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Simon Fischer’s books have changed my violin life. Several years ago, thanks to a recommendation on a discussion forum, I ordered a copy of Basics. A few days later I heard a thump on my front porch; the postman had dropped a giant paperback book out there! I tore open the package and got started right away, because that’s what I do when I’m on the scent of new violin tips. And since that day, Basics has never been out of reach when I’m practicing at home.
Go ahead, I’ll wait here!
The shifting story
One story Simon told about shifting (involving a valet parking attendant) completely changed my thinking on the subject, and gave me an immediate confidence boost. I quite literally couldn’t miss a shift! That feeling has stayed with me in the years since.
So I knew that at some point I’d have to make a video to demonstrate how anybody can put this technique to use in their practicing. But I was waiting for something to click. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for. And then it clicked.
The two-putt game
I’d actually gotten this same confidence boost before, as a teenager on the golf course! See, in golf, most wasted strokes happen on the green. So the first thing most golf teachers do is to help you limit your putts to two per hole. If you can reliably hole out in just two putts, you’re on your way to scoring much better.
The trouble is that as an amateur, you can only expect yourself to hole that second putt if it’s really short, say within two feet. Most of the work has to be done with that first long putt. But amateurs tend to freeze up at long putts; their stroke gets stiff, unnatural, out of sync. They see that hole far away and dread what will happen if they don’t get it close. And most of the time, they don’t!
The big circle
So one of my golf teachers spray painted a big white circle around the hole, two feet in radius. “Here’s the new target, guys,” he said. “Just get it anywhere in here, and pretend that you see it dropping in.” Suddenly things seemed easy. With a target that big, it was almost as though I couldn’t miss…
If you want subtitles, just hit CC in the video above.
Let me know in the comments how this technique works for you! If you want to try it on the Saint-Saëns, here’s the link to it on IMSLP.