Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Practice Log #11: Allegretto (after 38 lessons)

I'm still having lots of difficulty with this bowing!
Working on this piece I realized that my angle for the G string was incorrect which is one of the reasons I wasn't getting a very good sound. I'm still getting a lot of scratching sounds, although I think I've improved a bit, but no where as consistent as I want to be. I still have lots to work on!

I can do this type of bowing better on the D string (probably because I'm more comfortable bowing on D), but not so much on the G string.

I thought it would be best just to record this where I am but keep working on it on the side, and move on to the next piece. I think I'll be working on this type of bowing for a really long time anyways.

Hopefully I'll have Andantino done in the next couple of days. It seems it takes about a month or so for me to learn a piece, although not as polished as I would like, but I'm too impatient to stay on the same piece for very long!

A quick warmup in the beginning of the video. I've been applying this to my scales so I could practice scales and the different bowing at the same time.

A bad recording with the first video again, which is way out of focus. I recorded this on both of my cellos. The lighter colored cello is the Jonathan Li cello and the second cello is the Pietro Lombardi cello. The Lombardi cello definitely has more overtones, and has a "muddy" sound, but I like its unique sound especially for blues.

This type of bowing is hard! Fun though - getting different types of sounds!

Happy with my two cellos!

As I was practicing this week, I came to the realization that I am glad that I purchased two cellos! I was uncertain for awhile if I had made a mistake and felt like I was making up excuses for purchasing two cellos, but I finally came to the conclusion that I'm really happy that I did!

I've been YouTubing cellists playing blues, jazz, alternative rock and bluegrass (did you know Yo-Yo Ma along with some other musicians just released a bluegrass album? Awesome-ness!), and as I watched some of random cello videos I thought, "wow, that sounds great but something doesn't sound quite right..." I couldn't put my finger on it until I started practicing jazz pizzicato.

Here's a YouTube of Jazz Pizz:

I can think of soooo many things to do with this type of pizz!! 

I was practicing it on my more expensive Li cello which is focused, brighter, cleaner and open. The cello that both my cello teachers prefer. However, as I was practicing it just sounded too clean and I was looking for a nice MEATY sound! I switched over to my other cello which is darker, less focused and with more overtones. And, voila! The sound I was looking for!

It then dawned on me that the reason I didn't like how some of the blues and jazz cellists sounded was because the sound (the "meaty-ness") just wasn't there, although the technique was.

I totally understand having a clean, focused sound is what is preferred in classical music and in fast tempo-ed genres like fiddling and some bluegrass where faster notes means more articulation, and therefore, a more focused sound is needed. But in other genres I think that isn't necessarily true - for me at least.

For example, when I think of Chicago Blues with its amplified distorted sounds, I don't want a clean focused sound from the cello. I want a sound that can get "down and dirty." Or when I think of hip hop or alternative rock, when there's a break in the rap or vocals, and the cellist comes in and plays a beautifully soulful tune, I don't want it to be clear and piercing, I want it to be warm, gooey, mellow...!

Therefore, I think depending on what sounds I want, it's important to have a couple of cellos, and its nice that I have two cellos that are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Since being warm or bright, or clean and focused is a characteristic of a cello and changing strings, bridge and even the soundpost can only do so much.

I'm hoping in a few years, I'll have the facility and technique to play whatever genre I want and to be able to pull off the sound that I hear in my head. I know, reaching for the stars there - but how awesome would it be to be able to play whatever musical thought I have rolling around in my head and have it come out in a wonderful cello tune! *sigh* ...years away...

I have an eclectic taste in music! Some examples of how wonderfully versatile the cello is.

From my new favorite cello album Learning to Bend by Ben Sollee:

Vocals with beatbox and cello! What else can you ask for? 

One of my favorite "alternative rock" songs & cello group:

Two Cellos' Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal:

The Cello Guys' Star Wars spoof:

Yo-Yo Ma playing Dvorjak Concerto (one of my favorite pieces):

Gotta love the cello!! I wish I would have started playing this when I was younger! Although I think adult beginners are the ones that can truly appreciate the cello learning experience. Youth is wasted on the young...LOL! I know I'm starting to get "old" when I start thinking that way!! ..ugh.. :).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lesson #38 (Jazz #4 12/16/11): More bowing

We went over some bowing technique during this lesson as well. We didn't really go over jazz stuff, just bowing technique, but I'm going to label these blogs "Jazz" so I can keep track of who I took the lessons with.

