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  1. I am a veteran Suzuki teacher (25+ years) and a former fan of Mark O'Connor. "Former" because he has been, in an effort to promote his "method," trashing the Suzuki method on his blog and on various violin pages on FaceBook, as well as taking out of context various quotes from professional violinists raised in the Suzuki method, that seem to diminish the influence of their Suzuki training. Instead of positively partnering with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, he is seemingly trying to diminish the method by claims that the Suzuki method and philosophy has no room for "creativity, improvisation, composition or arranging music."* He is upset that the Suzuki method doesn't contain any American music. Well, there are no Japanese compositions, either, in the core repertoire. What O'Connor fails to realize, if he really took a look at many of the best Suzuki programs across the world, that there is a lot of supplemental repertoire included, a lot of it culturally sensitive to whatever area that particular Suzuki is located. For example, I've seen Suzuki programs based in Southern California that have a mariachi ensemble. When I was teaching in Knoxville, TN, we included a lot of traditional American fiddle tunes in the repertoire, for just two examples off the top of my head. Also, from what I've heard from some of my Suzuki colleagues who have taken the O'Connor method "training" (really, just an introduction to the repertoire, not much else) there is little emphasis on HOW TO TEACH THE MECHANICS of violin playing. One of my colleagues tried to engage the instructor in "how does the O'Connor method teach the bow hold and proper violin placement" and she kept being re-directed to the repertoire.... Since there is no real emphasis on teaching technique, the O'Connor "method" is NOT a method, rather, just a book with fiddle tunes to supplement the violin student's (Suzuki or traditional) core repertoire and technique exercises. O'Connor is shooting himself in the foot by alienating the Suzuki community. I think he has a lot of natural talent and just hasn't had to think much about the mechanics of violin playing, ergo, he thinks by compiling a book of fiddle tunes, one can learn to play the violin. Sure. *He has a blog on his website called "Parting Shots." How engaging. It's really just post after post of how his "method" is equivalent to the Second Coming, how his "method" is far superior to the Suzuki method and will overtake the Suzuki method because it is more fun, includes improvisation, blah, blah, blah...... Get back to me, Mark, in about forty years, to see what method is still going strong.....
  2. quote: Originally posted by: Busker I have a new pupil (Rachael) from another teacher. I have noticed Rachael frequently moving her left thumb position. She tells me that she has been taught to place her thumb oposite her "2nd finger" and to make it follow that finger! eg. If playing F (On D string), then F#, her thumb should follow. I realise I am only a fiddle player, but this seems all wrong to me. I teach that thumb should be opposite the 1st finger and not to move it while in the first position, so having a reference point. I am a teacher by default. I Busk (street perform), Irish and folk and am frequently asked to teach children what I do. I have some 30 pupils and have never come accross this before. Before changing Rachael, I would like some input from my knowledgeable friends on this net. Thanks. Respectfully, I would disagree w/ her former teacher and you. Please let me explain my understanding of the left thumb in violin playing. My philosophy stems from this adage from the great teacher Ronda Cole: "The elbow delivers the finger to the string." In other words, a player needs to be able to move her elbow in order to create the correct angle for finger placement, fingers dropping on to the finger board from above with a bare minimum of 'reaching.' For example, depending on the length of the left arm, placement of fingers on the E string will necessitate a placement of the elbow somewhat to the left and fingers can drop from above the fingerboard. In order for fingers to drop from above on the G string the elbow needs to sweep to the right and the thumb should follow the round of the neck and may end up, depending on the size of the player's hand and length of thumb, underneath the neck. In my humble opinion, the thumb should be flexible and movable - especially for shifting! The thumb NEEDS to be in different places depending upon the movement of the elbow, use of vibrato on different fingers, different positions, etc. That's my .02 vlngeek
  3. vlngeek

    Norma Jean

    Amori - absolutely stunning. I love it. Now I've got Elton John's "Goodbye, Norma Jean" song stuck in my head. Could be a lot worse song... L-O-V-E your violin. vlngeek
  4. Stick to the basics that are ADJUSTABLE like Kuns and wolfs. Adjustability is key. A lot of these companies come out with rests that aren't adjustable in some fashion and it boggles my mind why they think it will work for everyone. Right on! vlngeek
  5. quote: Originally posted by: AlixD05 Hi vlngeek, thx for your info. But did you find it enhance the sound? And which model you've been tried? A former student of mine, when he was a senior in high school, was in the market for a good violin to use in college. At the time he chose a violin, he came upon the Comford shoulder rest. He is extremely tall (around 6'4'') and lanky. The Comford rest seemed to solve his tall neck/long arms issue by placing the violin slightly more to the left which allowed a little more extension of his bow arm. He bought the more expensive version of the Comford rest. To answer your question regarding enhancing the sound of the violin, that wasn't even a consideration. He was looking for a shoulder rest and chinrest set up tthat worked for his physique. vlngeek
  6. As a teacher, I find the Comford shoulder rest plants the violin at an abnormally high and away angle for most players. It also doesn't allow for enough left shoulder natural movement, rather plants the shoulder down. So unless you are very tall with long arms I think it isn't a very realistic, ergonomic solution for most players. vlngeek
