Wednesday, September 22, 2010


COMPOSER: Chopin "Impromptu in C#Minor Opus 66 Fantasie Impromptu" 

This piece was rewritten in a modern "pop" version called "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows." It was performed by many famous singers of their day. An example is a famous "pop" artist of 1918,  Harry Fox who sang this making it a big hit. 

1. QUOTE AUTHOR: Nadia Boulanger; famous teacher of music composition and teacher of the famous American composer, Aaron Copland.

2. SOLFEGE: MI-RE-DO Review of MI-RE-DO hand signals and sounds/practice singing the MI-RE-DO pitches by teaching how to proportion air using the diaphragm muscle (a technique also used for breath control on the recorder).
a. Each student sings the pattern and hand signs to... teacher: "Did you finish your quote?" Student reply, "Yes I did."
2. Composer Report on Chopin: We wrote down some famous people in literature who lived during Chopin's time: Washington Irving "Rip Van Winkle," Sarah Hale "Mary Had a Little Lamb," Victor Hugo "Hunchback of Notre Dame," and George Sand (a famous female writer who used the pen name of a man in order to get published during a time when it was nearly impossible for a woman to make a living at writing. She was also Chopin's girl friend.
3. Review of songs previously played using fingers T123/fingerings that move by step/skip
a. SONGS "James' Lot"and "Whacky Nutcracker"( )
b. Start to sight read through "Whacky Nutcracker" Play once with direction from teacher/discuss term "staccato" [shortened articulated sounds (short does not mean loud however)]/practice paying the "staccato."
c. Tomorrow to go over other technical terminology in the piece.

OBJECTIVE: Violin Bow: How to tighten and loosen/Beginning bow holds

1. Demonstrated:
.....a. A loosened bow (hair close to the stick-not capable of producing a spring action)/ Hair is not too loose so it can get caught on things and get ripped off the bow by accident.
.....b. A properly tightened bow [hair farther away from the stick to form a spring action when pressed onto the string/middle of the bow is approximately the width (from hair to stick) of a pointer finger or pencil] The stick of the bow will have a slight inward curve or "bow" to it.
.....c. An overly tightened bow [hair is very far from the stick and more than the width (from hair to stick) of a pointer finger or pencil] causing the stick of the bow to be almost completely straight or "bowed" (curved) outward.
2. Bow care and maintenance:
.....a. Bow hair comes from horse tail (very coarse) and will expand and contract depending on weather conditions. Because of that, bows need to be loosened before they are put away in their case and tightened before they can be used on the instrument. If the hair is not loosened and the weather conditions change, the bow hair could shrink. When that happens the bow could over tighten itself (the hair tension on the bow stick being pulled very tight) often causing the bow stick (usually at the tip) to break.
.....b. Never touch hair of the bow with hand as natural oils from the skin will get onto the bow hair and cause it to become slippery.
.....c. When bow hair becomes loose or breaks take care how the loose hair is taken off the bow. Done incorrectly can actually cause more hair to fall out
.....d. Bows have a pointed tip and must be handled carefully because of that; consequently never point a bow at some one's face.
3. Using the screw to tighten and loosen the bow air:
.....a. If the bow stick is on the right and the hair is on the left, then the screw, when turning it to the right, will tighten the bow. (RULE: "RIGHTY-TIGHTY, LEFTY-LOOSEY")
.....b. If the player forgets which side to view the stick and hair (as above) they can watch the horse hair itself in relation to the stick to determine if the bow screw is being turned to the wanted direction. (Hair closer to the stick to loosen, hair away from the stick to tighten
.....a. 3 main types of right-bow holds: Russian (heavy sounded with right index finger placed on the stick way below the middle joint of the pointer finger), French(light sounded with the right index finger placed way above the middle knuckle of the index finger, and the Franco-Belgium (most common and average bow hold) with the right index finger placed just slightly above the middle knuckle on the stick.
.....b. Not everyone will hold the bow exactly the same since everyone has different sized hands and fingers.
What everyone does have are the middle knuckles which are all first placed from above on to the top of the bow stick. They are placed on the stick padding of silver portion (stay away from the screw)
From that position everyone will have to adjust the bow hold for their specific hand and fingers:
..........1. Right thumb is placed in between the middle two fingers (with no squeezing)
..........2. Right pinky will move to a position atop the stick so it sits at a naturally curved position (not flat or bent backwards with any tension) This finger will balance the bow.
..........3. Lastly, the right pointer finger is adjusted to just slightly above the knuckle on the stick (Franco-Belgium bow hold).
.....c. The bow is supposed to sit or balanced on top of the violin and the bows movement is actually directed by the hand and fingers. (The weight of the bow pressing down on the strings to create a spring which starts the violin string to vibrate actually comes from the upper right arm not the hand and fingers.) The bow is not actually held because the right fingers need to be flexible. "Holding" the bow in a squeezing type of position will cause the bow to create sounds that will be tense, scratchy, and coarse.

OBJECTIVE: Preparation for Harvest Day performance on October 28th/Hoedown music

a. Put together the introduction: coordinating the violin part (some different rhythms from the cello) with the cello/piano part.
b. Worked on a difficult 4 note passage using fingered double stops (two strings played at once with a finger down on each string) on the violin and for the cello, using an extended 4th finger to 2nd finger pattern (extending out of the 1st position for 2 notes before going back to the 1st position). To continue with this tomorrow.
c. Add the next section on to what we previously learned and play with the recording for continuity.