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Everything posted by mommag

  1. Stillnew, I agree with you on your comment that each person is different. Some people can take constructive criticism well, some don't. I have other children and one of them don't want to be told any comment at all. Also, age plays some role, too. Your son was already a teenager when he started. I remember myself being like your son. I didn't want my mom to watch me for whatever it was. I think my son get there in a few years. I have been noticing his mental growth for the last year or so. I think from 11 to 13, kids transform drastically. There are only couple of 11 year-olds in my son's orchestra. All the others are teenagers, half of them driving themselves to the rehearsals. My son and the other boy look so small among them. He's only 6th grade. He was in an elementary school before summer. I know his self-awareness will come with time. Stillnew, I am not observing the whole time when he practices, if you think that's what I am doing. I used to when he was younger and practice time was shorter. When I happned to see him not doing what his teacher told him to, I'd remind not to forget what his teacher said. You know, sometimes when the lessons is late, he doesn't always remember all the details his teacher told him, although in most cases, he is pretty good at remembering changes of fingerings or bowing, things like that.
  2. Stillnew, I'm sorry. I used to be a dance student. So these muscle separation things came very easy for me and I assumed all the grown-ups were capable Well, adults and children are somewhat different, I think, when it comes to practice. Adults can self-discipline, but not every child can. I don't want to involve in his practice forever, but until a child is capable of analyzing what and which areas he/she needs to work on, I believe they need some help at home. Whether you are an adult or child, I think sometimes you need someone to tell you whatever it may be that you didn't even realise you were doing. I think that will make you self-aware to a certain some degree. If that person didn't tell you, you wouldn't' have ever known. You may not want to fix it, but you are aware of it. Don't you think?
  3. I think you are doing the right thing by backing off and let him develop on his term. Especially, with pre-teens, (I don't know about yours, but mine is) are getting annoyed with parents' input even though they know we mean well. He listens to his teacher very well, but when I repeat the same thing his teacher said he doesn't like it. Nowadays, we video tape the lesson and when I want to remind him in a certain area he needs to pay attention, I just turn on the video and let him absorb what his teacher was telling him. It seems to work well for him. I also started to back off when he was turning eleven. His teacher told me to gradually let him practice on his own so he can develop his practice habit without me. (I continue to take notes so that he can go over whatever he was assigned or the things he needs to work on that week.) Is your odd situation related to his teacher? Are you wanting to switch teacher if you had a choice?
  4. Rutherford, I am glad you can relate. Although I want to be as much of help to my son, I also know my son is still physically not fully developed and including my younger children, they still don't know how to separate one muscle to the other fully. For example, if I tell my son, to raise his elbow bit more, his shoulder comes with it. I tell him to keep the elbow where it is but drop his shoulder and he does it. Now, he notices by himself with me telling him. It soulds like he is on the right path. It just takes time until he's more mature physically. Stillnew's comment made me go back to what was in my mind. I know sometimes it is hard for a child to do what's right even though he/she knows what to do, but physically they are not capable yet. But if he/she consistently keep at it, he/she'll get it sooner or later. That's what I believe.
  5. Stillnew, thank you for your input. I may be really overly concerned. Thinking back, he's been progressing for the last 4 and half years. You are right. Each piece he finished he gained something new. I am noticing his bow arm is getting better gradually, too. I shouldn't rush him to perfect it quicker. I think I will let him progress as he is now. For the record, I don't even mention about his left handedness to him at all. This is between me and this forum. I was told to remind my son when the blow slide. I have total faith in his teacher. He explaine things to him in very simple to understand language for my son. As far as the current piece is concerned, I don't think it is over his ability. My son wanted to play Mendelssohn E minor about six month ago, but his teacher told him it is better to work on Kabalevsky concerto before attempting to learn Mendelssohn. So he worked on it for several months. His teacher is not, by any means, a pusher. He has not been given any Mozart concerto as of yet. Considering his age, it is hard do Mozart justice musically, I was told. I'm sure he will be able to play the notes correctly, but that's not what his teacher wants, and I appreciate that very much.
  6. Andrew, you didn't misunderstand. He is somewhat advanced for his age. He is working on Mendelssohn right now. But the more advanced piece he is going to play, the better bow control he will need, so I wanted him to acquire good bow arm while he's still young. Hank, you are probably right. Regardless of right or left handedness, it is hard to have a good bow arm. Plus, he held his bow with his right hand since day one, so maybe it feels natural to hold the bow in the right hand for him. (Although he apply rosin with his bow in his left hand. Isn't it funny?) But maybe it is slightly weaker than his left arm since it is not his dominant arm. What about letting him use chopstick with his right hand when he eats? It may help him with his finger strength and coordination?
