I just watched all of the lesson 2 videos and everyone is really doing really great work. I don't have much to say as far as feedback because everyone seems to be aware of their own slight weaknesses, and even those I'm sure will improve by simply practicing more. Here are the few thing I observed that hopefully will help.
Great job on all your videos. I was surprised by how musical the songs sounded. It is like you understand very well how to pass from one melodic phrase to the next. One thing I noticed in your left (fretting) hand was that a few times hitting the D on the 2nd string, the tip joint of your 3rd finger had collapsed a few times. Even if you have to relax the arch of your 3rd finger to mute the 1st string, you will have better accuracy and power if you maintain the arched shape and not let the tip joint extend back the other way. Other than that, the videos looked and sounded spot on.
Ray (Pat & Antonio as well):
Again I thought your videos were excellent. Your own comments suggest that you seem to be trying to improve your control over dynamics (in the C scale) and the articulations across strings (J'ai Du Bon Tabac). I am struggling with the very same issues, but I can offer some thoughts on this:
I'm starting to see that there is a common progression in building these techniques:
- First we look at our hands. For a long time we trace the movements, watching out to keep the proper shape and posture.
-- Then we stop looking and learn to play by focusing on the muscle sensation. We feel for exactly which muscles to flex or extend. We visualize how these muscles control the fingers and in turn the strings and we take care not to energize any unnecessary muscles in the process.
--- Ultimately, I think that just as we learned that we don't need our eyes, we likewise don't need to remain hyper aware of the muscle movements and technical minutia. At some point (after we have carefully repeated the actions enough times) we can sort of stop thinking about that and continue practicing now with our fullest attention on the sound and musical articulation.
This is what I tried to do the second half of this week. After I had learned the notes into my left hand and slowly memorized all the finger movements needed, I tried to think of each of the phrases as an unbroken contour and not a series of detailed finger instructions. I also tried to concentrate on my breathing instead of my fingers. Awareness of whether I was breathing in or out somehow seemed to make it easier for me to feel for and control the dynamics.
I don't know if any of this is helpful.
But if it is I'm sure I'm not the first person who said it. I just definitely feel like phrasing and dynamics is more a challenge of letting go more than it is a challenge to gain tighter control. Once you do let go, whether you succeed or fail depends on how well you prepared.
Lastly, Ray your close-up on Exercise 20 was great. I especially learned a lot from seeing the way you move your thumb. I will try to incorporate that into my playing. Also the video you posted of Kevin Gallagher was truly inspirational.