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Violin Lessons: Shift Consistency

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Shifts are often some of the most
difficult parts of the music to play in
And once we get it in our heads that a
shift is difficult,
it can be actually difficult to play it in
tune with confidence ever again.
So, there are a number of ways to look at
so that you can increase your chances.
Let's take a sample shift.
Let's say that I don't have much
confidence in that shift, and
I'd obviously like to build that
One of the first things I would do is to
put the bow away, and
to practice the pace of the shift, or what
I like to call the choreography.
We sometimes build up in our bodies a way
of shifting or a way of doing
something that's really not very smooth
and kind of counter productive.
So, if you put the bow away and
perform the shift without the bow several
times you may start noticing some changes.
[SOUND] You may notice that you have more
less finger pressure during the shift.
You may notice that you place the arrival
note with more or less pressure.
I want you to notice those differences and
I'd like you to notice also your overall
feeling of the gesture.
Hopefully it gets smoother the more you do
it without the bow.
[SOUND] It should have a rhythm to it,
not just a stop and a stop, but the,
the fleshy part in between should have a
nice rhythm.
You start, arrive, start, arrive.
Now, when you place the bow back,
I'd like you to keep that same feeling in
the hand and the arm.
You'll hopefully find that at least the
motion is smoother.
And if you're not already hitting the top
note dead in tune,
you can still refine that.
But the first step is to get the
the pace, the way that you like.
You can also practice the arrival note.
To get that sound in your ear, because all
too often when we practice shifts that
we consider to be difficult, we never
arrive with a great sound or in tune.
Now it's just a matter of
connecting that starting note to that
In that way, you always
plan to finish the shift.
You never mentally bail out, midway.
You're always planning for that nice
Now the bow has a role to play in this
The bow distribution plays a,
plays in fact a very large role in your
success in the shifts.
Many times people don't save enough bow
for the end of big shifts.
There's a relationship between the two
hands, remember.
And when you don't save enough bow, your
left hand also tends to rush a little bit.
The pace, the timing is just off.
So, save plenty of bow.
Remember, it's fueling the shift.
Because you want bow not only to hit that
top note, whatever that might mean, but
to play through it, to sing through it.
So, the speed of the shift gives the
If it's a very exciting passage,
you probably want that pace more like this
where it accelerates into the top note
Obviously that wouldn't work if it were a
very tender moment when you'd
want [SOUND].
something very luxurious.
Again, you practice the sound
that you want at the top.
You practice the choreography, and
you coordinate the bow distribution.
So, in your video to me, I'd like you to
pick a shift.
It should be a fairly sizable shift, like
the one I was demonstrating.
I'd like you to show me your pace, your
choreography, without the bow.
I'd then like you to show me the sound you
want on the arrival note.
Then, when you perform the shift, use a
bow distribution that gives you
plenty through the shift, through the
arrival note.
And finally I'd like you to demonstrate
one of those shifts for
me with a bow change so that the arrival
note is on a new bow.
Remember that if it's an expressive shift,
you're going to perform the bow change
before the shift up to the new note.