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Barbara Habel
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Ave Maria by Bach / Gounod

This is at the end of my lesson.

Please be as nasty and critical as possible.

Thank you!!!
Barbara Habel
17 Responses
Posted: July 5, 2019
Last Comment: July 18, 2019

Barbara Habel
Posted: July 18, 2019
Dear Ray

Thank you for the compliments.

This piece has 1st and 3rd position as well as 2nd and 4th position. The most challenging piece as far as shifting is concerned that I have done so far. And it is fun exploring the shifting world.

And yes the vibrato is also a challenge. Vibrato in the higher positions is easier as my hand can be fixed to the body of the violin to give it a steady hold.

Dear Jaime

Thank you for enjoying my redition of the Ave Maria.

I am still working on this piece. Got my last lesson prior to the recital tomorrow Friday.

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Posted: July 17, 2019
Wow Barbara! BRAVO!!!
What a sweet sweet rendition of this beautiful song!
Love the vibrato, your tempo and intonation... SUPERB!!!!
TRULY ENJOYED! Thanks for posting!!! :0)

Posted: July 10, 2019
Wow, Barbara, well done you with the vibrato!  And what about those shifts between first and third.  Superb!  

Barbara Habel
Posted: July 9, 2019
Dear Beth

Thank you for your kind words on my vibrato.

And as I read your comment I remembered the feeling of being stuck at the frog with no where to go but time to kill. (And forgetting about it again.) Thank you for making me aware of it and how to solve it. I have been trying it for the last 2 days and it is tough to change that habbit. But I am on it.

Dear Eileen

I have a Russian teacher who teaches to hold that elbow high. My teacher keeps reminding me to hold it higher and then the sound is much better. So in fact you have made me a compliment by noticing it. Thank you

Posted: July 8, 2019
Hi Barbara,

One thing I notice is that your bow arm is held too high.  I would lower that elbow and relax the arm a bit more.  let the weight of your arm add pressure instead of "pushing" down with that elbow up.  Your notes are very good....great intonation Barbara....they're just a little weak in some areas and I think lowering that elbow will help that.

Nice job !!   :-)

Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 8, 2019
Like the others Barbara, the first thing I noticed was how far your vibrato has come! It's especially wonderful on the A string. When your hand is on the E string, it changes shaped  a bit and the vibrato isn't as balanced. Be careful on your up bows. I noticed that often times the bow speed was too fast at the beginning of the stroke and then you got to the frog with time to spare. This causes a slight break in sound. One of the most common words we dribble over up bows is the word "save". That's a quick reminder to slow the bow speed down so that you have plenty of bow to sustain through the whole note value. 


Posted: July 6, 2019
Dear Barbara,

I listened and watched it, you've done great and it seems you know where you're going...I see you have lovely vibrato already, congratulations! 

I have same problem vibrating on 1st finger the 2,3,4 moves freely... The bowing let it flow freely, I have the same problem I need to do it too but it's very hard to make it flowing. Great job! 

 Enjoy your recital and hope you'll share a video soon...

P.S.You inspired me to try practice this again,[ but not today, too sleepy, next week on my day off] I stopped it because of my bowing issue...I can't get it flow. It's a very hard piece...[for me/in my journey practicing it especially my finger placement I did was messy, going all over the FB]. 

Barbara Habel
Posted: July 6, 2019
Dear Fabiano

I noticed that Anne Akiko Meyers only uses her 3rd finger.

I however aspire to be able to use the 4th finger. And in this particular piece with the shifting I did it always used to work that all 4 fingers are being used within one position. Hence the use of the 4th finger.

If I had used all the 3rd fingers (of which I had not even thought to do so) I would have had to do a lot more shifting. And that piece had lots of shifts in it already.

So you probably will have to wait a few years until you see me do shifting and vibrato only on 3rd fingers as Anne Akiko Meyers does :-)

Dear Timothy

Yes I hear that too that the intonation is off in places. Needs more practice :-) Thank you for spelling it out. So I cant deceive myself :-)

Dear Sonja

Thank you for your kind words and that you liked my phrasing. So there is hope for me even if I do not manage to incorporate Elkes suggestions. (I might have other priorities)

On vibrato. My teacher wants me to start with a clean note so the intonation has a chance to be ok because I can hear it better than if it was vibrato straight away. But I have seen violinist and cellist do it the way you are describing it. Maybe in the future?

Yes that first note of the piece needs a lighter bow. I already asked my teacher of how to do it and she said to raise the elbow high so the bows weight is light. Remember I do Russian bowing and she wants me to have a higher bowing elbow anyway.

