Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Practice update

There must be a bunch of immunologically non-overlapping viruses going around this winter. I feel like I've barely gotten over one when another knocks me flat. This last was especially bad - two whole weeks and I'm just returning to activities and I still have a snotty nose. Grumble.

I canceled a lesson last week, as well as orchestra and cello trio rehearsal and, well, pretty much everything else. I also took two days off from practicing, and would like to say I practiced lightly on many others but it was pretty much my usual. Lightness, that is.

For the past couple of days I'm trying a new approach - blocking out several hours in the morning, and doing all of my practicing in that time, with a few minutes break after each half hour. I had gotten into the bad habit of spreading things out over the day with other activities in between practice blocks, and the even worse habit of never getting back to practicing, or occasionally not starting at all.

With more actual practice happening, I have been changing up the order of things every day - I get too bored doing the same routine, day after day. I've also added something new to my scale practice. A few years ago I bought a Mel Bay book by Daniel Morganstern that talks about his technical development, and what he learned from Leonard Rose, Luigi Silva and Channing Robbins. Parts II and III (of VI) are about scale practice, and he lists a number of ways to practice, using the E Major scale as an example. You will remember that E is my main scale buddy, the first one I learned in order to apply the general fingering pattern 1x24 1x24 124 124 134 while avoiding open strings. (I call this the Duport fingering, since his was the first treatise to advocate its general use.)

The point of the exercise I added this week is to learn to do the (downward) shifts between strings as old finger, old string, old bow shifts, to counteract my natural tendency to do new finger, new string shifts. The resulting high-to-low mew is not what I want to hear. This is the section of the exercise notated as quarter notes:

It can be done as an acceleration exercise, starting with 2 half notes, then 4 quarter notes, then 8 eighth notes per bow as coordination improves. I'm encouraged by my progress this week, and hope I can keep this schedule up.

1 comment:

MiaCella said...

GGP, please don't stop updating your practice/lesson logs. It's like having an extra lesson everytime I read it. I love it.