Three things to keep in your mind when you practice Wallfahrt 60 Studies, No. 21
No.21 is in G Major, and it gives you the opportunity to work on staccato with string crossing. When you practice this etude, you need to think about three things.
How to use the bow
In No. 21, you play staccato, keeping your bow on the string and move it very fast horizontally using upper half bow.
In order to play good staccato, you need to move the bow horizontally very fast, as I mentioned above. Important tip to move your bow fast is relaxation of your bow arm. For the down-bow, you need to play as if you are dropping your arm on the floor, and for the up bow, you need to think as if you are throwing the bow toward the leftside of your body. I know this is very difficult to understand in writing, so I guide my students arms during their lessons so that they get the feel of it.
If you find it difficult to relax your arm, practice as much as you can while you are learning this etude, and try again when you get another opportunity to practice the same type of staccato strokes.
Prepare to play
When you do string crossing with staccato, like in the context of Wohlfahrt no.21, you need to take the following steps in order to play well. As soon as you finished playing the note,
- you go to the new string very quickly, being aware of your right elbow height according to which string you need to play next
- catch the string
- finally you start playing the next note.
The key is to PREPARE before you start playing.
A long time ago, I attended a master class given by Mr. Pinkus Zukerman. There, he often said “Prepare!” during the class. He meant prepare first, not only for playing staccato, but for every aspect in violin playing, otherwise, you cannot produce a good sound. The players in the master class were, of course, very advanced players playing Ysaye’s sonata, Paganini[s concerto etc, but he kept repeating “Prepare!” to them. Since then, I myself incorporated this idea in my own practice, and now it is naturally in me. I totally agree with him and I feel this is very important information, so I pass it on to my students.
Go to the new string first, catch the string and then play. For some students, this is difficult. They are so anxious to play the next note and rush to play the note without being ready. So, I go through thesee three steps with them patiently so they acquire the ability. Eventually, they get it !
Audio video of Wohlfahrt no.21 Allegro: let’s practice together!
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