The meditation continues as the metronome clicks away and we move onto scales. In my opinion, they are the best way to improve your playing. We begin with a slow, controlled bow which pulls out the sound of each note. A moment with C, a moment with D, a moment with E . . .tuning up the pitch as well as the ear. "Hear the note before you play," I say. The metronome beats away at 72 and we begin slurring 2 notes, then 3, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 24. Dividing the bow, planning the bow speed, take a deep breath and RELAX because you can do it. Rhythms are applied next and then the fun starts as the metronome speed increases 72, 84, 96, 108, 120 as we slur 8 notes together.
There are many variations of scale work, this being just the beginning, but I love the practice of slow to fast. Working the finger facility, the intonation and ear training, the bow control and most of all the sound. If you want to become a virtuoso, practice your scales and get yourself a Carl Flesch scale book.
Our fingers are warmed up and our mind is focused. No other thoughts are present. Etudes follow. This is a challenge you will meet and beat. A technical practice. Another type of meditation . . .get ready, this one might be difficult. "Quality over Quantity" is written at the top of the page and notes are scribbled in the side lines. "Prepare elbow," "Prepare finger," "Shift from the elbow," "Watch hand position," etc. The metronome holds the time . . .slow and steady wins the race.
A smile lights up your face as you know you have improved since last time. You can do anything, look at you! Excellent work.
Lets move on to your piece, ah, I love this, don't you? How is it going? What are you struggling with? Let's fix it. Can you use more bow here? Where is this line going? Perhaps this fingering would work better . . .try this. Relax. Breathe. Sing.
What time is it? That can't be right, can you stay a few minutes more?
Life is like music. Sometimes its happy and sometimes its sad. Sometimes its a struggle. Sometimes its boring, but I find the connections we make are the most important things. People are what matter. Beyond the fact that I am teaching this instrument, I am teaching you to listen to yourself. To check into what's happening. To be present. This is where the power is and it can change your playing and it can change your life.