  7. He is eleven. His teacher ordered him to do very slow G scale 4 octaves this past lesson. He is becoming aware of himself when his shoulder goes up and quickly release his shoulder. Someone told me to try holding the bow with your left hand. This is what the left handed person feels when they hold a bow. It is awkward and feels less controled. Yes, Janito and Scratchybow, A mirror was also suggested by the teacher so he can check his posture and arm. I am not a violinist so I don't know if I am observing right, but his bow hand seems to be very relaxed. I would say he gets tense more or so on upper arm and shoulder. I am showing him the stretch exercise that you raise your arms high but put your shoulder down so he can feel that he doesn't necessarily have to raise his shoulder when he raise his arm. Scratchybow, maybe I'll tell him to practice the piece he's working on without dynamics for now and focus on his relaxing the bow arm. Do you think it's ok?
  8. Scratchybow, have you used it yourself or with your children? Does it work? I purchased it a long time ago for my younger children, but their bow got stuck between the metal things and it was just a disaster. Maybe it was just my kids. My oldest son tends to slide side way sometimes, but my concern for him is more on relaxing his bow arm. When he tends to slide, it seems due to him trying to produce forte sound. Instead of using index finger pressure or arm weight, he press it down with his whole arm and the force of drawing the bow toward right side at the tip. When he plays piano or other not so strong in dynamics, his bow is straight. When I look at the professional violinists' videos, their bow arm seems to be very relaxed, yet absolutely in control. I know it will take a lot of work, but I want him to get the relaxed bow arm (shoulder).
  9. Hi, although it is getting better, my son's bow arm is somewhat tense. He is left-handed, so it took a while to come to this point where he could control his bow better. But, he tends to get tense on his shoulder when he plays forte or tremolo. Also, he uses too much upper arm (side way) which at times makes his bow slide toward fingerboard. When he makes conscious effort, he could draw his bow straight, but when he starts to look at the music, sliding of the bow occurs. Is there any exercise he can use to better his bow arm?
  10. Thanks, Allegro and String-along, for the suggestion. I will look for a book like that. Meanwhile, I guess I can ask him to tap or clap for the piece he is learning right now for the rhythm before he plays. I used to be able to help with music reading, but now the pieces he plays are getting very complicated like 32nd notes/8th notes combo and triplets that doesn't seem to fit in a measure. I get lost. I try to use metronome to figure it out, but doesn't help much. I think I am going to take time to learn myself would be fun!
  11. KenPolland, I asked my son to march in place while he played his violin. I was pretty impressed! He managed to keep on marching without messing up, and that kept him in beat. I think I'll ask him to keep on doing it until he can internalize it. String-along, would be nice if I can afford to provide the drum or percussion lessons for my son, but right now, it is not possible. Is there any exercises he did at home for percussion?
  12. That would be a perfect sticker for him! His teacher will get the kick out of it Thanks for explaining it to me.
  13. Bob A, he might go for dance while playing. (Although I'm terrified he will bump into the wall and break his violin) I wish there were someone who can play with him duets. That is absolutely a wonderful idea. We just moved to a new city, so I haven't met many people yet, but I will definitely look for someone who likes to play with him. And forgive my ignorace, but what does "Sempre Rubato" mean?
  14. He is eleven. Yes, he tends to rush notes and he likes to play fast. His teacher and I always tell him that messy-fast is not what he wants. I think what happens sometimes is (being young and likes to rush is one thing) that after those long notes (half or whole notes) when he knows there are bunch of sixteenth notes waiting or when the quick bow change is ahead, he tends to rush thinking he might come in too late. In actuality, he is coming in too early. GMM22, I will try your suggestion that will kill two birds in one stone! Funny thing is when he sings the piece he plays, he sings fine, no short notes. Is it doable for his age to sing in his head while playing violin?
  15. Yes, Erika. We do have a metronome. And I am guilty of not reinforcing to use it consistently. But he seems to get thrown off when there is a lot of retardando and accelando and in frustration, he turns it off. Still within retardando and accelando, I think the rhythm has to be there. And I want him to understand it.
  16. Well, I've been telling my son when he practices, that he doesn't necessarily have to count but to feel the beat within the music. For example, he tends to cut the long half or whole notes tad bit too short all the time, or doesn't give enough rest between the notes when it is called for. How do you teach a child a consistency in beat and the sense of rhythm? Is there any trick that you use when you play? Well, the tapping the foot doesn't work. His teacher doesn't like it and he can't manage to tap and play at the same time.
