Please feel free to share. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”
I have been looking around for a teacher and talking with some and finally found one who will fit my schedule, and get what I am looking for.
The first lesson went really well, and she gave me some good stuff to work on, and went straight to the stuff to work on. Which for me, is going to be a lot of work an bowing. Apparently I am the opposite of most of her students, and I am actually using too much bow right now, especially for staccato and accents. I believe Pierre pointed that out on one of my vids, which is one of the reasons I am starting in with lessons sooner rather than later.
I would rather build good habits now than unlearn bad ones later. Unlearning 'incorrect' muscle memory is a royal pain.
It was a shorter playing lesson, she inspected my violin and bow first (And really liked my Soloist). It was also the first time I've heard my violin played by someone who actually knows how to play, it sounds really nice! I mean, I like the sound when I play it, but you know... I just plain do not play it that well yet.
Then we talked a bit about how she teaches, and what books she uses. I had 2 of the 3 she uses. When she said she used the one I didn't have mostly for teaching how to read music, I said I already knew how to read and could sight read, so we are skipping that book. She did pick a piece I hadn't played before to check, and it was a little rough since it was in a key I have not played in yet but she agreed that I really did not need to go to at least beginner reading.
That was one of the pieces of criteria I was looking for in a teacher. I don't want to pay, and spend time working on something I already know. I don't waste time practicing what I already know, and I don't want to pay for it either. Having said that, no, I am not the greatest sight reader in the world, but my reading ability is far past my ability to not have my bowing fall apart while trying to sight read a new piece. 😀
Then we did a scale that I had not done before. Well, I did the top octave of the A major scale, she had me start from the lower octave on the G string. That showed another current weakness, G and D vs A and E strings. Hmm.... I bet that is a product of me working mostly with only Suzuki so far.... 😀
Finally, she picked a piece from the Suzuki book for me to play, and that went well, but that is where my 'too much bow' became obvious. It was 'Allegro' from Suzuki Book 1. And that is where too much bow came in. Not only on the staccato parts, but also I tend to play even the detache parts almost legato even though I am changing bow direction.
One thing came to mind after playing that piece though. I saw a meme posted awhile ago about something like playing fiercely when practicing and playing timidly in front of the teacher at a lesson. Well, apparently that is not me at all. For me, that is reversed, but that's likely due to years of performing. I tend to be more restrained at home practicing, but put any audience in front of me, and I go for it.
Which brings up another thing for me to work on, bringing up the 'intensity' (for lack of a better word) of my playing when practicing at home so I can make sure I am not doing things I do not intend to do there.
Anyway, I am really looking forward to my next lesson, and still fired up about playing, even though I am spending more of my 'music time' on guitar at the moment in preparation for the orchestral concert. (Which was another reason to start the lessons now, even if I only get 5 - 15 min a day on violin, I am not ignoring it while I prep for the other performance).
Excited to hear you are doing this! I know it's a commitment over time to take lessons. I think it's worth it though.
The pieces in Suzuki that look simple on the surface often are hiding important technique that you will need later on. There are a few things in Allegro such as getting that C# in tune and holding the notes out longer in the beginning of the third line. Immediately after those notes everything slows down. I am finding with some Suzuki that setting the bow up properly going into the next passage can sometimes be tricky. Short bows and long bows, when to play them are something I am working on now.
Closer finger spacing was a challenge for me and still is occasionally. Changing keys from G to A means the C is now a C#. In Irish music it's mostly the keys of D and A. This is why I think staying with something like Irish music without any further training is limiting. We need to know all of the keys. Hopefully your teacher won't hit you with too much of that in the beginning. You need a few reference points before you venture into others. Knowing where the closer finger distances are on any given scale has helped to anticipate where to land the fingers. Like guitar I guess it's a lot of muscle memory, only with closer tolerances, less forgiving than guitar is.
In the beginning I was learning some of my pitches wrong. What I was hearing as a high A was actually a few cents off. This is where what you said about learning bad habits comes into play. If there had been no one there to tell me I off a little bit on my A I would have continued to learn it as correct.