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Everything posted by Laurel

  1. : In my small city symphony (semi-professional level) we also "clap" by tapping our bows not on the top of the stand but on the music in front of us, as well as stomp. I was at a performance of the Moscow State Radio Symphony last night and noticed a few of their members also clap by tapping...so I was thinking it was universal. Perhaps not. In my college/community string ensemble, we would also clap by slapping our thighs with one hand. Makes a similar sound to clapping, and can be done either sitting, or standing like bass players. Laurel
  2. : As a beginning student of almost one year I am trying to learn and memorize new tunes. some i have recordings of which helps the learning process some are being played for the first time from written music. : My question is what is the fastest way to learn and memorize new tunes? typically i will listen to a tune then if i have the music start in measure by measure, slowly until my speed picks up. but the memorizing process is coming more slowly than i would like. most of my practice has been on waltzes and some foundation studies.Any help would be greatly appreciated. as always, thanks for the use of this site. hr For learning new pieces from written music, I find a useful way is to break the piece into smaller bits, and memorise them one at a time. For example, one week work on the first two lines of a piece. If you do it every day you will probably memorize it more quickly than you realise - close your eyes and see if you can play it. Then the next week, add the next two lines - you'll still retain the first two. And so on. You can go on for pages this way if necessary! Try it and see how it works. Maybe you'll find you need to break it into 1 line, or 3 measures, or just up to the first repeat which is 3 lines, or whatever. Or maybe you'll find you can add the new parts every 2 days instead of every week - see what works! Hope this helps! Laurel
  3. Have someone else look at it, preferably a luthier, or violin maker/repairer. They can tell you what kind of repairs need to be done, if any. They can also tell you how to maintain it, how to make sure the pegs don't stick or slip, how to change strings if one breaks, how to rosin the bow etc. etc. Not to be too negative, but they might also tell you if the violin is worth keeping. I talked to a violin dealer who says he scoops up any even remotely playable instruments from local antique stores and secondhand shops - so any instruments I might find in them are probably good for just hanging on the wall. Just a warning; maybe this doesn't happen in your area. Hope this helps! Laurel
  4. : Do you think it's possible that if I did manage to convince the conductor to let me audition and get into the firsts (in the chamber orchestra), that I might miss being in seconds? Hmmm. I'd appreciate all thoughts or suggestions on the matter. I played 2nd violin in a local chamber orchestra for 3 years. I agree with the comments earlier about being a part of the "inner voices", especially when playing Mozart or other excellent chamber repertoire. It lets you learn how to listen to the music; if you have the melody all the time it's too easy to forget there's anything else. I'd stay in 2nd violin for a while. Just to see what it's all about; just to round out your playing experience. Find out, through experience, whether it is a "lesser" section than first violin, or whether it's just less flashy. Hope this helps Laurel : -Michael L.
  5. As with any violin purchase, try out several and compare. Do they sound and feel good to you? Take your teacher along and see what he/she thinks too. I wouldn't worry too much about which country the instruments come from; earlier posts have established that Chinese instruments are no longer to be avoided. I have a Chinese instrument, about 4 years old, which has been "antiqued". This is cheating in my opinion, but the instrument sounds great and looks nice, so I bought it. I paid $2500 Canadian for it; if you're in America that would probably be $1000 US these days... Hope this helps! Laurel
  6. Just to play devil's advocate, I'll disagree here. With such a young child, the difficulties we see as adults may be nonexistent for the child. Others have posted that it may be too frustrating to hold and play the violin (as opposed to cello) with the left hand, when your son already has an amount of disability in the right hand/arm. I would say, maybe, or maybe not! How many parents are amazed at what their children can do, with no practise or concentration or anything? this applies to everything, not just music. Maybe we forget how easy it is for kids to absorb things, as we have to put so much conscious effort into our own learning. I'd take some other things into consideration, in addition to which instrument your son should play. For example, what are the other kids in the neighbourhood playing? you'll have a better idea when he gets further into preschool and kindergarten, but depending on his personality, it could be positive or negative for him if he were the only one playing violin, or cello, or whatever. You might try exposing him to violin music vs. cello music, and see how he responds; kids tend to gravitate toward the higher-pitched instruments, and it may be just as frustrating for him, mentally, to be playing a low-pitched instrument as it would be physically to play violin. On the other hand, he might like the sound and feel of a nice big cello as opposed to the violin. I'm sure I'm overcomplicating this! Oh well, I just thought I'd point out how adults can see difficulties that kids just breeze through. My sister-in-law, whose husband and 2 sons are in piano, says that kids never think it's hard, it's just boring; adults never think it's boring, it's just hard! :-) Hope this helps Laurel
  7. I'm just back from a 3-week trip to Europe with my hubby, so sorry if this reply seems late. I just read this whole thread and it's hilarious! If I'd been around I'd have recommended getting some Y2K Bug Spray, it seems to work around the office... Thanks :-) Laurel