I implemented some corrections from Adam's lessons and wanted to make sure I was doing them correctly, and since Adam was going on vacation I reviewed my changes with Clayton instead.

I feel kind of bad asking them the same questions some times, but I really don't want to waste time practicing something that's incorrect. There's nothing I hate more, than practicing something that is incorrect and then having to correct it later!

Lesson notes:

  • I explained to Clayton that Adam wanted me to produce a "lighter" sound because I was getting a fairly bad crunching sound
    • My sound definitely wasn't as harsh as my previous lesson with Adam, but Clayton did notice that I was still pushing down on the string instead of moving the bow horizontally which Adam had also suggested 
    • I'm afraid of losing contact with the string and getting that horrible skating sound, so I tend to be heavier with my bow than what is needed 
      • Clayton recommended that I work on and get used to making a sound using as little weight and effort as possible
      • Also, that I shouldn't worry about "losing control" of the bow. Apparently it's causing unnecessary tension
  • As far as working on my harsh sounding bow strokes, Clayton recommended:
    • Working on grabbing and releasing the string horizontally to avoid pushing down
      • He had me try it a few times, and I came to the realization that I didn't have to do much to grab the string. Even just laying the bow lightly on top of the string still grabs the strings a little bit! 
      • Before coming to this realization, I thought moving the string entailed making a sizable "dent"  in the string to move it, but I can actually wiggle the string sideways without creating a big "dent"
    • Working closer to the fingerboard
      • He went over how to produce different sounds by playing close to the bridge or fingerboard, which I knew, but let him explain it anyway. Hopefully, I didn't have a bored expression on my face! :). Although I'm glad I held my tongue and let him explain it again because I came to another realization: 
        • I can produce the same volume as when I bow in the "middle of the highway" as when I'm bowing closer to the fingerboard, it just sounds different! 
        • This has been explained to me before, but it finally clicked! I had thought that bowing close to the fingerboard ALWAYS equals LESS volume, which is not necessarily true! Since I've been working on getting more volume I tended to avoid that area
    • Moving the bow closer to the fingerboard definitely helped, I was able to have a cleaner, more open sound and was able to move my bow more quickly for the quarter notes, and it got rid of most the harsh sounding quality

Bow hand flexibility 
Clayton also noticed that my hand was fairly tense and not that flexible - guilty as charged! :). Something I'm quite aware of! I have the same issue in dancing as well.

So he assigned some "finger games" to do while I watched t.v., which is driving my husband nuts! He hates it when I do stuff while we're watching t.v. because it distracts him. :).

The exercises are supposed to help with the flexibility of my hand and also help me gain more control over the bow. I've been doing them fairly frequently since this lesson and my pinky and the side of my palm get fairly sore! I didn't realize my pinky was so weak and that I wasn't using my pinky when I should have been, and that my fingers are NOT very coordinated!! :). 
  • Finger games
    • Flexible knuckles
    • Rotation of the stick
    • Flexible fingers (?) - can't read my bad handwriting...
    • Finger lifts 

  • My wrist tends to break when bowing, which I was told should stay aligned with my lower arm. The wrist is always stronger when its aligned, e.g. in martial arts when punching you always want to have the wrist aligned or when doing lifts in dancing - makes sense!
  • He recommended imagining two levers that go through the middle of the forearm and through to my shoulder. By thinking it of levers, my wrist can stay in alignment. 
    • I kind of sort of have it...I understand what he's saying, but it's difficult to implement

Some other exercises that he recommended:

I felt kind of bad for working on Suzuki repertoire since I was supposed to be working on Jazz stuff. I know Clayton has to prepare the material before each lesson since he's never taught jazz cello before.
It's weird - I feel like I'm "cheating" on the other teacher if I ask for help on something I'm working on with the other teacher! I'm sure both of them don't mind and just want me to get better, but still... Is that weird? ;).

In partner dancing, it's important to get as many lessons from different instructors because each instructor has a different way of explaining things and have different step variations they teach, but I'm not sure if that is the case with taking instruction for instruments. From what I've read, most cellists have the same teacher for a really long time.