Dear Barb

Thank you for your compliment. And yes playing sections for practice is something I do. Otherwise I would only do the first few lines and never get to the end. I hop all over the piece and play a measure or so for practice.

You can play pieces by ear - that is your strength. And that beautiful bow arm wrist you do is something I aspire to. So each person has a different gift. Maria can compose music. That is a different gift. We are here to learn from each other and let each gift inspire the other.

Barb Wimmer
Posted: July 5, 2019
Barbara this is great. You play amazing with the piano player and your rhythm is controlled perfectly. I think your fingers and arm if less controlled stiff but were more relaxed you could add even more beautiful tone but dont lose that excellent controlled rhythm by bring less stiff. Im jealous of your rhythm and control and ability to play so well in sync with the piano player and not to make any mistakes. Maybe I suggest maybe tapping a few notes and playing a small section over and over to get the notes some of them  a little crisper clearer otherwise very well done. you are playing excellent. 

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: July 5, 2019
Well done Barbara, this is not an easy piece and requires stamina to maintain tone and vibrato.

Here is my 2 cents worth:

Start the vibrato before playing your opening note, it will be cleaner that way.
Check on some intonation points and if its on a shift isolate and practice the shifts.

I thought your phrasing was good, and liked your rits.

Well done Im sure your recital will be great.


Timothy Smith
Posted: July 5, 2019
I don't want to be "nasty and critical" lol.  I've been on sites where they are and it isn't pretty :)

Maybe constructive or attempted constructive ideas might help. This is a truly wonderful piece of music by Bach and I loved hearing you play it. In trying to be as picky as possible about this without being at all nasty I only noticed some slight deviations in intonation here and there. Nothing major. I also am at fault in this since I will play something thinking it's pretty close and then find I was off some in listening to a recording. I say mainly though BRAVO! Nice playing!!

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: July 5, 2019
Barbara, I liked your performance.

I'd suggest the use of the 3d finger, instead of 4th, in places of emphasis. The 4th finger would be used just as an exercise. You are progressing, without no doubts. Congrats. fabiano

Barbara Habel
Posted: July 5, 2019
Dear Dianne

I will be working on it til my end of term recital on Wednesday 24th July. And yes I want to incorporate Elkes suggestion on building suspense in that phrase. But I think the piano needs to adjust to that too and play more quietly.

Coming back to it will take some years. I have other plans. I want to work on the Pachelbel Canon for my Christmas recital. And I have got an eye on "The Swan".

Thank you for your lovely words and detailing what you liked about it. Thank you Dianne

Elke Meier
Posted: July 5, 2019
Ha, Barbara, I would agree with you: I like the amateur player better also. I think it has to do with the tempo - Anne Akiko Meyers' violin has a much fuller sound - sure -, but her tempo feels rushed to me. And also, I do not like her very pronounced vibrato in this so much. I think it is just too much. I don't know why it would feel like that. Maybe because it is a classical tune over a baroque accompaniment? Well, but these are very subjective things...

Posted: July 5, 2019
Just beautiful Barbara. Your vibrato really is excellent! Wow what a sound! This was a long piece that needed endurance, and you finished it beautifully. No hard criticism here either! I listened to this and heard lots of expression. Are you going to keep working this piece for refinements in phrasing such as Elke mentioned, or move to next piece of repertoire and perhaps come back to it?

Barbara Habel
Posted: July 5, 2019
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Dear Elke

Thank you for the lovely words.

I dont know either how to keep the suspense growing. But thats what I have a teacher for. She will know and be able to demonstrate that to me.

Listen to this young lady playing it beautifully. And with lots of dynamics. I prefer her amateur playing to Anne Akiko Meyers professional playing.

Which one do you prefer?

Elke Meier
Posted: July 5, 2019
Wow Barbara, this was beautiful! Sorry, I can't find anything to be nasty about ;). It was just very beautiful! I especially marvelled at your fourth finger vibrato!! It looks so effortless! Very, very nice. And it was a really controlled vibrato, not just an uncontrolled jiggle, like you started the note and then you had the vibrato come on. It sounded so nice and fitting to the piece! Your many, many hours of vibrato practice and struggle are really paying off. The only thing that I think I would do differently is between 1:31 and 1:45. This, I feel, should be one phrase with growing dynamic, culminating at 1:42. The way you played it it felt to me like little building blocks put one after the other instead of one growing "Spannungsbogen". - Haha, here I say "I would do this differently" when I can't even play the piece and I would not really know how you can keep a "Spannungsbogen" over such a long phrase... 

Very well done, Barbara!