  8. Another idea is to look up "Music Instruction" in your local Yellow Pages, and phone around to different music schools. You can find out what the going rate is for lessons, and they can advise you on different brands of instruments, renting vs. owning, etc. Good luck! Thanks Laurel
  9. : Young lady, the answer is simple, stick to less complicated elective classes, like, cheerleading and volleyball. Perhaps a home-ec class? : Adean I'm hoping this is a tongue-in-cheek post, and not serious. But just in case you are serious, or there's a reader who is, remember: nobody thinks girls and women are stupid anymore - a bit like how nobody thinks drinking & driving is cool anymore. Besides, my mother was a home-ec major and professional dietician, and there is a lot of pretty heavy science there (what used to be thought of as "man" subjects) like biochemistry and other organic sciences. The students even learned how to butcher cows and pigs - not exactly "ladylike" stuff. If you're so smart go design a diet for a diabetic who's also allergic to gluten. :-) Thanks Laurel P.S. My apologies if I'm being too angry or insulting, my husband and I are off on a trip to Europe tomorrow and I'm all stressed and wired! I know I'll relax once we're going, but that's a whole day away - Aaaaaaaa!!! ;-) Laurel
  10. The counterbalance should be provided by the weight of your head on the chinrest. At least the way I learned to play, the violin is completely supported by the weight of the head (NOT by clenching with your jaw or neck muscles, but just by resting the weight of your head on the chinrest). Think of it as "hanging" your hand/arm on the fingerboard by your fingertips. Your thumb basically does not change position at all. I think you're simply using too much pressure from your finger; only use enough to sound the note. I had this problem too while learning vibrato, my hand would rise up on its tippytoes! This is easier said than done, of course, but if you think of placing rather than pressing your fingers, it should help. Here is how I learned step by step: 1. Keeping the thumb where it is, slightly flexed, resting gently on the side of the neck - it's just along for the ride, really - practise pulling your index finger base joint away from the neck - not too far! just enough to let the hand move freely - and "waving" at yourself in the back-and-forth vibrato motion. Don't place any fingers yet. 2. Do the same thing, only this time let one finger rest on the fingerboard as you "wave". Don't press, just very lightly touch the strings and slide the fingertip back and forth in the same motion. Each finger. 3. Do the same thing, only keep your fingertip in the same place. Don't press hard enough to make notes yet - make it as though your fingertip is "stuck" to the string. As you move your hand back and forth, you'll notice your finger joints flexing - this is a good thing. Again, keep the index finger away (not too far) and keep holding up the violin with the weight of the head! 4. Finally, stand in front of a wall in playing position and lean the scroll slightly against the wall, just enough to help support it. Play whole notes, starting on the G string, with each finger, moving up to the D, A and E strings. I find this exercise invaluable when vibrato is getting too tense. All this will take several weeks, at least that's how long it took me! When you're reasonably comfortable with the wall exercise, try it in normal playing position. Vibrato is a hard thing to get right, so if you progress slowly don't despair! Now, having said all that, there is a method of playing called the "chin-off" method which does involve holding the instrument up with the left hand, which pretty much invalidates everything I just said! Oh well! Hope this helps Laurel
  11. : Also, I am about to start lessons in a couple of weeks : with a local instructor-what should I expect from : the first month or so of lessons? : I play flute and sing so I am not a complete : musical novice. The first month or so? My first lesson was about holding the bow and instrument properly. The next lesson was about bowing on open strings, string crossing, placing the left hand fingers properly on the instrument - this was covered in the first pages of my violin book. The next few lessons covered the next many pages of the book! There are lots of little tunes you can play when you are practising holding, bowing and finger placement - Au Clair de la Lune, Old McDonald, Lightly Row, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Long Long Ago, to name a few. All the while your teacher will be checking to make sure your posture is good and that you are not developing tension in any muscles, as posture and relaxation are crucial in string playing. Your musical background will certainly help your progress! The music at the beginning stage is an octave lower than most flute music (? - I think - so says my flautist sister-in-law!) Good luck and have fun! Do let us know how it goes! Thanks Laurel
  12. : I recently discovered that a much better vibrato sound : can be produced if the neck is basically only contacted by : the finger tip on top and the thumb underneath. It seems : to allow the wrist/hand to move more freely. I notice from : videos that most pro's do this. : But I am having a very difficult time balancing the neck : between these two points when playing several notes in succession or shifting. : The thumb is basically convex : and not a stable balance point. Two alternatives I have : tried are to move my left elbow ridiculously far forward to allow : the thumb to be more or less horizontal to the ground, or : to rest the neck way down in the bottom of the thumb - first : finger joint, which I always thought was incorrect. : What is the key that I am missing? Simple. When vibrating, pull the base of the index finger away from the neck; I was taught this as the first movement when starting to vibrate. When not vibrating, such as when playing several notes in succession or when shifting, keep the index finger touching (but not squeezing!) the neck. Think about it. Why would you vibrate at the exact moment that you're shifting? You wouldn't - so do the shift in the usual position (with base of index finger touching). Hope this helps! Good luck! Laurel (P.S. What does your teacher say?)
