What I hope is that understanding the problem in finer detail will mean coming up with better solutions. Take, for example, the hang up on the second and third strings during a descending scale. I noticed I was blending two different string crossing techniques during a descending six string scale: at the beginning of the scale, I’d pivot from the elbow alone, but as my fingers came through the second and third strings, I’d then cross from the elbow and shoulder. Maybe, I reasoned, this is unnecessarily complex. So now I’m simplifying the crossing by moving from the elbow and shoulder throughout a six string scale. We’ll see if this pays off.
My progress, as always, is glacially incremental. I’m trying to extend the length of my bursts. I’ve found I can fairly consistently play the last three strings of a descending scale cleanly at 120. This, for example, is getting pretty reliable:
I begin each session with five minutes of finger push-ups. Then I set the metronome at 84 and do extended alternation on each string individually. After that, it’s on to this at 84:
• • •
One interesting tidbit came up during the week. On Tuesday, my right hand session was awful. Indeed, it was so bad that I quit early in disgust, omitting the fifteen minutes of sweeps, rasgueados, and finger stretches with which I normally end a session. Thinking about it afterward, I realized I was unconsciously reacting to an unpleasant phone call I had to make later that day. It was one of those things I had to do but would rather not. It became clear that this impending unpleasantness infected my attitude toward practice. In fact, after this bad practice session the problem unexpectedly resolved itself in a way far better than I’d hoped. And sure enough, the next morning my practice session was more productive and pleasant.
This reminded me once again that a positive attitude is vital to practice. I can’t let myself get thrown off by the inevitable problems of day to day life.
• • •
In my October 9 post, I referred to some left hand positioning advice that I found indefensible. As I mentioned last week, this caused a surprising discussion. If you wish to follow this discussion, you can find it here.
——[My next update will be October 31, 2011]——