My memories from when I played the violin as a child are limited and specious – I very much wish my recollections of those third through sixth grade years were stronger. But one thing that sticks well in the brains of humans is anticipation, and as a youngster, I definitely remember anticipating this important thing we do on the violin called position shifting. I never got there. I was close, and I think if I had gone into jr. high school with my violin I would have started in on it straight away, but that’s when I quit.
With yesterday’s lesson, I can safely say that I’ve officially gone further in my violin studies than I did as a child. Teacher introduced me to third position; we’re using a book I mentioned before called “Introducing the Positions…” by Harvey S. Whistler. It’s going to be challenging and fun to try to produce a beautiful tone as I work this far down the fingerboard. The fingering patterns for third position mostly mimic those for first, they are just higher up on the strings. As the length of the portion of the string that’s vibrating shortens, the distance between the finger positions for the notes becomes smaller, necessitating greater precision in fingering to be in tune.
I’m awfully excited about this development, and look forward to practicing today to really dig into it. I’m still going to write up a couple of wonderful musical moments from my Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco, but I couldn’t let yesterday’s huge lesson go without mentioning this milestone. In thinking about my expectations for progress when I started back playing 18 months ago, I really had none that were very concrete. But I do know that I’ve gone further, and more quickly, than I ever would have hoped.
Thanks for reading.