Lesson 2: Strawberries in A Major

Yesterday I learned that A Major, marked by three sharps, is the key in which I’ve been playing my Twinkle variations.  I think I’m going to enjoy Teacher’s method of imparting Music Proper.  It seems I’ll be playing something by ear, a la Suzuki, and Teacher will share a bit of formal musical knowledge along the way.  It’s nice to start to have names for the notes that I’m playing.

Before she told me, she asked if I knew what key I was playing in – she doesn’t want to patronize and she knows I studied as a child.  While I can toss around words like sharps and flats and key signatures and major and minor scales, the truth is I don’t know much at all about what any of it means anymore.  She had me name the notes in the A Major scale as I played them, which was challenging.  Three of the seven notes in the scale have a sharp, but the sharps are played by utilizing the standard finger positioning on a violin, so in the way that C Major is a “natural” key on the piano, A Major is a “natural” key on the violin.

The Twinkle variations are named on the basis of the rhythmic bowing patterns they teach, which are important to playing all pieces going forward.  I didn’t realize the variations were teaching skills onto which I’ll scaffold until Teacher said “It’s very common for us to bow with these patterns” – the variations are not just about keeping me from being bored senseless with Twinkle the standard way!  I learned another one yesterday, “Strawberry,” which I’m calling “Strawberries” because you play it twice:

STRAW-berr-y  STRAW-berr-y
long down bow short up bow short down bow
then long up bow short down bow short up bow.

So “Straw” gets a longer duration, and the two syllables of “berry” get a shorter and equal duration.

But, I’m coming to learn, holding the violin and the bow properly will continue to be my primary struggles for a while.  Teacher was exceptionally complimentary in her assessment of my progress over the past week, and I too am pleased with my progress after only a week or so.  I am having a ton of fun with this thing.

Thanks for reading.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: