WEEK 1: Dóbroje útro (Good Morning)!
Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of the Nikita Koshkin challenge! This is the place for the Week 1 Submissions!
- Make sure you've read the guidelines before replying (<- click)
- Watch the kickoff livestream for help with the first section!
- Get the Scores Here
If you want to describe your process (optional), feel free to use the following template.
- Things you found easy:
- Things you found difficult:
- (Optional): a video of you performing it!
- (Optional:) questions
Well, I was pretty happy when Martin announced that this would be the next challenge, since I've been working on the studies since they were released a few weeks ago. Here are videos of the first four studies.
Study One: I hope this doesn't sound offensive, but this one feels a little like playing something by Sor or Carcassi, but with a bunch of wrong notes. And then there is a somewhat Latin syncopation in measure 9. I think it's a blast to play, and a great way to start the series.
Study Two: Really beautiful music here! I wish my playing were a bit lighter. There are some challenging fingerings to make it legato.
Study Three: This one feels a bit "herky jerky" to me, but in a good way. Also really fun to play. The parts in duple meter (starting in measure 24) don't feel quite right the way I play them here.
Study Four: This was a pretty big step up for me, technically. My sixteenth notes seem uneven when I listen back. Making the barres and slurs clean was challenging. Measures 7 and 18-21 were rather tricky.
What a wonderful challenge, again! Thank you Eric, for kicking it off with 4 of the études . You play them so accurately in this short time. They sound great and I’m looking forward to hearing more. Thank you Tonebase, for giving us access to this treasure. I discovered the score thanks to Eric’s posts. It’s great material. I’ll have a look at them this week. The analysis presented in the notes is very useful, saves some time, but I need to give my fingers a chance to ‘taste’ the (sometimes unusual) harmonies and feel the (sometimes uncomfortable) fingerings….
- Things you found easy: I still had to work at this for a few days, but was easier for me to learn than the Assad study #1.
- Things you found difficult: Making a video. It's tough for me to play on camera without making a mistake and I have occasional static with my audio setup (which I hope to fix with some equipment upgrades for later in the challenge!).
- (Optional): a video of you performing it! I recently installed Martin's recommended string set and the difference from the standard/normal tension d'addarios I had is remarkable. I definitely prefer hard tension strings and the combo of nylon E and carbon B/G is wonderful for keeping a consistent sound in the upper strings.
- (Optional:) I found the recommended fingering at the end awkward, so attached an image of the fingering I ended up with based on Martin's recommendation in today's kick-off. Will be curious what others use. On to #2!
So, since Blaise Laflamme challenged me to go for Study No.10, I thought I shouldn't waste any time and jump directly in!
- Things you found easy: Well ... completely destroying my nails, my brain power and will to do anything more meaningful today? It's not that dramatic, knowing that this one is only 3 pages long and that half of the second page is an arpeggio pattern that stays roughly the same and the third page mostly consists of a repeated scale makes me somewhat already see light at the end of the tunnel!
- Things you found difficult: Okay, where should I start? There are so many stumbling blocks for the right hand, pair that with the 7/8 rhythm and it'll completely mess with all your trained motion patterns. Nothing just wants to work, nothing plays itself, everything every note needs focused attention and the reflection if the fingering makes sense. I try to commit quite early to a certain fingering which is why I spend so much time on them in the beginning since this piece also needs just plain and simple practice to bring it up to speed. But no speed without control!
- (Optional): a video of you performing it!
- (Optional:) questions: Someone wants to join and rock through some of the first bars or the scales in the end?
I'll attach my fingerings which are in no way finalized!
Study 5 (in progress)
What was easy: Eating lunch today.
What was difficult: Like all of these studies, there is a lot of material that requires fingering that I am not used to.
- The entire B section in D major (measures 14-28) I find very hard. I feel like my left hand is constantly contorting and stretching in ways that are uncomfortable. Many of the fingerings in the score are quite difficult for me, but I can't seem come up with solutions that work any better.