  17. Oh, you are asking me to do a very tough thing! I tell my son all the time to be careful with the bow ( and the instrument). I think his pre-teenage brain is losing some neurons. Conveniently he manages to forget everytime! Although this instance he just took the instrument and bow out of his case and drew a first chord and the bow hair came off, I need to show him this thread. Troutabout and ctviolin, I will keep your advise in mind and make sure he is not loosening the bow hair too much.
  18. I bought that bow from online string instrument retailer. I believe this was the first time I had the hair rehaired on this bow. The guy said there was a residue of the glue inside the hole where the tip wedge is supposed to be placed. Maybe the glue is used in mass production bow? He said he tends to put a little more hair than usual and probably small space between the bow and the block wasn't enough to hold the hair securely, so he scraped a little bit of the block to fit the hair right. Well, I have another bow that needs to be rehaired. Hopefully the tip wedge won't pop out this time.
  19. Hi, I am just a mother of a child who studies violin, so I don't have a lot of knowledge. If someone can help me out with explaining the difference of glued and not glued bow tip, I'd greatly appreciate it. The other day, my son's teacher suggested that he should get his bow rehaired. So I took it to a local violin shop to have it done. I brought it home and seemed every thing was fine until the next day, when my son tried to play the bow hair just came off the bow. Nothing was broken, but that the tip where the hair is held by a tiny block of wood popped out. I took it back to the guy and he told me that he doesn't use glue to hold the bow hair, but the hole the block was wasn't deep enough, so he adjusted it and now it seems to be fine. But I'm afraid it might pop out anytime. Or am I concerned too much? Which method is popularly used, glued or not glued?
  20. I am looking for some funny, interesting or unexpected facts/stories about composers to tell my eleven year-old son hoping that it will interest him in each compose's life as he learns their pieces. I know Beethoven originally composed Kruetzer sonata for someone else, but they had a dispute over a woman so he decided to dedicate it to Kruezter. Anyone, do you have more?
  21. lupe0824, unfortunately the link you gave me above doesn't work for some reason. Do you have any ref# or product code that I can look up? Thanks!
  22. Hi, Ray, yes, I like Salchow. It gives more solid sound, I think. Thank you for explaining about the Goldbrokat. My son's teacher mentioned once that she used to use Goldbrokat so as some great violinists. We'll see when we put Goldbrokat on my son's violin if it turns black quickly. Luckly Goldbrokat E is not outrageously expensive so I may be able to stock up if it works on his violin
  23. I am looking for an answer to whether Mendelssohn violin concerto in E minor dvd performed by Oistrakh is available for purchase. I saw a clip of him performing it on "the Art of Violin" dvd. If not, can you recommend a video or dvd of Mendelssohn violin concerto to watch? I have several cds by different violinists including Hilary Hahn, Maxim Vengerov, Yehudi Menuhin, Joshua Bell. I want to see some of the performers (including Oistrakh's) bowing. I saw Sarah Chang' Mendelssohn performance at the age of 15 on youtube. She was amazing! So far I have Menuhin, Grumiaux and Kyung WhaChung on DVD. Does anyone else have a DVD out for Mendelssohn? Thanks!
  24. Michael, thank you for your advice. Yes, I wiped the old rosin from the hair before I put Salchow rosin since Tartini rosin came with an instruction stating you shouldn't mix with other rosin. Salchow seems to make bow hair grab more on the strings. May be it's my imagination? Yes, last week I put on Warchal strings on his violin and so far I like it. The lower strings have more depth and E string less metalic. I used Obligato for his violin in the past. I liked it in the beginning but the sound didn't last very long and it is rather expensive strings to keep changing every month or so. We'll see how long Warchal will retain the sound. Regarding the gold E, I think I put one on awhile ago, but maybe my son sweat more than others, the string changed its color and became almost black. Does discoloration of the string change the tone? What does gold E sound like compare to other E strings, brighter, warmer or something else? When I ordered Warchal, just for the spare, I purchased Goldbrokat E. I haven't opened it yet, but is this a gold E, too? I am going to wait until his E snaps to try it, though.
  25. Thank you Ray for the rosin info. He has Salchow rosin the luthier gave him although he's bee using that discontinued "Tartini" rosin for awhile. I will tell him to try Salchow rosin today. Thanks again.