Yaay - I'm finally caught up with my lesson notes! :).

I have 5 days to post Allegretto and Andantino. I've been slacking on my cello practice and have been watching Season 8's SYTYCD instead! I'll have to put that on hold until I get caught up with my cello practice.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lesson #37 (12/12/11): Bowing & review of rep (Allegretto and Andantino) and intro to Rigadoon

My lesson notes are so out of order and late! I'll have to fix the order of the posts later. I have one more lesson blog to post from last week and then I'll be caught up with posts. Slacking big time!

I've been on vacation (Yaay!!), so I have some time off from BOTH work and classes since the semester is finally over, so lots of cello time for me! :). But both my cello teachers are also on vacation as well...darn...

Fortunately, Adam won't be gone as long as I thought he would be, although Clayton is going going to be gone longer than I expected. :(.
I was expecting Adam to be gone for 4 weeks so I took some videos of him playing Rigadoon and Etude so I'd have stuff to work on for the next 4 weeks, but I think he'll be back in a two weeks or so. Therefore, I won't start Etude just yet, although he said to have Rigadoon ready to review by the next lesson. Piece of cake - I really like that song! :).

Different bowing
I was curious how the different bowing techniques felt for Suzuki songs from 11 - 14 (Allegretto, Andantino, Rigadoon & Etude).
Trying to feel the difference in each type of bowing is helpful for me because right now they all feel about the same, so we went over the different bowing for the pieces below to distinguish the differences between them.

Difference in bowing: 
  • Allegretto 
    • I actually don't know if this is supposed to be martele or spicatto, but I guess it just depends on what sound I want, which I can't really tell right now. Both my martele and spicatto sound fairly similar! 
    • Things to work on: 
      • My bow shouldn't come off the strings and should feel similar to the bowing in Perpetual Motion
        • I was coming off the string too much, but this should feel like a heavier type of bowing with a stop and start 
      • I should try to use at least half the bow for the quarter notes - I'm using way too little bow again
        • Hmmm... I guess my default / instinct is to use as little bow as possible when I'm learning a new song. I wonder why that is...
  • Andantino 
    • "Brush stroke"
    • Should feel like a 'U' shape and very light 
      • Feels like a very shallow rainbow 
    • The bow should come off the string, but should still remain fairly close to the string
      • I was coming waaaay off of the string 
      • I should try not to go past the balance point otherwise it will bounce more and it will be harder to control 
    • For the middle section measure 9 through 12, I need to use lots more bow and be more smooth to be more obvious. This should not have any apparent stops or sounds changes with bow directional changes 
    • Slow down - I didn't pause enough to give myself enough time to reset between measure 12 and 13. I should take a breath to reset 
  • Rigadoon 
    • The bowing should feel like Allegretto(?) but not as heavy for measures 1 through 8
    • The middle section has a different bowing technique 
  • Etude
    • The front finger is much more active and "picks" the strings more
    • Shouldn't come off the string that much

Going over Repertoire: 
  • Allegretto 
    • During this lesson, my bow stroke was still way too heavy and sounded very closed and harsh
  • Andantino 
    • This one was better and the bowing was easier to do 
    • Adam moved the bow while I had my hand positioned over the frog so I was able to feel how the bow was supposed to move which helped a lot! It's probably why I got the bowing on this so easily
  • Recordings
    • Since I've had a few weeks to work on these two pieces I'm going to try and record Andantino by tomorrow and Allegretto by next week
      • Andantino is easier for some reason - I always have issues with short fast bow strokes!
    • I definitely don't have these pieces ready to go and my bowing still needs LOTS of work, but I think learning the different bowing will be something I'll be working on for a long time and isn't something I can learn very well at my level right now. 
      • I think if I don't move on, I'll get stuck on these pieces which will get frustrating - so better to do the recording, move on and then come back to it later 

More bad intonation:
  • Very bad intonation during this lesson again! :(
    • I've been working on extensions, which has really affected my first finger and has moved my whole hand so I'm flat most of the time
    • For me, extensions are so much more difficult than shifting to second - probably because I don't understand the mechanics of it yet
  • I had also skipped my usual scale warmups prior to this lesson and boy did it show! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lesson #35 (Jazz #3 12/4/2011): Intonation

We went over intonation during this entire lesson. Adam also went over these helpful tips with me, but I think this time it clicked for me. A lot of times I have to hear (and do) it more than a few times to get something. Clayton went over the same concepts that Adam did, and also demonstrated it and then had me find the correct pitch for each exercise.

