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Gray Violiner

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Everything posted by Gray Violiner

  1. TOAD!!! Long time, no ribbit!! How's married life and Little Toad? Any more Tadpoles since Little Toad?
  2. Wow! Everybody is coming out of the wood work! So nice to see everyone again!
  3. This is HYSTERICAL! The husband and I have been working our way through The Teaching Company Concerto Series and literally just listened to the 12 tone lecture. We were not amused..... However this video is the best!
  4. Too funny, Outside!!! Nice to see everyone here again!
  5. Hi guys! I just did my first practice in basically 2 years. Can you say OUCH???? The ouch in the back is a given, but my left shoulder?? Ouch! Funny thing, I would have thought it would be my left hand that had gone to hell, but my bow arm is the problem child. I'm squeaking, bouncing and yowling like a Book 1 Suzuki student. Any good tips from the seasoned pros on how the heck to get your bow arm back after a two year layoff? Yeah, I know: practice, practice, practice. Seriously, any particular etudes or tunes that might be helpful would be appreciated.
  6. Hi everyone. I thought Mnet had died and gone to rosin heaven until I got a friends request from Lymond this morning. (HI LYMOND!!) I've been on the DL list for over two years now due to three back surgeries (yes count them, THREE) and am still on medical leave from #3. Isn't life special? Strange that Lymond shows up in my email box and pointed me back here this morning. I literally had my first lesson back at the violin this week since all this nonsense started two years ago. It's nice to be here again, as this was my first forum home going WAY back to 1995. OMG, has it been that long? I'm getting old... Good to see some familiar faces back here, yes even KEN!! Hi guy!
  7. Hey Soundboot, I need to talk with you about that Flextend gizmo you were using last year. Can you sent me a private message so we can chat and swap emails? Thanks! Gimpy Gray Violiner.
  8. quote: Originally posted by: Roy Sonne quote: [ O'Connor hasn't been playing "straight" classical that long, I don't think. Hi Doc, I'm not aware that Mark has ever played straight classical. If you know of any recordings or performances that he's done, I'd love to know about it. Thanks. Roy Hi Roy! Ole gimpy here. ;-) Mark would be the last person on the planet to say his playing is, was, or ever will be "straight classical." He prides himself on the melding of his fiddle playing into the classical genre. He's never even pretended that he's a classical violinist or plays like one. His joy is opening the people's eyes to the parallels of fiddle and classical styles. This is what his "classical" pieces accomplish. My personal favorite of all his "classical" pieces to date is The Fiddle Concerto. I just love it! His subseqent composition are good, but I've not heard any so far that I love as much as FC.
  9. I was afraid to check you link too, but I can tell you that one year of playing isn't much at all when it comes to tone, intonation, etc. If you teacher says you are on track then unless he is a total hack (which I doubt), then don't worry about it. I didn't feel like I sounded decent until I had been playing at least FIVE years! I've been at it for 12 and am back to feeling like I sound lousy, but that's another story! Or simply put: Learning the violin is not for the impatient of temperament!!
  10. quote: Originally posted by: Hank Schutz Here's a variation on Andrew Victor's suggestion to take some time off: study the viola for a year. HS NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! SAVE ME! NOT THE VIOLA!!!! Kidding of course, Hank. Actually I did try the viola one summer four years ago. After going nuts switching between alto/treble clefs and the different sizes of the instruments it made me appreciate my violin so much more! Now the husband plays the viola.
  11. quote: Originally posted by: Victor_Zak Gray: From time to time, I get frustrated with my lack of progress on a piece, feeling I should be making far faster progress than I am. I then get demoralized, which only adds to the problem and my wanting to avoid practising. I'm beginning to realize that in my particular case, I sometimes get into too much of a hurry to work through a piece, thinking I should be finished it. Victor, are you and I related? You've nailed me down cold!! quote: What helps me get out of my slumps is that, at the level of difficulty and sizes of pieces I'm working on now, I have to "conquer" the piece bar by bar and phrase by phrase rather than thinking I can learn the work from beginning to end. During the summer of 1997, my teacher decided to take the summer off. I knew I'd go into withdrawal without lessons all summer, so I found a violist from the Charlotte Symphony that also took violin students. Peter used to drive me INSANE because that was how he taught me: one or two bars per lesson, dissecting everything I did. I was NOT used to that style of teaching. My teacher is more the gestalt type, though she'll only assign a small section of a piece, and once that's under your fingers she'll add on more. It was interesting that by the end of that summer with Peter, we'd barely done one page of one piece but I learned things from him that I still use. Don't get me wrong about my teacher she's wonderful, but she seems to be in such a hurry to make "music" that sometimes I feel left behind. I really hadn't registered that until just now! I definitely will be having a chat with her at my lesson on Wednesday. Thanks, Victor!
