Clouds for Alma – Process/Practice Journal (After break)

Before winter break, I chose 3 sections to focus on during the break and filmed myself playing those sections. After the break, I took another video filming myself playing the same sections to see the improvements I have made.

Improvements I made in my three areas of focus

Section 1: My goal for section 1 (3rd movement line 8~ line 13) was to be able to play the correct strings in a steady rhythm. I worked on this by looking ahead so that I can be ready to play the next note which will help me play the correct strings since I won’t have to rush to find the next strings. I think I was able to play the beginning and middle part in a steady pace but I rushed at the end where I was playing ‘十’. Also, I think I was able to increase the tempo like the recording compared to when I played this section before the break. I played along with the recording for practice which helped me get used to the speed and also remember some sections which made it easier for me to pay attention to the tempo and strings. Additionally, I think my transitions have gotten smoother since I don’t have hesitation when I move to a different pattern and also because I made less accidental sounds which are created when I touch the unused strings.

Section 2: My goal for section 2 (4th movement column 2) was to be able to play ‘八斗’ clearly in a steady pace and get the timing right for the other notes because I easily get faster or slower. One of my strategies was to listen to my peers during class. Since I have started to get used to the piece and remembered some sections, listening to my peers was easier than before and helpful especially when I felt that I was off tempo. I also used the metronome, which I set it to 80, at home while making sure that I am not rushing or being too slow. This proved me that I was rushing too much so I played along with the metronome until I felt comfortable about the rhythm. Another strategy was to practice playing ‘八斗’  to get used to the pattern. By doing this, I think I was able to play ‘八斗’ more smoothly without getting stuck and making less mistakes. Although I am still rushing overall especially at the end, I think my timing has gotten better and the pace is quite steady as well.

Section 3: My goal for section 3 (4th movementcolumn 2) was to play all the strings clearly and correctly, and to move to different patterns in a good flow without taking time between each patterns. The most effective strategy for me was learning the patterns carefully and then practicing them many times until I got the hang of it. This helped me understand the timing needed for transitions and look ahead which helped me get ready for the next pattern so that I did not have to stop to check the music and find the strings. I think my transitions went smoothly in a good flow since I did not stop between the change of patterns. I found the patterns from line 8 a little challenging than the others but understanding the patterns solved this problem. Another strategy I used was listening to the recording because it helped me clarify if I was playing each patterns correctly in the correct timing. I think I was able to play this section in an appropriate steady pace and play the strings in a good timing, making less accidental sounds by touching the unused strings. I was able to speed up the tempo after a couple of practices as well.