Prior to yesterday it had been three weeks since my last lesson – Teacher cancelled one, then I was away unexpectedly last week. But in the meantime, I had been working on my bow hold, which we focused on when we last met as paramount to improvement in my execution of double stops. To the extent that it’s possible to laser-focus in on one thing while playing the violin, I’ve been trying to do it: relax, wrap more of my fingers around the bow, lead with the wrist, allow the weight of the arm to do the work.
After all my work on the right hand, in the lesson yesterday it became necessary to focus on the left – my angle of approach to the strings was off. The angle has been something I’ve worked on since the beginning – unsurprisingly, perhaps, we return to the position of both of my hands often. I tend to pivot my left hand away from the fingerboard so my fingers have to travel too far to find their marks. The correct angle of the hand allows for better intonation and more rapid landing on the strings.
Focusing on one hand while playing the violin has a lot in common with the sound of one hand clapping. Some activities just require both.
Thanks for reading.
My teacher is going to get me started practicing double stops so I’ll be more ready for Book 4. (Still working on the Becker Gavotte. So hard! But someday, it will seem less hard.) Do you have specific practice techniques, or a technique book?
The Becker gavotte is way hard. I don’t have a double stops book or anything too concrete but I’m very glad I worked hard prior to the third Seitz concerto movement in book 4 on keeping the bow perpendicular to the strings – just playing open strings slowly, getting the angle right -it’s kind of hard to see if you’ve got it right from the playing vantage point so looking at yourself in a mirror helps. And then move on to playing two open strings together while keeping the bow straight. Having that going better than it was before has helped me a lot, I think! (But, oh my, how far I have yet to go!).