January 30 Lesson Notes

January 31, 2012

My lesson yesterday was a good one. As I mentioned earlier, David paid me a complement by having nothing to say about one of my études yesterday.

Lee #40
This is the final étude in the Lee book and easily the most difficult. The piece alternates between scales and double stops, with a couple of triple stops and one quadruple stop thrown in for good measure. I've gotten far enough along to be able to play each section of the piece, and can more or less play the sections one after another. David feels I've gotten the value of the étude even though it isn't at all performance ready.

I'm now "done" with the Lee études for now. On my own I'll cycle back through the entire book just so I don't completely lose these pieces.

I've completed the first 8 of these études using the metronome. David listened to numbers 5 and 7 yesterday and after hearing number 5 said he was "shocked" and that "he had nothing to say about it". The metronome usage has paid off hugely as my rhythm was spot on for once.

This week I'm moving on to numbers 9 and 10, still with the metronome.

The assignment from last week was to work on the first page of both La Cinquantaine and Allegro Moderato. La Cinq is filled with shifts and I am slowly getting better at these. The opening is good, but the repeated section on the first page needs some more work.

We played through the top half of the second page together and he would like me to start that by the end of the week.

The Allegro is easier (at least on the first page) to play that La Cinq. I've made good progress with it. Toward the bottom of the first page there are some tricky shifts combined with extensions, what David refers to as his "special measures". We worked on those together, and I will need to spend a lot of time on those to make the movements of my left hand natural and fluid.

String Festival
The first weekend in March the ASTA students at KSU host a string festival open to junior high students (6th, 7th, and 8th grade). The goal is to expose them to competition, how to present a piece, play with accompaniment, and get an evaluation. This is in preparation for the regional and state competitions later in the spring. David asked me if I would like to participate as an adult beginner and I said yes.

I'll be reprising my Minuet No 3 recital piece from December. I already know this piece rather well, I had it memorized just a month or so ago, and I like it. My goal this week is to recover the memorization and purchase a copy of the piano accompaniment. I want to apply my new found confidence in using the metronome to my practice on this piece for the next month. Playing with a piano will largely be a new experience and having confidence in my tempo will only help.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.