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Violin Lessons: Introduction to Solo Repertoire

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Violin with Nathan Cole. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Violin Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
The solo repertoire is essential
studying for any musician, no matter what
you see yourself doing for the most part.
Solos are played in church, in recitals.
They're played studied in conservatory,
studied in high school.
And of course, they're played in orchestra
auditions as well.
Solos stretch the range of the instrument.
And they stretch the range of your musical
interpretation.
And so, they're a great way to practice
characters that you might not be
comfortable with.
If you're an introvert, you still have to
be an extrovert when you're playing
A major concerto, or a flashy solo piece.
So, it's a way to extend yourself, and get
out of your comfort zone.
Solos oft-, also provide the most complete
technical training.
And so thus, they're really essential to
study.
They're often familiar pieces.
And so, if you're studying something here
at ArtistWorks,
that you've studied before, you may find
that you have some good habits.
You may have some bad habits, as well.
And those can be difficult to break.
So, it's important to revisit these pieces
every few years,
and, see how you've progressed since the
last time that you studied them.
I know that I studied the Mendelssohn
Concerto for
the first time when I was 11 or 12.
And when I came back to it later, I
thought,
of well, a lot of these things are a lot
easier.
And I also thought, well, this piece is a
lot harder than I remember too.
Harder to make it sing and connect it.
So, solos are going to be with you your
whole life.
And it's, it's really fun to come back to
them at different points in
your progression.
Now when you're playing a solo as part of
an orchestra audition,
it's usually the very first thing that you
play in the audition.
Therefore, it's the committee's first
impression of your playing.
And that's only heightened if you're
behind a screen,
which is usually the case in an audition.
So, you have to make an impact right away.
And that's what we work on in the solos
here.
How to make the most of the opening
statement of each concerto, or solo piece.
How to let the sound develop, or
how to really throw it to the back row of
the hall right away.
You should play these like soloists even
if you're going to play them in
an orchestra audition.
What the committee wants to hear in an
audition Is in, in effect,
a great soloist.
You shouldn't back down one bit just
because you're auditioning for
a spot in an orchestra.
This music is meant to be played out and
to use the full range of violinistic
tricks.
So, that's what you do.
Now we have piano tracks that you can use
to listen to, or
either play along with, and they provide
context and harmony.
It's all too easy to practice these pieces
kind of in a vacuum.
To practice the passages without an
awareness of what's going
on in the orchestra.
So, in addition to listening to recordings
of the piece with orchestra since they're
written for violin in orchestra, you can
use these piano tracks to play with.
They'll also remind you of an ongoing
pulse.
That can often be lost as well, when
you're practicing something by yourself,
trying to work out the technical
challenges.
But I wouldn't overuse playing with these
specific piano tracks because
like any interpretation, they're frozen in
time.
And while they provide a context for
you, I want you to come up with your own
interpretations.
To come up with the timings that suit you,
and that make musical sense.
Then, when you find a pianist to play with
yourself,
you can try out those timings and see how
they stand up under pressure.
Now, in these video, and in these video
lessons,
you can hear and see me demonstrating
these from different angles.
And when you submit your own videos you'll
be able to show me your progress and
ask questions.
You'll only get that though if you submit
videos.
So, what I'd like you to do is to choose
one of the solos from this list, or
any other solo that you're working on, and
send me an excerpt from it.
Especially, the opening of the concerto is
important for auditions, so
don't neglect that.
But it could be any passage or section
that you're having difficulty with.
You can submit it alone, or with the piano
track that we've provided, or
a pianist that you find yourself.
Now, if you're preparing for an upcoming
orchestra audition,
I'd prefer that you send me your playing
of the solo unaccompanied.
As that's how it will be in the audition.
And I need to hear how you maintain your
own pulse, and make your own shapes.
Remember to only submit one solo piece per
video.
And if you already have other videos
waiting for me, whether they be solos,
or from any other section of this site,
I'd like you to wait until I respond to
that one.
Because after all, you may find, I may
find similar weaknesses,
things that you need help with, in that
video.
And then you can incorporate that before
you submit the solo piece for me.
I look forward to seeing your submissions.
[MUSIC]