  13. Here's what I do to work up speed and coordination: Take a section of the music - say, 4 to 8 measures - and play each note 4 times, with separate bows. Repeat, playing each note 3 times. Repeat, playing each note 2 times. Repeat, playing each note once. You will find you can play the section faster and more accurately than if you were to simply play it over and over. Sometimes I stay with the 4- and 3-note repetitions for a week, then move to the faster speeds. The difference can be amazing! Another technique, especially when you know the runs well, is to play with a metronome set to a moderate speed. Each day, move the speed up a notch. After a week or two you'll be much faster. Hope this helps! Laurel
  14. . Fingering both notes, well, : I can only speak for myself, but the intonation goes : "out the window" in a hurry. Yes, that goes for me too! However, if you're working on double-stop scales, here's a way of practising them that will help you get both notes right: Play them "broken", that is, on the down-bow play the lower note then the upper note, quarter notes slurred (half a bow each); then on the up-bow play them both together as a half note. For example, C (on G string), E (on D string), then keep your fingers down and play them together. (I hope I'm explaining this OK!) After that, work on placing both fingers down together, but only play (bow) the lower notes. Then repeat, playing (bowing) only the upper notes. Finally play the double-stops together. Hope this helps! Laurel
  15. : if i put dominant strings on my violin, then do i have to take off the fine tuners?? Gee, I hope not! otherwise I'm doing this all wrong! :-) Seriously - I've got Dominants on my violin with fine tuners; they're there because I'm terribly paranoid about breaking strings... The violin came with an E fine tuner that was one of those "hook" types that you put a loop-end E-string on - and guess where I broke it? Got another tuner that would take ball end E strings. Thanks for sifting through my rambling! Laurel
  16. Here's how I started to remember it: I based it on where the fingers go in 1st position. So, 2nd position "starts" (i.e., placing your first finger) where your 2nd finger goes. 3rd position "starts" where your 3rd finger goes. 4th position "starts" where your 4th finger goes, and so on. If you had 7 fingers, 7th position "starts" where your 7th finger would go! (If you do, I don't want to meet you!) :-) My second step was to remember this relationship in relation to the 3rd and 5th position. So, 7th position "starts" where my 3rd finger goes in 5th position. I try to make this a physical memory thing, that is a combination of the sound and how far up the fingerboard it feels. Haven't tried the octave thing yet, but I'm still working on 7th and higher positions (I get so busy preparing for exams that I run out of time for the study book. Really bugs my teacher!) ;-) Hope this helps! Laurel
  17. : Child's violin. "Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis : Faciebat Anno 1713 Made in Czechoslovakis". Hmmm - you should read the guide for this discussion board for instructions on this, I think... However, I'll point out that Czechoslovakia didn't exist till 1918; therefore you can be sure that Antonius Stradivarius didn't make it in Czechoslovakia, either in 1713 or any other time. Lots and lots and lots of violins were made in the style of the Stradivarius (same dimensions etc.), and for the longest time it was perfectly legal to put Stradivari's name (or another maker's name) inside a less-than-perfect instrument, in case some innocent buyer would think it was worth a lot. A violin label is now a legal document, so you can't really do that anymore. Anyone out there know if Stradivari made child-sized instruments at all? Take these to a violin dealer or appraiser to find out what they're worth, if anything. Start with your local Yellow pages; phone around to music stores, esp. those specializing in stringed instruments, and see who they can point you to. Good luck! Laurel
  18. It would have hampered my progress only in the final four months or so. Before that time, I'm sure I was still developing the skills of producing a big, rich tone. In other words, I still would have made a thin, whiny sound on an excellent instrument, because that was how I was playing. I think my teacher timed his suggestion (of upgrading) well. There's "giving up in frustration" when the instrument just won't sing - and then there's "frustration" when your hands and fingers won't, or haven't learned to, do the right things. There's a difference, and I think a skilled teacher or observer can help with this. I'm only mentioning it because some well-meaning students or parents (or teachers) can think the other way around, that just getting a new violin will automatically and incredibly improve a poor player's sound. Maybe I've just hung around with too many "let's blame everything else instead of looking at our own performance" people! :-) Hope all this rambling helps! Laurel
