Tags: pedagogy, shifting
[Preparatory Shifting Exercises]
compiled by Paula Verdicchio Ailshie
[Key to Shifting: Stay Relaxed. Breathe.]
1. Shifting Exercises by Paul Rolland
“The shuttle” -using good form and motion, the student silently and lightly glides the finger or fingers a top the string without pressure, from 1st to middle to high position.
“String polishing”- same as the shuttle, but with range that is more limited. This can be done in “shotgun” position too, making it fun.
“Arm Swinging”- preparatory exercise teaching the muscles to relax and prepare a shift to the middle and high positions. Fingers remain on the string, lightly, and body remains flexible.
“The Octave Game by Paul Rolland”
a. student plays the harmonic with 4th finger
b. student alternates open strings and their octaves with harmonic
2. Beginning shifting principles by William Starr
“Sequence of movements”
a. mental anticipation- aural image of destination
b. release the weight, lightly resting the finger on the string
c. quick departure
d. smooth shift with even speed
e. returning weight once shift is complete.
Starr stresses to use all the sensory information possible- great for kinesthetic learning.
3. Preparatory Studies in the Third, Second and Half positions
by Henry Whistler
Uses the common technique of playing in 1st, then repeating it in another position. Since it focuses on one position the student becomes comfortable more quickly than with many positions at once. Use singing to outline finger patterns in both positions. Make sure you know the note names, the solfege and the finger patterns in both positions.
4. Playing familiar scales, and then melodies in multiple positions. This is also called the “Slot Exercise.” The advanced student should also combine several key signatures. Make sure to identify all notes in the palate, the range of the melody and which position you are in by playing the full range scale as a preparation. Use the cycle of fifths to get around to all keys.
a.) play the same melody in different positions, utilizing the same fingering “fretting”
b.) play the same melody in different positions, staying in the same key “dexterity”
c.) play the same melody in any position, any key or any combination of the two.
Tags: Ailshie, bow, education string, purchasing, shifting
Note: This article was not written to endorse any shop, but rather to commend the effort and honesty of those in the luthier business willing to explain and help the average person to buy a quality instrument.
Many people ask me where to buy a violin, and how much they need to spend to get a quality violin. Unfortunately, ther is no magical website where you can find “the deal of the century” on a violin, and you cannot in many cases, go to the music store down the street with your credit card an buy “the perfect violin” right off the shelf.
On the other hand, it does not have to be an arduous process either. The time you invest in finding a violin for yourself or for your son or daughter should be exciting! You are finding your new voice! You are searching for a musical companion that will be yours for years to come! You are aquiring a tool to help you earn a living in the music business.
A quote from Reed Bernstein:
“What makes a bowed instrument work well cannot easily be compared by the inexperienced person. They all look alike to some extent, and you can’t compare features like you do with other purchases, such as computer, car, stereo, etc. In the end it comes down to trusting the shop that you work with, and unfortunately there are a lot of unscrupulous people selling instruments who are taking advantage of people, and these include many of the music stores where set-up is hardly addressed, most of the mail order companies where the low cost provider gets the business, and most definitely ebay which is where everything sold gets commoditized. Violins are not commodity items and when they are sold that way, the low cost providers can only provide you with junk.
People tell me that the player is “just a beginner” and I almost want to cry! The beginner needs a minimally well adjusted instrument to even have any idea of what the experience is going to be like. Giving a beginner one of these instruments is like giving them a pen to write with that has no ink in it!”
Please consider finding your violin at a reputable violin shop in your area. Go to a reputable violin shop not just to “support local business,” or “help the little guy.” Go to get the quality instrument you have been looking for set up by a professional who spends all his time doing just that. Go to get the one on one service owning a fine instrument demands.
For more onformation on exactly what to look for, please read this short article:
How to buy a violin, by Reed Bernstein