Tags: expression, metronome, tapping
Recently through YouTube and some musical newsgroup posts, I have noticed an alarming disregard for the value of practicing with a metronome. One such post said something to the effect of “tapping your foot is much better than using a mechanical source.” Another gave a very opinionated view that if one practices with a metronome, then they are disregarding the most important aspect of music: expression.
This blog is to help my students and any others who might be interested in refining their skills a s a musician. That being said, I fell that these posts about the “detriment” of using a metronome are quite alarming. Metronome practice, much like tuner practice, is an essential and beneficial process in which the musician refines their perception against something reliable and constant.
The first comment, that foot-tapping gives a better or “more human” source or that it is an “alternate method” is very misleading. Yes, after years of practice with a metronome, and in playing with groups, foot-tapping can offer a creative way to facilitate better rhythmic coordination and accuracy. However, it is simply that, a coordination exercise. It does not provide comparative synchronization practice needed to solidify the internal clock response necessary for group playing.
After mastering the basics with the metronome: pitch, tone, intonation, rhythm, dynamics and articulations, the student should then use the metronome as a calibration device against which to create expressive manipulations of the beat without sacrificing the groove of the piece. As an advanced player, you must be able to express contour, direction, phrasing, ritardando and accelerando within the confines of the groove to effectively captivate your audience.
Tags: transposing, transposition, viola, violin
The start to playing in all keys is simply to play in a few keys! Take a simple melody that you know very well…Mary Had a Little Lamb, or Twinkle Twinkle.
How do you transpose it to other keys?
The easiest way is by finger (rote). It requires very little adjustment on your part. Just start on a different string, but use the same fingering. As you get better at it, start identifying the key signature and the interval of the starting note.
For example, Twinkle starting on the A string starts on DO, which is the note “A,”, and is in the key of A, which has three sharps, F#, C#, and G#.
Twinkle starting on the D string starts on DO, which is the note “D,” and is in the key of D, which has two sharps, F# and C#.
Twinkle starting on the G string starts on DO, which is the note “G,” and is in the key of G, which has one sharps, F#.
Twinkle starting on the C string starts on DO, which is the note “C,” and is in the key of C, which has no sharps or flats.
Once you can do this with Little Lamb and Twinkle, Try “Bingo,” “Amazing Grace,” “Star Spangled Banner” and Brahms “Lullaby. In our next article, we’ll discuss transposing by playing on a different starting finger…