technique_doc

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  1. How much is not an easy question to answer. Early stage players can achieve a great deal on even 30 minutes nearly every day....as long as you practice well. Improvement tends to happen exponentialy (i.m.o) so someone who doubles up to an hour can improve at 3 times the speed, perhaps. At my lessons, it's simply impossible to believe (for the pupil) the type of things that produce the quickest results, and it takes at least a year with me to start to appreciate the things I consider as important. I always start with a run down of basic technique (checking the violin hold, bow hold, straightness of up and down, that kind of thing). Always a few scales, but ALSO, many, many drills on the finger patterns that make up the key of your piece. At the top of the music, there is a chart written out to remind the pupil of the notes that require "special attention". For a piece in G.....I might write 0-1-23 0-1-23 0-12-3 0-12-3 and circle the 2 "low" fingers on the top strings. Playing in tune is more about the semitones than the tones!!! You might find this a little childish, but in the same way as I might try G major all over the Violin for a student preparing to play (in the lesson) Mozart Concerto no.3, you can NEVER take these things as fixed "forever"...no matter how good your ear. Improvement requires us all to identify the bad tuning, the poor tone, weak position work, run-away fingers, unsatisfactory stroke and then work on things piece by piece until the jigsaw is complete.
  2. I practice in hotel rooms a lot! I have a big, big mute (made in Ann Arbor? ... this might mean something to you all). I like using it, especially as the first scales the next day are preposterously loud because I've ended up playing so near the bridge! I'm not sure I would recommend extended practice with this for a junior/ inexperienced player. I also have a yamaha sv120 which can really ruin all your hard work. I remember playing near a window in a hotel on 44th ave NY.....got a few looks up from the street.....I didn't have my mute then, no complaints....
  3. Interestingly, I was sent (no charge) a set of B' quartets not so long ago. No cover note or compliment slip, just out of the blue!! I can see if there are any opus (type) numbers.......haven't unwrapped them yet.
  4. quote: Originally posted by: nick60 Has anyone used Cubase (the supplied program)? I have cubase and use it to produce multi-track recordings. I'm guessing that it's bundled in so you will put your tracks directly off the zoom onto the computer.....import the audio into cubase to further enhance or add other things. Cubase is not hard to use (even easier if you only play around with audio, not midi tracks). I produced a complete album (latin/jazz) using cubase to record backing tracks, then played electric violin over.
  5. These (H4) are the talk of the town here in the UK.....I know a few people keen to get one ASAP. Don't know much yet...but it looks really good...as long as it has inbuilt reverb, it should be ok for recording Violin. Keen to hear more!
  6. I think these things will all go around in circles. Sooner or later, someone is going to ask..."why does eveyone sound the same?, surely there are more shades to the sound canvas than just this?" Interesting that Perlman perceives that the true Russian players use a lot of bow? I guess all these great players have developed a way to produce a tone that they feel combines the ideal mix of pressure and speed (not to forget how close to the bridge etc.) If they watch another player who they admire (or a stlye that appeals), it's natural to draw conclusions. It could well be that the efficiency of movement that Perlman plays with (it's not like he saws the thing in half!!) requires less overt effort and travel of the bow than he sees in the players he was referring to. There are some very individual players out there even having said all these things. Joshua Bell, for example, expresses himself with all sorts of unusual approaches, but his sound is smooth and lyrical, never overpoweringly percussive or stacatto. It's a big topic.
