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  1. Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman!
  2. I am the same way with my violin-playing. I could play Bach's Chaconne, Sibelius' Violin Concerto, and the works of Paganini with beauteous ease, but I choose not to and play like crap instead
  3. Looks good! The back is curious, I have heard this called "Chicken Breast" style or something like that, can someone provide a little information on this style of back profile?
  4. Not to misdirect the thread, but this leads me to wondering, why is it that old violins express these typical wear patterns? I have owned and regularly played the same ~100 year old violin for over 15 years now. 15 years represents 15% of its total lifespan, a not-inconsequential span of years. And yet in all the time I have owned it, it has perhaps picked up a nick or two, but nothing approaching the sort of "all the freaking varnish on the back is gone" look that seems to be common on old instruments. So what the heck were our ancestors doing with these violins? Rolling out pie-dough? Applying wall-plaster? Digging graves? Put another way, I would expect an old violin to have nicks and small "impact-type" injuries, but the characteristic wear patters are more like "varnish has been removed from damn near everywhere and we are down to the base-coat". Why is that? Is it just because modern cases are comfier than a Cadillac, or is it something else? Something... sinister.
  5. I really hope someone links to that thread; I would love to read through it, as an owner and long-time player of a reviled Mirecourt Workshop Violin Unworthy of Consideration!!
  6. If it plays, and it was cheap, then what is the benefit to anyone to say these kinds of things?
  7. I certainly hope that this is the case! It is a very difficult piece compared to anything I have played before with this group. The timing is hard enough on its own, never mind the key signature madness! I appreciate your advice and I will try the youtube trick you mentioned. At least there are a few sections where everything slows down and I can catch my breath. I totally get what you mean about psyching yourself out; I do that sometimes.
  8. Zeissica, Thank you for the advice. I am somewhat closer to the time-constrained side of things; I agree with your philosophy on trying not to draw attention to sections where there is not a realistic chance of getting everything down-pat before the performance. Though the idea of "faking" has always bristled with me a bit, I think at a certain point it is good to be realistic with yourself! Thanks again!
  9. Hello all, I am a member of a community orchestra that has a wide range of skill-levels amongst its members. Someone got all adventurous and programmed "The Firebird Suite" (the 1919 re-issue edition). This orchestra usually meets once, two weeks before the performance, and then meets three times the weekend before the performance for two rehearsals and a dress rehearsal. Usually I do quite well with their typical fare, be it Sibelius/Mahler/whatever, but I am really struggling mightily with getting major sections of the Firebird under my fingers, as a mediocre amateur. In particular, I struggle to practice things like the Introduction past rehearsal 8 or much of the Danse Infernale. I am an okay sight-reader, but I think I struggle when the audio feedback isn't something my brain can use for correction; when there is no discernible melody or coherence (to me) I cannot listen to what I am playing and judge if it is really correct. I can plonk away at a piano at home and play along in the moment, but this doesn't really work once I try to put things together because I can't really "remember" what things are meant to sound like. To me, it just sounds like squirreliness all over the place with wild rhythms. I am looking for advice on how you approach practicing things like this, where you cannot follow a melody, or even really a sense of where you are tonally within a piece, as feedback during practice OR performance. I appreciate any help I can get! It is very possible that this piece is just beyond me, and if that is the case then I will be sure not to impugn on the efforts of the others, but I want to give it a good effort. Thanks!
  10. I've been spending almost all of my practice time in the last few months on tone production and intonation; if slow practice is boring, what about playing-a-single-note-for-an-hour practice???
  11. My current violin (1920s Mirecourt workshop) has been with me for more than ten years so far, and I really love it. I know it has some limitations, it being rather inexpensive, but I also know that it has so much more to give if I could *just* find a luthier willing to work with me and spend some time on carving the bridge and playing around with the soundpost. I can hear it trying so hard to open up, but there's something that keeps holding it back. I may have to go to Montreal or something to get some proper attention for it. I could never sell it, and thankfully, since it's worth not-too-much, I shouldn't need to. However, someday, if I ever make it in this post-Canadian-dream world, I would really love to either commission or otherwise acquire a north-american-made contemporary instrument from a living maker. I think it would be really nice to be the first part in the violin's story, and to care for it as well as I can until it is time to pass it on to someone else. And judging by the workbench photos posted by the talented makers here, I hope there will be plenty of beautiful contemporary violins available if that time ever comes for me!
  12. Yes, that's always a good one. It's good practice. I like the physical exercises because you can slip them in during a meeting, while waiting for coffee etc. I like these little "found time" things. I was thinking that perhaps some vibrato exercises might be achievable; for instance, in Fischer's "Basics", there are a series of bow-less exercises, of which one in particular surrounds practicing finger flexibility by repeatedly collapsing and curving the last finger-joint to a rhythm. I think this could be easily done without the violin.
  13. A long time ago, when I was first really learning about the suppleness of a good bow-hand, my teacher was trying to get me to feel the "paint-brush bristle" finger motions of a bow change. One exercise he taught me was that I should place a pencil on a desk any time I was bored/idle/not-being-watched-by-boss and, using only my fingers, to pick the pencil up horizontally as one would a bow-stick, over and over. In time, this proved to be very beneficial, as it taught me the sensation of using all joints in my fingers in a smooth way, and it helped to form the requisite nerve-connections. In that vein, are there any other exercises for anything, bow-hold, vibrato, left-hand frame etc. that you can do without a bow or violin, say, while sitting on your lunch break? I really enjoy these little things because it gives me a sense that I am not wasting time with life and associated niceties when I could be doing something beneficial to my violin-playing!
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