musings from a scholar, a performer, and a die-hard pedagogue!
I sat down to warm-up Sunday afternoon and heard a knock on my office door. Classes have not resumed at Miami University yet, so the sound startled me. Much to my surprise, a recent violin graduate, "Fred", stood in the doorway. He is preparing for Summer Festival auditions and here is the conversation that ensued:
Fred: “Dr. S, I am wondering if you would mind writing down your metronome games for me.”
Dr. S: “How in the world do you know about these?”
Fred: “A few years ago you spoke about them to the orchestra. I can’t remember all of them, but think they would help with my excerpts.”
So much of this conversation pleased me.
1.) Fred, of his own accord, sought the advice of a professor outside of his instrument family.
Learning the intricacies of how other instruments operate, how other instrumentalists practice, will only strengthen your own musicianship.
2.) Fred was seeking new ways to practice old favorites.
It is easy to practice familiar material in familiar ways. By varying your practicing routine, you train your mind and body more fully.
3.) Fred was relying on the whole of his training as he sought out new experiences.
The full value of an experience is often discovered long after it is completed. Take notes, be present, and be open: you never know how a situation can assist your future!
Now, because I know you are all curious …
SELECT METRONOME GAMES*:
*(Gathered over the years from varying sources)
1.) Penny Game
-The goal of Penny Game is consistency.
-Place 5 pennies on one side of your stand. Turn the metronome to a low marking: one that enables you to perform a short passage with no errors.
-A penny moving from one side of the stand to the other follows each accurate performance of the passage. The goal is to move all 5 pennies from one side to the other.
-If a mistake is made (in any domain: technique, intonation, rhythm, inflection, etc.), all pennies are returned to their original position and the game begins again.
-As the goal is met, move the metronome up
2.) Pyramid Game
-The goal of Pyramid Game is speed.
-Turn the metronome to a low marking: one that enables you to perform a passage with no errors.
-Perform the passage 5x.
-Move the metronome up 1 mark* (*i.e. 60 to 66, 80 to 84, etc.)
-Perform the passage 4x
-Move the metronome up 1 mark and perform the passage 3x.
-Move the metronome up 1 mark and perform the passage 2x.
-Move the metronome up 1 mark and perform the passage 1x.
3.) Inverted Pyramid
-The goal of Inverted Pyramid is accuracy.
-Turn the metronome to a low marking (Called “HOME”): one that enables you to perform a passage with no errors.
-Perform the passage 1x
-Move the metronome down 1 mark* (see above) and perform 1x
-Move the metronome up 1 mark from HOME and perform 1x
-Move the metronome down 2 marks from HOME and perform 1x
-Move the metronome up 2 marks from HOME and perform 1x
-Move the metronome down 3 marks from HOME and perform 1x
-Move the metronome up 3 marks from HOME and perform 1x
-Continue as desired.