Minuet Boccherini - Suzuki Book 2

Minuet  – L. Boccherini

This Minuet by Boccherini is a great piece to play! When I first noticed that this piece was in Suzuki Book 2 I was very thrilled because I have always liked to listen to this piece. I had played this piece a couple of months ago but didn’t practice it for a long time. I think it was a bit too hard at the time. And I was just too focused on finishing Suzuki Book 2 so I rushed through it… Now I revisited the piece and enjoyed it very much.

This time I wanted to do it right. I memorized the piece so I can have it in my repertoire at all times. :-) In case somebody asks me to play something and I don’t have my sheet music. Also I think it’s easier to really focus on the music when I don’t have to be watching the notes all the time. Anyway, I was surprised that it wasn’t too hard to memorize this piece. It has only a few basic blocks and everything else is just repeating so that’s helpful too.

The piano accompaniment I used is from the Pianoescort channel which I think was a great accompaniment. They even show the sheet music in their recording which makes things easy to learn.

Low finger 4

Minuet Boccherini - low 4th fingerThe Boccherini Minuet is in A Major but has D sharps on the A string too. One of the things I had to work on most with this piece was the use of low finger 4. Several times there is G sharp on the D string and D sharp on the A string which should be played with low 4. I first tried to play it with high 3 which I find easier. But it’s actually harder because then you have to alternate between high 3 and regular 3 and it complicates intonation. So I just followed the fingerings on the sheet music and struggled with the low 4. Intonation is not always correct for this finger… In the second part of the piece – the Trio – there is a succession of 16th notes that gave me a hard time but after many times practicing this slowly I think it turned out well.

Trills and fourth finger

Minuet Boccherini - trill and 4th finger

A real struggle was the following pattern that’s repeated several times.

In the sheet music it says to play open string E but I think it’s hard to have a nice slur with the lower E, since a string has to be skipped. So I wanted to play this with fourth finger E. Now to do this beautifully after the trill is very tricky. I have practiced this over and over… Hope you like the result.

Up to Suzuki Book 3

The Boccherini Minuet is the last piece of Suzuki Book 2, so now I’m very excited to get started with book 3! I’ll soon start posting my recordings of those pieces. If any of you have been playing pieces from book 3, I appreciate all tips and suggestions of what to focus on with that book. Please let me know in the comments. :-)

13 thoughts on “Minuet by Boccherini – Suzuki Book 2

  1. You did really great! I really love your trills and how you kept up with the speed. Sounds pretty hard… I’m curious to try this song too…XD Maybe I’ll try tomorrow when I feel like it, haven’t done anything with Suzuki for a while but really want to get back to it at some point.
    Your staccato has improved a lot! Sometimes there is still too much pressure and causes scratchy noises but you’ll get the hang of it I’m sure about that.
    At some points I have a feeling the intonation isn’t perfect but I can’t exactly say where, I just got that feeling and I have always trouble with pointing such things out precisely. Overall the intonation is pretty decent though in my opinion!

    I’m still busy with practicing and focusing mainly on double stops and 3rd position right now. And Komarowski. Which will still take a while until I’m satisfied and right now I don’t have the time to practice it with my teacher since 45 min of lessons are sooo short and I want to focus more on technique then on pieces in that time right now.

    I have only practiced the trio occasionally but getting back to practicing it more diligently again at the moment. It’s not there yet but it’s getting better! I still need to listen to your recording I hope I’ll get to that soon.

    Keep up the great work!!

    1. Thanks so much ChibiEdo! :-) I think it’s one of the hardest pieces I’ve played so far. But I love this piece! You’re totally right about the intonation in this piece. I’m a bit sad I couldn’t do the intonation better. I heard it every time that I played it. It was always in the same spots. I practiced those slowly and then it sounded good. I play it at speed and intonation is off. :-( But then I thought it’s the best I can do at the moment so I still recorded it. And I was happy with most parts of the piece. Happy to hear that your think my staccato improved. It feels easier now too. :-)

      Good luck with Komarowski! I’m looking forward to play that too some day… but have lots of things to learn before that!

      Did you hear about the new book from Simon Fischer about double stops?

      1. No, I haven’t heard about that book, what do you know about it? The double stop book I have is VERY methodical with not enough ‘musical’ pieces. It is pretty good though. There ARE pieces but even the first piecelike etude (which isn’t really pretty) is SUPER HARD.

