There’s some some issues I have with making that A on the D string not sound half-assed and inconclusive, but otherwise things are doing okay. There are some problems that I’m managing to make headway on, and after a week without the pochette (I’m sorry to say), the weight of the damned thing isn’t so awful anymore just because I’ve lost that effortless point of comparison. I’m still considering a 15″ viola, though — possibly not all the way down to a 14″, which might be a bit much. The longer I manage to chew on this question, the more money I can set aside when I finally make up my mind, so being indecisive in this case is a positive thing, and I’m happy to take my time to reach a decision.
At any rate, I’m happy to have my brain released from the clenched fist it’s been for the past two months or so.
Update: Much better on Fitzpatrick III. Still some problems, but others are really being solved nicely. I seem to have some problems latching onto a middle B — not finger problems so much as ear problems, which are worse. I just don’t seem to latch onto that note very well. It’s probably a combination of fingering and the ear, but I’m having trouble snapping to grid on that one.
I also have to move my hand fairly far forward to manage this particular piece. It’s not a problem, but it’s hard to understand what is “bad technique” and what is “what’s needed to play this particular piece.” I’m having a tough time teasing those two apart on the viola. It’s probably an artifact of my having started piano so young, but I can’t recall doing this on the piano. It seems that there is simply one uniform way of playing that works for that instrument, and once you figure something out for a given piece, it works globally. The viola seems more … present-tense. You just do what works for each note at a time. It’s less generalized.
Again, I’m a fairly early starter on the piano and an adult beginner on the viola, so I’m probably seeing this incorrectly. But it does seem that the tricks and tips needed to make a decent sound on this thing are very often individual, where you need to figure out each particular piece pretty independently of every other one. And of course, I’m talking overwhelmingly about fingering, the low-hanging fruit of any stringed instrument.
I have to just keep going and see how this works out the more I learn. Let’s face it, I haven’t learned enough to generalize; I’m still seeing each part of the elephant instead of how they come together to create a whole.