Clayton also does not recommend using the tuner and says that using a tuner is useful if I want to play in tune with a piano, but being "in tune" really depends on the context. Adam also recommended against using a tuner, but after removing my tape on the fretboard I needed some kind of guidance because I had absolutely no clue how to tell whether I was in tune! Both of them seem to be on the same page, so I guess I'll try to use my tuner less, except to tune my A. This is going to be hard...

So I went from a visual aid to hearing aid, and now I guess the next step is a feeling-watching aid! Lol! :). That is, feeling and watching when my cello and strings resonant to tell me whether I'm in tune.

Helpful tools for intonation:

1) Being in tune depends on context
  • If I'm in C major, than my F# will be a lot flatter than if I was playing in another key and depends on what key I am playing in. 
    • To check this I would play the arpeggio - another reason why we went over arpeggios for 5 or 6 keys, which I'm still trying to remember and study... lots to do! 
    • If I were to play the chord and play the same F# in a D major than it would sound out of tune compared to when I play it it the C Major scale
  • It also depends on what instruments I'm playing with and how they are tuned, so using a tuner isn't helpful in these situations. Therefore, I must have "flexible intonation."
    • So intonation isn't a rigid as I thought it was and getting the tuner to stay green isn't that helpful if I am playing out of context
      • Clayton mentioned that he used to use the tuner for his intonation and would do the same thing I did, i.e. to make sure that I hit the note so the needle on my tuner sticks straight up and so the light would stay green, but when he started playing in a chamber group and listened to himself play with the group he was always out of tune, despite the fact that he was in tune with his tuner!  
      • Adam tried to explain this to me once, but I think I wasn't ready for the information yet and it kind of went over my head. I do remember him explaining it to me though, I just didn't quite understand it then...I have a thick skull and apparently it takes awhile to start training and hearing the difference! :).
    • Practicing the arpeggios with the specific keys should also help me start training my ear to hear the chords which especially helpful in jazz
  • Adam had me tune my tuner at 142 and Clayton uses 141, but said that over the years the pitch has been getting higher and higher, so again it really depends on the context of who I'm playing with and what piece is being played 

2) Ringing tones
  • Listen for ringing tones and watch the other strings vibrate 
  • For now, he wants me to work on getting the open strings to vibrate and to move my finger up and down very slightly to test to see where the strings vibrate the most and to also listen to the overtones, i.e. there should be a higher pitch that plays after the string is released 
    • I can only hear the higher pitch overtones some of the time because my ears aren't trained that well yet 
  • Assignment: 
    • Listen for the ringing tones / resonance 
      • D (4th on A)
      • G (4th on D)
      • C (4th on G)
      • A (1st on G)
      • D (1st on C)
    • Play short and long bows 
      • Short bows - listen for ringing / resonance
      • Long bows - watch for string vibrations

3) Chords
  • Check against open strings or against the fourth or fifth notes which are the more consonant chords 
  • I should listen for the beats to see whether I am in tune or not
    • I still can't tell whether I'm hearing beats or not, I can only tell when its really obvious and way out of tune. It's also easier to hear the beats when I listen to someone else play as opposed to me playing and trying to hear it at the same time

4) Harmonics 
  • Clayton also had me find the harmonics. I was able to find and hear the difference, which I wasn't able to do very well because I kept pressing my finger down to hard. I also have to remember to bow closer to the bridge and move my bow more quickly on the string
    • I think harmonics kind of sound pretty when I run my finger up and down the string - it's what I'd imagine a rainbow would sound like! :). Or maybe a colorful sparkler during the Fourth of July... depends on how fast I run my finger up and down the strings! LOL!
Yep -  I'm still trying to associate sounds with images, emotions, feelings, etc! :).
  • He recommended feeling how the strings react. If I've found the harmonic, than the bow will slide across the string smoothly, but if I'm not quite on the harmonic, than I should be able to feel some resistance in the string  
  • To find if I am in tune (in general) for my third finger in first position, I can lightly press down my third finger to find the harmonic

