Since we've been here at the farm, we've relaxed our practice schedule somewhat. I'm trying to get him through the Vivaldi A minor 2nd movement at least once a day, so he can firm up his memory on where the shifts are, but that doesn't always happen. We've been working on the shifting exercises and tonalization, string change etudes in Book 5, but we haven't been working very seriously on anything. Benny will be graduating from Book 4 at some point in the fall, so we are also vaguely reviewing the Seitz concertos and the rest of the Vivaldi in A minor. The thing is... unless we practice right away in the morning, our days are so full of activities and outdoor exertions that neither of us have the vim and vigor for a really serious violin practice.
I have to work against my reaction to the A minor 2nd movement -- this was my Waterloo as a violinist -- past which I could no longer really get by with my fake vibrato. Second movements always my downfall. Allegros, Gigues, more my style.
Two good things have happened:
1. Benny wrote a song -- not a classical song but a rock song. He has a violin part for it that I think is completely hooky, adorable, inventive, and amazing. I say that without patronizing him -- it's a riff Rasputina would be proud of. His teacher has been encouraging him to write down some of the improv tunes he comes up with, and he doesn't really do it, partly because he doesn't have the theory enough to do it, and mostly because I think he just doesn't care. When he does want to write something down he can -- he used staff paper to write down an Irish-ish tune that was in his head the other day and did fine with slurs, ties, key signature, etc. So, I think that maybe writing songs for him is going to take a different shape than we envisioned. Not so much with the Gavottes and Etudes. More with the Verse-Chorsus-Bridge. Which is so fine with me. He asked me if I want to be in his band, and I said, unreservedly, YES.
2. He's been playing outside a little bit, and in different spaces, and I think it's improved his tone. Sometimes at home we play on the front porch or on the back deck, just for variety, but standing under the trees in the front yard, which are ancient maples five stories high, or inside an evergreen house of pine branches -- I think it creates a different feeling for him. Anyway, I think he's sounding pretty good!
After he gets the A minor wrapped up, it's on to the G minor. Hard to believe he could be done with Book 5 by spring. He already knows the 1st violin part of the Bach Double. So we're one concerto and a few dances away from Book 6.