tennis tournament every semester that lasts several nights and culminates after the final performance forum of the year.  It’s a lot of fun, and one of my additional duties as an RA is to help organize the tournament and order pizza for about 75 hungry student spectators.  (I’m also the official ping pong blogger www.colburntabletennis.wordpress.com)

After the table tennis action and cleaning up the leftover pizza boxes and 2-liter bottles, it was around 11pm.  This was the end of a long hard day of practicing, organizing, and homework.  Bedtime?  Nope.  I grabbed my violin and went to Danielle’s studio for a lesson.

I learned a new scale in the last few days, the three octave C-major scale, and she wanted to work on that first.  The C-major scale is a bit different from the A-major in that it starts in second position and moves to fourth position before going to who-knows-how-high position on the E-string.  She was a huge stickler about intonation, especially on the high notes.

Next we tackled variation 2 again, except I was really struggling with it.  I can pretty much play the entire thing, but at a very slow pace, and it’s not polished.  Here’s a look at the first part:

Now, when Danielle saw me playing this, she instantly cued into how I was going back and forth between the strings, noting how it’s pretty inefficient to move my elbow so much.  She showed me a new method to go between strings; here is a comparison between the two:

After she showed me this, I got a little mad at her that I had practiced for about 10 hours in the last couple of days using this incorrect method.  She said “10 hours?  How about practicing incorrectly for 10 years?”  Good point.

You’re probably getting tired of this tune by now, but here’s the variation beginning using the new technique:

Hopefully I’ll be able to perform the entire variation soon.  It remains to be seen how soon I’ll incorporate all of the grace notes.


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