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Timothy Smith
This discussion includes members-only video content

I hope some of my Suzuki training is rubbing off. 
Timothy Smith
10 Responses
Posted: November 23, 2019
Last Comment: December 2, 2019

Timothy Smith
Posted: December 2, 2019
Thanks Maria, I can't hold a candle to you in playing though:)

So here's the link to this tune it's called "Morrison's Jig" Fairly common in most session circles.

Posted: December 1, 2019
Good morning Tim,

Finally got a day off...

Oh, it's a definite yes!

I can now enjoy and hear the beautiful sweet notes and sweet tones you make...May I know the title of this one please...

Timothy Smith
Posted: November 25, 2019
Lesley, Thank you. The dances for this kind of music are a bit off compared to typical dance. 6/8 time. There's the old joke that they showed Irish dancers on TV and nothing was moving.....because they only showed from the waist up. It's all in the legs and they use tap shoes.

I'm likely off a bit in tempo and need a metronome too. 

Timothy Smith
Posted: November 25, 2019
 You get my idea of a test exactly. This is a test and only a test. I am glad to see that you do the same things occasionally in attempting to see how far you can push it before things break up.

I am glad you are also seeing progress in playing a bit slower so that you can eventually play faster.. I think I just missed being in the sessions and playing some of the tunes I know. I'll be back with something else totally different :)

Posted: November 25, 2019
Tim, your bowing is indeed very straight and centred and your tone is nice and strong! What I would like more of is a clearer sense of the rhythm. If I were trying to dance to this, I'm not sure I'd know where to put my feet! Have you tried it with a metronome? (I have a love/hate relationship with metronomes... but they have their uses.)

Elke Meier
Posted: November 25, 2019
Timothy, just a comment to your sentence: "Playing tunes like this has to be second nature or it just won't work in a live situation." While I agree in terms of that you need to have a knack for fiddle music in order to really give life to these tunes (I could never do it, it just does not touch my soul like classical music does) I would still challenge it. I think what has to become second nature is the coordination between left and right hand as Barbara pointed out. And that is probably why your teacher keeps you in "ballad-mode" :). I think fiddle music is extremly challenging with regards to exact coordination, just because it is so fast and has so much ornamentation. I would encourage you to go with your teacher. Without doubt it is a good way you are on!  Because I can also hear a difference already. And I think once you have clean articulations throughout (which equals very good left/right hand coordination) it will just propel your fiddle music to a very different level. I complained to Beth the other day that I find it so hard to keep good coordination during faster passage. It is just about impossible for me. And her answer was: "As long as you have any tension in either shoulder/arm it will prevent you from playing with good coordination." So that is my focus in a lot of VERY slow playing right now: turn my focus on all the different parts involved, one at a time, while I do these slow exercises: shoulders, wrists, fingers, elbows. I, too, like to "test" after a bit whether I can already feel a difference. But then I have this warning voice in my mind: By playing we reinforce muscle memory. And I can either reinforce something that is wrong or something that is right. Hmm. Keeps me on the slow side at the moment with patiently turning the metronome up one notch at a time instead of ten... I guess I will know in a few weeks/months whether this approach really did bring the results I hope for :).

Karen Egee
Posted: November 25, 2019
Impressive! It seems one of the challenges with playing this fast is coordinating bow changes with finger/note changes in fast parts. I wonder if one might play more notes on slurs to make this easier? Or maybe this isn't the style of this music.

Timothy Smith
Posted: November 25, 2019
Thanks Barbara and Dianne,

The whole concept of playing slow to then play fast was a slow one to finally accept. I know there are various small blunders on this. I didn't pick the easiest Irish tune to play. I know there were a few I could have played without any errors but I wanted to challenge myself. I played this up to session tempo which still trips me up here and there. I know my teacher would be telling me to go back to the drawing board. I would agree. It's like 85% there.

Things I worked to improve that I think I see improvement were  upper arm movement, straight bow, fingers closer to the fingerboard, although still not in a "tunnel" shape. With my shorter fingers I'm wondering if that's possible.

 Things I still need to work on. Smoother more confident articulations with the left hand. FWIW my teacher hasn't been working on anything fast with me. She is  keeping me in ballad realms for now. I just wondered if my training was in any way helping me to play faster. It seems to have helped just a very little. Not as much as I would have liked. Playing tunes like this has to be second nature or it just won't work in a live situation.

Posted: November 24, 2019
I agree, your training is making a difference. Your left hand fingers look stronger. Great job!

Barbara Habel
Posted: November 23, 2019
Dear Timothy

Yes your training is rubbing off :-)

In this piece most of the notes are clearly defined with a beginning and an end.

But there are still notes that smudge over into the next note - where the hand and bow coordination is off.

The hand bow coordination is really key to getting those fast Irish pieces to sound good. And guess what? It is best learned by playing it first    s  l  o  w  l  y    :-)

I enjoyed your efforts. Thank you for sharing. And looking forward to the next musical piece that is underlined with pictures you took from where you live.