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.

Slow work

It’s been quite a while since my last post and my happy birthday post was a little on the dour side, but not to worry, not posting does not equal not practicing.  In fact, in the last few weeks my goal has been to ramp up the practicing schedule and as of now, I consciously try to practice two hours a day.  Of course, I don’t always hit it, but it is the goal, and what it does mean is that little 20 minute practice days are pretty much gone.  An hour is short and I’m typically between an hour and two (sometimes more).

Now, just because I’m in a practice room doesn’t necessarily mean my practice is quality, and lately I’ve been much more self conscious about how I practice and getting the most for my money.  Danielle is the epitome of power-packed practicing, mostly because she has to be.  She doesn’t have a lot of time, so she has to be economical with her practice time, but when it comes down to it, more efficient practice is much more effective anyway.  After practicing, it should feel like you’ve just gone to the gym.  It should feel like you’ve been working, dripping sweat, out of breath, the whole nine yards.

A couple of weeks ago, Danielle worked with me on what she calls slow work.  I could describe it, but I’ll just let her:

One of the biggest worries I’ve had this entire time, especially when I was doing the Paganini, was the speed.  I’m always worrying that I won’t be able to play fast enough.  Danielle says that the speed will come, but what I should worry about is playing perfectly.  Evin says the same things, that it’s better to play steady through the whole part (whatever part I happen to be working on) rather than playing some fast and some slow in a really choppy way.  I suppose I’ll listen to my teachers.  For now.

At the end of the video, Danielle mentions doing that slow work she describes during a large part of the practice, and then do some performance practicing at the end, sort of putting your money where your mouth is.  With that in mind, this was tonight.  It’s in three parts.  The first part I play through this passage slowly:

Then I attempt to play through it much faster, but unfortunately I get tangled on the last line above.  I have had lots of trouble with that passage in the past because of the shift, so I’ll need to give it much more attention.  The third part in the video is slowly playing that tough part.  I also exaggerate my right hand movement while playing it.  It’s a little unrelated, but I’ve noticed when watching myself that my bow hand isn’t as flexible as it could be.

I don’t know, maybe it’s not unrelated.  Maybe it’s all related.

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2 Comments on “Slow work”

  1. hey nice to see another blog post I was wondering how your progress was coming. Shifts are hard huh?


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