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Everything posted by Laurel

  1. : I am 43 years old and have been taking lessons for a little over a year. I am having problems keeping my hand relaxed and freed up to learn vibrato. My hand gets very fatigued and I push too hard with my thumb. Any pointers? Here are some things my teacher is having me work on: Lean the scroll of the violin up against a wall (gently) while you are practising vibrato; thus you can concentrate on the vibrato motion without worrying about holding the instrument so much. That can come later. Starting on G string, do 2 whole notes - one down-bow, one up-bow - with each finger in turn, and on each string in turn. Also, try doing very slow vibrato - i.e., a half-note above the pitch, then a half-note below the pitch (same whole note bows as above). Then vibrate quarter notes, that is, 4 "oscillations" per bow. Then eighth notes (8 per bow). Then triplets. Then sixteenth notes. Then a bit faster than sixteenths, which is a nice vibrato speed. Strive for a nice funky "wowowowowowowow" sound. Make sure it is a movement of the hand, rather than jerking. One thing I have to do is concentrate on not tensing my bicep or tricep. This is tricky! Make any sense? Hope it helps! Thanks Laurel
  2. : Try vibratoing (is that a word?) very wide and slowly. It sounds ridiculous, but it helps to relax your hand and also to help you get used to the motions. : Angela For what it's worth, the verb is "to vibrate", according to a couple of conductors I've had. :-) Thanks Laurel
  3. I am working on Royal Conservatory exams, so I have a fairly definite structure to what I have to practise. First comes scales, arpeggios, double-stops and/or other technical requirements (not all of these in each session - don't have that much time!) Then I'll work on one of two or three studies. Next comes the concerto, then the sonata, then the "other" piece(s) required for exams - again, not all of these in each practise session. Then, if there's a recital coming up, I'll work on whatever I'm preparing for it. Finally I'll end off with whatever's just fun - maybe an older piece I've mastered, or a current one I really like, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star... something kind of mindless so I can just enjoy playing! Lately, I've been starting off with 10 min. or so of working on vibrato. It needs practise! :-) Hope this helps, Laurel : Can you all share how you use your practice time? I'm : searching for a good one. Do you warm up with scales? : How many scales do you do a day? How long do you warmup? : When do you do exercises during practice?
  4. :But the reason why I kind of regret starting so early is that I always resented having to go to lessons and practicing because it wasn't my own choice. I'm sure this kind of thing causes lots of kids to be resentful - but keep in mind that it's not just the musical skills you were learning. It's the life-skill of not avoiding things just because they weren't your own choice. Isn't that one thing we all had to learn when we were growing up? just like eating those lima beans and taking baths... Perhaps this is why your parents had you continue with it... part of a parent's responsibility is to help their kids learn healthy attitudes. Another way of looking at it (I should have said this first) is that maybe your parents just wanted you to start experiencing music, rather than waiting until you exibited some, possibly vague, interest. Some kids don't know if they like something until they've tried it. I was the same way about sports; it's like when I was in the primary grades, sports were just kind of "there" and I had no particular interest, but would have enjoyed it had I been "put" into one. However, by the time I was old enough to express an interest in joining a team sport, all the kids my age had been doing it for three or four years, so I was way behind. Hope this makes sense! Thanks Laurel
  5. I'm probably WAY too young (29) to be part of the Old Dogs' Orchestra, but as I'm not a "kid-starter" - my year was great! :-) Here's some reasoning given to me by one of my teachers about why she hesitated to accept adults: Adults don't have parents around to make them practise and come to lessons on time! Seriously, in her experience, adults just 1)have less time to practise, 2) are more likely to cancel lessons or arrive late, and 3) many aren't as good at self-discipline as they think they are (i.e., they could make time to practise, but don't). I don't happen to agree with the idea of not accepting adult students, but obviously that is her solution, and I must say she has a point. I don't know how many times I've had to tell my teacher "sorry, I didn't work on X or Y or Z at all this week..." (blush) Anyway, just one possible reason, rather than just general snootiness (although there's a lot of that around too!) Thanks Laurel
  6. : So, what should I look for? An older Itaian by a lesser known maker?? German, Engish,French? I'd prefer an older intrument to a newer instrument... if it had a good chance of resale (in the case that I'd actually get to upgrade) that would be great... I'm looking in the 3-5 range. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks! I know you're looking more for older instruments, but my advice (which I've posted before) is: don't ignore the newer Chinese-made instruments, just because they had such a lousy reputation. The ones made in the last 5 years or so are of excellent quality and sound; my teacher helped me find my current instrument, and he can't stop enthusing about it. Other than that, I'd repeat what's been said before - just try many instruments in your price range, see how they feel and sound. Bring another violinist with you - another pair of ears helps! Thanks Laurel