- Measures 36-38 are a bit of a mess right now.
First update. I took some time to listen to maestro Koshkin’s introduction of all 10 studies, and Marina’s interpretation. Great also to hear the submissions in the forum.
then I read through them to let my fingers feel the textures and my ears ‘taste’ the harmonies.
They are all wonderful and fun to play. Not easy, though.
its difficult to make a choice and I will definitely not be able to work all of them.
another problem I have is I’m traveling and no way to print the pages I’m working on. When recording I’d have to pause to ‘turn’ the page on my iPad…
however, tomorrow I’ll give it a try.
Here's my Day 2 Update on Koshkin's Progressive Study #10, let me know what you think!
- Things you found easy: Strangely enough, it's coming quicker together as I though. My mind kept on working while I was sleeping and the second day I found new fingerings which made much more sense for me. Since I grew up playing in a Progressive Metal Band, 7/8 rhythms feel quite natural for me, but the groupings of the 8th notes makes the accents quite obvious. Another thing that our mind does while sleeping: Pattern Recognition! Page 2 and 3 fell weirdly into place!
- Things you found difficult: Bar 15 to 17: Super strange downward arpeggio which will not get into my hands. It is a fingering problem and I intend to solve it! It's like a chess game and I am dedicated on a check mate!But Bar 22 to 25 might wanna have a word as well with me...
study No. 7
not as easy as it looks. I try a moderate tempo here, hope to get better after some time.
the slurs, there are many and i tend to miss a few all the time. Keeping them rhythmical...
the litlle tremolo at the end on strings 4 and 5: nail noise! I took some extra nail care but couldnt get the sound cleaner
I will not be able to record, or even practice, much until Sunday. This is the best I could do on this one today. I promise an update later, although I want to work on 9 and 10 as well.
I have no printed schores so I cant write my fingerings, In this one RH fingerings are scarce. I am a little lost in bars 17 18... ( my solution: a im ami im ami, but its not yet controlled)
Finally got a few minutes to post tonight! This week I've been working on Studies 1, 2 & 3.
No. 1 - Apart from adding a few accidental accidentals (!) when first trying to sight read it's going OK
No. 2 - Really like this one. I think the main challenge for me is making sure there are no unwanted sounds when changing chords. Found it really useful to use some of Mircea's ideas on right hand preparation in the arpeggio section.
No.3 - Only sight read a couple of times so far.
Also listenend to Marina Krupkina's 2020 album Decacorde Stories - if you've not heard it, it's worth checking out - awseome stuff!
Study 5 (final version?)
Here is one more take at this study. Not perfect, but I might want to move on for now. I'll see after I sit with it for a while.
Martin - I did try your proposed fingering for measures 36-38, and I used some of it, but not all of it. I still prefer to do the barres. The result isn't great in this video, but I was having more difficulty with your fingering. Maybe I just need to practice it more.
- Things you found easy: Study #2 took a bit more work than #1 but learning notes not too bad.
- Things you found difficult: Getting a smooth legato. I guess that's one of the skills to learn in this study and it's still something for me to work on.
- Video/recording detail: New audio interface (SSL2) seems to have eliminated lots of problems I had with audio, plus I've been going through the (3 hour!) livestreams Martin did as part of the recording challenge back in January so in this video I recorded the audio using reaper, then imported the video and sync'd before rendering. I added a very light reverb FX since I'm recording in the garage again. Hopefully next week the CM4s will come and then my new setup will be complete!
Off the forums for the next few days as we deliver my son to college in L.A., but I'll check-in with everyone's videos on Monday and start on #3
Study #10, Day 4 Update: Playing it by heart
Still some quirks to figure out and sometimes my brain is slower than my finger which results into stumbling over some of the fingerings (and the scales are no smooth as I didn't practice those for quite a while now), but it's getting along! A couple more days and I will move on to the next one, which one should it be?