5) Drones
  • I seem to be okay as long as I have a reference point, i.e. if a drone is on or if I'm playing with someone, and my main issue is when I'm playing solo 
  • Instead of using the tuner, Clayton recommends using the drone instead because the notes will be different in each key so my fingers should adjust unconsciously to match the correct pitch 

6) Transcribe songs
  • Clayton recommended transcribing songs, that is, listening to a song and then trying to recreate it without looking at music sheets. This will help train my ears and to associate notes with sounds
  • I told him that this would be very difficult for me and that I don't think I'll be able to do this because I can't even tell what notes are being played. However, I think he just wants me to at least try... ugh!...a train wreck waiting to happen...
    • I have to admit I am a little resistant to this idea because I really don't think I'd be able to this...I'll give it a go, maybe in a couple of weeks or so...this is going to be tough...*sigh* 

This was basically a reiteration of one on my lessons with Adam, and Clayton covered the exact same points, but I think my lesson with Adam was only a few months into my playing so it didn't really sink in. It's actually comforting to know that both teachers are teaching the same thing, just explained differently! Although I haven't heard Clayton play in a concert or in a solo yet (I should ask him to play a piece for me! :D), they definitely produce a completely different sound!

However, I think re-visiting intonation exercises every few months will be very helpful for me since it takes a while to train a person's ear to hear certain pitches and/or recognize relationships between notes.

I still can't seem to hear whether some of the pitches are in tune or hear the beating between some notes yet! Although it has gotten better. :)

Jazz Book
I also brought in a few books I purchased for him to review. He decided on Mello Cello for our method book.

Jazz Method Books:

General Jazz Instructional: 

It seems the musical theory is starting to sink in as my technique seems to be weakening. Maybe because I'm focusing more on music theory more than on my technique. I guess I'd better start focusing on my scales again! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lesson #36 (12/05/2011): Bowing on G & C, new bowing technique, Allegretto & Andantino

My cello learning progression:
  • I think I've learned something! Yaaay!! 
  • Nevermind - not quite right
  • I try to fix it, but make it worse (break it) 
  • I fix it
  • I think I've fixed/learned something!! Yaaay!!
  • Nevermind - not quite right
  • Repeat...

Anyway, I think I've fixed my bowing on my G string... LOL! :).

Lesson Notes

1) Bowing 
  • I've gotten my bow position back and it's a little better than before because I'm getting a much better sound (louder, more effortless and open), but still not quite right. I'm finding that my hand is moving forward on the frog so at the end of each piece I have to move my hand back. Also, when it moves forward, my thumb straightens and I end up tensing up my thumb which is tiring it out
  • I've started moving my bow more from my pinky but my pointer finger is coming off the bow so I think I have to remember to pronate to prevent this from happening. 
    • Adam recommended putting the rubber tubing back on the bow, as this is what helped him when this was happening to him. I'll try this in a couple of weeks after I get this new bowing position more into muscle memory before I completely lose it again 

2) Bowing on G
  • The change in my bow grip has resulted in a better sound on my G string and my angles seem to be correct! Whew... 
  • Now I can concentrate on getting my left hand position correct on the G string 

3) Bowing on C
  • My bowing on G has improved and is close, but my C still needed work
    • I need to remember the correct angle - I keep pointing it too far forward 
  • If the bow is pointed forward and out, than the only way to get a sound is to push down or push it on to the side of the string. The bow should still be on top like the other strings! 
    • I have found myself pushing against the side of the string or pushing down onto the string which seems to be fairly easy to get the string to speak. However, the quality of sound is quite different. Pushing against the side or pushing down definitely sounds more forced and grating to me
    • Now that I know when I'm doing those two incorrect things, and can now hear and feel the difference, I can catch myself when I'm doing this and correct myself! A very good place to start!

