Fatigue is my friend

When M’s too tired, she melts down; when she’s too antsy, she acts up. Today, she was just the right amount of tired: She cooperated excellently. (And we didn’t even do any inter-song activity, which increased our efficiency and sparked no protest.)

It probably helped that I set low expectations. We need to record a video of the Bach Tanz to send in to the Colorado Suzuki Institute as an audition for a solo recital, and we have to do it at this Saturday’s lesson. That gives us 3 days to get this song into shape. The only way we’ll get there is to focus on it, so I decided to have an all-Bach-Tanz lesson today.

We started by shadow practicing the D section (left hand only). Then we played various sections out of order: D, C, B, A. M played with great rhythm and very few errors.

When we moved on to putting sections together and introducing musical ideas, it got a little tougher. We’ve agreed on playing: A-mf, B-mf, A-piano/tosto, B-forte, and similarly for C-D-C-D. And I suggested that M introduce some vibrato on the half notes.

When M strung A-B-A-B together the first time, she forgot the vibrato and tosto, but she actually overdid the dynamics: her piano section was almost inaudible. I reminded her of the stage-whisper approach to playing piano.

She tried again, and this time when she did the tosto shift, she missed notes on both side of it. This was the first time she missed any significant number of notes, so we isolated the problem notes: the shift from natural to tosto (pretty easy, since you stay on the 2nd string), and the shift back (harder, because your right hand moves from playing the 2nd string to 3rd string). We repeated them several times, and M even did a few decent repetitions on her own initiative. Overall, we practiced for about 40 minutes.

I also introduced the idea of adding two additional practice events to our routine: (1) shadow practicing right before bed, and (2) practicing for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning. She was more-or-less agreeable to both, and we did manage to shadow practice the D section right before bed without incident.

We’ll have to see how the morning goes. Right now, I’m feeling good.

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