  12. Hey Stillnew. The recurrence of the hand issues was just coincidence. The cortisone shots I've gotten for the numbness in my fingers only seem to last around 3 months and I'm at the three month mark since the last one. The feet really are a minor aside, just some swelling that I can deal with by sitting to practice (I normally stand). No, it's the mental demons that are back in full force. It could be as much to do with being back at my BORING, UNSTIMULATING JOB that's spilling into my music life as much as anything. And while it sounds like I'm making excuses right and left, this horrible heatwave we've been having has sucked the life out of me as well. It could just be a combination of the above. I definitely need to have a heart to heart with my teacher this week, outside my lesson time that is. She know's I'm not up to my usual standards, but I haven't gone too much into details as to why. Thanks for taking a stab at this mess though. I really do appreciate it!
  13. I'm so with you on this one, B.Ceruti!! I'm staring some seriously difficult pieces in the face at my lessons and because I'm frustrated with the level of difficulty, I'm taking the passive approach and not putting in the usual practice time, so I STINK at my lessons. That's only a small part of my apathy right now, however. I've been playing close to 12 years (started at age 39). The past 7 of those years have been fraught with physical ailment after physical ailment including two separate hand surgeries. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel, severe, in the left hand the first of this year. This was on the heels (pun fully intended) of feet problems last year that were so bad I could only sit on the sofa with my feet elevated and an ice pack within reach. Try playing a violin like that. Doesn't work! Then there have been recurrent neck problems and back problems. Tough to play anything when your body turns traitor. An aside: none of what's going on has to do with playing the violin so changing setups or technique won't help. Sorry for the whining about my ailments, but there's a point to it: I'm always waiting for the proverbial "other shoe" to drop. I went to Mark O'Connor's fiddle camp last month and it was wonderful. I had a great time, no "physical issues" that kept me from getting a lot out of it. I came back from camp fully recharged to get back into it. It didn't last long. The demon voices in the back of my head (and my feet and my wrists and my fingers) started talking again and I'm back to forced practices, if I practice at all. To add insult to all this, I was in the midst of a HUGE plateau before the feet/hands went out and was already frustrated with that. Sigh... My background is counseling and psychology, but I'm the classic case of physician heal thyself, but I can't seem to do just that. So, do any of you lovely people, old starts or otherwise, have any words of encouragement for me as well? Sorry B. Didn't mean to hijack your thread!!
  14. Not trying to be snide here, only trying to answer your concerns succinctly: Your post reads as though you aren't very experienced with eBay. If so, you need to run away from violin shopping on eBay and just do the retail route. It takes a lot (and I mean a LOT) of experience using eBay and even more experience with buying instruments before you want to trek into the shark infested waters of eBay stringed instrument sales. Yes, there are reputable sellers of stringed instruments, but their numbers are waning as the slezoids of the world find their way to the eBay platform of ripping people off. My two cents worth....
  15. quote: Originally posted by: Lymond My advice for the adult beginner who is learning to play for enjoyment is to join a good Suzuki program. Go to the group lessons. I still have a lot of fun playing in group lessons, and so do my old teacher's adult students. There's something about working with children that is very musically inspiring. Hey Lymond, I can't say I agree strictly with the "Suzuki" program idea, but definitely I'm 150% with you on playing in groups with kids. When I started, it was a running joke that I was the only student my teacher had that was old enough to drive! It never bothered me (still doesn't) to play along side the kids (including the occasional wunderkind my teacher has). It keeps me young of heart, actually. We treat each other as peers and equals. That's the key to making it fun for everyone. Unless their parent demands otherwise, I always ask the kids to call me by my first name, not Mrs. P. I've learned something from all the kids that have come and gone over the past 12 years(graduated high school and gone to college) and cherish them all! Well ALMOST all. There's always a brat in every crowd! However sometimes it's me!
  16. quote: Originally posted by: Steve_W I'd guess that the default setting is off and most people haven't found out where to turn it on? It seems it does default to off, but when they switched to this new layout my brain went into overload trying to set up my account and I've forgotten! If anyone needs a quick lesson on how to set it (because it can be hard to find!), let me know.
