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M.Alice

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  1. Hi Ben, Why do they use alchohol lamps?: What is an alchohol lamp? How can I get rid of it, as it is rubbing of onto my bow hairs? Thanks, Melinda Hi. : I could be a burned spot from the last time it was rehaired. The flame from the alcohol lamp could have gotten too close to the stick. : Ben
  2. Hello! On my bow there is a black spot - it looks like the varnish in this small area has blackend. And this black spot on my bow has made a corresponding black spot on my bow hairs - I guess it rubbed off, although no black color gets on my finger when I touch it. Can anyone explain what this might be and how to get rid of it? Thanks, Melinda
  3. Hello! I started when I was 22, am now 29 and have been playing in orchestras for the last five years.(non-prof.) I started the "old Dog" chain! I just want to tell you that it is very important NOT to get a teacher who openly or secretly thinks that it is "too late". Be sure to ask! And as far as it beeing "too late" - it depends more on your natural apititude and the height of your motivation than your age! If you are willing to work hard, have a good ear and flexible fingers, than you can learn to play reasonably well - just don't compare yourself to the guys on the CD I heard anyways that the psychological studies about the right age to learn are overrated - they should only be applied to hearing, seeing, language. Good luck! Melinda : Hello, : I'm a 28 year old who took band back in Jr. High.(woodwinds) but never kept up with it. I have always wanted to play the violin and now have the time and opportunity to take lessons but I've been told that I'm too old to start taking violin. : I'm really hoping for some encouragement because this is something that I've always wanted to do. I'm just starting out in this process so I'm looking for everything from an instrument to an instructor. : If you know of any assistance or good music shops in the Arlington, Texas area I'd love to hear about them.
  4. Dear Daisy, Maybe you could ask to watch a lesson and see how and what she is doing. How is she with people? Can she explain things well? It doesn'T sound like she would be a good teacher, though. If I were you I would probably gather up my courage and tell her in a kind way about the bad experience you had. Then point out what might happen to children in general who start off with a bad teacher. Collect some good arguments and tell her in a factual manner. You will probably hurt her feelings whatever you do, so be prepared for the consequences. In the end, you will have to decide between following your musical concience and telling the truth, or keeping your mouth shut. Good luck, tell us what happens! Melinda : I have a friend who has decided to start teaching violin lessons to some young students. I've hinted that she shouldn't try it for several reasons. : 1. She has quit taking lessons herself and doesn't practice regularly : 2. She is only 17 and has no experience teaching. : 3. She doesn't play very well and has poor technique (she played Meditation from Thais last year and I must say did a bad job of it - bad rythm, terrible tone.) : 4. The things she does do right, she has no idea how she does them- it just 'works'. : She's doing it because she needs the money (and I can understand that!) but I'm worried for her students. My first teachers were very bad, and were it not for an excellent teacher I stumbled upon, I probably wouldn't be playing. As it was, it took me years to fix all my bad habits. Is the same thing going to happen with my friend's students, or am I overparanoid?
  5. I have a viola, and I have had the same kind of experience. The viola has a heavier bow, needs more weight - I have to "give" more to produce a strong sound as well as vibrato. Playing the viola has done something for my tone production -even for learning different bowings, as the heavier bow and thicker strings make me slow down and be more exact to get the tone I want. Melinda I have been thinking of this a long time ago, and I would like to share it to the board and see what thoughts people here may have. : I have 2 violins with quite similar set-up, except for some minor differences. Now, when I use one of it to practice for some time, and shift to another, I notice that my finger tire initially for the first few practice sessions, although I can execute the music just as satisfactorily as the other. Now, when I shift to the other violin again after some time using the other one, I notice that the tone that I am producing are far better than before, especially in tonal expressiveness. I mean the vibrato character, and the tonal variation of passages. : Now, my theory is this: While some finger and hand muscle groups are strengthened in common using the 2 violins, there may be some smaller fibers that are uniquely strengthened and developed for each. So, what does that have to do with practice? Maybe, practicing on another violin with similar set-up (proper set-up of course), may have a salutatory effect on the sound production since it practices some minute muscles group that are not used, and working of these minute muscles, which we might not at all notice, may help us play the notes and passages more expressively. Playing a passage expressively definitely involves the bowing hand too, but the left hand is just as important, and I suspect that this mechanical thing of producing the sound to give expressiveness is a mixture of different muscle group and fibers at play. This I guess have a lot to do with the unique sound production of different artists. I am thinking, maybe a good way to put these small fiber groups that affect our sound production without our knowing it is to practice on maybe 2 different violins with 2 different set-up. Since I am just an amateur violinist, I have the luxury to experiment, but maybe this is not for professional before performing a concert, when they need just to be thoroughly familiar with the music to be played on their frequently used violin for that particular piece. For amateur, maybe this is a good experiment. Does anybody have any thoughts on these? Or maybe, is it just pure nonsense!! By the way, maybe this concept applies to the right hand too, using 2 different bows. Thanks for any response.
