Week 2 - Practicing Passages // May 10

Hello and welcome to the Main Thread for Week 2 of the virtuosity challenge! 🎉 This is the place to discuss the Week 2 stream and post your Week 2 practice updates.


Download the sheet music: in this second week, we will be working with different excerpts from my right-hand technique workshop, as well as some new materials.

Download them both here:


Video updates are encouraged due to the technical aspect of this challenge 😎 Feel free to upload videos into your replies OR simply link to YouTube. YouTube video submissions CAN be unlisted. Just make sure they're not set on "private", so we can all see them.

 

If you want to describe your process, feel free to use the following template.

  • Exercise(s) you have been working on:
  • Things you found easy:
  • Things you found difficult:

↓ Reply below with your submissions and questions! ↓

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  • Working on Leyenda, 7a, 7b, 8c

    Having trouble building speed on scale passages

    Below are Leyenda, 7a, 7b, and 8c

    Like 3
    • david robinson It is amazing how doing a small thing like planting the ring finger can make it so much harder. Little by little, we'll get there though!

      Like 1
      • Igornull
      • Igor.2
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      david robinson Very good job, David! Thanks for sharing.

      Like
    • david robinson very nice and clean. For building speed, we need more time.

      Like 1
    • david robinson great job. All pieces sound and look well controlled. 

      Like 1
    • Igor thanks; it's a slow process

      Like
    • joosje Thanks Joosje.

      Like
    • Gokce Turkmendag Thanks; I agree, we do need more time. I feel like practicing these exercises takes a couple of hours by them selves. 

      Like
    • Igor Thanks, a work in progress...

      Like
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      david robinson Great job with these!!! Here is some targeted advice:

      • Asturias: wonderful! Be careful with the thumb though, it does tend to move your palm a lot - even more so than in the other video. See my other comment on your other submission earlier!
      • Villa-Lobos and Clerch: Great job! i and m are not going too far from the strings, causing the m to require a bit of "help" from a and the pinky. i is able to move on its own, but m always seems to drag its whole "family" into the movement. I think this can be helped by working on the extensor muscles (basically, forcing your fingers to go further away from the strings when they're not playing).
      • Brouwer Etude 7: Great job! Not much for me to say here.

      Thank you for sending this in!

      Like
    • Mircea Thanks for the very helpful suggestions; I have begun working on consciously extending  for scales. Also agree that my right hand thumb moves the hand, and have begun preparing it more to make the movement smaller. 

      Like 1
      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      david robinson nicely played David

      Like
    • Igornull
    • Igor.2
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi everyone!

    This week I´ve been working on Villalobos etude 3 and "El Colibrí" by Sagreras. In the the video I´m playing the last part of "El Colibrí".

     

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aUDzVEYyWund8jAbq2p3ILIZFIpVAqxd/view?usp=sharing

     

    Easy: fingerings, preparing and so on. I´ve been practising Mircea´s exercises and this "cuban style" for months and now they feel natural.

    Hard:  there´s always a point in wich my body (even the legs) starts tensing. Then I can´t keep playing faster without blundering. I´ve been reviewing some livestreams by Martin, who always puts relaxation in the first place.

    Now, this is my question for Mircea (and you guys): I´ve noticed that my ability to play fast increases noticeably after a long period of focused SLOW practice (be it tremolo, escales, whatever), instead of fighting against the metronome. So: do you think one could aim for speed by working mainly on relaxation?

    Thank you all! HAVE FUN.

    Like 4
    • Igor nice piece. Well played! I agree with your observation that slow practice is the best basis for steady improvement. Play slowly move quickly (Scott Tennant in Pumping Nylon). The speed bursts , also part of Mircea’s exercises, helped me a lot as well, and I use this in many situations . I find the race against the metronome quite stressful. 

      Like
    • Igor Nice piece, sounds good.  thanks for posting

      Like
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Igor sounding good! where is that is piece? playing slow  has to be like a mantra for us... but I still have to remind myself everyday.

      Like
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Igor thanks for this! It's sounding great!!!

      Let's begin by answering your question:

      Yes, yes yes yes and yes! 🥳 This is exactly what I've been saying - speed is a natural consequence of relaxed and stable performance. It can never be an aim in itself, but only a symptom of healthy technique and clarity of technical thought.

      So happy to hear you say this!

      Now, onto the excerpt:

      Unfortunately, I can't really see your right hand, so I can't give you very much targeted advice. Your left hand looks great though!

      Are you playing the last section free stroke? I think you are. I think I would do that too, but just be aware that in any fast free stroke passage, you're going to have to spend much more time working on volume. (Check out this insane version by Marco Tamayo below, for a demonstration of insane free-stroke volume!)

      Also, I see some i finger repeats in some of the i-m passages - not a big deal, but wondering if that was intentional.

      Like
      • Igornull
      • Igor.2
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mircea Thank you for your reply. I play freestroke because for me it´s eaiser, but I agree with you about volume. Repetition:  I  try to play m in downbeats and i on the upbeats whenever I can, but sometimes I repeat a finger to avoid crossings. Then in other situations I use the a finger for that, as you do.

      Like 1
      • Igornull
      • Igor.2
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mircea Then maybe I just made a mistake. Who knows...🙄

      Like
    • Igor very nice Igor. Pepe Romero says: the secret of speed in the right hand is relaxation. And we can not play quick what we can not play slow....the speed is a consequence and not and objective (José Gallardo and others). Anyway a long way....but enjoying the music and tones of patience ...we can reach it (really ???? 😄😉)

      Like 1
    • Mircea that is ...speed can not be an aim....and we all want to play  with speed...

      Like
      • Igornull
      • Igor.2
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Nora Torres-Nagel I suppose we are all in the same page when it comes to tension and relaxation. Pepe Romero is one of my favorite players. BTW I´ve seen your video. Nice work, Nora!

      Like 1
      • Igornull
      • Igor.2
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Emma Thank you for your kind words. Do you mean where you can get the piece?

      Like
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Nora Torres-Nagel exactly! Pepe reminds me of that in all our lessons, too (he is a visiting professor at USC, where both Ashley and I are studying for our doctorates.)

      Like
    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    I’ve been continuing with the warm ups from week one. For the excerpts I’ve been doing El Abejorro. Would be fun to try the complete piece if I can locate the sheet music. David Russell’s rendition is pretty cool! The Leyenda excerpt is fine. THAT’s not the part of Leyenda I struggle with. It’s the L hand in the next section I cannot master...yet! I’m on vacation so I’m not spending as much time as I normally would but here are two recordings of Brouwer #1. The first one I recorded two weeks ago in my home studio. This is the way I would normally play it without A planted. Today I did a quick video on my phone with the A planted. The challenge with A planted is:

    1) changing position smoothly from near the bridge to sul tasto.

    2) changing position of the thumb for different attack.

    3) tension that goes up the arm and makes the right side of the hand tingle and numb. Not a good sign. I normally plant for arpeggios but this keeping A on the first string is very challenging and if the tension continues I will have to abandon the idea. It didn’t bother me in any of the other pieces but on the Brouwer it does. Weird?

    https://youtu.be/lll_oEqG84w

    https://youtu.be/CqtrBkzNzfU
     

    Like 4
    • Debbie wow Debbie, very good tempo and sound! I wish I studied that etude before.

      Like 1
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