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.

Another blocking exercise

Let me make a quick last note about the theme before I go on to bigger and better things.  Every measure, if not easy is at least predictable and is fairly natural for the fingers to play fast.  The second-to-last measure, however, is a much different story.

That first measure there is the one I’m talking about, and it’s a little tricky to pull off.  The first note is an F, which is played with the second finger on the D string.  Then there’s that 1/16th rest followed by a D sharp which is played with a low fourth finger on the A string.  Next is an E, which is played with the first finger on the D string, a half step lower than the F.  Then we go back up again to play another E an octave higher than the one we just played, which is also a fourth finger on the A string, but it’s a high fourth finger, meaning the finger just slides up a half step on the fingerboard.  The next two notes aren’t too bad, as they just progress down from the high E.

The next thing that’s hard about this is the rhythm, which is tricky for the whole theme.  Before, I just muddled through it, trying to just throw my fingers down as quickly as I could (sorry about the video’s orientation):

Here’s where having Danielle is a huge advantage.  In order to play this faster and cleaner, she showed me a nice little blocking exercise where I practice moving from the F – D# to the E – E, playing them as double stops.  Much of the violin is practicing “target practice” of having your fingers find the correct places on the strings as soon as possible.  Here’s me doing the double stops and then the last two measures of the theme, albeit not up to the tempo I previously played the theme:

Using this blocking technique, it makes playing this succession of notes much more natural.  Now I just need to play it up to tempo, and the theme will be pretty much wrapped up!  Well, except for playing it cleanly, with a good sound, and in tune that is.

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One Comment on “Another blocking exercise”

  1. The Father-in-Law says:

    I think most people would need an “unblocking exercise” just to even start such a gargantuan endeavor!


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