4) Allegretto 
  • I'm having difficulty on this piece - I tend to have issues when notes are short and fast!
  • Bowing technique for Allegretto 
    • The bow should feel heavy and stay mostly on the string
    • It should feel like a "fast, fast, slooow" motion 
  • I'm using too much weight for all of the notes, especially for the quarter notes, I should release the tension on the quarter notes
    • I should take my time on the quarter notes and not use the same bowing as the eighth notes. 
      • Using the same type of bowing for the eighth and quarter notes was making the entire piece sound very harsh and forced, when the quarter notes should be a little more "legato-like"
    • Adam recommended, sectioning off my bow and using about an inch or two for the eight notes and than half of the bow for the quarter notes. I just have to be careful not to bow too fast for the quarter notes to make it sound better and for some bowing contrast 
  • I had him play this piece with me so I can try and match what he was doing and could hear that I was cutting the notes off too quickly and that I was more harsh sounding than him, but I was able to match his rhythm better and my intonation wasn't as bad as the last lesson. Yaay - improvement! :).
  • Measure 9: bowing on C
    • I was also having trouble with the bowing in measure 9 because it felt like I was loosing control of my bow with the quick change to the C string so my sound was really quiet when it should be louder 
    • Adam reasoned that my lose of bow control and volume was because when I bow on the C string, I'm not physically or mentally ready to play the notes and am just rushing through it, which is true! So I have to be ready with my finger and bow before I start playing these notes
    • Adam recommended in measure 9 to do the following exercise:
      • Take this measure really slow first
      • I'll have to cut off the A (quarter note) a little short at first to make a purposeful prep by moving my left hand to the C string and the bow to the C string, then "dig into" the string, know what I'm going to play, take a breathe, and then play D on the C string 
    • It's going to feel like a really long pause to prep and then play that section, but after awhile I should be able to play it more quickly with the goal to shorten the prep time so it's no longer noticeable 

5) Andantino
  • Learning a new type of bowing for this piece, which is more of a "controlled spicatto" 
  • I should feel:
    • A u-shape in the bowing, not a horizontal/linear-like the other bowing so far 
    • Unlike the bowing in Allegretto, the bow should come off the string
    • It should feel and sound lighter and more effortless 
    • I should be aware of my pinky as it will be assisting in "lifting" the bow
  • Exercise:
    • I should first try this on open strings and get that down and then start adding notes
    • Also, allow my bow to "bounce" and it may be a little uncontrolled and may not stay in one place, but it should calm down after some practice 
  • Ritardando 
    • The rit. in measure 12 should start on the third note of the measure. I was starting the slow down at the beginning of the measure 12. However, the beginning of the measure should be the decrease in volume first and then the slow down. I was doing it at the same time - talk about really knowing what your bow is doing! I'll need some practice on this! 
    • The rit. is important because it adds an audible pause and provides a contrast to the beginning of the section. My teacher said that his teacher tells him that pauses are the most important parts of the pieces, but unfortunately a lot of cellists run right over them. He mentioned that this was something he had to work on as well

This was a fun lesson and I feel like a lot of the information is starting to sink in and the pieces are sounding better. Also, these pieces are more complicated and provide different bowing technique, which I'm liking!

I'll try to record Allegretto in two weeks. It's definitely taking a lot longer to learn these pieces!

Although during my previous lesson, Adam mentioned the reason Long Long Ago was "easy" and didn't have very many notes was because the underlying tools that needed to be learned were more complicated! Tricky-tricky!

Now I'm thinking I don't want to rush through this, even if it means NOT meeting my goal of getting through Suzuki Book 1 in one year! I feel like if I don't have a solid foundation, than it'll be harder to build upon my technique and either everything will fall apart or stay together depending on how well I learn these basics.

I now realize why he wanted me to go more slowly through the repertoire... huh...I guess there is a method to his madness! :).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lesson #33 (Jazz #2 11/20/11): Finding the Key and Shifting to Second

I'm way behind on my lesson notes so this is a bit out of order, but I should have my notes caught up by next week after finals are over.

This was a pretty fun and complicated lesson. Lots of music theory again. Clayton recommended that I take a Music Theory class for non-majors, but unfortunately its only offered in the afternoon and I don't have time during work to leave and take the class. Darn...

