Applying Epstein’s “Power Practicing” to violin orchestral excerpts

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Högskolan för scen och musik

Abstract: This thesis purpose was to find good strategies that would benefit the construction and preparation of orchestral excerpts. In practical terms, how to make an excerpt sound/work without spending hours studying those six or seven lines. This means not to have it ready in one or two sessions, but to create a good structure and foundation to build the excerpt through goals such as intonation, rhythm, sound, character, pulse but also in terms of what these excerpts represent themselves in the pieces they are inserted in (melody, accompaniment, relation with other instruments, among others). To support my research, I tested the material written by Eli Epstein in his article “Power Practising”, where the author points out various strategies for the practice of his instrument, the French horn. Since I believed a greater part of them could be used in the violin, I recorded my practice sessions, analysed and compared them and finally played them in real auditions, aiming to achieve a better knowledge about which ones work better for me. My investigation is based in action research, in which I studied myself through experiments and tested Epstein’s material and William Preucil’s violin principles. This work was supported by a scholarship from the GDA Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal.

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