  19. I did drop in (briefly) on one of the communities in Webchat Broadcasting System - I'm pretty sure the address is www.wbs.net, anyway go to the Music group and then to Classical Music. Turned out to be several instrumentalists, not just strings, but they were all great to chat with. I mostly hang out in the Needlecraft room and have used the bookmark so often I've forgotten the real address... :-) Thanks Laurel
  20. If this is in fact a serious request, the Net is not the place to find real help in this situation. Look in your local Yellow Pages for a crisis line, counsellors etc. Good luck : I am in an abusive marriage and in love with another married person in a a similar situation. We have bothed dreamed of starting over together as we have everything in common, and experience nothing but joy when we are together. I am ready to give my life to this person, but they are afraid to leave their spouse. This person will decide our fate soon and the thought of loosing what is a perfect, unselfish love with dreams of the future makes me so depressed that I cannot bring myself to think of anything else. : I am here at my home alone with no one to talk to, and only sadness to reflect on.
  21. Hey, how about an English Readers Digest version of the following, like there was for that Francais thing before? :-) Thanks Laurel P.S. sorry about the cedille, I haven't programmed the keyboard to do foreign letters yet. : Grazie sei stato gentilissimo!! : Io studio da 10 anni e sono abbastanza avanti, il mio violino è un buon violino, ma a volte il suono è polveroso, sporco e mi pare di far fatica fisicamente a tirare fuori il souno. : Secondo te che esercizi si possono fare giornalmente per potenziare il suono e renderlo sempre bello?! : So che è molto difficile ma ci provo! : Ora sto studiando Paganini, e non è che mi dia molta soddisfazione! : Ti ringrazio ancora!!! : ps: ah io studio con la Signora Padrin e con suo marito il grande Giovanni Guglielmo(primo violino di Santa Cecilia e dei solisti Italiani )
  22. : Someone suggested i get an instructor, but as a full time senior in mechanical engineering, i doubt there are many people that will want to teach at during the hours i want to practice. Don't worry about hours! My teacher teaches up until after 10:00 at night most weeknights. A workaholic? maybe - but just to point out that there are weird lesson hours out there! What's your schedule like? Look in the Yellow Pages for music instruction, phone around and explain your situation. Also get local teachers' business cards from string-instrument shops and other music stores. Or, you could find an advanced student from one of these places to teach you. Hope this helps! Keep us posted! Laurel
  23. Hi! I can give you my experience: I started with a student-grade Suzuki violin which, in my teacher's opinion, had a good sound for a student instrument. I upgraded at the point where I was having trouble getting a big, rich tone out of the instrument; I was able to play in this manner but the instrument could not respond to it. My teacher told me I should upgrade because it was simply too much work to get the cheaper one to sound nice. My teacher came with me to help judge the sound of the instruments. I ended up spending about $2500 Cdn. (yes it was within my price range!) and this new instrument will last me a good long time. In comparison, I got the first one (instrument, bow, case, rosin) for $350 Cdn. Hope this helps! Laurel
  24. My $0.02: don't reject Chinese-made (or Japanese-made, or whatever) instruments just because people say they have a bad reputation. It's true that for a while at least, the instruments coming from China were very cheap, factory-made junk that sounded like Volkswagens with no mufflers. However, that has changed - both in the improved quality of Chinese-made instruments, and the junkiness of instruments made elsewhere! :-) I had my teacher come to music stores with me, as he could judge the sound so much better. The "feel" of an instrument was for me to judge, but he evaluated them for tone both when I played them and when he played them. I ended up with a (yes, Chinese-made!) violin for $2500 Cdn, and this instrument sings!! Thanks Laurel
  25. :Most of the time, however, a different harmonic is used. It can be found by playing a two-octave A scale all on the A string; the top note is the harmonic. My teacher gave me these ways of playing this note too - the harmonic on D on the A string as mentioned in previous posts, and the harmonic on the top note of the scale as mentioned above. Try them both, they'll be the same note. I always leaned toward the harmonic in first position, at least if I was going to play this in performance; it might be impressive to the (non-violinist) audience to see you produce a harmonic in first position, where you were just moments ago playing "normal" notes... Thanks Laurel
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