Beethoven and Practicing Twice

On maybe four occasions now, I’ve had two practice sessions in one day.  Yesterday was one – I played in the morning for a little over an hour, then late in the afternoon for about an hour.  These things happen on lazy days off; it’s such a luxury to be able to devote so much time to something I love.  Chicago happens to be under a blanket of snow and cold the likes of which we haven’t seen in 20 years, so I have another indoor day today to play to my heart’s content, having canceled some breakfast plans for my normal Monday off.

Playing for 30 minutes is great, and is all I can manage some days, but it’s after about the 45 minute mark that I really feel able to produce my best music.  My bow hold is still not natural, and after playing for a while it begins to be more so.  Further, I’m able to produce better tone quality after a good warm-up period.  In my newbie present, my tone quality mostly has to do with bowing consistently and relaxing all the muscles I need to relax.

In between my two practice sessions yesterday, I was Youtubing, watching a Beethoven Violin Concerto performance by Izhak Perlman.  I had previously watched Arabella Steinbacher’s version as well.  I especially like the melody line of Beethoven’s third movement, and it seems like something I could more practically imagine producing than the melodies from Tchaikovsky and Brahms – two other violin concertos over which I’ve been obsessing.  Keeping on Beethoven, after the violin concerto I moved onto a video of Perlman, YoYo Ma on the cello, and Daniel Barenboim on the piano locked in battle with Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano.  What a treat!

My Beethoven interlude yesterday reminded me that I had plucked out the strong melody line from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, AKA “Ode to Joy,” back when I first came home with my rental, so I spent a good chunk of that second practice session with my old favorite.  We’ll see what I get into today.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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