Lesson Notes:

1) Determining the key of a note
  • We reviewed the piano accompaniment for Suzuki Book 1 to determine how to find the key for Twinkle and Go Tell Aunt Rhody 
  • Basically, look at the chords that are being played and see what three notes create the arpeggio in the major key. This was one of the reasons why we went over a bunch of different scales (Ionian, Dorian, & Mixolydian) and their arpeggios during my last Jazz lesson. I have yet to have them all memorized.  Example:
    • Measure 1: the notes in the chord are D, F# and A which make up the arpeggio for the D Major scale
    • Measure 2: my memory is failing me, but I think he said that the notes had to be 3 whole steps away to create a chord. The notes in the staff below are D, G and B, but aren't right next to each other. However, I could move the D one octave up so they are next to each other to form the chord, which results in G, B, D anyway! Those notes are the arpeggio for G Major and so on and so forth...

  • So the key and chord progressions for Twinkle are: 
  • Chord progressions
    • There are 7 Major Scales from A through G, so we just number them accordingly:
      • A = I
      • B = II
      • C = III
      • D = IV
      • E = V
      • F = VI
      • G = VII
      • Therefore, each key has a number, see Twinkle above. So when musicians are talking about chord progressions, and say that they're doing a I, IV, I, V progression, it just means they are playing in the key of D Major, then G Major, then D Major and finally A Major (which is the first 4 keys of Twinkle)
  • Go Tell Aunt Rhody key and chord progression
    • We also looked at the piano accompaniment to figure out the chords
    • The chord progression for the first line would therefore be: IV, I, IV, IV, I, IV
  • Importance?
    • To learn how to jam with other people! If I ever decide to jam with a group and they call out a I, IV, I, V progression, I know I have to play in the keys of D Major, then G Major, than D Major and then finally A Major! 
    • To start training my ear to hear what key a song or piece is being played
    • And, it also teaches me to read music to determine what key is being play, i.e. if I happen to be jamming in a group (which I'm not...yet) and I don't know what song they are playing, but they happen to have the music sheet, I can look at the chords to determine what keys I need to play! Pretty nifty! :).

2) Assignment for Twinkle & Go Tell Aunt Rhody 
  • In each Major Key, play the following: 
    • Roots (first key of the major key only)
    • 1st & 2nd notes of each key
    • 1st through 3rd notes
    • 1st through 5th notes
    • Triads  - play the 3 note arpeggio for each key
  • This is the beginning of learning how to play variations, next is to add rhythm to these keys
    • It definitely doesn't sound like Twinkle any more! But its supposed to teach me what notes I can play within the key 

3) Shifting to Second Position
  • Since we're doing a lot of scales and only knowing first position without extensions or shifts is limiting which scales I can play, Clayton decided to teach me how to shift to second position
  • I tend to panic when I get introduced to new concepts, and I think he sensed that because he was very  nonchalant about it! 
    • I think that's how he approaches new technique when he's teaching his kids (I think he mostly teaches little children). It's an interesting approach, and I think one that worked well on me! I think if a teacher acts like its not a big deal, than it kind of drains my apprehension a bit
      • I was really worried about shifts (and also vibrato!) and didn't even want to try shifts because I've heard and read that its very difficult. But the way he approached it was like, "yeah, its not a big deal... you can do it - just do this..." and then voila I was doing shifts! Not great, but not bad either! :).
      • I've got to remember that the next time I have to teach a dance move or something - its all in the presentation and approach! 
        • I swear, it's like he tricked me or something! I was thinking, "OMG this is going to be AWFUL - a complete disaster! Why am I trying this?! I'm not ready for this!! What in the world is he thinking?!" Then a few minutes later, "....huh...okay...that wasn't so bad...I guess he was right..." LOL! :). Yes, I am a pessimist ...or realist! 
  • My shifting assignment
    • Play:  A B C# B C# D E
      •  0  1  3  1  1  2  4
      • Shift occurs on the B and C#
    • Try it on other strings
    • Visualize where my third finger is and replace with the first finger
      • It's easier if I close my eyes to visualize where my third finger is than to look at it and get the shift right because what I feel in the movement feels different from what I see! Returning to first position feels a lot wider than shifting from first position to second position, which always feels like I didn't move my hand enough

Interesting lesson, but LOT of information....its a bit overwhelming...I have to admit I was avoiding these assignments because they seemed pretty tough so I wasn't prepared for my next lesson. Next time, I won't be so unprepared...