Funny, when I look at the title of this article I can think of ‘increase resolution’ as generating willpower; as in ‘increasing my resolution to practice.’ Yet that is not what I intend to write about. The title came after the subject matter, you see, and now I see it can be taken in two ways.
The other way has to do with getting at the real essence of playing the violin well; like using a magnifying glass to better appreciate the anatomy of an ant, for instance.
For instance, many folks will use slow practice only to the point they have the notes in their fingers. Then it’s hurry up, play the thing over and over, and then come to one of two conclusions; either ‘that’s what its supposed to sound like,’ or ‘that’s as good as I’ll ever do it.’
In my early years I had that tendency, but now I return to deliberate, slow practice many times during the process. And when I do I’m ever on the lookout for inefficiencies, impurities of technique, hidden tensions and the like.
Even in my warmup before going onstage to perform I play slowly. At that point, however, it becomes a gentle, calm reminder of everything I know, a way to relax into the certainty of my mastery.
Yet as valuable a tool slow practice can be to increase one’s power of technical and musical resolution, it is certainly not the only one.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve talked a lot about the usefulness of a measured vibrato, definitely a resolution increasing device, as is the verbalizing of beats, another favorite of mine.
However all of these are useful only to one who is up and running on the instrument. The novice needs ‘resolution’ on a whole range of matters prior to the mastering of complex music. Holding the bow, positioning the left hand, drawing a clear tone, understanding musical notation, what a ‘shift in position’ refers to and how to make one, all these need to be clearly understood and they will be, when one ‘takes it from the top’ with my “Beginners Circle” program.
All the best,