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Everything posted by Laurel

  1. "(insert musical skill here) is impossible after age 7 or 8" and the like. Old muscles can learn new tricks! =) I've been playing for about 5 years now, starting at age 24. After my first year or year and a half, I started taking Royal Conservatory exams, and also found a small community orchestra to play with. I am now preparing for my Grade 7 exam - not professional at all, of course, but just an example of the difference a structured program plus some time can make! What also helped was: having no kids yet to distract me! and also not having too busy a social life, i.e. I'm only out with friends on the weekends, and not ALL weekend either! - most days I have between 1 and 2 hours to devote to practising. (Most of the time!) ;-) So who knows where I'll be after 5 more years, or 10, or 15? Just my $0.02!! Thanks Laurel
  2. I have also been feeling this increasing frustration level in the last couple months or so. In my case it is because I am in a local community college orchestra (I'm not a student there, just a community member), and the pressure there is phenomenal! This conductor knows what she's doing, and should actually be commended for preparing college students for the real world (read: professional orchestras) but she tends to be a bit lacking in positive feedback. This is my 3rd year with this group, and the constant "This is still way below tempo", "It's too draggy", "Don't rush me!" and "Look at my stick at the end of this phrase!", whether said to my section or other sections, is very discouraging. In other words, improvements are not commented upon, until they are up to her standards. I've therefore started to honestly believe that no matter how much I practise, it still won't be good enough! Now, it's great training for keeping a good attitude in the face of adversity and all that. However, matters came to a head last week when I literally could not practise! Not only the orchestra music, but anything! I just cuddled my violin for 45 min. or so. My solution? I have recently found a local Scottish Fiddling club, have been to 2 meetings and really enjoy it. The change in genre from classical to fiddling is very refreshing; add to that there is no criticism whatsoever - if we get it, fine, if not, fine. We are there to learn tunes and have a good time. I can see that this could lead to laziness, bad habits, lowered standards etc., but as a contrast to the previous conductor's behaviour, it's the best thing for me. You might want to try finding a different situation like this - something that's still violin-oriented, but that is different enough to break the obsession & get you back to the fun! Hope this helps! Laurel
  3. I've played some Baroque music in my orchestra, and I must say I love Arcangelo Corelli's music, especially his Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 8, the "Christmas Concerto". Good for intermediate students like me! Thanks Laurel
  4. How about someone who would like to focus exclusively on teaching music? I have a perfectly good "day job" but am considering violin teaching as my "next" career. What kind of qualifications would you recommend - keep in mind the mortgage, money constraints, possibility of young family etc....unfortunately I am no longer in the straight-out-of-high-school set! Thanks Laurel
  5. >strengthening (I don't think I spelled that right) Yes, the spelling is right - don't worry! Thanks Laurel (An English Major) ;-)
  6. One exercise given to me by my teacher was this: Play your usual fingering while holding the left thumb away from the neck. This will make your fingers do all the work (without any help from the thumb) which will strengthen them for this particular job. It is also useful for players who tend to squeeze the neck too hard, which creates tension in the left hand. One major caution (also from my teacher): Don't do too much of this - only about 5-10 minutes at a time, then practise as usual. If you play without the thumb too much, it can simply become another bad habit. Hope this helps! Laurel
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