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Everything posted by Irene

  1. funny! In my university orchestra, people actually avoid sitting near the front because they don't want the conductor to hear what they really sound like. Occasionally I sense some bad vibes from people over seating, but we no longer compare hickeys (except as a joke) or drop difficult music-- everybody knows that in college, unless you are a music major, you don't take private lessons anymore anyway. Most of us don't practice either-- college students who are not performance majors (and my school doesn't even have a performance program) hardly have time to practice! (well, that is not necessarily true, but for most people practicing is no longer a priority!) I must say that I can understand being jealous of the players in the front. In the back it's really hard to make music. The brass section blasts right into your ear, nobody else there can play the notes, and you can't even see the conductor, so it's definitely harder to play well in the back than in the front! When I started playing with my university orchestra, I sat in the VERY last seat, so I know what it is like back there! So I feel some pity for the poor guys who struggle along and drag the whole section down-- that was me! But, thankfully, I practiced (for a couple of years), and I managed to escape that position-- that is, until I join another orchestra one step up from this one. Some people are in the back because they are unmotivated (especially in high school), but some people are in the back just because they are working their way up. Seriously, I think it is good for us string players, especially violinists, to have our egos deflated a little and sit in the back of the section. For some people, getting stuck in the back can be a dead end, but I think that if you are wise (someday you may find yourself in the back of a much better orchestra than you are in today), you would take it as a challenge to yourself and your own playing. In which case sitting in the back will actually work for you and not against you. That way you can't lose!
  2. Mr. Sowden, thank you for the explanation. Last weekend I heard Pamela Frank play Kernis's , and her bow hair was dyed blue. Colored bow hair was something I had never seen before either. I don't know why, but my guess (and I could be completely wrong) is that it might have had something to do with the nature of the piece as well as the fact that she had dedicated her performance to the memory of Felix Galimir, who passed away earlier that week. She also wore black for her performance.
  3. I'm a music theory major who plays the violin, and this sounds like a challenge to your music theory and your listening abilities! I can think of a few possibilities for working on this: The Thorough way-- do all three steps: 1) How do you practice your scales? If you practice them merely by relating pitches to one another with no absolute idea of where you are (i.e., major, minor, etc., only starting on a different note every time, doesn't matter what note) without concentrating on what actual notes you are playing, that might be why practicing your scale is not helping you. It is possible to play very accurately in tune without ever knowing, intellectually, what notes you are playing! I used to do this when practicing my scales, but my teacher told me that I have to know what notes I am playing; for instance, in the C# minor scale, say the notes as you play: "C#, D#, E natural, F#, G#...." etc. Always know where you are when you play your scale, even when you play it fast. Apply the same principle to the exercise. 2) If you've mastered your scales when starting on the tonic, practice your scales starting on random notes; for example, in Db Major, start on a note in the scale other than Db and play the right notes: for instance, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, Gb. Train your ear not only to hear "do re mi fa sol la ti do", but also "re mi fa sol la ti do re", "mi fa sol la ti do re mi", etc. The way I learned to train my ear to hear this kind of thing was actually not by playing them on the violin, but by singing melodies and changing the key signatures (or changing from minor to major or even medieval modes, whole-tone, octatonic, and other non-diatonic scales). The Quick Way-- only #3: 3) Play the Sevcik slowly enough so that you can get the right notes in the new key signature. If you must, you can write all the accidentals into your music to help you play it, for the time being. Have a clear idea in your mind what the accidentals in your key are. Don't go "by ear", unless you are unusually talented in that area-- that is, trying to hear what is supposed to sound like in your head and play according to that mental idea. That can get too complicated if you are in a very strange key. Instead, teach your ear what it is supposed to hear in these unusual key signatures-- each time you change keys, play it like it is a completely new piece that you have never heard it before, and practice it slowly until you CAN hear what it is supposed to sound like with six flats, etc. In the short term it is probably fine to just do #3, and just doing that will certainly help to train your ear, especially if you do it systematically (eg., up by a half-step every time, or around the circle of fifths-- C Maj, G Maj, D Maj, A, E, B, F#, C#/Db, Ab, Eb, Bb, F). I definitely do not advocate letting music theory take precedence over performance-- if you are serious about playing the violin, play the violin!! but theory really helps performance. It will enable a violinist to understand and interpret pieces on a deeper level. It is worth it-- really!! Over the past year or so I went from hating music theory because it seemed utterly irrelevant to violin playing, to loving it, because of the depth and understanding it gave me. Best wishes! Irene : I am working on a Sevcik shifting exercise. : It is written in C major, but it says that I have : to repeat it in 11 different keys. It doesn't mean to : transpose, it means that F (for instance) in G major : wouldn't become a note of an entirely different name, : it would just become F#. I'm fine in G major and the : obviously easier ones, but when it gets into all those : sharps and flats, I get totally lost and don't even : know how to approach it! I thought practicing scales : in these keys would help me, but it doesn't. I can : play a scale as perfectly as any teacher could ask : because with a scale I know how it's supposed to sound. : I know the sound of major, minor, melodic etc, as long : as I start the scale on the note of the name of the : scale. When it comes to this exercise starting on : either A, Ab, or A# no matter what strange sounding : key it's in, I just get a headache. Please help, : I don't even know how to approach this. : Thanks, if anyone can help me I'll be so grateful! : -Chu
