Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Well, I've been living in Ottawa since September doing a pre-graduate program in music performance at the University of Ottawa. I've almost totally changed all my technique this year and it's been a very interesting journey.
I've changed so many things it's hard to list them all but I'll see if I can give a small idea of what I've been working on so far with my teacher here, David Stewart.
-Making my bow arm smoother, and getting rid of the "jolty" bow changes. I used to have (and it still comes up every once in while) these hiccups in my sound when I'd change the direction of my bow.
-I've totally changed how I hold my violin, where it sits on my shoulder and under my chin, and I've got a new chin rest that puts my chin almost exactly over the middle of the violin. This helps me to be able to reach the tip of my bow more comfortably.
-Starting with scales, David helped me correct my shifting. I still do it sometimes but at least am more aware of it now, that I've used my wrist to hit the body of the violin to know where I'm shifting to. so I do this weird twisty wrist/arm action when I shift positions. I have been working on this, always practicing with a mirror, making sure I keep my wrist straight and simple.
-During the months of September and October I did only scales. That was a very frustrating time since I hadn't seriously worked on scales and arpeggios since...well...ever. I've done a number of studies and a couple scales now and then since I started in grade seven but never had I experienced such an intense session of technical training.
So then there was the challenge of applying what I was learning in scales into music. This became quite the challenge. For some reason I have this wall between technique and music, like they are oceans apart in my mind. It was a question of being only technically correct and no music, or only musical and having a very sloppy technique. It was meshing the two together that proved to be the hardest of all.
Now I am auditioning, again, for the masters program in music performance. Since I have been studying with David since September it is a great comfort that he will be on the panel of judges. I have a friend, Matty, who will be accompanying me and so new friends pulling for me. Nothing I'm playing will be perfect. But I've worked hard and hopefully they will see that in my playing.

Katie D

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