        But I wouldn’t mind a double stop book which had some actual playable pieces inside as well…. And which takes it a bit more easy… Not sure if something like that exists though.

        Also I started practicing the Boccherini Minuet and it’s pretty hard but fun!! And yes, the low 4th finger and those trills followed by open E are hard to get right… But I think it’ll be doable with practice and you did really well with that. I’m going to try to play with open string since it’s a difficult practice that will help me with the trio. Since I also jump a string there in a VERY fast tempo which is super hard.
        I forgot to mention that I’m impressed that you memorised the whole thing!! I might try that too and see how long that takes? It’s motivating to see you do it so I might give it a try too.
        Another thing about the very beginning notes on the E string that repeat often throughout the song:
        There is way too much bow pressure on the E string. It’s probably hard because you have a quick succession in your left hand which might tempt you to press down both with left hand and right hand. Maybe try to play just the 4 beginning notes more slowly while paying attention to using SUPER little pressure on the E string. Compared to the other strings the E string sounds from the lightest touch already, be aware that it needs less pressure out of all other strings (especially compared to the G string which needs a lot more pressure to sound good). Maybe that tip helps.

        1. I don’t know so much about the new book from Simon Fischer. Here is his page http://www.simonfischeronline.com/store/p30/Double_Stops.html. I think it’s very well structured but I don’t think it has melodies and such. I’m not planning on buying it (yet), maybe in a couple of years. And I have plenty of other things to work on first. Just wanted to mention it since you like double stops so much.
          I also found this violin method http://imslp.org/wiki/Modern_Violin_School,_Op.51_(Henley,_William). Part 4 is completely about double stops. Is it similar to the book you are using?

          Thanks so much for your tip about playing on the E string. I will pay attention to playing with less pressure on the E string. I also noticed that my bow goes pretty straight on all strings except the E string. Don’t know why that is but it seems I definitely should work more on the E string.

          1. The double stop book does look pretty methodical, like my own. So I’m probably not going to get that one.

            The Henley William school looks really challenging concerning double stops..xD I might try to play with that violin school a bit as well eventually but not right now. Soo much to practice.

            By the way I’m also practicing this right now~ It’s fun but really challenging. I have it pretty much memorised at this point but I’m not satisfied with it yet. I’m planning on recording it when I think it’s ready. I’m also practicing the piano accompaniment but it’s super hard so I’m still in the first part of the song… So I might just record the violin part with no piano. And some day in the future when I can actually play the accompaniment I’ll do that too.XD

            Also good luck with your E string!

            1. Nice to hear that you’re practicing this piece too! It’s challenging indeed. If I were to practice it again, I would mainly work on two things: get my intonation better and less scratching on the E string. :-) Good luck with the piano accompaniment. I had no idea it would be so hard. Looking forward to your recording, whether it be with piano or without. :-)

              I’m focusing a bit more on the E string now. Like you said I’m using too much pressure on this string. Also I noticed that of the four strings, this one is where my bow goes most crooked, so I’m trying to correct that now too.

  2. When I were doing Suzuki book 2 with my teacher she didn’t want me to play that piece then I don’t know why, so I just played it through some times. I need to say the thing that annoyed me most about it was fingering :wacko: You did great with it anyway :good: I like that you have memorized the piece, several months ago you have serious problems with doing it. I have opposite situation – I memorize piece really quickly and then I don’t look into sheet music. It’s sometimes annoying, especially when you forget about dynamics, articulation or fingering that you should play. Anyway good job :D Your trills are great :) Still you have some scratchiness at the beginning of your note. Maybe try not to push the bow to a string so hard.
    I also didn’t work on a suzuki for long time (now almost a year). I finished almost whole book 3 and then moved to Russian method. Now my teacher wanted to start part 3. I’ve been working on tarantella by Komarowski for a month and it’s so hard. Here you have someones recording – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVhHggxxFwI Part from 1:05 to 1:20 is unplayable for me… Overall, it goes from 1st position up to 6th. I hope I will finish it to December performance. To have a break from it I work finally have opportunity to work on some pieces from Solos for Young Violinists – especially Kuhler Concertino in Vivaldi style – part 2 and 3.
    You have lessons during summer holidays Chibiedo? My violin school works as public schools in a country, so now it’s closed. I also think that 45 minutes is too short, but before performances we have several meetings with teacher in a week.
    I haven’t heard about this Fischer book, I am thinking about buying the Violin Lesson by Fischer, but it’s a long plan. Now I have other important things to buy – I will start College in October. I will be studying medicine, so there are tons of materials to buy. I will stay at local College, so I will be able to continue lessons with my current teacher.

