Self-taught beginner: choosing etudes
Woooow it’s been 4 months since I last recorded an etude! That’s a long time! I did work a lot on technique in these months: 3rd position, 5th position, shifting, … But I didn’t work in depth on any specific etude. Now I finally did! As a self-taught beginner violinist you face many challenges. One of them is to know what etude to work on and what the purpose of that particular etude is. My violin etude journey so far has been jumping around several etude books: Pracht, Sitt, Wohlfahrt and now Kreutzer.
I had posted a question on violinist.com to get some tips to learn the Vivaldi Concerto in A minor. One of the tips was to work on Kreutzer etudes 2 to 6 since they are at about the same difficulty as the concerto. So this is why I learned the 2nd etude last month.
Kreutzer Etude 2
The previous etudes I had learned were all in 1st position. Kreutzer etude 2 also has shifting to 2nd and 3rd position. As I said, for a self-taught beginner it’s not so easy to choose an etude and know what it’s for… But this one I understand is an exercise for detache bowing. It’s also an extremely good exercise to work on a good hand frame. There is plenty of low 1 and 4th finger use. There is even a spot where you can do a 4th finger extension (F on the A string). So I tried to keep my hand as still as possible which is of course the idea. Hope it worked well.
Things to further improve
What didn’t work so well was not moving my right shoulder. When I play slower I can move the bow entirely with my lower arm which is the idea I think. But as soon as I speed it up I have to focus a lot more on all the correct notes and the shifting. I then forget to keep my right arm still and my bowing gets worse. I don’t think it’s terrible but I will keep working to improve it.
Also I realize most people play this etude a lot faster! I can play the part in 1st position pretty fast too but I totally mess up the shifting if I do it faster. So I kept it at 55 BPM with which I’m more than happy already!
Update: extra info I found about this etude after recording. This will be useful for future use and hopefully for everybody who reads this post.