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Lately, it feels like my lesson creeps up on me a little too quickly. It is like the day before my lesson, things are just beginning to fall into place.
1. If it is the bowing that is the issue (usually that is the issue), I can just begin to feel all those slurs sounding smoother, or feeling like they might be sounding smoother. I think this is connected to my issue further down with the music.
2. It may be the bow direction change does not sound smooth. It is like the brakes were tapped before changing direction. This makes it sound choppy, which you might want sometimes, but it is always for me, and not intentional because it is called for at that particular spot in the song. I have a huge issue with bow direction change. I added it to my notes to ask my instructor about it later today. I am not happy with the choppy sound, or feel when I change direction.
THE MUSIC ITSELF
1. It may be that just before the lesson, maybe a day or two, I am able to make sense of the piece. It seems very disjointed until that point. I have a hard time understanding how to play a piece that sounds disjointed to me (like jazz - as I have mentioned before). This may be due to #2 below.
2. It may be that for some reason I cannot memorize or semi-memorize it until maybe the day before. It is like something clicks at that time. I have a hard time even thinking about preparing for the next note if I can’t get the piece memorized, or semi-memorized. Not knowing what is next is like always starting from scratch with site reading it.
It seems to take up to the day before or morning before my lesson to get to the point where I am comfortable with the bowing, the piece, the music makes sense (sometimes it is the piece and will never make sense to me), to where one measure sounds like it connects to the next measure, etc. Then I wish I had another half week or week before my lesson so that I can actually work on it an get somewhere before my lesson.
Yesterday, the piece I am working on, the first 10 measures of it, just began to come together. My lesson is this afternoon. I have not been able to do it while feeling comfortable with it consistently enough to have it be the norm. I might ask for another week to work on the beginning of this piece before we add more measures to it. I wish there were more days in a week.
It is too early in the day to get out my cello right now, otherwise, I would be doing it right now.
Cello and Viola Time!
Everyone should have a lesson frequency that matches the speed at which they improve, I was told at school, and generally that's slower for adults than for kids.
My total is a dozen lessons in 2 years, but that's thanks to parental injury and Covid (and panto season, lol, and teacher's touring with the Bootleg Beatles).
My teacher is now only in London every "10 days or a fortnight", which suits me, as fortnightly lessons would be good, and twice 10 days is 20 days, which is 3 weeks, which is also good.
Lessons around here are scheduled every week. The instructors probably want that time slot reserved guaranteed every week, which, I can understand. With studio time, they pay a monthly rent. That has continued with the online, the slot is reserved and we pay for the month. If we are going to quit in the middle of the month and know before we pay for that month, we can pay that partial month, but otherwise, we pay for that time slot for a month. I think it also makes things easier to keep track of, than a lesson here and there. There are not many cello, violin or viola instructors in this area. I don’t think there are many students, either.
The studios have opened up again, but I won’t go there. My instructor is still giving me FaceTime lessons. I told him that if that becomes a problem, I will have to drop them. So far, no students have returned to the studios in the music store. I feel bad for him. From what I know, I am my instructor’s only student now. I think that if I only asked for a lesson here and there, he would no longer be available, not sure. I doubt it would be worth it for him to do that. So, they are every week. I would not feel right asking if I can just get a lesson here and there.
Just a thought, maybe not so much assigned every week? Or nothing new added every week? Now, that is an idea, maybe do a repeat lesson before adding more measures of the piece to my lesson?
I just wish I could get the gist of the pieces quicker so I have a few days where the section I am working on makes sense so I can have a few days to hone it before my lesson.
I am going to ask for that same section I had for today to do for my lesson next week, without adding anything to it. Those 10 measures, B and C octave slides on the A string, the F major broken 2 octave scale, and B flat broken 2 octave scale were too much for one week. I will have to talk to him about that. I can’t get any of it with any confidence if I have all of it. I would rather have less so that what I am doing actually sticks.
Cello and Viola Time!
I told my daughter (she'll be 40 next year) when she was little & 1st started school, "Teachers are paid to provide you a service - to help you learn. If you are having difficulty understanding or keeping up, it's up to you to ask for help, but be respectful because they want you to succeed."
That being said, I can personally recall some trying times for myself.
I remember an Algebra teacher giving me a hard time. I had told him I just couldn't understand by the way he explained something or other - his way of "helping me" was to repeat (verbatim) what he originally said, THREE times (I wasn't deaf)! I turned my back on Math for a while because I let him get to me and I felt I had no recourse at that time.
Similar issue, only in 4th Grade Elementary - started violin, then after a bit I was given an ultimatum of "learn vibrato or leave orchestra". My instructor's advice on how to learn vibrato (and other student violinists I asked) was, "just do it". I was probably 9yrs old then, didn't touch a violin again until approx a year ago and I had forgotten everything (I'm 64 now).
I hate the thought of that happening to anyone (at any age), but if I had been an adult at that time, I could have insisted my instructor help me or "refer" me to someone who could - or just sought out another instructor (maybe asked for a refund). Take into consideration I've lived where items/services were readily available, but I've also had to live (for a time) where I was lucky to have an outhouse and a hand pump for well water (no phones).
I hope you can work something out with your teacher or are able to find a more flexible one - maybe just online.
In the past, in other endeavors, I have been a huge fan of workshops - or a short, condensed class that focuses on specific information/training. Then, I can take all the time I need to explore what I've learned. I find instructors have always been open to answering questions or giving advice long after a workshop or class has ended.
Maybe an alternative route for you at this stage.
Oh, I like my instructor. I think it is more me. We really spent a lot time with bowing today. When the lesson started and he asked how it went and I told him it is choppy, he immediately figured out what would cause my issue. I have a new way to bow the piece to help me be aware of leveling off before crossing strings and prepare, etc. I was trying to do something like that all week, but didn’t know how to do it. I will bow that way this week and then we will putting it to work to make the prelude right with the slurs and non-slurred notes.
My instructor is really patient with me, which is why I think it is me not being patient with me. 😁 He is actually very patient and encouraging. He is giving me special FaceTime Lessons because I won’t go into the music store studio. I was going to have to quit, otherwise, which he did not know before he said he would do that for me. I really think he wants me to get this as much as I do. So, again, that points to me being impatient.
For some reason, the day or so before the lesson, I start feeling like I need more time, but at the lesson, I feel much better and more encouraged. It was worse this time because this prelude is slurred a lot, and I have watched it being performed on YouTube. That usually helps, but this time it made me see how drastically far off I am.
So, I just have to be patient with myself 🤪. It actually went well today.
Cello and Viola Time!
cid - 😞 Sorry, I wasn't thinking & my situation is a little different.
Our daughter needs prenatal care so it's unavoidable - she needs a baby sitter for some or all of the 6 kids when she has a Dr appt (her husband still works full time). My BH (he's my Better Half) and I are both "high risk", but he usually runs over to their house. Luckily nobody's been the slightest bit sick... they grow up so fast.
Oh, I would love to have my lessons twice a week! My daughter has this system in her lessons, and I think it’s very good. She can’t forget all the things during the rest period, and it’s also easier to plan practices.
I always have so many questions that this frequency could work well for me too. It’s so painful to wait a whole week before I can get answers to my questions. Unfortunately I don’t have enough money for it, I can only get 30 minutes once a week.
The Covid-19 situation in my country is pretty good now, so it looks like the music school will open normally in August. I will be so happy when my lessons start again! I haven't had any since March 🙁