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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Plodding Hummingbird

The week before saw a bit of pain creeping into my right shoulder. So I set aside my normal right hand session and instead worked on learning El Colibri—very slowly. I figured if I had to slow down to give my shoulder a rest, I might as well learn a new piece. With the metronome never above 50, I worked out the right hand fingerings. In some places I use normal i and m alternation, in others I use p and i, and in others I use a, m, i. The varied fingerings make the piece easier to play, and also allow bits of relative relaxation within the piece. Part of my approach to right hand speed is to be smarter about right hand fingerings. Constant i and m alternation might be more macho, but I’m more interested in results rather than proving a point.

Though glacially slow, I’ve now got El Colibri memorized. But all the other hummingbirds are rolling their eyes at mine.

By the way, if this pain keeps cropping up, I’ll finally stick a crowbar in my wallet and see a doctor. Until now, I’ve never done this because I can always easily make the pain go away: just stop practicing right hand speed. Since I don’t, however, intend to give up on my project, then I need to get this pain problem squared away. (For those of you living in more civilized countries, medical care is something many in the United States forgo because of the expense. We’d rather entrust ourselves to the expensive and selective embrace of insurance companies than allow the specter of socialism destroy us.)

In two weeks, I’ll be performing with some of my students for a Cleveland Guitar Society open recital. Most of what we’ll play is well within my normal speed limit. With two of my students, however, I’ll have to do rest stroke scales at a speed I’m not yet comfortable with. I can, if necessary, play these scales at tempo with free stroke. But I really would like to put to the test what I’ve been working on for the last year and four months. So that’s what I’m shooting for.

If possible, I’ll record a video of the results. Bear in mind, though, that my students might object to being put on Youtube. So anything I want to post is contingent on their permission.

——[My next update will be April 29, 2012]——

1 comment:

Steve Freides said...

Tom, you seem to have disappeared from the discussions of your blog on the classical guitar newsgroup. That's a shame, in my opinion.

I strongly recommend a visit with some sort of medical professional regarding the pain in your shoulder. My first stop would be an FMS, someone certified to administer the Functional Movement Screen. It's a non-medical, simple test of 7 basic movement patterns, and if anything hurts when you do it, you'd immediately be referred out to a doctor or other clinician, anyway.

My best wishes for your continued success.