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Some brilliant ideas on how to think about practising

Some brilliant ideas on how to think about practising and playing the music could be found in "How to use 'Flow' to Make the Most of Your Practice", (Burzik, 2016 in The Strad):

Contact with the instrument

Particularly important are the places at which the player actually touches the instrument. We are looking for the most effective transfer of power from the body to the instrument. Such an optimal transfer comes from consciously attuning to the quality of touch. The consistent clarifying and improving of this tactile feeling has a great organising power: the arms, hands and fingers seem almost automatically to fine-tune themselves to the requirements at these decisive sound-forming points. For teaching purposes it is helpful to describe the specific feelings we are looking for at these points.

The first is bow contact, where an optimal connection between right hand and bow conveys an elastic feeling that is neither too stiff nor too fragile. It is 'gluey', thick, secure and in control regardless of the bowing requirements. Of equal importance is the contact point – the connection between bow and string. Here optimal attunement leads to a feeling of the bow being ‘in’ the string, ‘hugging’ the point of contact, a feeling like stroking a velvety surface or dragging a paintbrush through paint.

The second sensation to locate is that vital place in each of the pads of the left-hand fingertips – slightly different for fast or slow passages or double-stops – through which weight and energy from the arm are best transferred to the string. Seek out this point to allow maximum relaxation in the hand while pressing down the string with a minimum of effort. This will result in a feeling very similar to that 'gluey' one at the contact point: the connection between pad and string feels deep, thick, relaxed and firm.

Sensitised fingertips convey a wonderful, fresh, malleable, even sensual feeling, forming a sharp contrast to a finger merely stopping the strings as though nailed to the spot. Besides greater security of intonation this special quality of left-hand touch has an immediate effect on tone production. A projecting sound originates from the right mix of left-hand finger contact and bow contact. There is a give and take between the hands contributing equally and alternately to create a consistent and continuous sound. Don’t wait for these feelings to come about: establish them deliberately.(Burzik, 2016 in The Strad)

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