Hello everybody! My first posting if the week. This week I have been practicing no 3 and 4. I was going to videotape today no 3 but I still make mistakes in the coda at the speed of the rest so let’s see if the night sleep works and I can post a video tomorrow.
For no 3: the hardest part is the slurs with the fixed G in the base, mainly the first slur G to A. My weakness are the slurs I think. I am practicing with metronome and keeping the R hand fingerings so I can learn to keep discipline in my right hand. I have changed a few fingerings if the left hand and try to keep no 2 in C fixed throughout the coda, and having a few problems with it. I hope I can give some musicality to it, although I don’t want to make it sound as something it is not. I have not played much contemporary music and I am not so confident with this as in the carcassi Challenge
The only easy part is that once you start the progress is good and I am even giving some speed to it. I am not very good at playing fast …
For number 4, I have gone through the first half. It is a fast study, a challenge for me. But beautiful and very very addictive.
the hard thing again the slurs with the bar, I even hurt myself, but it is good to develop a rough hard index finger. Again, I have to practice my slurs. And then the rhythm is so frenetic that it is easy to get lost. Practice practice but for this I will post a video too
Finally, I can begin this challenge. I got caught up with all the videos, etc., yesterday and worked on Study 1.
- Things you found easy: The notes, rhythms, and fingerings all came easily enough and I was able to play it at the suggested tempo.
- Things you found difficult: I made a rough audio recording of it and was horrified at the number of finger squeaks, measures 3, 5, 9, 13, & 14. Yikes. I don't know if it's a result of being a septuagenarian, playing mostly ensemble music for the last 9 years, or a combination. Anyway, the squeaks have to go so I refingered measure 5 and lift the bass notes in measure 9 just a bit sooner and that seems to help, along with being sure to lift my fingers up before moving horizontally. Another day on it working out squeaks and incorporating some expressive elements and it should be good.
- (Optional): a video of you performing it! I am also trying to figure out a way to get a video recording.
A very warm "Hello" to all of you,
slowly I am back here also actively (I have not played for months (!!) - very unusual for me, and very sad - due to a shoulder problem making it impossible to play; I had that a few years ago with the other shoulder). That is also the reason why I missed a lot here during the last months (masterclasses, challenges etc.). However, I was watching a lot. And I watched all your submissions here so far, and without commenting on each individually I want to congratulate all of you and I am spending big applause! Now, I am able to play approximately 10 minutes without break , which is a large step for me at the moment. I am very happy about this challenge and started with No. 1-3, I have to be a bit careful and do not want to overstress the arm/hand. I was not able to record the stuff during the past few days. But I can say that I had fun playing them, first round by sightreading, which is ok for me. Then I try to go deeper into details, e.g., with fingerings and of course musicality. I do hope that I will be able to record soon and share the stuff here with you, the tonebase community which is sooooo great!!
Best greetings again to all of you - stay safe and healthy and have also fun and progress with these etudes. Koshkin's music is really great - I love them (e.g., the larger pieces like Usher Waltz which I was working on before the shoulder "crash" but also the shorter ones like Preludes & Fugues).
Study 6 measures 5-11
I'm really struggling and I need some help. I've "finished" working on #1-5, but when I tried sight reading #6-10, they all seem completely beyond me, which makes me wonder if I really should try working on them at all. Maybe just going back into #1-5 deeper would be more productive. Not sure.
That said, I thought, "Maybe I could work on a very small section of #6 that is causing me problems, not even worrying if I ever get to the entire piece." So, I'm giving a shot at measures 5-11, which involves something I have never done before. It has a staccato bass line with a legato melody line.
My problem is, I really don't know how it should be done. I'm happy to put in the slow practice and work on the skill, but I want to make sure I'm doing the skill correctly. So, if someone (Martin or anyone else who knows the skill) could watch the video and give me some input, I would be very appreciative.
(Sorry for the pained look on my face below!)