Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Technical stuff

I'm supposed to be doing my scales in 16th notes, with an accent on the first of each of the 16ths. This is harder than it seems. The memonic to run through my head for 16th notes is "huckleberry" - count it out, there's four syllables. So when doing four octaves of scales, the "huck" part of each huckleberry is supposed to be slightly accented. However, it's on a different note for each octave. At the same time, I'm supposed to be remembering to put my thumb under the third finger sometimes and the fourth finger other times. Make sure you don't accidentally get the accent on your thumb, just because your thumb is naturally heavier than your fingers. The only way to keep it all straight is to go really slowly. I used to think that doing the scales was the easiest part of my technical requirements. However, I'm learning.

Now, on to arpeggios. Arpeggios should be played in 16th notes, not in triplets. (Back to huckleberry again.) Again, if you go slowly, you shouldn't have too much difficulty.

Then there's the dominant 7th chords. Apparently the correct fingering for those four note chords is the thumb and second finger and the fourth and fifth finger. Except for sometimes when it's the second and third finger. However, keep in mind that I have really tiny hands, so sometimes I have to use my thumb and third finger - instead of the more standard thumb and second finger. Confused yet? If you go really slowly, it's not too bad. (Yes, there is a recurrent theme here.)

The good news is that this year I don't have to do triads. I do them anyways; just because they don't require them this year, doesn't mean that they won't require them another year and I don't want to lose my hard-won skill at them.

I used to think that I could run through practicing my technical stuff with about 5 minutes per element; 5 minutes for scales, 5 minutes for arpeggios, 5 minutes for chords and triads. Lately it's been taking me about 45 minutes. I know it's all good for me, and it's amazing how much I am learning. I guess that's why I'm paying for lessons, eh?

Another day we'll look at sight reading.

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