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Words of Wisdom from the Fredericton Music Festival

Tips and Tricks 2Music festival is over for me for another year.  It is always a stressful event for both students and teachers.  It is impossible to know what someone else is going to be looking for, so you prepare the students the best you can and hope they will succeed on the day.

Having said that, I am always interested in what the adjudicator is going to say and what themes will be recurring.  Here are some nuggets from this year:

  1. Prepare your left hand with slow practice.  You need to know where the tones and semitones are in the music and on your instrument so that you can be prepared when playing faster.
  2. Keep your bow moving.  Bow speed is important.  Play around with it and try to use as much bow as you can without compromising the sound.
  3. Experiment and challenge yourself.  When the music is marked quiet, see how quietly you can play while maintaining good tone.  When the music is marked loud – push yourself until the sound breaks, and then back off.  Don’t just accept what you are doing as good enough, but push it even further to see what is possible.

I was of course happy to have my students reminded to practice slowly.  That is one of my favourite practice techniques (and I have written several blogs about it).  I know that it is not an exciting technique, but it is incredibly helpful.

I plan on working more in my own playing and in my students playing with the idea of experimenting and challenging ourselves.  It is too easy to become a bit complacent and remain in our comfort zone as far as bow speed and dynamics go. It is time to step it up!

I hope you find these three points helpful and will join me in breaking down the boundaries and seeing how far you can push yourself!

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