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On Given Metronome Marks for Studies


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Hi. To consolidate my foundation of studies, I've went from 42 Studies by Rodolphe Kreutzer back to 60 Violin Studies, Op.45 by Franz Wohlfahrt. There are 3 studies that I cannot play up to tempo currently: No.43, No.45 and No.59.


I have 1 hour for studies every day and I always practice with a metronome for them. For example, in study No.59 the given metronome mark is quarter note = 111; I couldn't do it. The fastest tempo I can do is 50% speed, i.e. quarter note = 56.


Do you think I'm allowed to move onto 36 Violin Studies, Op.20 by Heinrich Ernst Kayser despite I was not able to play at written tempo for those 3 Wohlfahrt studies? Also, what should I do if I can't play up to written tempo for the future studies?


Thank you

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Allowed? We need discipline, but limiting our studies based on literature or composer is not necessary. I move kids to Kayser op20 around #20 of Wohlfahrt op45. We study both books. Kayser development is slower, but it also accelerates Wohlfahrt studies. Generally these books are studies in lower positions. Students should be aware of harmonic structures within these exercises, as both these books help us in playing ( intonation ) the developmental sections of much more famous works. Both books mix arpeggios and scales within a reasonable melodic line, arpeggios being the greater challenge in developing hand dexterity and speed. 

The discussions related to faster playing is complicated. I still can not manage some of Beethoven's metronome markings.

As a student, you appear to be diligent and thoughtful. If you have narrowed it down to three examples, narrow further to where it becomes impossible to play these examples. Playing instruments is about mechanics. Take time to look for the single note string crossings, awkward fingerings, string crossings and changes of patterns. Some editions of these published etudes have better editors for larger hands and some for smaller hands. Being taught in the US in the last century, the Galamian fingerings were what i studied. Not always the best, but the editions clearly makes access to notes in a thoughtful manner.

Kreutzer is about higher levels of technique. Shifting ( sometimes rapid, ) octaves and their extensions, changing harmonies within a musical phrase. As students, there is not enough time to examine these things... details... details... details... i know... Time management was constantly an issue for me. If someone had suggested that score study at the kitchen table was more important, I would have laughed. But conductors and organists have to do a great deal of study before they approach their instruments as they are allowed limited amounts of time. The process of studying scores allowed me to better budget time during practice. I teach kids who have limited day time hours to practice in their apartments. We try to work out essentials in a 90 min practice slot.  We also now share a language and approach to solving technical problems. Maybe a strategy might be, to locate the difficult sections and decide on a strategy to work out the problems to increase speed in the hands and arms.

There are other psycho-muscular aspects to playing fast, the mental game to performing is important

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