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Elke Meier
This discussion includes members-only video content

About half a year ago I started on op 3 of Sevcik, 40 variations. It is a wonderful book of bowing exercises. Very quickly I noticed that I would not be able to do this on my own, without a teacher's input, if I wanted to to really get the benefit of that opus. So I decided to do a MusicGuru lesson with Beth. I submitted a practice video of the first four variations together with my questions and Beth sent me an answer video with her suggestions and observations. It was a HUGELY beneficial lesson for me!

It seems like other people are discovering this opus right now :) - Anne has announced her year-long project, and Mary just submitted her first video with the theme and variation. This made me think that it might be helpful if I shared my MusicGuru lesson here. So I worked on my video submission and Beth's answer and produced six little videos. This one is about the theme, the others you find inside the post - so as not to clutter the front page... 

I cut them together now following always the same pattern: Starting with my questions about this variation, then the recording I sent (I had recorded each one from two angles so Beth could observe the left hand also), followed by Beth's answer about this variation. Mind you, they are rough practice videos, not polished submissions. I had decided to do the lesson early in the process so I would not practice wrong patterns. And I was very glad I did it this way. But it wasn't planned that anyone but Beth would see these raw practice videos. So please don't be too shocked. Over the last days I just thought it might be helpful to others if you could also see Beth's instructions on them. And the instruction wouldn't make much sense if you didn't see my mistakes...
 

So here we go... enjoy 
Elke Meier
22 Responses
Posted: January 3, 2018
Last Comment: February 11, 2018
Replies

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: February 11, 2018
Sevcik opus 3, theme and five variations
Here is a run_through of the Sevcik opus 3 theme and first five variations. Such charming pieces... https://youtu.be/TJNhFSna-Mw


Posted: January 28, 2018
Oh, thank you, Elke (and Beth).  This is great, I'm immediately bookmarking this thread.

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: January 28, 2018
A year of „easy“ Sevcik variations — studying to play them with ease
Thank you, Elke, for sharing your explorations of Sevcik op. 3, and to Beth for allowing her tutoring to be shared. This is so interesting. And you are doing very well. I have the same question that you do: How to make these sound beautiful, given the “didactic” technical constraints.

As you have mentioned, I started my own project of these variations, practicing each one for 10 minutes a day for 7 days, before moving on and reviewing the previous ones. I do have a blog, although I have not updated it recently, but will again. It is at https://amaudpowellfan.wordpress.com/. It has a link to a playlist on YouTube with all my video practices.

I finished Day 7 of Variation 4 yesterday and will continue with 5 today. I am planning to do a review week after that and “perform” the whole set up to 5 in a single go, which I will then post here, too, for your review.

I’d love to participate in any kind of practice project on ViolinLab, too.

Janice Branley
Posted: January 8, 2018
That's great, thank you!  

Elke Meier
Posted: January 8, 2018
Janice, check the link I included in the original post. It takes you to the book at IMSLP.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 8, 2018
Janice, you can find the whole book on IMSLP.org. 

Janice Branley
Posted: January 8, 2018
Elke, it was so kind to share this experience.  I only have the first variation which I found online as I don't have the book, it is proving a good challenge. You did really well with it.

MsPolkadotz
Posted: January 8, 2018
Dear Elke, It's so wonderful to watch your lesson with Beth. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I learned so much from the videos that I can apply to my own playing. By the way, your intonation is just marvelous! I think I read in one of your posts that you use intonia app for ear training? I am sold. I need to download this now ;-) Thanks again and lovely to hear you play. 

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Posted: January 4, 2018
Thanks Sonia! Will keep an eye on Sevcik as well... want to hear more from it! :0)
Will try your suggestions...

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: January 4, 2018
Hi Jaime,
I used Dancla for finger strength and dexterity. Here is how I used it. Divide the bow into quarters by measuring and marking it. Set the metronome to 60. Play the study, use a quarter of the bow to each set of 4 notes making a whole bow to a bar. Increase the metronome speed to 61 and do this again. Do as many or as few metronome increments as you can manage or want to do. Next day start at the old speed eg 61 and move forwards again. When I was in the Uk and lucky enough to have a great teacher, he said if I did this he would guarantee that In 6 weeks the metronome would be set at 200! He was spot on!

Sonia

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Posted: January 4, 2018
This discussion includes members-only video content

finger motion....
Elke!
Sevcik... wonderful etude!, but I see it introduces very actively shifting... a notion I am just starting to develop. With local teacher we are exploring shifting using "Second and Fourth Position String Builder" by Samuel Applebaum. 

