It’s not often that I skip two lessons in a row – in fact I’m not sure it’s happened before; we tend to reschedule for another day. But Teacher was sick the week before last, and I had to cancel this past week due to some work commitments. I have been playing nonetheless, and am very much looking forward to Wednesday’s lesson. There’s still one major segment of Humoresque, my new song, that I have yet to get to, about four lines. I’m not sure we’ll be able to get through all of it this week, but we’ll doubtless make it through some. I’ll be considerably more advanced on the first half of the piece than I will be on the second for some time to come considering the head start I’ve had with it!
Watching Joshua Bell handle his bow on Friday night was a treat – I was impressed with the natural way he moves with it – the bow (Bell’s happens to be an exceptional 18th century French number; mine is French too!) is just a part of him. This topic is similar to our goal with weapons training in the martial arts – in my style of karate our most common weapon also happens to also be called a bo, a six foot wooden staff. We try to use it as an extension of the body, thinking of it as an extended part of our arms rather than conceiving of it as an object apart from us.
I’ve been working for months to try to bow boldly, and have written about it a couple of times – I do find that I’m able to produce the best tone when I’m really feeling the music, really engaging my whole body with the project, breathing, moving, holding my chest high. The violin is an instrument that is powered by subtlety on every front – decent tone comes from coordinating the precision placement of the fingers on the strings, the perfect change of direction with the bow, applying a smooth curve of increasing then decreasing pressure on the strings while pulling the bow across them – and much more. All of it has to become second nature before this instrument starts sounding decent.
I’ve come a long way, and I have a long way to go.
Thanks for reading.