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Since teaching viola lessons in New York, I have come to realize that people often start an instrument with incredulous awes at any experienced musician who rattles of lick or flourish. After progressing with your instrument, it is great fun to try and tackle these difficult musical feats, but also a great frustration to practice them and still have no results. Even with the correct basics to attempt a more virtuosic passage, people often stumble and take the incorrect notion that it takes two hours of drilling on a single passage in order to pull it off.
The good news is that a large percentage of seemingly difficult passages are actually a few basics combined as a sort of musician’s magic trick -- which is the clue to solving this problem!
When it comes to playing the viola, I teach my students in New York to analyze the passage in mind, break it down to a number of core elements (you can ask your teacher or an experienced musician for their input on this). Usually, these passages tend to consist of two core elements combined to create the effect that more is happening than really is.
From here, take one element at a time, practice playing it in its simple form, and play around with its variables (like rhythm). With both elements isolated this way, try slowly combining them once more. I found this technique creates familiarity and comfort for students taking viola lessons.
If practiced correctly, the passage in mind has most likely lost that mystique it once had and will now seem approachable. You will enjoy playing the passage and it will sound impressive at the same time. Needless to say, the truly virtuosic passages use combinations of 4-5 core elements! In this case, I remind the students I teach viola to in New York to not bite off more than they can chew! Happy practicing to all!
This is my profession.
Learn to play folk music or classical. Explore this deep and beautiful instrument!
Gratuate student at The Juilliard School major in viola performance. Will offer instruction and demonstration on viola solo repertoire, orchestra as well as chamber music repertoire. It is always a great pleasure to share my ideas and enthusiasm on music and viola works with you!
I'm a dedicated teacher and spend extra time outside of lessons thinking about how to best approach the following lesson. I find the style of teaching that works best for the student. I write plans after lessons and email or give them in person summarizing the lesson's key points to help make practicing at home easier and more organized in order to make lesson time as effective overall as possible.
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