  7. : PLUCKING LIVE HORSES TAILS IS A COMMON ACCURANCE WITH THE DOMESTICATED HORSE SOCIETY FOR GROOMING PURPOSES : AND THEREFORE WOULD CAUSE ONLY SLIGHT DISCOMFORT AS SO LITTLE HAIR IS PULLED OUT. Someone at the stables where I used to ride (can't afford violin and riding both!) said that it caused the same or less discomfort as when you pull a hair out of your own head. Those nasty grey ones, for example. :-) Thanks Laurel
  8. : Hello *fake name*, : At least Mark T left his "mark" unlike yourself. Can you humor us with a more original handel? I would suggest George Frederic... ;-) Laurel
  9. You don't mention whether you've given Canadian violin shops/makers a chance. Of course there are lots of new student violins available here. Sounds like from previous posts there are the usual brokerage fees etc. etc.; doesn't sound too bad - but why are you looking in the States in the first place? Just wondering, Laurel : Hello all, sorry for bothering you again.... : I was looking at a bunch of new student violins and was wondering which violin is better: : Scott Cao STV-017 $400 : Shar - Franz Hoffmann Maestro $430 : Stringworks - Crescendo $395 : Stringworks - Artist $495 : I was also hoping that if there's any Canadians reading this post to please tell me if they ever bought any violins from the States and had it shipped over to Canada, what the postage rate is and how much Canadian customs charge and all that good stuff. : Thanks : Lisa N
  10. You might also try "Introducing The Positions - For Violin". Book 1 is 3rd & 5th, book 2 is 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th. It starts with playing in the third position, as you mentioned placing your 1st finger on D on the A string, and testing it against the open D string beside it; then on to a few studies, then shifting from 1st to 3rd position with the same finger (i.e. play B with first finger, slide up to D with first finger; play C with second finger, slide up to E with second etc.); then shifting with different fingers (i.e. play B with first finger, slide up to D with first finger, and place second finger to play E). Best thing to do is work with a teacher at least for a while (as has been mentioned so many times!) An extra pair of ears helps with intonation in shifting. The rationale behind teaching 3rd & 5th positions first, at least according to these books, is simply that these positions are used the most in violin literature, after 1st position. And, as you mentioned before, 3rd position is the next most common position after 1st in fiddling. Good luck! Laurel
  11. : I know it's a little late, but I can't believe no one came up with "Danse Macabre" by Saint Saens. Perfect little Halloween piece ! I thought of that WAY too late, then I thought it didn't fit in the "really easy, quick to learn" category! :-) Laurel
  12. : Ive heard several times now that alot of violin teachers dont like to teach adult students - why? One violin teacher I talked to answered that question: she said that, in her experience, adult students need parents who will make them come to lessons on time, and who will make them practise! :-) Seriously - she found that the parents of child students were much more consistent about things like being on time, because they wanted their children to learn those life skills. Adult students, she said, are more likely to think they can skip anytime, give very short notice or no notice at all, blame the instrument for their own shortcomings etc. We are more inclined to think for ourselves and do things our own way, rather than respecting the authority of the teacher - and we're more likely to be rude & obnoxious about it! There are lots of exceptions of course; this is just what one teacher told me. Thanks Laurel
  13. : I'm one step behind you.... I have wanted to take up violin since I was very young (I know flute, clarinet, sax), but our music teacher did not know strings. I am 29 now and have the money and time to actually learn. Only one major problem, I've had several people rave about an instructor, but I don't have an instrument. A friend of mine got a nice violin at ebay.com, and I'd also like to get one used but I have no idea what to look for. Any advice? I went into a (reputable!) music store and got a "student outfit", consisting not of clothing but of the violin, bow and case. A good store will give you a few (3 or 4) choices and the corresponding prices. I'd also advise renting-to-own, at least to start; that way your instructor can evaluate the instrument without your having spent lots of money on it. Hope this helps! Laurel
  14. : I am looking for a good solo that's about level 3 or 4 (New York). Does anyone know of anything? I'm in Suzuki book 4. I'm an older (14) beginner. Something fun, I'm getting kinda tired of endless Gavottes and Minuets. I like minor key pieces generally. : Thanks a lot! : Micaela : Ithaca, NY By "solo", do you mean music written for solo violin? or just non-orchestral-type music? I must say I enjoyed the Vivaldi A minor concerto, and later G minor; I don't know if that's the kind of solo you're looking for. For solo violin, maybe try Bach's partitas for solo violin? I don't know what Suzuki book they would correspond to. Hope this helps Laurel
  15. : hi. I'm back, adn I'm complaining aobut my teacher again. This time, she decided that we cna't play any pieces that aren't in the key of d major or c major. It is just driving me nuts that she doesn't realise that an 8th grade orchestra is capable of playing keys other than the easiest two!!!! Wow. I sympathise with you, and I agree with Ben's comment that there's no challenge there. Did your teacher give a reason for this restriction? I guess if the teacher's going to be that way, the only thing you can do is play absolutely perfectly in those two keys - make sure your intonation is rock-solid, have impeccable rhythm, etc. Maybe your teacher feels that even in D maj. and C maj, the orchestra is kinda-sorta-just a little out of tune, or something; like the basics have not been mastered yet. Could be a reason for not moving on to other keys. Prove to her how easy they are! Hope this helps, and keep us posted! Laurel