  4. Hi, I don't know if this will help you or not, since I have never read the book, but it might be interesting. Author: Flesch, Karl, 1873-1944. Title: Violin fingering, its theory and practice / Carl Flesch ; English adaptation by Boris Schwarz ; foreword by Yehudi Menuhin. [Hohe Schule des Fingersatzes auf der Geige.] English Publisher: New York : Da Capo Press, 1979 [c1966]
  5. Hi Sheila, This might sound risky and the dampit will be destroyed in the process, but you might take an exact-o knife or some other slender, sharp, pointy object (a really long sewing needle, maybe, or even something with a slight hook on the end?), maneuver the dampit so that the end of it is reachable through the f-hole, and spear the dampit near the tip, and pull it out slowly? That way you don't have to worry that the tool you are using will add to the diameter of the dampit past the size of the f-hole. Maybe you could somehow take a piece of wire and bend it into what you need... Losing a dampit will probably be less trouble than taking the top off the violin. Hope you can get it out!! Irene : One of my young students came to her lesson today : and she has a dampit down inside her violin. Another violin student at school : had offered to help put it in and the two of them, ages 10 years old, put it in alright.. : all the way ( : I tried to use some surgical forceps I have here at the house, : but the violin is a 3/4 and the f holes : are just too small. Even if I get hold of it I cannot drag it through. : It will have to come out from the end. : Do any of you have any ideas as to what I can use to get it out? : I hope we do not have to have the top taken off.
  6. Hi Jon, I also started violin at age 14, or maybe three weeks shy of my 14th birthday, something like that. My first orchestra experience was as a freshman in high school playing with a beginner's middle school string ensemble. At the same time, other kids I knew who were the same age as me were going to Korea and Japan with our school's top-level chamber orchestra. Yes, I felt dumb (Still do sometimes). I am not quite as tall as you, only 5'3", but I did have to play "Twinkle, Twinkle" with the 5-year-olds at a Suzuki recital once, which was kind of embarrassing. But I progressed quickly too (well, "quickly" is a relative term-- in the earlier stages I think that in general, older students learn a LOT more quickly than most little kids-- the question is, will the older students stick with it after they start getting busy with high school and college and jobs and dates and no parents to force them to practice, blah blah blah.) And by the time I was a senior I was playing "real" music in the first violin section of my high school orchestra, like Mendelssohn, Mozart, Dvorak, stuff like that). I am now 21, a senior in college as a music theory and composition major, and I really enjoy the intellectual side of music. However, I'm not planning to stop there; I want to play the violin full-time and make a career out of it. I have a heck of a long way to go, and I will probably have to study and practice my violin (in my spare time, while I try to eke out a living with whatever kind of job I can get, pay back my loans, etc.) another couple of years before I will even get into a performance program at a music school, but I've found the passion of my life in playing violin. I've heard it said that you can't make it if you start at age 14, and it used to depress me a lot. I've got plenty of things going against me, including lack of time to practice and the fact that at my age and at this stage of my life I'm supposed to go out there and get a good job, start a career, and make lots of money, which is definitely not going to happen. Whether I "succeed" or not as a professional violin player doesn't matter, and honestly, I don't think people like us have time to listen to naysayers and so-called "realistic" people who say that we are too old to get good. I know that I'm too busy practicing and performing and loving it to care. I'm ready to go out and prove all those people wrong, or at least put all I've got into trying. Best wishes. And keep up the great work-- even if you grow another foot in the next six months and end up being nearly twice as tall as the other members of your orchestra. Irene : This input is probably totally unwanted, but everyone listen to my embaressing situation. I am 15, I just started playing the violin about a year ago, and everyons says that it's impossible to become anything good starting at 14, but I really enjoy the violin and am told I am advancing relatively fastly. Well right now I'm playing 1st violin in a middle school orchestra I think it is. I don't know if I'm THAT much older than everyone else there, but I am blessed with having grown to six feet tall at the age of 14 so it's a kind of embaressing predicament playing with people 4 feet tall. Just thought you all might appreciate hearing something dumb like that. : Jon
  7. : I recently obtained an old violin with a most unusual story. The individual I purchased it from said that it belonged to her great uncle, who had played it as a child. She continued to explain that her great uncle had to discontinue his violin studies after his baby pet mouse crawled into the body of the violin through one of the f-holes. Since the mouse would not come out, he fed it through the f-holes and gave it water with an eye dropper. He even put cedar shavings in the body so that the wood would not get soiled. She said that the mouse lived well over a year in that violin. I, of course, did not believe the story, but did find it entertaining to hear. When I arrived home that evening, I popped the violins top off, so that I could repair a crack in its belly. To my great surprise, I found inside the violin the skeletal remains of a small rodent curled up next to the neck block. I'm not too sappy of a guy, but I have to admit that seeing that sight actually brought a tear to my eye!