For finger "unstiffening" if you will, I find that "DANCLA" by George Lehmann is a wonderful didactic venue to enhance, reinforce and "loosen" finger motion, while learning to keep bow distribution. Here I play for you etudes 1, 2 and 3 of the book.

It is interesting that is not until etude #8 in DANCLA that one is introduced more ACTIVELY to the use of the fourth finger at the different strings. I believe local teacher also mentions further into the etudes SHIFTING is introduced as well! 

I WILL be following your project on Sevcik for sure! Hoping when I'm ready for it, that I can attack its hurdles easier, thanks to you, Mary, Dianne and others that may participate! :0)

Dianne
Posted: January 4, 2018
Hi Elke, what about a practice challenge thread, where we can all post our attempts, focusing on one variation at a time, and then comment on each other's videos to help each other along?

Elke Meier
Posted: January 4, 2018
Maria, the book can be downloaded from IMSLP - see the link in my original text. Happy practicing!

Maria
Posted: January 4, 2018
Indeed, a huge thank you for sharing with us Elke...

I'm still outside just came from the hospital and there's a big storm brewing outside so I decided to stop to have a cup of warm tea... Come and have a cup as well...

When I get home I'll watch it and will try it, but not sure if I have the book 📚 

Katja
Posted: January 4, 2018

Thank you so much Elke for sharing this with us! I am at work so not watching them now, can't wait to get home and explore these.

And I am definitely in if we opt for a study group :) I find these so beneficial.


Vayia UK
Posted: January 4, 2018

Elke, a big 'thank you' for sharing these videos, they are so educational, very generous of you, you are wonderful and so is Beth! 


Elke Meier
Posted: January 4, 2018
Mary, I asked the same question of Beth, because I was concerned that I won't be able to get them to what Sevcik suggests. Basically what she said: "Do whatever with them. At your stage it is the development of flexibility that counts and whatever speed you play them in will do you a lot of benefit!" So I work on one until I get the rhythm right and feel that I can play it reasonably well (like maybe var 1 to 3 in the examples - which is still WAY below the suggested tempo), then I add the next. I still go back to the old ones all the time, though. The fact that I am still at the same variations as half a year ago has mostly to do with my crazy autumn and winter. There was VERY, VERY little time for the violin - hardly enough for what Nick calls "maintenance practice" :). I have only started practicing again this last week and my intonation was just beyond horrible, my rheumatic fingers stiff and weak, etc. It is like starting all over again...

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: January 4, 2018
Thanks Elke. I will watch your videos in due course. I haven’t come across these studies but have see what Anne is up to :) I like the idea of 10 mins a day because I have loads of other things to practice for my next exam, but it will be nice to do something which isn’t exam material. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Happy playing
Sonia

Mary Freeman
Posted: January 4, 2018
It is funny that you mention working on the same 6 variations because my next question for Anne is how much to practice each study. I got the book on Tuesday so I am way behind everyone.

Elke Meier
Posted: January 4, 2018
They are such helpful exercises, Mary, for developing wrist flexibility, and I love the musicality of them! But I would have never gotten the best out of them if it hadn't been for the lesson! My level of playing is just very different from Anne's who gets all these details by herself :). 

I have had a very rough autumn and winter with very little time for practice, so basically I am still at the same 6 variations. But I can see a difference in my bowing as compared to the recording in June. That is encouraging! 

These videos were just cut together from the parts that refer to the specific variations. In a more general talking spot Beth said maybe we should start a practice group to work on those variations together. I think that would be very beneficial but I am not quite sure how it would work as people here are at such different stages in their playing. Anne plans to work on each variation for a week. I need WAY more than 10min a day for a week to even get close to mastering each variation. So I will probably be busy with them for years... :) - On the other hand I would love a common practice group as I find it so very illuminating when someone comments on the mistakes of someone else in a piece I am also working on - I always learn something for my own playing that I hadn't even thought about yet. 

Mary Freeman
Posted: January 3, 2018
Thank You Elke
you are putting me to shame (LOL)
It is proving my theory that this is mostly about devloping bowing skills involving the wrist. I so did not even see the tiny little shift markers for Tema

Elke Meier
Posted: January 3, 2018
This discussion includes members-only video content

And here come the variations. 

Variation 5 and 6 I had not started at that time, they are just Beth's suggestions.