My violin goals for September
August was certainly an exciting month. In my country the weather changed from cold to hot to cold again, rainy to sunny… lots of changes! So did have my violin playing also ups and downs. I struggled with continuing to play without a teacher or anybody else around. Also I thought I reached a plateau. But if I compare my violin playing with three months ago I can definitely see improvement. My intonation has improved and my tone is also better! Then there was the book-a-thon from Heather Broadbent that motivated me very much! Motivation is not an issue for now. I really want to progress and I notice that in the last couple of months there is at least one thing that hasn’t improved at all. That’s my vibrato. It makes sense of course, since I haven’t practiced vibrato for the last three months. I’ve mainly been focusing on intonation and bow technique. Only occasionally did I add vibrato to the end note of a piece and that’s all… So this month it’s time to work to improve my vibrato.
So what am I going to practice this month?
Technique and scales
- I’m starting my practice sessions with an exercise from the 52 Violin Proficiency Exercises. I’m at week 20 now which is about how to play chromatic scales. I used to take two weeks for each exercise. But now I will be doing one per week. I know I won’t get it perfect in one week but it’s more motivating and exciting to be able to move on to a different exercise every week.
- I also still do Fourth Finger Exercises. I’m going through the book for the 2nd time and I’m at page 50 now. I spend like 5 minutes per day working especially on my pinky finger. It’s not that much but if I keep doing it, the results are there.
- Of course I keep practicing scales with the book Elementary Scales and Arpeggios by F. Ferrari. Last month I repeated C Major, A minor, G Major, E minor, F Major and D minor which means keys without accidentals, with 1 sharp and one flat. This month I will repeat two sharps and two flats. Below is a recording of me playing the scale exercises for D minor.
Improve my vibrato
- Wohlfahrt Opus 45 etude 13 seems to be a great etude to improve my vibrato. Maybe it’s meant for something else, but that’s what I’ll be using this etude for. Each measure starts with a long note of three quarters. Then there are four 16th notes. I will be focusing on sustaining the long notes and play them with vibrato. It’s really hard, seems like I don’t have enough bow to completely play the long notes. I want them to sound good and full and strong. And I hope to manage that if I improve my vibrato on these notes. For the 16th notes I’ll have to work on intonation to get the fast notes right. Looking forward to it!
Found this video of the Wohlfahrt etude, it sounds great! Hope I can make it sound like that too
- Suzuki Book 3 piece 3. This is Gavotte by Bach. I’ve already played through it a couple of times and it doesn’t seem to be very hard. That’s great because I will need to put a lot of time and effort in the other piece that I’ve chosen for this month.
- Suite 1 for Cello, transcribed for Violin available on virtualsheetmusic.com. This piece is so beautiful! I’ve been wanting to play this for a couple of months. Occasionally I’ve been playing it through but never really focused on getting it right. Also it uses 3rd position at the end of the piece, so I never really focused yet on this last part of the piece. It’s going to be a real challenge to play this piece without mistakes, in tune and with a nice tone… But I’m going to try hard to make it work. This is the piece I will be using for my 1 year 4 months progress video!!! Very excited!!