I have an adult pupil who wants to do their Grade 1 violin exam and they're having a slight difficulty with L'homme Arme, specifically with the switch from the low E in bar 13 to the high one in the next bar. A large part of the problem is they're not comfortable using 4th fingers so are having to jump two strings to get to the E string and in their last lesson it took them a whole extra bar to make the jump. I have for the time being changed the dotted minim to a crotchet followed by two crotchet rests to allow more time to make the switch but am aware of the comma at the end of the line although I doubt the comma is meant to last an entire bar! I was wondering how long other teachers would view this comma as I'm presuming it was put there for the purpose of making this jump a bit easier for pupils?
L'homme Arme Grade 1 violin
Posted 25 January 2018 - 12:22
Do you know what it is that causes your pupil to take a whole bar between the two Es? It could be not looking ahead and anticipating the big jump, an insecure bow hold, not being in the right part of the bow, or even the change in dynamics. Given the strategic placing of the comma, it's likely that it is to allow the pupil to accommodate the leap. To be honest, I think it would be stretching it to allow it to last more than a crotchet.
Could you perhaps make the dotted minim into a minim (to avoid the abrupt end of phrase) and then work on facilitating the jump? The low E is on a down-bow, so try getting the pupil to stop the bow at the end of the dotted minim (or minim if you change it) and then pivoting the bow so that it's sitting on the E string ready for the up-bow. It could be that the height of the right elbow isn't quite right, so you could try working on freeing it up so that it moves swiftly from D-string level to E-string level.
Posted 25 January 2018 - 19:58
Thanks, I have got my pupil to try the dotted minim as a single minim. Interestingly for a brief moment it went from too long a gap to too short! It was ok in the end so fingers crossed that it lasts...
Not sure why they're having problems with it - can only assume it's having to cross two strings from the D to the E string instead of just one. I'll see how things stand next week!
Posted 25 January 2018 - 22:52
Oh and I agree, check the elbow height and that there is a nice open action of the arm rather than the elbow being close to the body.