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Goal for 2019

My goal for 2017 was to be able to play one piece of music in the tempo that was tasteful for that piece.  Those of you who know me well, know that rhythm and I have had an uneasy relationship over the years. 

The music was French Folk Song and it took 154 days.  It happened just 3 days before Thanksgiving (in Canada :)))  ).  And celebrated the feat in suitable fashion, emailing Beth (who was instrumental and a key player in me being able to achieve my goal)  and champagne with family.

My goal in 2018 was to be able to play one piece of music, in the tempo that was tasteful for that piece but in a shorter period of time.  The piece was Moon Over Ruined Castle and this only took 2 weeks.  Again Beth's seemingly bottomless ability to come up with analogies and gently prodding was invaluable for me to achieve my goal.  I am now at the stage of polishing Moon  Over Ruined Castle.  Thank you Beth and numerous other people who helped along the way with fantastic observations and helpful hints on how to improve.

Now for my goal for 2019.

My most ambitious so far in playing the violin.  This year I come armed with a set of techniques, which works for me, in learning rhythm.  This year I also have Beth's Practice Course which dovetails nicely the techniques I am presently using for each new piece.  So here is my goal.  I will learn the rhythm ( NOT to performance level) 5 new pieces of music in the first 6 months.  I am cheating in to some extent because I am surface familiar with 2 of the pieces already.  The pieces I have selected were chosen because they build on each other and I am able to apply skills from one piece to the others.

So here are the pieces of music, hardest is number 1 and so forth, I have chosen:
  1. Don Gievanni, a minuet written by Mozart.  100 bpm 3/4, fastest note value 1/16 and there are dotted 1/8 notes.
  2. Ecossaise, written by Beethoven.  110 bpm, 2/4, fastest note value 1/8.
  3. Moonlight Sonata written by Beethoven.  60 bpm, 4/4, fastest note value 1/16 and there are dotted 1/8 notes.
  4. Minuet No.1 written by Bach and found in Suzuki Book 1.  100 bpm, 3/4, fastest note value 1/8.
  5. Simple Gifts written by Joseph Bracket, in 1848.  80bpm, 2/4, fastest note value 1/8 and dotted 1/4 notes.
So that is my 2019 goal.  5 new pieces in 6 months.  I'll be posting along the way, for feedback and invaluable critique.  Don Giovanni is the hardest rhythm for me as of today.  I can clap in time for the other 4 pieces and for Minuet No.1 and Simple Gifts, I am working at coordinating the right and left hands for the first phrase.

Enough about me!  What are your goals for 2019.  Wishing you'all all the best as we enthusiastically push forward towards our musical goals for the year 2019. 



9 Responses
Posted: January 9, 2019
Last Comment: January 11, 2019

Posted: January 11, 2019

I admire Ray your methodological approach to playing - if only I had a fraction of your stamina and patience...

my goals for this year are:
-To get more comfortable with shifting.
-Vibrato - I do have sort of a vibrato, but it is not a real vibrato and I really need to follow the steps and not skipping ahead when I get bored...
-Work on dynamics, phrasing and expressive playing.
-Be more diligent with scales and arpeggios
-Build up my self confidence, especially what comes to playing in the orchestra (we have a very small orchestra and you cannot "hide")

I also have some dream repertoire for the year to come, but there is so many pieces I love so I still need to decide where really to concentrate my energy.

Stephen Nill
Absolute Beginner

Began playing
October, 2018

Level 1
Lesson 56

Posted: January 10, 2019
I love this discussion!

As a baby violinist, I have so much to learn that I don't know what I don't know. I am content to follow the breadcrumbs, one at a time, so thoughtfully set down by Beth. I am taking my time, especially at the beginning -- I have taken to heart Beth's advice to focus on the fundamentals, so that's what I'm doing. :)

Posted: January 10, 2019
Forgot Scale Work
Ray, I entirely left out scales. I will start with single stops and then to some of the double stop scales. I will try to hit one key/week in scales and Arpeggios. This area has opportunities for octaves/shifting and varied bowings. I look forward to spending more time in Arpeggios, since I have been seeing them in pieces.

Kody Morgan
Posted: January 10, 2019
@sonia The whistler book for double stops is great. I picked one up along with 'Introducing the positions' and it's really helped me. 

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: January 10, 2019
Well done Ray, these are fabulous goals. Very specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART).

I will be doing my grade 4 theory in the next 6 months and then onwards to grade 8 music. 

 My last exam had feedback about vibrato so I am now working through Bethís Course and will post the Graduation Piece in due course (probably in the next month).

I have also just received Whistlers book on Double Stops. For many years Iíve shied away from DSs and now I canít  do that any more. All my exams pieces have DSs in them, so I think the new book will be a great help.


Alan Barnicoat
Posted: January 9, 2019
1. Read and play without the need to look at the fingerboard
3. Shifting

Kody Morgan
Posted: January 9, 2019
I second vibrato

Posted: January 9, 2019
Hi Ray, my goals for this year are:
In general, get comfortable with shifting as a matter of course, fast playing in pieces & vibrato.
In more detail:
-finish Suzuki Book 4
-polish the bits of the Handel The Messiah that were challenging
-work with the vibrato course
-continue working in Melodious Double Stops Book I
-work through Wohlfahrt Book II
-continue working in Whistler Positions 3 & 5
-Kreutzer etudes

Posted: January 9, 2019
:::::: v i b r a t o ::::::

That is my one big goal for 2019!

I really admire how systematic you are... Looking forward to seeing (and hearing) your progress!