Revisiting Beethoven

Beethoven is represented exactly once in the Suzuki repertoire in Books One through Four – his famous “Minuet in G” in Book Two.  I loved it when I learned it, but recently I haven’t given it much attention at all. In some ways it’s a tough one – there’s a position shift down and it’s got a nice combination of sections – some are slow and melodic, rising up to notes I just have to nail, and some are quick with bars of staccato notes.  But I’ve always loved Beethoven and I want to have a little of his music I can play well, so I’m going back to it and trying to make it sound lovely.

The Making Beethoven Lovely idea is part of a larger project I decided to work on just a couple of weeks ago.  Overall, I want to have several pieces that I keep up well, pieces that I’ve been playing for a while that I can have at the ready for when I want to play something for an audience or that simply make me feel good about my own playing.  I’ve picked two others – the Bach Minuet from Book Three (the core of which was introduced in Book One, but the Book Three version contains a nice minor variation and other embellishments), and then the Book Three Dvorak Humoresque, which is fun and generally a crowd-pleaser.  Both pieces contain a shift to third position, which an overwhelming majority of my pieces do not, so there’s some strategy in these selections – they will allow me to focus on position shifting daily.

Yesterday I worked them all hard in a rare second practice session in the early evening.  I used my accompaniment tracks, which I’ve found especially useful for keeping me in tune and for polishing the rhythm/tempo.  I’m also trying to work in some vibrato here and there, which I have to say is not doing much to make my selections into better show pieces at the moment, but I’m hoping it will pay dividends soon! Teacher said last week that we would focus today’s lesson on vibrato, so perhaps my timing is right.  In all three of these pieces there are definitely spots where a little vibrato would go a long way!

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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