  6. Hi Katie! Sounds like a bad first day. Actually, the person to be in tune with in the concert mistress/master. (first chair) Maybe you could politely ask for her or his A, because it might be different than the A from the tuning thing- and if so, it doesn't matter what your A and your stand partners A is- even though you may have it matched to the tuning thing. Your new teacher was maybe nervous and covered it up by getting gripy and complaining. Imagine- she gets to get used to lots of new students and leading a new orchestra. Your best bet for now is to stay cool and polite and let her complain. If you are a good player, she will realise that soon enough and respect you for your playing. And you know how good you are, right? So ignore it for now, but I would not go quitting the orchestra right away without giving it a chance first! Good luck, Melinda : Hi, I'm back after about a month of not posting. I've got a teeny little bitty question for ya. Actually, it's more of a gripe. Today was the first day of school, and the first thing the new orchestra teacher did was take my instrument out of tune and got gripey when I discreetly tried to adjust it back in tune. I know I was right because I matched with the tuner thing and my stand partner. I had to end up scooting my whole hand farther back and it was NOT FUN! Then she told me my hand was in the wrong place. Aughhhhh!!! OK, gripe over. What am I supposed to do in the future if she tries this again? : Thanx, : Katie
  7. Hi everyone, Actually, I am playing K423, Victor. And I have had experiece playing Mozart before- Sonatas, but more as a member of the orchestra, the last thing we played was the beautiful concertante for violin/viola. But I know I have a lot to learn! I live in Germany, and I am not sure what we call brush stroke here- I have a nice spicatto going and can get the bow to spring nicely on 16th notes (Springbogen) But I have trouble combining the "bouncy" notes (sorry, don't know english word)with notes that are played longer just before the bouncy note. (like two tied, two bouncy) Either I crash down on the short notes or I don't get enough momentum going and it stays flat. My teacher once said that she would rather play Paganini in an audition instead of Mozart! Because if you play those thirds badly, you just make a fool out of yourself. A good Mozart-violist told me that Mozart played without joy is not worth playing at all. Melinda
  8. Hi everyone, I am working on my first major Mozart piece- a Duo in g-major for Violin and viola. Question: what do I need to know and to have mastered to play Mozart well? I know that Mozart (and music of this kind) has a special kind of articulation- certain bowings are very important. (What, for example, is the "brush stroke"?) Does anyone have any more specific tips about bowing? (how much bow, which half, ect.) Anything special one MUST know to play Mozart well? Of course I have a teacher, but I thought I would ask for your valuble insights anyhow. Thanks, Melinda p.s. anyone else play this piece? I
  9. Dear Andrew, I was at an early music workskop in San Rafeal two weeks ago. The violin teacher was trying and trying to get my to rest the violin against my chest and hold it with my left arm. Although it sounded good when he did it, I just could not get used to that position! I felt like my hand could not go anywhere, I could not play in tune or fast, and the violin kept slipping off and falling. Maye I was not open enough, but I sure like the feeling of having a free arm and hand! The bowing was ok - he said for that kind of music it is better for the bowing to play like that -you get a more authentic sound. Well, maybe I will try more next year! Were you ever at such a workshop? Melinda : I am judging from your letter that you use a wrist vibrato. I have heard some exquisite sound from wrist vibratos in which the player seemed to lay the violin neck on the thumb and bring the rest of the left hand over the top, so to speak, almost like a cello left hand. These were women (or girls) with small hands, and this position helped open their hands up to cover the fingerboard. They were very good players. : It is difficult to use a wrist vigrato with the grip you are using, and you may have to derive the basic impulse from your arm instead of your wrist or fingers. : Another possibility is to try raising your left hand a little by dropping the violin neck into the web and gaining the extra length of fingers for vibrato. If you watch, you will see that Perlman seems to do this, it may look a little sloppy up close, with his very large hands, but it gives him a lovely sound and a credible wrist/finger vibrato in the first and second positions. : For higher positions, wrist and finger vibrratos should not be such a problem, since your tight neck grip is no longer used. : I have been holding my instrument at the jaw/shoulder for over 50 years and never depend on the left hand to hold it up (it was "beat" into me as a child). But I understand that with the return to baroque and classical playing style and outfitting - even without chinrests, it is common and acceptable to not hold so tightly. So maybe you are in acceptable (if not good) company. But when I see orchestras in which the players have been forced to remove their chinrests and thus depend on their left hands to hold the fiddle, I see no happy faces, and very few decent vibratos. : Andy
  10. I don"t usually get into the middle of arguments here, but I think the one with the smart a$$ed tone seems to be you. Andrew Victor is always on the board with his often very helpful comments and tips. He has never been in the least condescending or snobby or sarcastic, as I have seen by posters, including yourself in your pretty rude and arrogant reply. So Ben, why don"t YOU try opening your eyes and cleaning out your ears! And as they say: if you don"t have anything nice to say, than.... M.alice I must admit that I am in a state of awe due to your incredible knowledge of the violin (sarcasm, of course). You obviously know it all when it comes to the violin so I find no need for you to take violin lessons. However, you could really use some lessons concerning manners. The original post asked a simple question, but you had to reply in a manner that showed your arrogance as well as your lack of respect for others who are simply wanting to learn to play the violin. Wake up! Your attitude can could come back to haunt you.
