When that felt comfortable, I then tried this at the same tempo:
Then finally I moved to a continuous scale, also at 100:
Obviously the idea is to gradually shorten and then remove the pauses between each one-string burst. My goal is to reduce the tension in short bursts, so that I can lengthen them into longer passages. On some days, I was able to lightly play the continuous scale at 112—one day I managed to barely hit 120. My goal, however, is to hit this cleanly and consistently, not hit or miss. So there’s much yet to be done.
As I did these exercises, I listened closely to my rhythm. I wanted each burst to snap sharply and cleanly. But more important, I was also very alert to these signs of excess tension:
- a tight feel in a and c
- a and c become rigidly extended or flexed
- clenching teeth
- tensing or hunching right shoulder
- labored breathing
Working this way, I’ve noticed my descending six string scale tends to hang up on the second and third strings. Once I get to the fourth string, it’s smooth sailing the rest of the way. In fact, right now I can pretty consistently hit 120 on the three bass strings. At first I suspected that since the third string is the only one that has two notes, this might be the reason for my awkwardness. But I’ve no problem slurring the full six string scale at a high speed with the left hand alone. So I’m guessing this is a right hand crossing problem. Obviously I’ll spend more time working to smooth out this part of the scale.
• • •
On an unrelated note, I was surprised by some of the reactions to my last post. In this post, I drew attention to a left hand positioning suggestion that was, I thought, so obviously bad that there should be little debate over it. Oy, what a can of worms that opened! More on this in next week’s post.
——[My next update will be October 24, 2011]——