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  1. robertdo, the Fischer book has everything the beginner encounters. On the other hand, the string builder series from Applebaum has absolutely nothing but notated tunes in it. I get the impression that Flesch/Fischer is too complicated, therefore always the message to get an instructor. Anyways bye, I think Fischer has a forum. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/look_inside/1430451
  2. robertdo, why is it way too advanced? Even the most elemental stuff is in the book. The debate is whether its all good or some is good, some is not, etc. I could have Fischer as an instructor. I would still have the same doubt about the merit of this or that exercise. Does nobody question their instructor?
  3. I think there is some confusion as to what is a method book. I don't use the Beriot book or, as an example of a modern treatise, the Drew Lecher manual. Obviously you couldn't learn from these by themselves because they are just too sparse in regards to information and photographs. I just want a rock solid concise reference completely free of bad advice. Its just incredible that even modern works like Lecher contain landmines of the sort that completely derail the prospective student. How can an instructor like Lecher advise in his glossary that its perfectly sensible to hold the violin up with the left hand? Flesch does not do that. To Fischers credit, he eliminated the part of practising shifts without a shoulder rest in his 'Practise' manual which isn't widely used because it pertains to repertoire. It gives the impression you can play the instrument without one and not suffer any loss of capability or ease. How can you practise anything when the violin sits too flat and the g-string becomes difficult to reach and the comfortable hand position is compromised. It took 3 months of wasteful experimentation to figure out why the vast majority of todays pro's use a shoulder rest because the modern standard references recommended are deficient. How many more examples of bad advice do they contain?
  4. Dr. S, its not like I'm proceeding willy nilly with no guidance whatsoever. I do have an electronic chromatic tuner which I constantly monitor when I practice a scale. Fischer recommends using one in 'Practice'. The problem I have is one of trust. I just experienced a 3 month misadventure in attempting to learn violin without a shoulder rest partly because Fischer instructed to play without one in the chapter on shifting in Basics while learning correct thumb placement. A significant number of highly accomplished violinists (Rosand, Ricci, Haslop, etc) advise against using a shoulder rest for reasons that make absolutely no sense after I wastefully experimented for 3 months. They are all instructors too so what does that say about instructors in general? Here is a question. Fischer has an exercise in Basics on bowing parallel to the bridge. Its already oddly impractical in that an assistant is required to hold the bows tip on a string while the student practises getting the feel of a straight bow by gliding his hand along the bows wood. He explicitly states its a very important exercise in ensuring the correct mechanics of a full bow stroke. Now I replaced the assistant (who could possibly stand there that long?) and the bow with a small diameter wooden dowel that I place at the correct angle and I perform the exercise for hours on end. I'd hate to practise this one excerise for a 1000 hours only to later find out from someone that it really doesn't help much. There is this dilemma with Fischer, Dounis, ...in Dounis case is the complete independence of finger exercises really worth the bother? What is absolutely essential and what is marginal, is important when you have limited time to practise.
  5. To those of us using the Fischer manual (Basics) to learn violin without an instructor, is there any strong opinions from experienced violinists on the general necessity of the exercises, etc contained within volume? I feel like working within the Carl Flesch manual 'Art of playing' on his scale system instead of working on (example: 'thumb flexibility') useful but unnecessary exercises in Fischer. I have two hours a day to practise and I'm always wondering is such and such exercise really indispensable? The impression I have is that Flesch is concise but complete and Fischer is a bit excessive and therefore tedious.
  6. John, I'm squarely in the camp that says Redrobe is a snakeoil salesman. I don't know what his woodpecker analogy has to do with any kind of vibrato on the violin and since there are no camera shots of the fingerboard when he plays its impossible to figure out what he's doing which is the whole idea I suspect. The rest of the video is a joke too. For example, I would assume a lot of players find Redrobes recommendation of the small circular pad and the higher position of the violin both lacking in terms of support and comfort compared to a metallic shoulder rest. Certainly the quality of play from shoulder rest violinists is quite excellent so I don't know what Redrobe is arguing. There are definite pro's to using a shoulder rest (eg. controlling the tilt) but I find it less comfortable than just holding it up with the left hand which Redrobe does not recommend. Fischer in his 'Basics' book even recommends taking off the shoulder rest to practice some of the exercises in the chapter on shifting.
  7. Just to clarify, lets remove the players from the discussion that receive extraordinary support due to a natural violin physique (Heifitz, and even Mutter) in the form of broad shoulders and short necks. Its the left hand that IMO receives little attention in this Violin Hold business. Especially the role of the thumb. Menuhin makes a huge deal in his book and videos "6 lessons" (I already read the interesting thread on Maestronet about his book) about the requirement of the thumb to be very soft and supple in holding the neck of the violin. Rather than the tip of the thumb being pointed outwards and creating a kind of V between the thumb and first finger to support the violin as seems to be advocated by Clayton Haslop and todd Ehle,,, Menuhins method reverses it so that the middle knuckle of the thumb just below the nail sticks outwards and a miracle occurs -- the thumb is able to support the side (not below) of the neck of the violin *independently of the side of the first finger* rather than falling into the web between thumb and first finger as it surely must seem to do. He provides a number of exercises to supposedly enable this non-intuitive means of support. I have never read much discussion of the general applicability of this technique. In fact, few people seem aware of it.
