What to do when...........

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Monte, Mar 12, 2002.

  1. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    you've practiced hard at nailing the licks and the rehearsal the night before you miss 90% of them? Granted, I'm mostly a jazzer, but I've really been working hard to nail some of these semi-difficult runs in Beethoven's 4th (esp. the cello/bass section in the second mvmt. and all the stff in the third mvmt.). I had them down pat with the metrenome and last night the tempo seemed like it was way faster (it wasn't) and I was struggling to get the notes. As soon as I get of work I'll go home and practice some more. I really need to do more than hit some of the notes; the bass section is only 3 of us. Any ideas?

  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Well, take this for what it's worth (I'm 100% jazzer on the Bass), but when I'm trying to shed something that's technically challenging I always work the part in question up to about 20 bpm higher on the metronome than I intend to play it. Usually when I do this, the tempo of the performance seems tame by comparison, and then I can relax into the part.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It's not enough to have it under your hands. Have it in your ear and then listen as your hands do their work. Don't worry about missing it or any other worldly issues. It helps sometimes to looks at your hand while they play it. I guess the point I'm making is to get your mind off what you're doing and let the music play itself. It sounds a little nutty-crunchy-hippy-yoga, but it's the way that it is done.

    This, by the way, is the groove that I've noticed when I am experiencing the magic of music. I can't do it on command (just yet, is all -- I hope), but I can put myself in the neighborhood when conditions are favorable. It's still a work in progress. I let you know how it works out.

    In the end, it's your concern about the passage that is killing you. Even if you pulled it off, it wouldn't be music given those conditions.
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Another tip is not to worry about the speed so much when you're practicing the passage. Play it slowly and correctly. You brain will do the rest when the time comes. I've been playing with this technique in my quest for the Stick'O Pain and it seems to be paying off.
  5. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Thanks guys. I'm pretty good at starting slowly and working up to speed from all my days as a classical piano student. Far from being hippy-dippy, I'll take your advice to heart, Ray. I'll enjoy the music and relax. If anything, I'm 100 times better prepared than last year doing Mendelssohn's 4th, which I didn't play several passages of. Whatever happens tonight, happens. I got into this orchestra to stretch my arco chops and for fun (although "Overture toThe Magic Flute" and "Carmen" are among my least faves to listen to, I'll enjoy the Vaughn-Williams "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" and the Beethoven), so I'll just relax a little. The guy next to me is my teacher, and he has heard me miss stuff before:rolleyes:

  6. Some thoughts...

    When you practice slowly don't use more bow, use only the amount of bow you'd use if you were playing it fast, stopping the bow in between. This makes playing fast so much easier.

    Maybe it was the conductor's fault for not marking the beat clearly enough.

    You're playing in a community orchestra, right? If enough people around you suck it can be enough to mess you up even if you know your part cold.

    Get a recording of the Berlin Philharmonic to practice along with at home.

    And master the Bass Diversions.
  7. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
  8. Aroneng

    Aroneng Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Our rehersal lasts from 7-9:30pm, sometimes it will stretch closer to 10 o'clock. After spending over 8 hours at work, with sometimes many hours behind the computer the body just doesn't respond as quickly as it should:oops:

    What time do you practice? Just considering how the body feels later in the evening.
  9. David,

    Don't they tune to a 443 or 445 A. That makes it difficult to play along unless you tune up.

  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Tough to teach an OldSaw new tricks? lol
  11. To quote Brother Fuqua, "Ifya can't play it slow, you sure as hell can't play it fast."

    To quote a conductor "Practice does not make perfect; practice makes permanent." That's why you should practice at the tempo where you can execute correctly; then ratchet up the metronome every day as your progress allows.

    The same conductor addressed the basses as we were rather tentative on some fast fff phrase on some Russian piece: "Stop thinkin' about it. JUST RIP IT." So we did. It worked.
  12. :D

    Monte wasn't supposed to know!
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Now that I think about it, I play the whole gamut between 428 up to about 460.

  14. That happens to me, too, when I use gut strings.
  15. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    With guts you can hit all of the tunings without changing you left had at all. In fact, and this may ruffle a few feathers, I think you could probably make a whole gig with one string and no fingerboard....
  16. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    your right about practice make forever! If I play it wrong I need to do it right about a 1000 times right before I don't play it wrong again.

    Play it slow and right untill it is right all the time then jack the speed up untill it is faster than it will be played in concert.

    The above has already been said.

    I find that I can get a section down then when I play the whole song my mind goes away so when I practice I like to play the whole number through including the rests so I get a feel for how long it should take and what the lead in to the hard parts sound like.

  17. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Actually, the stuff I was worried about went fairly smooth. The worst thing I did was missing it in the Vaughn-Williams when it goes back to Bb and playing a B for the first beat of a whole note. My fault for not circling the key change, but I had never missed it before.

  18. When I'm having trouble with faster passages, and I can't seem to get my fingers to the right places at the right times, I stop thinking about the left hand altogether - in fact, I stop playing it altogether.

    More often than not, what feels like a left hand problem is more of a right hand problem than you are aware.

    Try this: Park your left hand in a pleasant sounding position - say, bridging across B, E, B, E, respectively on the E, A, D, G strings, or just open strings if you like - and just do the bowings of the passage. Analyze it, write it out with the fixed fingerings if you like, practice it slowly, at tempo, overtempo, upsidedown, as notated, legato, whatever, until the right hand part of the passage is flowing easily off your bow the way you want it and the rhythmic figure is burned into your brain, all with a fixed fingering in left hand.

    Then re-introduce the left hand, and you'll find the fingerings are miraculously easier to master.

    Hitting each note with confident, accurate bowing, including bow speed and position, bow changes, articulations, and string changes, sort of clears a path for the left hand to move through, almost drawing the left hand along. In fact, though it sounds kind of inexplicable, I find when I really think through and practice the bowings first, it even seems to make my intonation more accurate.