  8. 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. : : 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
  9. 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!
  10. Thank you for the compliment... but I wouldn't say that I'm always open-minded with everyone. For one thing, I don't have much patience for watching people with really extreme mannerisms or who have cultivated bad habits-- with their bow hold, for example. And people who play really sluggishly-- or look like somebody else is forcing them to play and would rather be a million miles away-- drive me nuts. Though it might be nice to give such performers a little grace, because people do change, and of course they have bad days that we don't necessarily know about. Maybe what I meant was that I love to listen to people play who *enjoy* playing and who love the music. Hmm... as for not being a Sarah Chang fan, I guess I'm not a particular "fan" of hers either, nor of anyone else, for that matter. But I do respect and admire everyone out there who has devoted their lives to music. Everybody contributes something unique and valuable. I can say that Chang really was wonderful in person-- she really, really knew the music; she seemed to be perfectly in her element. She was obviously thrilled to be playing-- she smiled at the audience from time to time, and the way she looked at the conductor and sort of "gestured" to him at just the right moments really made it feel like the two of them were partners, working together to make a piece of music work-- she wasn't self-centered at all. I saw her gazing upwards a lot-- I know what she was looking at. The concert hall it was in that night was the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, and it has a four-story-high, gloriously painted ceiling with a fabulous chandelier. It tickled me because I have stood on that stage before too (not to perform, though) and marveled at that ceiling-- I always look at it when I go to the Academy, but it is most stunning if you are looking at it from the stage. I guess all in all she was a *generous* performer. Whether or not there are people who play more musically or more intelligently or whatever, she really did embody, at least to some degree, almost everything I would want to be as a musician. It's that love, that passion, and the openness and connection with one's listeners and fellow musicians that I couldn't help but admire about her. Of course her technique was excellent (I saw another soloist perform the same piece last year, and he flubbed a lot of the difficult parts) and her artistry was not to be scoffed at, either. : ... because THAT is what the spirit of music is all about. OK... I'm not a Sarah Chang fan at all, but isn't music just another - pretty fantastic, no less - method of communication? I wish there were more open-minded people like you!
  11. Just got back from hearing Sarah Chang play the Sibelius violin concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I had a front row seat, and I must say, it was an amazing experience. She played powerfully and well. In addition to the Sibelius, the Philadelphians played Webern's "Im Sommerwind" and Martinu's 4th symphony-- both very beautiful pieces too. You know, in spite of all the discussion on this board about who's good and who isn't and who is or isn't worth listening to, I've gotta say that getting to hear any accomplished (or even an amateur) musician with the guts to get up and play for somebody else is just fantastic-- they are all different, it's like hearing different people talk to you about something important to them. I definitely feel like I learn so much by hearing different people play-- and it's not something that I know how to quantify or put in words, but just to soak up the bow strokes and the left hand movements, and the tone colors, and the personalities! I could go on and on. Just my humble take on things...
