My first month of renaissance lute lessons.

. . .


A fairly straightforward chord progression (lots of new chords), but the timing is challenging, as it changes with each note, with plenty of dotted notes. The 2nd "countdown" version prepends 4 notes to the piece so that if you're playing along it serves as a "1,2,3,4.." countdwn to the piece.

A pleasant, fairly (deceptively) easy piece -- my first exercise at 3 string chords, with a few fretted 5th and 6th course chords.

Exercises from my lute teacher Franklin Lei. These exercises are meant to strengthen your thumb rest stroke (where you hit a note with a thumb down-stroke, and rest your thumb on the strings below the note).

. . .


Teacher gives me "Calavaro Exercises": adapted from a Jazz book. You move your left hand while keeping all your fingers down on the currently fretted notes, and do not sound the sounds at all.


Especially hard for me is going back down from the 6th course: my third finger doesn't want to move independently of the fourth finger. What I find is that I don't know what muscle to move in my hand to make my fourth finger move on its own. To work on this problem, I put all four fingers down on the 6th course (each on a separate fret), and wiggle my third finger up and down, in the air and on the course above and below it. This starts to give me a feel for what muscles make that finger move.

. . .


Received the "Easy Lute Pieces volume II" from Allan Alexander's web site (about $7).

Various handouts from my teacher:

- Paganini's Perpetum Mobile, both as a single-line exercise and harmonized.

- Rhythm drills

. . .


Received "Easy Lute Pieces volume I", and the 3 volumes of "Celtic Music for Lute" (and accompaning CD) from Allan Alexander's web site (about $7).

Started playing Carolan's "Cremonea" from Alexander's first volume of Celtic music for lute. It's a melancholy, slow piece, and features a few new chords, but is otherwise straightforward to play.

Continuing to practice the first several songs, with emphasis on alternating thumb and index fingering of the right hand.

. . .

Next: 2nd month