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Friday, April 15, 2011

Quick Practice Tip: Filling up the Back Car Seat

I help students to gradually adjust to the feel of the various positions by using the song "Perpetual Motion." In book 2, I introduce my students to this song using the transposition to Bb Major, starting with the first finger Bb on the A string. Once a student learns how to play this song using this fingering, I introduce the concept of playing in upper positions by using the "Perpetual Motion" Bb fingering and starting the first note in second position (starting first finger on C natural on the A string). We then try third position (starting first finger on D natural), and so forth on up the A string until the student has practiced playing "Perpetual Motion" in every position.

As the student plays up the fingerboard in the various positions, I remind them of the crowded feeling one gets when riding in the back seat of a car that gradually fills up with more and more occupants. For example, first position is a roomy position because there is only one person riding in the back seat. Second position feels like two people sharing the backseat. Third position starts to feel a little more crowded and close, but there is still some wiggle room between the riders. Fourth position feels like four people in the back; folks are starting to edge their bodies a little bit to accommodate the lack of extra space.

Fifth position feels like five people in the back seat, and there are definitely some folks who are edged a bit sideways. Sixth position has six people in the back, and some of the riders may be resting a bit on others. Seventh position is extremely crowded.

I find that the backseat analogy helps students to understand the need to bring the fingers closer together as the student climbs into the higher positions.

In a group class setting, we throw a giant die on the floor to determine what position to try. If we land on a "1" or a "6" we sometimes add them together to get 7th position.

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