  12. Thank you for your suggestion-- I actually did notice that the nut grooves might have been a little worn, but I still get that funny sound when the strings are stopped with the first finger in first position or below (even when pressing REALLy hard, harder than I would if I were actually playing). Higher than that it is OK. I can hear it a little bit with the second finger, but it's not at at all obvious after that. Maybe it is just the string. : Hello Irene: : You mention that the problem is on open strings. If the stopped (fingered) notes on the same strings have no problem, you should check the nut grooves for proper size and depth. The strings you put on are more than likely smaller diameter than the strings you had on previously. : The nut grooves should be very shallow and not too wide. If the strings are already close to the fingerboard, a new nut may be needed. : Also, check for open seams. : Good luck, : Al
  13. I put new Aricores on my violin yesterday, and after a few hours of playing the strings no longer go out of tune. The sound of the strings is quite pleasant. However, I noticed that the D and G strings make a really strange sound when I play rapid whole bows across the open strings--a "wow-wow" sound. The pitch rises significantly in the middle of the bow, and it's quite annoying. I have never experienced this before with a string, unless it's really old. Any ideas on why that is happening? My A and Gold E don't have this problem at all. Is there anything I can do about it? Is is possible that the change in pitch will stop after the strings have settled a little longer? Irene
  14. It sounds like a lot of people have similar complaints about dominants-- they wear out too fast, they don't sound good, etc. That's weird, because I have used Dominants for several years and I have *never* had one break prematurely on me. Also, I never got the sense that any of them were that tinny or harsh-- that is, not until I've done 200 hours of playing on them. I'm sure that there are plenty of better strings out there-- I'm in the process right now of trying others. I loved the sound of Tonicas, but they seemed to stretch too tightly, and one of them broke only a few days after I put them on. Maybe I was just unlucky and got a bad set that time, I don't know, but there is no way that I could afford to have breaking strings all the time. I have a set of Aricores that I will probably put on over the next couple of days; I'm curious to see how that will sound. How much does the setup of a violin affect what strings ought to be used? I have heard that there are different setups for optimum performance depending on whether one is going to use synthetic, gut, or steel, or is it just a matter of fine tuners?
  15. Hi Wanda, I began playing violin at age 14, and actually I have never used an electronic tuner. In the beginning it was hard, and so I sometimes tuned to a piano, but shortly after I started learning to tune with a metronome (with an A) and now I use a tuning fork. I actually tried using an electronic tuner once, but I found it really frustrating, and in fact I trust my own ear more anyway. You mentioned that you can hear when a note is wrong and you can hear when it is right, but if it is wrong you don't know how to bridge the gap until it is right. The way I was always taught to do it is that if I hear that a string is just slightly off (and if it is only a tiny bit off, it is hard to figure out if it's sharp or flat), then turn your peg until it is REALLY flat and then *slowly* turn it up again until you arrive at the right pitch. If you realize that you have gone beyond the correct pitch, turn the string flat again and repeat. This way you always know which direction to tune your string. One prerequisite for this is to have good pegs that turn smoothly and don't slip. (My teacher recommends rubbing a tiny bit of chalk on the pegs if they slip, and there is something called "peg compound" (mine looks kind of like a lipstick) that you can rub on your peg if it is too hard to turn. As with everything else, learning how to tune accurately and quickly takes practice. I think that the way to learn is to just force yourself to tune up without depending on an electronic tuner. Your ear will gradually improve and it will get easier and easier. Best wishes, Irene
  16. I'm about 2/3 of the way through "Violin Mastery" by Frederick Martens. The book is made up of 24 interviews with great violinists of that time (the book was published in 1918), including Ysaye, Auer, Elman, Heifetz, Kreisler, and others. It is fascinating to read what they have to say about practice, artistry, ensemble and solo playing, etc. If this book has a fault, it would be that a few of the things described are a little out of date (one of the violinists vehemently opposes the use of chin rests; perlon strings had not been invented yet, etc.) And of course they cannot speak about music schools and teachers of the late 20th century. If someone has read "The Way They Play" by Applebaum, could you comment about that too? I haven't read it, but I understand that Applebaum is very long if one wants to read the whole thing. If "The Way They Play" is similar to "Violin Mastery", I would be interested in hearing about what modern violinists would say about these same topics. Irene
  17. What's the best way to get rosin off a bow stick? I always wipe my bow stick with a cotton cloth after playing, but it doesn't get all the rosin off.
  18. I have a violin with the same label, only mine was made seven years earlier. I know that the maker is Paul Blanchard, most likely from Lyons. My particular instrument is probably a work by one of Blanchard's students, probably in Blanchard's shop, thus the label-- it is not a great violin (I couldn't afford anything much better, but for a student violin it has a lovely sound-- even my teacher likes it). I purchased my instrument from Paul Stevens, a violin maker in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. I don't know much about Blanchard, but I seem to remember that Mr. Stevens told me that he was quite a fine violin maker and well known.