    1. The fingerings bothered me too at first and I think it didn’t completely work out because there is a lot of intonation issues in this piece.

      Waaaaw I listened to tarantella by Komarowski, it seems really really hard to me! I can imagine it will take a lot of time to get it right!

      Cool! You must be so excited about starting college and studying medicine in October! Good luck to you! I’m happy for you that you will be able to continue your lessons with your teacher. :-)

      Also, let me know how the Kuchler Concertino in Vivaldi style works out for you. I want to do that one in a couple of months too and some tips are always welcome. ;-)

    2. Wow the tarantella is sooo pretty. Finally got to listen to it. It sounds super difficult so good luck with that!
      I put it on my … “to play at some point of time in the far future” list. I really love it. can’t wait to hear a recording of you playing it!

      I don’t have lessons during school summer holidays but summer holidays in germany are about 6 weeks long. Not sure what it’s like in your country since I think for example USA has like multiple months of summer break? Germany has more shorter breaks but I think the whole amount of break days is similar.
      My teacher suggested that we might be able to do 1 hour lessons if I can make it there early enough. It’s a bit difficult because of work but I might be able to do that…. I hope soXD 45 min are over so quickly.
      I’m also still practicing a lot. Asides from the etude and the musical piece I got from my teacher I am working hard on my most problematic fingerings right now.
      Those are:
      Moving from open string D to playing high 3 on the G string without making it sound weird. This is very difficult for me to do because I need to move my arm forward a lot to be able to play high 3 on the G string without touching the D string (because of my tiny fingers) but I’m finally getting there.

      Then there is the combination of 4th finger followed by high 3 and going back and forth and then suddenly have a non high 3. (all slurred, it’s in WOHLFAHRT op 38 Easiest Elementary method, piece no 83). This is pretty hard because I think it’s generelly hard to hold down 4 and put a high 3 next to it. Combined with the weaker 4th finger can make this sound weird so I’m practicing this like crazy. And I can already see the results. I’ve also begun to practice the teacher part of this piece, since I really want to record this as a duet. I have worked on this one soooo long already that I really want to show it when I’m finally ready.XD

      Then there is another wohlfahrt etude from opus 38, piece no 86. This has some difficult fingerings as well… especially the first two measures. first finger on G string in a slur with 4th finger D string is a hard reach for me. And then it immediately follows with 4th finger on D to high 3 in a slur, followed by that high 3 in slur with a low 2. Also the rhythm of this whole piece took some time till I understood it fully.

      And wow you are going to study medicine that’s really cool! I wish you good luck with that too~
      And it’s nice that you can continue with your violin lessons, it would be sad if you didn’t, since I’m pretty sure you love the violin a lot.

  3. In August I will try to film me playing it and post it to your website. Now I’m working mainly on 2nd and 3rd part, however I have played through the 1st movement either. It’s much easier than the piece I’m playing now. Actually it was a reason, why I picked it – I wanted to have a nice showpiece, that I don’t have to put too much effort.
    I were practicing Tarantella today and now I have an idea how to approach this hard part that I’ve mentioned before. Now I am trying to get only the first note out of three. It will give me an idea of the melody and shifting. When I will get it I will try to add the other two. Before I were trying to get it all at the same time. Hope I will get it right.
    I’m super excited about college now. It will be much work to have good grades and still play violin, but I hope I will manage. Before that I my violin lessons starts in September and I’m waiting for new advice on my playing.

    1. That’s great Emma, will be looking forward to your video ;-) I’m sure you’re super excited about college. I remember I was sooo excited about it too! I you plan everything well, I’m sure you can keep playing violin and have good grades too. How much time do you usually practice a day?

  4. It deepends how much I practice. When I don’t have much free time I try to practice at least 30 minutes, but it’s not always possible, for example when I come back home at 8 p.m or later – my dad sleep, so I would have woke him up. Several times I asked my teachers at school if I can use their classroom to practice, when I had some free time between school and violin lesson. Usually I pratcice an hour. During weekends I play longer, about 2 hours or sometimes even longer. For example today I practiced 1.5 hour, yesterday 30 minutes and two days ago about 2 hours.
    How much do you practice?
    I think I should be ready with 2nd and 3rd part of Kuhler in about a week. With the first part it may be longer – it’s little harder for me than the second and third movement.

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