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Sevcik and scales ..
Or just scales?
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katie m
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August 23, 2021 - 9:04 am
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I’ve been trying to include the Sevick exercise 1 in my practice but the thing I’m struggling with before anything else is working out the groups of notes I’m supposed to be playing and when to change bow! I just get so confused with fitting all the groups into one bow and then along comes a different four notes or eight notes or 16 notes! I know bow distribution is a massive topic but is this part of the exercise too? And too be honest it’s not even the bow distribution I don’t understand, it’s the groups of notes! This is so hard to explain but I just find this exercise confusing and I think I spend more time trying to figure out which notes to play and when to change bow etc than actually working on my fingers and getting the notes in tune!! Maybe it will click into place as I keep going! I’m on bar two !

I’m just wondering should I just stick with scales? Any comments or anything would be great ! Thanks

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Bob
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August 23, 2021 - 9:31 am
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@katie m 

Here's one person's approach to the Sevcik. Hope this helps.

t=21s

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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katie m
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August 23, 2021 - 9:37 am
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Thanks Bob, I have seen this and I’m managing to do it but I basically have to think hard about the notes I’m playing. That’s really the only way I can explain it. 

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Bob
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August 23, 2021 - 9:58 am
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Being able to place the fingers and play the notes written is something that comes with practice and repetition. I'm trying to become more comfortable playing in higher positions (5th and upper) and knowing where to position my hand/fingers for each note.

When the notes get up above the D above the staff I have not yet learned to automatically find them on the finger board. My approach is to play through music (probably scales would be better) that has passages in higher positions and while playing VERY slowly try to name the notes as I play. I have a tuner nearby to verify that I'm close to the right note, but since I'm playing a piece I've listened to "real" players play on youtube, I can usually hear if I'm on target.

Now I really get lost when I find notation on notes, that are already above the staff that says 8va! Since I don't have a teacher now (I live way out in the country!) to show me a logical approach, I usually just play 8va notes as written at the lower octave. One of these days I'll get the feel for these. 

Oh BTW, I'm still a beginner even though I started taking lessons (for 2 years) back in 1996! Time flies when your having fun:)

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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katie m
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August 23, 2021 - 12:12 pm
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Sounds like you are doing really well Bob ! 5th position that’s  amazing ! I’m going to carry on with Sevcik even if it’s at snails pace ! 

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SharonC
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August 23, 2021 - 4:54 pm
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@katie m 

I think I may know what you’re talking about.  First, the way the exercise is printed out is confusing. 

There’s different ways to do this exercise.  You can practice each measure so that you play quarter notes on down bow, then up bow, then eighth notes down bow, then up bow, or alternating throughout, first starting on down bow, then up bow, etc.,

Second, I know when I first started, I had a hard time with slurs.  I found that I got confused with groups of notes when I was concentrating on where I needed to change my bow direction. 

I think having the left and right hands doing completely different things is confusing to our brains!  My teacher refers to this as “Kerflooey” – when your one hand is doing something, & your other hand is getting screwed up. 

Since the Red Violin video above is referenced, & she plays it alternating down & up bows moving through quarter, eighth, & 16th notes, I’ll gear my suggestion toward that: 

  1. Play the 1st 4 notes (measure 1) on the down bow only – slow (quarter note speed), then stop. Reset your bow to play these 4 notes again on the down bow again, & then stop.  Stopping allows you to think about what you're doing. Repeat this several times.
  2. Play the 1st 4 notes (measure 1) on the up bow only – slow (quarter note speed), then stop. Reset your bow to play these 4 notes again on the up bow again, & then stop.  Repeat this several times.
  3. Now play measure 1 again like you did in #1 on down bow with quarter notes (1, 2, 3, 4) & stop.  Reset bow to play down bow again, & play measure 1 with eighth notes on the down bow (twice the speed , playing the 4 notes twice 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &= A B C B  A B C B), & then stop. Repeat this  several times, first playing the quarter notes down bow, reset, then playing the eighth notes.
  4. Do the same as #3, but now do it on the up bow.  Repeat several times.
  5. Now play measure 1 four notes (quarter notes), down bow, & stop.  Then play measure 1 eighth notes (like in #4) on the up bow, & stop.  Do this several times, alternating down bow 4 notes-stopping-then up bow for the eight notes.
  6. Once #5 feels comfortable, take out the stops.  Play down bow quarter notes, up bow eighth notes (1 2 3 4   1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &   1 2 3 4   1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &  . . .). 

You may need to do this over several sessions for it to become more comfortable doing the quarter & eighths.  Then work on including the 16th notes.  For the 16ths, you may need to break it down in a similar way since it is difficult to do a 4 beat 16thnote slur to start with.

  1. On down bow, play 1st two beats of 16th notes (1 e & a 2 e & a – ABCB ABCB) stop,  & then up bow the next two beats of 16th notes (3 e & a 4 e & a – ABCB ABCB).
  2. Now do down bow quarter notes, up bow eighth notes (like in #6), down bow 16th notes for 1st two beats – stop- & then 16th for 2nd two beats.  Once that is comfortable, take out the stop.
  3. Once you are comfortable with #8, then try to do full 4 beat 16th notes for the measure on down bow (ABCB ABCB ABCB ABCB), & up bow.

10. Once you’ve done all that,  put it all together for measure one –

- quarter notes on down bow,  followed by

 - eighth notes on up bow, followed by

- 16th notes on down bow   then

-  quarter notes on up bow

-  eighth notes on down bow

- 16th notes on up bow

Then go to measure 2. . .   Might be helpful to do all of #1 -10 with measure 2 just like above since your left hand is doing something different.  Or you can just do #10 above, & then move on to measure two, following the same pattern of alternating bow on each type of note (quarter, eighth, 16th) and moved through the exercise that way.

Hope that isn’t too confusing.smile

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katie m
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August 23, 2021 - 5:32 pm
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Hi Sharon,

Thanks for taking the time to explain that! Yes I agree, I think the way it’s written out is confusing ! I think I’ve started to do what you have suggested already but I like the idea of resetting the bow. I think I feel like I shouldn’t have to look at the music because it is very repetitive but I’ve realised I do but then it’s like the same notes over again and I feel I should know it! Then I start on a new group and start again !  That’s when I get confused! And then when I actually think about my fingers I realised my fourth finger isn’t close to the string it’s way up in the air! But I can see this exercise will help me I just have to stick with it and believe it or not I do quite like it !

Katie

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