Group 3

Video of the TWI Check-In with Borbála!


Have you noticed that most of the time we talk about technique or musical expression separately? We practice technical elements such as arpeggio, fast scales, left hand independence, tremolo, or even legato playing, etc. separately, but never together with the musical elements. Enjoy this two-week intensive to be able to play the basic musical ideas easily such as changes of dynamics and tempo, articulation, accentuation, as well as to improve your musical creativity.

  • Course Period: December 5th - 19th
  • Sign-Up: November 30th 
  • Zoom Check-In: Dec 11th, 9am PT

ASSIGNMENT FOR THE FIRST WEEK:Exercises_Expression (1) 

Please share a video of yourself playing the first three exercises and at least two variations of the fourth exercise.

1-3. Exercises:

  • Take a tempo in which you can play without unnecessary tension and make the musical expressions (accelerando, crescendo) gradually.

Exercice 1:

Exercice 2:

Exercise 3:


4. Exercise:

  • If it’s too difficult for you to learn to play in one week, you can perform only the upper voice.
  • Make attention, that fingering should be different depends on the desired musical character.
  • Try to show the musical elements exaggeratedly, even if it seems to be too much.
  • Try to imagine the character before you play the exercise.

Exercise 4:



Please choose a short section (at least a phrase) of your current repertoire or one of the following

  • Fernando Sor: Six Divertissements Op. 2. No. 1.
  • Matteo Carcassi: 25 Etudes Op. 60. No. 9.
  • Leo Brouwer: Estudios Sencillos No. 5.

and demonstrate it at least in two different variations of musical ideas, musical characters.
You can/should change the fingerings depends on your imagined musical character.
You can use the Cheat Sheet of Observation of musical ideas to control your way of playing.

Cheat_sheet_Observation_of_musical_expression (1) Sor_Six_divertissements_Op_2 Brouwer_Estudios_sencillos_no_5 Carcassi_25_Etudes_Op_60 

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    • Derek
    • Derek
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Borbala, Hi everyone. I'm sorry for my late response to this two week intensive. I've just managed to do some videos of the exercises for the first week. As usual I dod not have a lot of time to spend on the videos so they are nearly all the 'first take'. I would be grateful for any comments. Thank you. I notice in exercise 2 that the 'p' is very heavy throughout!

    Like the others, I am enjoying these assignments. For exercise 4 I have only uploaded 1 video. Apparently with all of the other videos I have exceeded my Youtube daily limit. I will upload the 2nd video for exercise 4 tomorrow, together with my week 2 assignment.  

    • Derek I'm sorry to hear that! Get better soon!

      Don't worry, if you want you can send me that video any time.

      Merry Christmas to you as well.

    • Emmanull
    • Emma
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Hello Borbala and everybody! for my second assignment I chose the first couple of phrases of Ponce's second preludio corto. I have started learning the piece 2 weeks ago, so I made shorter the already short preludio. The main difficulty for me was to have a vision, like love, ballerinas, circus... here I could not, I went for feelings, suspense, terror, versus a more light atmosphere but it was nothing I could grasp and the vision is not as clear as it was with carcassi.  I started changing the digitation and doing a second version in the first position with more free strings, but I did not like the sound, the way I was doing it resulted in the same character with worse sound. But then I had an idea for 2 versions!  I keep the same digits which is not ideal but lead me to less confusion. As the course ends tomorrow I may add one more version with a different digitation and see where this leads...

    For the melodic version, I tried to emphasize less the chords and the base. For the melody I used vibrato in the note I wanted to emphasize and played around with the speed and the volume. Also I tried to give a different character to the bars 5 and 6, which I tried to play very flowy and with no big contrast.

    For the rhythmical version, I used stacatto in the chords, tried to play it faster (without making mistakes 😖). Bars 4, and 5 tried to play them  with more contrast than the melodic version.

    Not very happy with the result, as the idea is there but I am not quite sure with my skills to produce good stacattos, and the rest. Also I don't know it the 2 ideas are very different...

    • Emma Hi Emma, thanks for the videos. I think what you feel, that it was difficult for you to find character or feeling to this music, it's because mostly for classical/romantic period is easier to find a well fitting character than for the 20th century music. 
      Your two versions are basically fine. The melodic version could be more rubato try to be more flexibale just follow your instincts, you have very good ideas, just show it even more. The accelerando I find a very good idea, but you coud even make a bigger one. Maybe you could use there a bigger crescendo to help your accelerando. You could make the melody even more cantabile.

      Rhythmical version: I loved the staccato idea, your articulation. I would recomend you to put all the open strings to fret note, that you can make the staccato with your left hand. For example: first measure B, E in discant coud be 3, 4. I prefer left hand staccato and when I want to play it I always try to avoid open strings, if it's possible. About your staccato: When you could manage it it was very nice and short, I think that is the good length for this piece. I coud imagine here a couple. The boy invites the girl to dance, but she is hurt beacuse of an earlier arguing, so she doesn't want to go, but he keeps inviting her again and again... I don't now if it makes any sense for you, I just have a picture in my mind about it 🙂.

      From bar 5 you could use a different tone color (She beginns to shout with him... 😂 and get angrier and angrier).

      Don't worry you can send me your other version anytime, when you are ready with it.

      Great work again!

      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Thank you so much! I will start practicing the staccato version changing the digitación to notes on the frets so I can do it with my left hand as you suggest. I had thought about a dialogue , a musical dialogue but now with faces it will so be much easier to visualise! I can totally see it now. Thank you, these two weeks have been great to me and have taught me many things on approaching the musicality of the pieces and on musical techniques. I will post the piece when it is ready and will label you in case I have the chance that you can hear it. I hope to learn from you again and see you again in Tonebase. With luck someday one day I be able to be in one of your concerts too! Un millón de gracias!!! 

      Borbala Seres 

    • Emma I'm happy, that I could help you to give you a possible character idea which can lead you to the right one. 

      Yes please, upload it, when you are ready, I would like to hear your version. 

      I hope too, that we can work together again with this wonderful community! 

      Fue muy divertido para mi trabajar contigo también! 😉


    • Emma I forgot to mention this when you put it up, but I enjoyed these. I learned the same thing about trying to modify character in more modern music and struggled with the Brouwer so I did Carcassi instead. I love this particular set and I've been learning the whole thing and hope to play it all together someday. Thanks for sharing and happy holidays. 

  • Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to thank you all for your active participation and nice videos! It was a joyfull journey for me as well to get an experience with teaching musical expression through video recording instead of face to face lessons. I did learn a lot as well, and as I saw all of you made a great progress and you could step out from your comfort zone. Congratulation to Everyone! Keep going with experimentation!  


    Like 1
    • Borbala Seres thank you!👏 👏 👏 Tbh, I enjoyed it very much and I keep your voice in my mind when practicing….

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