  7. quote: Originally posted by: nola does anyone have one of his case covers? i have one of his cases (a modified 153), and i need a cover for the winter. is it worth spending the extra $100 over a cushy? i haven't used a cover before, so i'm not really sure what to look for... In my humble opinion, having had my Weber case re-covered by the Weber Company, it's well worth the $$. Had it done ten years ago on a fifteen year old case and it's still in great shape. Just my $.02 vlngeek
  8. Hallelujah!!!!!! Weber cases are GREAT!!!!!!! I still have the one my parent helped me buy when I was a poor college student 25 plus years ago. I sent it back to LeRoy about ten years ago to get a new case cover made. All of the fittings and the double backpack straps are made of the best materials. They are heavy but I feel secure that my primary violin and bows are well protected. I needed another case a couple of years ago for a violin I bought. I went with Bobelock because the case was constructed like the Weber: a strong plywood shell rather than styrofoam. Would have bought another Weber had one been available at the time. vlngeek
  9. quote: Originally posted by: GMM22 quote: Seems likeyou're 'self-taught' up to a certain point, then you go looking for free advice. Imagine if you actually paid for a teacher like technique_doc - you'd really learn more efficiently and quickly. It isn't a virtuous thing to needlessly suffer through trying to re-invent the wheel. vlngeek -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That might be a tad harsh under the circumstances. I do not just take "free advice", sometimes I give it too. In fact, I bothered to start a thread days ago on the pegbox forum with no other thought than to simply volunteer a new idea without it being in response to a question. The convention "self-taught" does not usually exclude reading sources of information such as books or Maestronet. I am extremely grateful for the comprehensive and well thought out responses, and they will help indeed. If I no longer meet the "self taught" distinction because I asked a few questions about technique, then so be it. I can tell those who ask where I trained that I graduated from Maestronet Institute. I did not intimate that it is a "virtue" to be self-taught, although it is not without its merit. Some people who are or were self-taught did not seek to re-invent the wheel; instead they created new things that do not need wheels. People are often judged by things like wealth, titles of distinction, education, degrees, etc. I find all of these things extremely distasteful when they are used to distinguish one person from another or create cliques and hierarchies. Presidents and paupers, prodigies and the barely proficient, we are all the same. I suppose I used the question about getting a teacher to hint at how I valuate such things. Would I learn more efficiently and quickly with a teacher? Maybe, but my Maestronet degree will simply have to do. vlngeek
  10. quote: Originally posted by: GMM22 Cassi, I haveconsidered it, but to be candid, I am self-taught in all regard. In fact, I quit school after grade nine to go to work, and barely attended for the three years prior. Admittedly, I derive a certain satisfaction from my complete absence of "formal training". Whenever one wishes to learn a skill, it is as simple as doing it, foibles and all, and doing it until one does it well. Some of us are particularly suited to this harder road. There are advantages too, as it allows insights that cannot be had otherwise. Some will protest that without instruction there exists a danger of learning incorrectly, and there is an element of truth to this. I just do not worry about it. Still, even the most ardent autodidact will accept an occasional word of wisdom say from someone like you. vlngeek
  11. OK - what am I doing wrong? I do not see the new pictures on the website!!!
  12. "Mr. Fritz Reuter has a lot of good information on his website. " That says it all, doesn't it.....
  13. Looks like the violin is way too big for the little girl, too.
  14. quote: Originally posted by: stillnew I did not understand Pandora's reference to Suzuki as being negative. I saw an equivalence: Suzuki: don't teach an approximation in technique, and then change it later to the real thing. Pandora: don't teach an approximation of intervals, and then change it later to the real thing. Suzuki technique idea = Pandora 'sound' idea Did I get this right? As a student I find value in both worlds. I cannot see setup as being the only thing that will guarantee me good intonation. I began with a generally decent setup, and learned to play using my ears: listening for the resonance with open strings for example. As a singer I already thought in solfege. But there was a certain point where I played out of tune because my setup had slipped, and no amount of knowing what it should sound like could help me until my left hand was straightened out again. On the other hand, I've seen people with wonderful setup who play dreadfully out of tune because they have no ear. Great set up doesn't guarantee playing in tune. A poor set up guarantees that: 1) it will take too much effort to try to play in tune and/or 2) one will definitely play out of tune along with creating a godawful tone because the bowing will be poor, too. As some master teacher said to the hapless student, "There are only two things wrong with your playing: your left hand and your right hand....." vlngeek
  15. quote: Originally posted by: yuen An entirely different approach: Hide your mis-in-tune note with a vibrato. Once you have just played a false note, save the trouble by playing it right with a vibration (alternating false and true notes) They may say you had bad vibrato, better being accused of bad intonation. How does it sound to you all ? (ear function is still essential) I agree with you here: too many student players try to vibrato their way to the correct pitch. vlngeek
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