  17. Why do the majority of the members here have their profile visibility turned off? On the old board there was at least a little information on the profiles. With the privacy function on the new board you never know who you are talking to unless you've been around here a while and know the old timers. I'm not nosey but it's really nice to click on someone's picture, find out generally where they live, if they are male/female, if they have a personal website, etc. It makes things friendlier, IMHO.
  18. quote: Originally posted by: sbarton Gray - Thanks for the link I was woodshed'ing it last night and I was surprised how difficult it was to bow those eighth notes cleanly with some resemblance of separation between them. I couldn't get the bow to stop cleanly which resulted in lots of unpleasant screeching. Bart You're quite welcome, Bart. Hang in there on the bowing, etc. It all comes with time and lots of dedicated practice! I've been playing for 12 years and every once in a while I'll pull out those first two Suzuki books to just zip through them. I still remember all too clearly how HARD it was to get it all together "back in the day" but it's worth the work. Funny aside, at my lesson this week my teacher threw some new things at me and I struggled with them just like you are now. I've commented more than once that just about the time you "think" you've got a handle on this violin stuff, you find out how much you DON'T know!!
  19. This is a super great site for getting up close and personal shots of various techniques. A couple words of caution, stick with the level you are at (I've looked at the advanced and professional videos and wanted to cry!) and don't be discouraged by the fact that the little kids play so darn GOOD! Look at the elementary level under the left hand menu and see if you can get an idea of what you need to work on. Violin Master Classes I love this site. It shows lots of technique issues close up and for me, augment my lessons when my teacher isn't handy. Again, use this only as a supplement to a real live teacher.
  20. I can't recall that exact piece but a bit of advice from an old start: the sooner you can keep more than one finger down on a note (as you describe here) the better off you will be in the long run. It seems beginners are taught to move the entire left hand as a unit to get to individual notes. That's well and good, but if you keep that habit (*cough* like I did *cough*) it makes playing faster pieces very, very difficult and it's a PAIN to unlearn that habit. If you can find a video (or if someone here knows of one) that shows close-ups of a professional violinist playing, you'll see what I'm saying. If I can find the link I'm thinking of, I'll post it here and you can have a look.
  21. quote: Originally posted by: string-along I am interested in what keeps adult violin students going. 1) Love it. 2) Love it. 3) Love it. Oh, did I mention I love it? Adults that take up the violin don't normally do it with aspirations to reach Carnegie Hall. I certainly didn't, not starting at age 39 anyway! I've never had any particular goals, though the one thing I hoped for after I had been playing a few years was to get competent enough to be asked to play in my teacher's pro string quartet, even if it was only once. I did accomplish that dream two summers ago when she asked me to sub for her second violinist at a wedding reception. I'm still on her back burner as a sub, but that more because my body keep fighting my being reliable (carpal tunnel, foot injury, bad back, etc., etc.) not because she thinks I flubbed up the first time! I've always said I don't do this for money, but I had to admit it was seriously cool to get paid! Since I really don't ever want to associate my playing with money, I took what I was paid and bought new curtains for my music room.
  22. Hi Roy! Long time no see, aye? I had a teacher one summer 9 years ago just for the brief period that my usual teacher took a break. His teaching technique was very different than my teacher's but I learned some lessons from him I've never forgotten. As you say about gravity and the bow, that was the first thing he drilled into my head. He had only been in the US for a brief period (from Poland) and had very broken English which made for interesting lessons in and of itself. He was trying to explain the gravity/bow idea to me, but we weren't understanding each other too well. He finally said this: "At the end of your work day, you come home very, very tired. You go to your sofa and "PLOP" down." Then he made me relax my bow arm and with the bow in my hand, took my hand, held it above the strings and let go of my hand, dropping it so that my bow fell gently onto the strings. At that instant I got it and learned how to use gravity to its best advantage when bowing. After that, he'd start all my lessons with the "plop on the sofa" exercise and spent a great deal of time showing me how little effort it takes to hold a bow properly if you don't fight it. That was my reference to the "hold it like its an egg" comment. In reference to taking advantage of gravity, I had another violinist teach me why we should play with the scroll raised. Part of the string orchestra I play in was working up a group performance of the Bach Double. I was one of the first violin soloists and we rehearsed at her studio. She had us play several passages with vibrato and had the scroll parallel to the floor. The we did the same passage with the scroll raised upward. Just the tiniest lift of the scroll caused the vibrato to immediately to happen with less effort because the finger/hand more easily falls forward. That one stuck with me too. Moral of the story: gravity is our friend boys and girls! Though some of us begin to re-think that notion after 50!
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