Monday, June 29, 2015

Driving through Colorado is awesome.

We made it through Nebraska and to Boulder to visit Rich in pretty good time. After a stop at a quilt museum and then the seemingly never ending flats of Nebraska we got to Boulder at 6:30. The mountains seemed so far away until they were just outside of town. Becca kept yelling, "look, Mountains on my side!"  

I had a great time visiting with Rich and his family. 

Now on to Utah. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Morrison's Jig and the Hanging Tree

I have been playing around with Morrison's jig this week.  This is a relatively simple song that sounds so great.

The rhythm is a little flexible within each measure.  The beat needs to be clear for each downbeat to make it danceable, but can flex and bend within the dance.

Here is another example where the dance beats are emphasized and the rest is able to swing along. That is how he makes it move, while it isn't that fast.  It sounds faster than it is because some notes rollick, while others tap the beat.

The other song that is stuck in my head this week is the solo from Mockingjay. Such a haunting melody. The following sheet music isn't exactly what the song is playing.  It starts low, for some reason it sounds good to me on the G string and then gets moves up an octave and changes key I think with the Choir.  Great song.  Give it a try.

The Hanging Tree by onthelonelyshore

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lessons starting back up

Warm up
Let's start with the d minor key this week.  Start with a single octave and work up to the two octave scale.

I would shift to third position on the E string between the 2nd finger G and up to the third postion first finger A.  Notice that the half steps in the scale are different on the way up than on the way down.  Make the half steps extra tight at the top of the scale.

Skill building
Two goals this week.

First, start working on vibrato by slowly sliding on each finger up and down the string.  This shouldn't be fast, focus on large controlled motion on most of the fingerboard.  Feel how the point of contact for the finger shifts as you slide.  This motion will become your vibrato.  Take it slow and don't try to speed it up for now.  Practice each finger and string with a clear tone.

Second, use the song you have chosen to practice writing and reading music.

Song of choice

 From E's initial playlist we are going to focus on the "I am the Doctor" theme.  It turns out that Dr. Who fan's love making you tube videos playing the music.

Some of them are quite sophisticated covers:

 An acapella version:

 A good violin cover:

I like what he is doing with the spicatto and rythm. Looking past the hat and hair, this version is one that has a lot of good principles to learn.

 My favorite is this string quartet version:

They could have made it a little livelier with some spicatto rhythm elements, but trickier.

The string quartet sheet music they posted at dropbox:

Various sheet music versions are available from Musescore. Here is a violin and piano version that is pretty good.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Violin lesson plan

Warm up
G major scale
Scales are never anyone's favorite activity, but are a good way to train fingers and bow hand for intonation, string changes.  Practice slow and increase speed.  If you get bored, add slurs - first two notes, then three, increasing to four, five, six, and if you are really ambitious try eight and twelve.

Skill building - Read music
I think that reading music is an important skill for playing in classical or traditional groups.  The best way to learn to read music is to write music, which will come in handy when we work on new songs by ear or arrangements.
Copy I am a child of God 

Fiddle song
Arkansas traveler This is a recording from the National Archives, but a very different arrangement than I am used to.  Here is a more classic version:

.  Here is a simple sheet music version:

Fun song - your choice
We discussed working on a violin version of:
John Legend - All of Me

Piano Guys - Moonlight

Lorde - 400 Lux

Kat Dahlia - Mirror

My Chemical Romance - Welcome to the Black Parade

Doctor Who - I am the Doctor