  11. I don"t usually get into the middle of arguments here, but I think the one with the smart a$$ed tone seems to be you. Andrew Victor is always on the board with his often very helpful comments and tips. He has never been in the least condescending or snobby or sarcastic, as I have seen by posters, including yourself in your pretty rude and arrogant reply. So Ben, why don"t YOU try opening your eyes and cleaning out your ears! And as they say: if you don"t have anything nice to say, than.... M.alice I must admit that I am in a state of awe due to your incredible knowledge of the violin (sarcasm, of course). You obviously know it all when it comes to the violin so I find no need for you to take violin lessons. However, you could really use some lessons concerning manners. The original post asked a simple question, but you had to reply in a manner that showed your arrogance as well as your lack of respect for others who are simply wanting to learn to play the violin. Wake up! Your attitude can could come back to haunt you.
  12. : I would like to know good ways to acquire sight reading : skills. I would see where your biggest problems are- mine are with sight reading rhythm, So I got a book with rythmical excercises and worked on lots of different rhythm patters. If it the fast notes, work on that. Learn to look for patterns which come again and again in the music. M.alice
  13. Hello Priscilla, I am a violinist in Germany (amateuer) who has relatives in San Diego, and I might be there at some point in the summertime. What kind of music did you have in mind? Have you played chamber music often? I have lots of experience in orchestra literature, but not so much in chamber music. I have done a few things with violin(s) and recorder. Oh, by the way, my father is a good recorder player and he loves playing baroque music. Maybe we could try something of that nature? Hear from you soon, Melinda : I am a cellist in San Diego, CA looking for other string players interested in getting together and playing chamber music. I sight read reasonably well but would really like to work on the literature. Thanks
  14. Hello Irene, If I were you I would build the time gradually up to your desired time. Actually I have heard that it is not meaniningful to practice more than four hours a day, and if you have a risk of injury, I would definitely watch out and not do more. Figure out what your best hours are- mornings or evenings? I like to practice scales, finger excercises, runs ect. in the morning when I am really fresh and can concentrate. In the evening I like to do pieces, sonatas ect, because I am more relaxed and play more freely. Actually my opinion is that every person has a sort of built-in learning limit of how much it is possible to learn in one day. That means even if I were to practice 8 hours a day, it doesn't mean that I would learn twice or three times as much as if I would only practice two or four hours a day. I notice that I have reached my limit when I am tired, can't concentrate anymore or lose motivation to practice. YOu should read a book about cognitive psychology- particularly about learning and the brain- because that is where it all takes place. Try to work out the most effective learning stratagies for you according to what we know about how the brain works. It is possible that by practicing two many skills at the same or too fast that you actually do more harm than good, that the memory can't absorb all of these things, and you forgot more than you retain by the next day. What a waste of time, then on is frustrated and even more tense. I think you can rather than counting hours set certain concrete goals you want to achieve in the summertime and aks yourself and your teacher what is necessary to achieve them Then you will have more fun seeing your short term goals being met one after one than just counting practice hours. I heard it is good to record your progress with a diary- write every day what you have learned, what you have improved on, and what you want to learn tommorow. Watch it grow as the summmer goes by. What do you think, Irene? Melinda I'm a college student, and an intermediate-level violin player I guess-- my current repertoire includes the Beethoven Romance in F, a few movements of unaccompanied Bach, the Mozart Concerto in G. I will be spending my summer on intensive violin study (since I don't want to do anything with my life except play the violin-- I know that it's a long shot, but I'm going to try my best at least, even if it takes another 10 or 20 years). I'm not going to a music camp (as far as I know), but I'll be studying with my teacher and hopefully playing some chamber music too. I wondered if anyone can give me some advice on how to adjust. During the school year I can only practice 1-2 hours a day, but this summer I might spend 5-6 hours daily (well, it could be more, or less, depending on how well I can keep up my concentration). : Can anyone give me some advice about what to do to adjust to this? How to maintain focus? How to avoid injury? I have had wrist problems in the past and I don't want it to come back! Should I try to build up my practice time gradually so that I'm not jumping in all of a sudden, or is it just a matter of practicing intelligently? I have learned to always, always take breaks, at least once every hour or so, and also to practice "smart", not necessarily more. I have already been able to get much better results that way. : I guess what I am looking for are some practical and concrete suggestions, because I think I understand, theoretically, how violin practice should work. In the past when I practiced long hours, my attention and my motivation would often start to die out, especially because I wasn't at a camp with other musicians surrounding me. I might not have that this summer either (didn't have the money to go to camp). I also had a tendency to get too absorbed in other things during my breaks, and then it would be hard to pick up where I left off in my practicing. : What I really long for is to be able to truly enjoy and appreciate playing and practicing, and really making the most out of the time I have-- no dull, mind-and-finger-numbing hours; I can't afford that. I have been learning how to practice better during the past year, and I've been improving faster, but it's hard to really gauge this or know exactly what I'm doing or how to systematize it, since during the school year my practice time always ends up being short and sporadic, and I often have to go into practicing when I'm already tired. : Anyway, any suggestions you can give would be fantastic! : : Thanks, : Irene
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