  19. : Has anyone had any trouble taking their violin on : as a carry-on for a United flight? Nope. I have taken my violin on international flights too, and no one has said a word to me. However I am always careful to take no other carry-ons (besides a small purse) when I travel with it. For my peace of mind, however, I always travel with a heavy oblong case-- if I end up carrying it everywhere it is a pain, but the security makes it worthwile for me. Once I stuffed every last corner of the case with foam sponges in case they might make me check it in. Anyway, United usually good about it. If you ever do check it in, though, the airline has restrictions on the amount of insurance they will provide.
  20. I agree that the Hillary Hahn recording is great-- there is a freshness and attentiveness to BACH in it that I have rarely heard elsewhere. I also own a recording of Perlman, which has some beautiful moments, but other times the playing seems a little thoughtless, a little monotonous. I personally don't go much for the "authentic" performance craze going on these days. But I must say, not all "authentic" Baroque performances are dry and watered down... I think they are definitely worth a listen. I once heard one (unfortunately I've forgotten the name of the performer) that was absolutely breathtaking. It was full of character and charm and this kind of cultured passion --and I loved it. It sounded like... Bach! In all his genius.
  21. I had problems with the Wolf Secundo for a while too. I switched to the Wolf after several years of using Kun, and I raised the Wolf higher to try to stop myself from having to raise my shoulder all the time to hold up the instrument. However, I found that raising it higher made the angle of the violin strange-- the side facing the audience would tip toward the floor, and the scroll end would tip upwards. So I made the rest lower and found that this solved the problem. It was actually more comfortable too. It didn't occur to me that raising the height of the rest was the cause. You could try this if all else fails. : I like the extra height that wolf secondo gives. : But there seems to be problem with the angle that : shoulder pad makes. Because the shoulder : pad is angled such that it does not comportably : fit on the shoulder, I feel sort of discomfort : while playing. And suggestion or advise would be appreciated
  22. I once called Shar and asked about that-- this may not be an expert opinion, since it was a sales rep who told me this, but she said that it depends on the type of string. She said that gut strings will go bad if you leave them for six months; synthetic will supposedly go bad only after a few years. I once kept a set of Dominants in the package for maybe two years; they were utterly unplayable when I put them on! Then again, who knows how long they had been sitting around before they even reached me? Are your current strings new? I don't claim to be knowledgeable about this, but I think that for synthetics a year would probably be OK, though I personally find that I get much better playing results if I change strings twice a year at least. : Somewhere I recall reading that it is bad to leave strings : in their packet for long periods of time before putting them : on the violin. Is this true? I have a very good opportunity now to : get some synthetic strings and in a very short while my : opportunity will be gone. If I get them now, I would want to keep : them until my current strings get too old, then put on synthetics. : That could be a year of them being in their packet before use. : Is that ok? Thanks. : -Michael L.
  23. I came across this listing, in order of difficulty, of violin repertoire the other day while browsing on the web. It is not exactly what you are looking for, I think, since it doesn't assign numerical values and it's the view of only one individual, not a standard rating. But I found it quite interesting. The entire site is well worth browsing, actually! The practice and technique tips are great. : I was talking on the phone with a friend and the subject : of piece difficulty standards came up. My friend said : that to figure out which ASTA grade a piece in a Suzuki : book is, just take the book number and go back one number. : For instance, Suzuki 4 = ASTA Standards 3, Suzuki 6 = ASTA 5. : Is this correct? Also, what is the general most used system : for grading piece difficulty? Thanks. : -Michael L. Violin Repertoire, from Dancla String School
  24. Hi Melinda, Thank you-- setting a concrete goal sounds like a great idea. I do know that two hours is usually not enough for me, since I have often practiced two hours or more, and found that I had to stop because of time constraints just when I felt like I was "on a roll"-- I was in the middle of really solving a problem and getting it into my fingers. There have been other times when I knew that I had had a great practice session, and I really felt satisfied ready to put the instrument away. It sounds very much like a matter of "Know thyself", and that trying to *force* one's way through is a harmful way to try to learn the instrument. Practicing long doesn't necessarily give me wrist trouble-- it's practicing with tension that causes me problems. Could you recommend any cognitive psych titles? Thanks! Irene : 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
  25. 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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