  7. I think the days of certain sounds (from certain "schools") are long since dead. I used to mention the world getting smaller and a general approach (with teachers all over the world from all over the world) homogenising. However, to a small extent the Russian approach to sound/tone can still be spotted, maybe not boldly audible in a player who learned with a non-Russian (but a teacher influenced by), but it is there "in the blood" as it were. As teachers we have to listen and analyse what we would like to improve in our students. It is possible (and I sometimes do it) to describe the technical/musical approach to every last note....the "optimum" speed/pressure of bow etc.etc. But mostly, we have to let our students open their ears and be influenced by what they hear and what they actually like as well. We cannot manipulate every note, more often we discuss the approach to certain passges (how to play the semiquavers), how to balance the vibrato, how to create the ideal sound to match the mood. All these things are easier demonstrated then verbalised. My teacher was Russian influenced (Russian/Israeli) but not a 100% pure Russian idealist. I listened to him produce a sound, and enough exposure to this tends to lead the pupil in a certain direction. I sound a little like him, and he a little like his teacher, who was a genuine Russian virtuoso player. I would best describe the "characterisitcs" as a richness in tone, a certain warmth of vibrato, an attitude to "where" in the bow to play (probably lower than some of the other old schools) and, perhaps most noticeable a "focus" in the tone, where tiny inadequecies are mostly ironed out. To my mind, speed of bow (playing with lots) is NOT prevalent in someone displaying obvious Russian influence. I'm not saying it's the best way to play, nor am I saying that other schools are lacking, no, no but you can hear certain things and certain "shaping" of the music that say (to the experienced analyst) oh, yes, somewhere along the line, there has been some Russian players/teachers influencing this player!!! It's not going to last much longer, all the distinctive "schools" are gradually merging....such a pity.
  8. Just as a footnote to this thread.....I have given up on every one of my last (8?) choices of E. My Luthier recommended a wound string (to help with squeaks) and I left with 2 eudoxa. First one has been on a week and v.v.v effective. not the sound/feel of the gold strings (olive/obligato) but clean and robust. Performing 3 recitals this week and then recording Cesar Frank and Elgar sonatas next week. Long live the eudoxa!!! Back on-short-term visit! T_D
  9. Some of my students are using Vision, and we have had to change quite a few strings of late. As for strings not lasting generally, I am surprised at the short life some players are claiming. I get 3 months out of an E, a little more for the A and ages for the other 2! It depends on the make of course..... I'm still using Dominant and hating the first 2 weeks as ever. I am trying an obligato E just now....hopeless, still whistling after 3 weeks.... I've been away (playing mostly), but got a great review for my solo in a concert recently.....I'd spent half the rehearsal pulling faces at the tone of my new E and A....so most of these things are in the head. T_D (back, whilst on temporary christmas shutdown!)
  10. I don't want to get into details about the role of the thumb, but I will say that for most players the thumb pad is touching the side of the neck, but probably twisted a little so that the "pad" is looking a bit towards you (the player). If it sits in a different way, it may not be a problem at all. It is a non-active part of the playing, only offering security and geography assitance mostly. It's role is much more important when the hand is off the neck, higher up. My advice is to work hard on keeping it loose and sometimes experiment with moving it (out and in, up and down) so it's not clamping!!! T_D
  11. It's an interesting theory, and not quite as crazy as it sounds....... Firstly, I agree with this quote: I think the notes come from the left hand. The music comes *through* the right hand. of course, the notes are bought into "being" by the bow, but getting your left hand to keep up with your right hand is a lot of the trouble for most players. In the normal course of things, the two learn together and my theory is that if a piece challenges you most in one hand, then that is where you should work the hardest. let me offer an example...... The "dreaded" Bach E major concerto has very little for the bow, other than the odd nasty string cross or distribution, but the left hand is very demanding (much more so than most think), not only because of the high third fingers but also because it only sounds good if you are really in control. The Mozart concertos also require incredible attention to left hand, again more so than people think at first. The music of Mozart comes "alive" in the hands of an expert bow-user, but the regular issues of inconsistent semiquavers (16ths) and either too little or (conversely) untamed vibrato often wreck good work. I think in 2 distinct parts (processes) when guiding a student through a piece, the early days are more technique, the later stages, almost exclusively the "music". Interestingly enough, in the technique (building) stage of the learning, my attention is 80% on the notes (left hand) and but in the music stage maybe 90% on the bow. Good bowing is wasted on bad left hand, so in a strange way, your idea is not so mad........ T_D
