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Posts posted by jgrucza

  1. I went to a Tanglewood concert a few years back when they were playing Don Quixote with Yo-Yo Ma and Yuri Bashmet. Afterwards I thought I'd try to get Yuri Bashmet's autograph (since I'm a violist and had really admired his CDs). Yo-Yo Ma was extremely friendly to those coming to see him, but Mr. Bashmet rushed out the door and away, refusing to interact with anyone. It was disappointing, and I'm afraid my opinion of him soured a bit.

  2. I'd say, if you can't trust your ears to tell you where to place the double sharp, then just play the enharmonic equivalent and it'll be fine. Once you can trust your ears, just place it where your ears tell you to put it, which will involve all the factors everyone has talked about (the harmonic function of the note, what other instruments you're playing with, etc.) You shouldn't have to think so much about it.

  3. Is there a friendly violin shop near you? They might be happy to help you experiment with different strings to find the right blend, without you having to pay for each string you try.

    I personally have found that Dominants and a Jargar A work best on my 16 1/2" viola (no surprise there).

  4. I remember when I was learning vibrato, my teacher had me use the metronome. Keeping my finger in one spot, I would pull back and push forward in time with the metronome. Start with a slowish tempo and gradually increase the speed.

    Vibrato can take a long time to learn. Don't get discouraged. You'll get it in time.

  5. My thumb is in between the frog and the grip, like your previous hold. And I have an extremely relaxed bow hand (once or twice I got a little too relaxed and actually dropped the bow).

    So, when you move your thumb onto the grip, do your other fingers move up as well? Because when I try that, my middle finger is no longer comfortably resting on the frog - it's sort of in no man's land, and it feels much less secure.

  6. Oh man, I can't believe somebody liked Music of the Heart. That was the worst movie ever made - sappy garbage, if you ask me.

    They're not movies about music, but I also liked Center Stage and Billy Elliot.

  7. Yeah, I think the only place you find this is when the inner arch is actually a tie. A tie isn't really a slur, it's just a way of notating a longer note across barlines (or across beats - to make it easier to read). So even though a tie and a slur have the same notation, and give pretty much the same result, they're not exactly the same, and so you end up with ties inside slurs. I'd go ahead and bow with the outer arch for the most part, unless it's impossible, in which case, it's likely the composer is using it more as a phrasing guide (I seem to remember Wagner's Siegfried Idyll being like this).

  8. Seems to me that a competition is a good goal to work towards, just like a recital.

    Also, competition can bring out the best in some people. I know I would always swim my fastest at the big, important meets. That extra rush of adrenaline can be a good thing.

    I remember I played in some competition when I was in high school. I had no chance of winning or anything, but it was still a good experience.

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