I went to the state library and got out the Doflein Method Book IV. I remember at 14 or 15 feeling a bit miffed that my new teacher had me go “back to basics” when I had already achieved AMEB Grade 7 with my old teacher. I wish someone had explained to the teenage me that these are excellent remedial books for those who haven’t been taught the correct technique. A musician friend suggested I re-learn using Ševčík’s violin studies book and another friend suggested Suzuki, but given the reasons why I’m re-learning (purely for pleasure) I think I’ve made the right choice. Each chapter in the Doflein books target a technique and it’s scaffolded in such a way that the learner does not freak out and they also get to play a two part piece with their teacher As I’ve probably mentioned in an earlier blog the part I loved best about playing the violin was playing with others. Not only was a less lonely activity, I loved hearing the harmonies.
Unfortunately, I live too far away from any where where I can find like-minded musicians which is okay because at this stage of my life I can’t commit to rehearsals. I’ve got too much going on (thesis writing…thesis writing…) and can’t commit to much. I had thought about taking some lessons to improve my technique but don’t have time for that either.
So here is where Garage band comes in.
I go through my Doflein exercises and preparation and then I play the piece. I record both parts with the metronome as different tracks. I listen to the tracks and note what I need to improve on. I can still tell when I’m out of tune and what needs work, and then I try again. I’ll need to get a real teacher at some point to give me some feedback on things such as posture, hold and bowing but this is okay for now. It also means that I don’t have to find another person to play with.
I need a hobby like this so that I an take time out from life.
Here is the first two recordings I made of the same piece. I can’t believe that it is only now as a 40 year old that I know how to practice and see that there are rewards from effort. I’ve compressed these files so the quality isn’t that good but on my iMac I can hear it well enough to assess tone quality. So I can tell from these two recordings that I am not ready to play the piece at the speed I attempt the second time. I cringe as I listen to the second recording as I can hear every wrong note.
When I have time I need to see how I can on the home computer just make sure I’m playing in time with myself without having to use the metronome. I find the beat really distracting, yet because of the gear I’m using I can’t really hear and follow the other part if I don’t use the inbuilt metronome.
I think I might set an afternoon aside to record a piece once a week, even if its the same piece. That way I can track my improvement. There is much joy derived from practice when you can hear the improvement.
AFTER I finish this thesis I might invest more time and resources to my set up, but my crude set up will suffice for now.
More about thesis writing next time around. Can’t talk about it. Just gotto do it.