  8. Ken and Tommy, My gripe about the way vibrato is taught is that learning the motion slowly exactly as it is observed and preventing the forearm (as in hand vibrato) from moving does more harm than good. It implies that an isolated tiny motor exists in the hand somewhere that must be turned on and does work by moving the hand back and forth controlled via more/less energy given to it. My experience has led me to believe otherwise. 1. Rather than closely replicating the movements as would be in a working hand vibrato, I had to in development utilize exaggerations (buckling the wrist outwards and up and then caving it in while maintaining the finger on the string) which had the effect of a) producing a wave motion that is the basis of an oscillation rather than a moving back and forth and activating the entire global chain of muscles throughout the arm/wrist/finger. In other words, the concept that the motor is the arm/hand was false. To me, the arm/hand regulates the oscillation and differentiating between an oscillating motion and moving the hand back and forth was key.
  9. Skiingfiddler, The problem with the instructor approach is that most of them aren't really scholars on differences in technique. In other words, if they used a SR/pad from day 1, what knowledge do they possess if a student doesn't want to use one? Of course, the response is "whats the big deal?, if you need one just use it!". The frustration is in the lack of information. I think its pretty simple. Some violinists apparently can just hold it up and play the repertroire perfectly. So the question goes: What are the issues if I want to do that? And its really hard to get clear answers.
  10. I'm referring to violinists that have to completely hold it up with their left hand and don't use a SR/pad for whatever reason. In other words, the violin droops severely/falls entirely if hand is removed. I've been told they exist (ex. Menuhin who seems to have a radical thumb placement)but am not sure how they play in the classical realm as a soloist without some adjustments in technique given the technical demands. Is it because they have an unusual shaped thumb/long fingers? My hand span from thumb to pinky is 8.25" and I'm 6'0" tall male. Pretty average hand size. Does it require a radical difference in thumb placement (way under the neck)? The famous violist Primrose held it up with his left hand (typical thumb placement) and said it was no big deal. I'm just curious because I do not know of any written material that basically says "Yeah you can do it this way but technique is slightly different...". I don't think Menuhin's book '6 lessons' explains it all that well.
  11. I don't understand how it is possible to maintain a natural position with the fingers on the board (of a perfect fourth between 1st and 4th fingers) and shift without the neck falling into the web of the hand if you don't use a SR. When I don't use a SR I have to always keep the side of the 1st finger lightly against the neck in order to shift. This forces the 1st finger to be always parallel to the string in contrast to the SR where I would keep it at an oblique angle to the neck when using a SR. I'm just pondering as to how some can play with perfect intonation both ways. Can some people actually shift with only the thumb providing support to hold up the violin without a SR or is their hand position different than what i believe is to be correct?
  12. As a beginner, I am curious as to what typically happens if an accomplished player who uses a shoulder rest is asked to play a demanding piece without the shoulder rest. Would there be serious defects? Minor defects? Outright refusal? Or simply a wide variance and thus no significant pattern emerges. The reason I'm asking is how much is technique influenced by the use of a SR?
  13. Thanks everyone for the great responses. I'm still confused on how to speed it up in a controlled fashion. Fischers 'Basic's chapter on Vibrato states the vibrato is only one active movement, which is FORWARD to the in-tune note. The backward movement is like a rebound. In other words, 'forward-forward-forward-forward', not 'forward-back-forward-back'. Mine is definitely the latter which is why it is always slow. But I don't understand how the vibrato is initially activated upon stopping the string because it is supposed to be in tune first with the nail joint bent, right? In the chapter on 'Left Hand', Fischer states that Fingers are often rolled rather than 'pressed' into the string, especially the first note after a rest.
  14. 1. Do you initially stop the string in tune and then move the hand back (and then forth) OR do you stop the string with the note flat and move the hand forward to the in tune position (rolling into the note)? 2. Is the hand vibrato possible with the ring and pinky fingers and on the g-string OR do you have to switch to arm and finger vibrato in certain situations? I've been practicing vibrato 2 hours every day for 3 months and its still a problem to get beyond the slow mechanical back and forth motion that isn't a real vibrato that can then be developed. There has been moments where it really felt like I had broken through only to be let down next day when it just completely disappeared. I'm 45 and wondering if age plays a factor and if practicing 8-10 hours a day (I put the scroll against the wall) will make a difference.
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