  12. quote: You know, how parents bragged about things. It made me felt how silly of my kids' teacher was. This is a good anecdote.......there is a great deal of competition in music and some parents take things too far. I avoid it at all costs and let my students perform to the best of their ability for themselves and me/parents. Thankfully, more often than not, the quality of the pupils tuition and the quality of the hard work the pupils have put into the piece(s) shows through. Don't be deceived though, a talented pupil may perform well regardless of the teacher.......one has to look for trends. Alternatively, it often makes sense to ask an opinion from someone not connected. Once or twice, I have been consulted about a pupil and their progress/teacher and discovered some interesting things (for bad and good) . Also (although I try to avoid this) I have given a consultation lesson to get to the bottom of things.......all results are possible.....eg 1) confirming the student is doing well and the teacher clearly knows what they are doing 2) there is no evidence of care taken by the teacher (no notebook, no markings, no written guidance 3) the student is actually close to unteachable!!!! I parted company with a pupil who was more keen to do his thing than listen to me, it was an unpleasant experience. When this student played to general musicians, he was hailed as a real talent etc. etc. When judged by a genuine trained Violinist in a major competition, he came second to last of the 16 quarter-finalists, the report highlighted the very things I had been trying to improve years before. Somehow, lesson/masterclasses with Oistrakh, Delay etc. on these very pieces, were not good enough to convince him of my experience. He quit eventually......sad but true.....wasted talent..... T_D
  13. quote: T_D, I have never heard the teacher use this as an excuse, Well, obviously not! (you won't ever hear a teacher criticise his/her own behaviour) but some "infer" this regardless. What I was trying to say is that some members of our community get away with creating a picture of being too busy to do their job 100% in every respect. Cancelled lessons, shorter lessons, forgetting certain things are signs that things may not be quite right. Of course, everyone has the choice to go and learn elsewhere when things are not good, but often parents and students put up with all kinds of things to stick with a certain teacher. 99% of all the great teachers I know manage to get everything in it's place....but there are one or two that allow themselves to be slightly lazy with their students. "When you wear your teaching hat, it must on firmly and give full consideration to your pupil, not to you"....(or words to that effect)
  14. quote: I have a question for the teachers on this board. Supposing that you have a student who is taking your assignments seriously. Supposing that you are forgetful in this matter, you are unaware that you are, and it happens frequently enough that your student is losing motivation, but you don't have a clue that this is going on. This is not a problem that comes up very often. Being a "good" teacher requires that you keep close checks on everything the student is doing; teachers that struggle with this should be more organised (with notebooks etc.) or try to develop their awareness of what all their pupils are doing....?? I read with some interest about this quote: I browsed through a book by Karl Flesch a few years ago while in a bookstore. In one section he was writing about different kinds of "characters" of students (he went into the 'humours': sanguine etc.) and characters of musicians as teachers: 1.A "performer" must be in the moment, totally present to the moment, oblivious to anything but what he is doing right now, at this moment. Someone with these characteristics will be an excellent performer. 2. A "teacher" must have a broad perspective, looking into present and future, preparing with a broad view in mind, a mentality that encompasses many things - bird's eye. Such characteristics are bad for a "performer" because such a person will not be "in the moment". - the "performer" personality will be a poor teacher (Flesch, if I have the right writer), because he is always in the moment, and thus incapable of long term planning of multiple goals I would agree that to a certain extent there is some truth in this....BUT, the two skills are not exclusive, one (the teacher) can be (comfortably) both. What I would say was more worrying is the idea that "These are really nice people they do a lot more than just remember to show up. They are brilliant professional players, everything they play sounds like gold, they offer fantastic advice and are really tuned in during the lesson. It would feel very rude to interrupt, but week after week things that were requested get left. When they are teaching they are totally there but there lives are busy with contracts, other students, upcoming solo work, orchestras, and their own families so from week to week they forget." If a professional player is offering tuition but is letting his pupils down in this way, then they may not be entirely suitable for the task..... I find it incredibly frustrating when I hear of teachers who are letting thier students down and using their busy-ness or pro playing engagements as an excuse for not doing the job. You (I) can be one thing one minute and another the next..... Patents who feel that their childs teacher is only present "at the lesson" might like to consider a) encouraging the teacher to adapt a little to better "practice" in the way they organise the pupil or consider a different type of teacher. T_D