Studio Notes by Rebecca Lo

Like Ivo’s studio, James Dunham’s Studio Classes are on Tuesday afternoons, and over the course of the year we will share reports from some of these classes. Here are comments from our September 17 class.

Glinka Sonata – Teddy Schenkman

Ashley Pelton suggested that the each note can be more connected, instead of playing them individually. Don’t just cut the ending phrase, try to make it beautiful; thinks that Teddy can be more interactive with the audience in general.

Rachel Lo suggested that the lower strings need to sound clearer, and the quality of the notes can be more consistent.

Dan Wang said to try and breathe before you play and think more about color (such as wider vibrato).

Aaron Conitz liked the sound and the phrasing but noticed that Teddy’s left hand is tight, so it prevents him from having fluid vibrato. Experiment with how much pressure you need to put on the strings; maybe experiment with arm vibrato. Leah Gastler followed up by saying that passing notes can have vibrato as well as the long notes.

Jarita Ng liked the character but thought the bow speed could be more even, instead of slower in the middle and faster near the tip and frog.

Mendelssohn Midsummer Night’s Dream Scherzo, first page – Megan Wright

Yvonne Smith: for the stroke, start from the string. The instrument should ring a lot; lighten your elbow and let the string bounce.

Blake Turner noted that at a fast speed the bow will bounce itself. Think of the character, practice slowly, and make sure each note sounds beautiful. Also, make the dynamics more extreme.

Aaron thought that the piano should be healthier and that the excerpt should start from the string. Don’t use too much vibrato at first, and the crescendo is gradual; you tend to get louder when you get to the C string, so be careful. For the bow, you might try a vertical drop: drop the bow and get in motion from the drop of the bow. In the spiccato section on the C and G strings, all of the sixteenth notes should consistently sound the same.

Rebecca Clarke Sonata, Mvmt I – Rachel Li

Mr. Dunham suggested that the beginning can be bolder and should link more with the piano chords. Be sure to give good retakes, and a few of the string crossings seem bumpy—lean in a bit more on these. Teddy also thought that the beginning could start with more confidence.

Yvonne loved the sound and different colors. Try to connect the notes between shifts more.

Leah thought that the different sections can have more different characters. Dance more in certain sections, be more grounded in others, and have a more buoyant feeling in others.

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