Category Practice Notes

Christmas in July

While making great progress on my Suzuki lessons and my current Book Four Vivaldi Concerto movement, I do practice other things most days.  For a while now, my primary side-pursuit has been Ashokan Farewell, the Jay Ungar composed tune that found ubiquity with its inclusion in the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War.  I continue […]

New String and Muscling Through

I opened my violin case to practice yesterday and encountered a broken A string.  The good news is I’ve long known to keep extras on hand, so I replaced it in short order.  The bad news is new strings always take a while to break in – they slip slowly flat as they stretch out.  […]

Shifting Away

If the final Seitz concerto movement exists in the Suzuki repertoire to help students conquer double stops, the Vivaldi concerto’s job must be to ensure that shifting to third position and back becomes old hat.  I have a whole book of position shifting exercises that I’ve dabbled with – I daresay more focus there would […]

Vibrato.  Double Stops. Palpitations.

Teacher has been gently encouraging me to really hone in on vibrato.  Of course I’ve been working it for a while, but the recent encouragement is doing me some good.  I feel I’ve made some great progress in only two weeks or so, which is rewarding.  I feel I’m on the verge of “getting it,” […]

Doubling Down

I’ve been wading through this exceptionally difficult series of double stops (playing notes on different strings simultaneously, creating chords) in Seitz 5’s Third Movement for weeks now.  I just counted – the uninterrupted series of double stops goes on for 25 measures!  The past couple of days I do feel like I’ve broken through a […]

Late Night Tune-Up

My violin case fell from the seat to the floor of our rental SUV as we made our long annual holiday drive down to Wichita from Chicago yesterday.  At our next stop, I opened the case to find two of the strings had loosened, a not-uncommon occurrence for the instrument – in fact it’s possible […]

Time and Angles

When I started playing over three years ago, my practice sessions wouldn’t last more than 45 minutes, but as the months went by I started to increase my practice time.  I worked up to days when I kept it up for over two hours.  But then in July of 2015, I had a pretty significant […]