In my last meeting with Jiwon, we discussed my presentation for In-Depth Night. I wanted to do a medley of a few songs that people know and like, so we discussed putting together some fun Disney songs for the presentation. I’m also still working on the three-octave G major scale, the open-string tone exercise, and the Judas Maccabaeus chorus from my friend’s Suzuki book.
The Judas Maccabaeus chorus from the Suzuki book is the most complex song I’ve played so far. It involves some tricky string crossing, slurs and other articulations, and sections with quarter notes mixed with quicker eighth notes that require some finger dexterity. I’m still working on getting all the notes in tune, especially for the parts where I have to move my hand faster and my fingering tends to get messy. Playing the slurs is also new; Jiwon instructed me to play the slurs in one bow stroke, so I have to remind myself to do that when I play.
The third octave of the G major scale actually sounds a lot better now (after a few weeks) than when I started. I’ve gotten more familiar with the fingering pattern and finding the notes, so I don’t have to fumble as much to play in tune. However, the tuning and tone get trickier in the last few highest notes of the scale. Max’s useful tips were to keep the bow close to the bridge of the violin and watching the hand positioning. I found that keeping the bow closer to the bridge definitely helped; it prevented the tone from sounding too thin as the notes went higher. I still have to work on the hand positioning, though. I find it tricky to keep the lower fingers in place when I stretch my pinky finger to the last two notes (F# and G). The last notes still tend to be out of tune, but I’m happy with how far I’ve come so far.
As for the presentation, my plan is to pick three Disney songs and put them together in a mashup or medley. I think it would work well to accompany myself on piano or guitar depending on the song so there’s something in the background to ground everything. Some of my song ideas were “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story, and “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. Jiwon and I looked around a bit online and found sheet music for “Part of Your World” in a manageable key (E minor/G major).
One of the videos I was inspired by:
What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?
The most difficult mentoring challenge so far has been finding time to meet, because both of us have pretty busy schedules; finding times when both of us are free is challenging sometimes. Most of our meetings so far have been after block five in the band room, which works well when we’re both free. However, sometimes we’re not both free. In that case, I go to Jiwon’s house after dance or once we’re free. Sometimes that doesn’t work either, though. But usually, we can fit in a meeting at least every one to two weeks.
What is working well? Why?
Jiwon says that I’m learning fast, which I kind of have to, since In-Depth is only five months. The previous music experience helps, and I’m enjoying this In-Depth more than last year’s because of the cool novelty that violin has, being a new instrument to me. Fortunately, the violin’s being new and exciting means that I’ll be excited about learning it at least for the first few months, or the duration of In-Depth. It’s also been great to have a mentor who’s already done In-Depth before and has some previous insights about the process. The process of meetings and progress blog posts with mentoring questions can come off as unfamiliar to mentors who have not been through it before. Since Jiwon has already experienced In-Depth herself, she can better help me with the process.
What could be working better? How can you make this happen?
I have to practice. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time and my motivation tends to fluctuate a lot; sometimes I don’t practice at all for almost up to a week, and sometimes I feel super motivated and cram practice. My nice, structured practice routine that I developed at the start of the project has fallen apart a little and turned into a free-for-all. I have more time to practice now, during the break, but I still have to set aside time each day to practice. I don’t know if it would help to stick to the structured schedule for practicing that I came up with earlier, because I don’t really want to; I found that I would much rather practice what I feel like practicing in the order that I want to practice it in on any given day. This is a much more chaotic way to go about it than the clean, organized schedule, and I could risk just putting off whatever I don’t want to practice, which I definitely want to avoid. I’ll see how it goes.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!