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Everything posted by Irene

  1. Wow, 8 hours a day?? I'm a college student too, and during the school year I can barely get an hour and a half a day, and on some days I don't have time at all. Perhaps during the summer I could do a bit more! Your husband must have been so privileged to have a teacher who cared enough to push him as hard as that.
  2. Wow, that is really encouraging! I started at age 14 and get really bummed out sometimes when I hear "(insert musical skill here) is impossible after age 7 or 8" and the like.
  3. I purchased a Humidi-Guard violin humidifier from Shar recently, and it came without any instructions whatsoever. Does anyone know how to use it? I put water into it (I think) and I assume it works something like a Dampit, but I don't know how often to refill it or anything. Does anyone know how to use it? Or if this is a reliable product? Thanks!
  4. Hi Christine, I have experienced the same frustration with longing to be better. I'm in my third year as a music theory and history major, but I ache every day that I'm not a violin major-- it's the only thing I want to do with my life! Except that I haven't achieved a level yet where I could even consider becoming one. I think that other people have already made more useful comments about your teacher than I could (most of my problems were with teachers that were too lenient, rather than contradictory). But back to violin playing in general, one of the things that I am trying to learn is to relax into it and flow with it. Often when I get too frustrated I put the violin away and come back to it later. Taking a week off might be a very good idea, although sometimes this doesn't work perfectly for me, because my problem is not necessarily overwork, but rather a pressured, overbearing attitude, like "I've GOT to learn this or ELSE!" At the end of the vacation, if I haven't changed my attitude, it can be worse than ever because then I'm even more worried about catching up on all the time I've lost! This may sound really cheesy and stupid, but it might be helpful... You might compare playing the violin with a love relationship with a person. When you start making demands, and expect a lot and feel like the violin "owes" you something for the amount of time and effort you've put into it, you will inevitably be disappointed. But if you simply love it, and give it all you've got out of the pure joy of doing so, you will probably be a lot happier with it and get more out of it than you might expect. I'm referring to a general attitude-- of course there are times where a player has to buckle down and be "goal-oriented", when preparing for auditions or performances, etc., but even during those times, I've realized that if I ever lose the sense of ease and lightness of touch (both literally and figuratively) I will get bogged down, not only emotionally but also physically (injuries!). I think that the mental attitude definitely affects playing. For me, it definitely isn't easy to just "let go"-- I so often feel frustrated and insecure about my age, my level of playing, the lack of time to practice. But, since it is the passion of my life, I want to be able to enjoy it! I don't know what you would like to do with the violin eventually, but I wish you all the best, whatever it may be. Irene
  5. Yes, I agree with you-- I think that it's the one, single beautiful note or phrase, followed by that next short passage and the next note, that will often save a performer from panicking. (It worked for me earlier this week.) The small joys add up to big ones And again, congratulations!!
  6. I think that perfection is definitely worth aiming for! The truth is that no one will ever really be perfect 100% of the time-- today one may play something "perfectly", but the next evening on stage some freak thing may happen, etc. But there is so much joy and satisfaction out of knowing that if you are striving for perfection, not settling for second best. I think that a person will be that much closer to it than if she just decided that it is unattainable, and therefore not worth pursuing at all... Although I guess the definition of perfection is the question that remains-- Maybe part of the art is simply having a slightly different idea of perfection than the next artist. I remember hearing a recording of Perlman playing the Bruch G minor concerto (I think it was the Bruch), and I was surprised that his octaves sounded like they weren't perfectly in tune (or maybe it was just my ear?)-- but they seemed almost deliberately so, and I actually kind of liked the sound of it. It was a different aesthetic, a little huskier and more romantic. I think that I actually prefer that there be no such thing as an "absolute" interpretation of a piece of music, or an absolute standard of perfection! Otherwise, why bother to learn the violin, since how much more can one more person add to what has already been done, since there is already a standard that has been set? I hope that there will be lots more violinists for ages to come who will be courageous enough to keep playing the same pieces, but to add a bit of themselves to the music, and take a lot of criticism, but keep on playing nevertheless!
  7. I'm 20 years old and started playing the violin at age 14. I realized about 3 years ago that there was nothing else I want to do except devote my life to the violin. Unfortunately, I have suffered for most of these 6 years from violin teachers who would not, or perhaps could not, push me to do my best (from lack of experience, maybe). At this time I'm a music theory and history major, since there is no way I could be accepted into a performance program at this time. So I'm taking violin on the side and playing with the school orchestra, but I chafe at the fact that I have to spend so much time studying subjects that my heart isn't in! And I'm frequently discouraged by doubt about my own abilities... not the least because I tend to be very perfectionist. My current teacher, thankfully, is wonderful, and spends much more time and serious effort on me than I could ever pay her for! She has been honest with me in that I have a very long way to go before I could reach a level that I might be able to enter conservatory, but at the same time she has been very, very encouraging. I have heard that there are perhaps a few late-starters out there who in the end did become professional musicians (although I know that there are very few!). I would be interested in hearing about the experiences of someone like this, if there is anyone out there.
  8. I have a violin handed down through the family to me that was identified as an authentic Hopf made right around 1800. In 1965 it was appraised at $1800. I was wondering if anyone could tell me, roughly, what the value might be today, 33 years later. Thanks!
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