  16. : Hi Laurel, : Here's part of the original post. The word "France" DOES appear on the label and ALSO on the bridge. Oops. Duh. :-P A thousand pardons, Laurel
  17. : OK, paganini boy. Sure he had the will to go on, and God bless him for that. However, he's whining about how Russians cut his career short and whatever... I mean, c'mon! Oliveira and Fodor won the Tchaikovsky in the 70's, they were American violinists, no one stopped them. It's just that he thought he was gonna make it really big, but he was wrong and he's now bitter... I read the interview article, and I didn't really detect "whining" or "bitterness". Maybe he does think the Russians cut his career short, but maybe he's just saying what his perceptions were at the time. Maybe the Russians did cut his career short - corruption does happen. Kind of the same thing that happens at Olympic skating competitions and the like; judges favouring one nationality over another - who really knows? Take it easy, everyone. Laurel
  18. : If money is tight, try your public library or your local college library where you can borrow the music free for weeks at a time. : Hoping you can locate what you want in the appropriate manner, : A. Brown Don't know if your neighbourhood's different from mine - but good luck finding specific sheet music in a public library! :-) Do the college (or university) Music Library thing. Thanks Laurel
  19. : Why would the label on a real Amati have the word France in it? This doesn't seem to match specimen labels I've seen for this maker. Read carefully - the original post said that the Made in France part was on the bridge, not on the violin label. Laurel
  20. : hi i just got a violin and i want to learn how to play it ive bin playing guitar for 3 years now i dont know if that helps at all but i need help please help me give me pointers chords music anything please help asap!@ I'll repeat the "Get a Teacher" advice - just holding the violin properly is a challenge! Also - don't expect any real carryover from the guitar; they are different instruments, tuned differently, finger position is different, etc. etc. In other words, ignore the physical aspect of playing guitar when learning the violin. Good luck! Laurel
  21. : Happy Halloween to all you ppl in the us! By the way, does anyone know of any really easy, quick to learn Halloween music? Preferabley something you can download off the internet? : : Hmmm, never heard of Halloween music. A schoolteacher friend of mine does this with his Grade 3-6 recorder students: he puts easy tunes (like Twinkle Little Star, I'm a Little Teapot etc.) into a minor key, and writes Halloween-type lyrics for them ("I'm a thirsty vampire, seeking blood; here is my cape and here are my fangs" (something like that)). You could do this yourself maybe - ? Thanks Laurel
  22. : I play the piano... would knowledge in piano notation be of use when it comes to violins? Yes, reading piano music will help. It makes one less thing you'll need to learn, which means you can concentrate on physically playing the violin without worrying about what all those lines and marks mean. You'll also find that switching to reading only one staff is a bonus! :-) Good luck! Laurel : Thanx a bunch!
  23. : Actually, I would say that the bow angle and the allocation of pressure are not the same thing, though they are related. One of those subtle things. Good point. I was just thinking of a way that a beginner (remember, we're talking only a few weeks here!) would be able to do most easily. It's (probably) easier to change the angle of your bow, and to be able to see what you're doing, than to adjust relative finger pressure, at this stage. Whatever works! Thanks Laurel : : : : Another way of saying this is: when you are near the tip, make the bow hair almost flat on the string. When you are near the frog, make the bow hair touch the string only on the outside edge (the edge farthest away from your face). : : What does your teacher say about this? It's so much easier to show than to tell! : : Good luck! : : Laurel
  24. When I started violin, I had played accordion when I was a kid. My teacher used the two "Strictly Strings" books, published by Highland & Etling. By the end of these books the student has a solid 1st position and a good introduction to shifting. Seems suitable for children and adults; it includes short folk songs from many cultures, so it's not just a "classical" series. There were only a couple pieces which could be a little too childish, depending on your outlook - like 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall! - otherwise these books are great. Good luck with your violin playing - keep us posted! Laurel (P.S. no offense taken about the "don't believe anything this guys is saying" subject line - I was going to point out that Laurel is not a man's name; however the way people are naming their kids these days you never know! :-)
  25. : This still happens to me sometimes. When you are playing long bows and approach the tip of the bow, start to rotate your right wrist so that your forefinger is placing relatively more pressure on the bow stick. When you approach the frog, rotate your wrist the other way so that your pinky is placing more pressure on it. The position of your wrist (and the allocation of pressure between your first finger and pinky) should change gradually as you move the bow. : Best wishes! Another way of saying this is: when you are near the tip, make the bow hair almost flat on the string. When you are near the frog, make the bow hair touch the string only on the outside edge (the edge farthest away from your face). What does your teacher say about this? It's so much easier to show than to tell! Good luck! Laurel
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