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Everything posted by technique_doc

  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
  15. Welcome...hello to the forum.... Quite fascinating.....sorry to hear about your troubles. Firstly, this is quite normal stuff, so don't feel bad. Secondly, it is not your fault that they are behaving this way. Certain orchestras have these struggles all the time. I have been there (oh, yes siree) but there are ways around the problem. If you are the Leader by merit (i.e. you are clearly the best player) then here is my advice. Listen to your players and consider their advice, but ultimately make your decisions and stand by them. In pro orchestras the issues of bowing are easily dealt with - the leader's decision is final. We all have to play things upside down, back to front, in the opposite way to the time before and all these things, but I only ever make changes when something is clearly crazy......it saves time to keep things as they are and I often state that something "isn't my personal preference" but arguing over the point will acheive very little. You know whether things "work" and if a player struggles with it, be strong (and say they must stick to it) but also give them the "right" to do it their way if things are realy too tough. I allow my players to take the odd extra bow ( I give them carte blanche!) but then most of them don't because they'd be embarrased to mess up the section. Sadly, strength of character will always out....you need to be firm but also like a counsellor to their inferior ability/experience. I have had one or two players "removed" that won't play ball. Last time I, and a local "concertmaster" appeared for the same community concert. He was close to quitting (being so shocked as to bow to my position). I said plainly, and without giving an inch "if after this weekend you feel that you should have been sitting here, then I will gladly back down for the next concert"....."but you will have to be better than me....and that's going to be darn hard". Needless to say........ PM me if you need.... T_D
  16. I read the article...although I had to search for it...the link doesn't work. Getting on my soapbox now....... My scene isn't really connected to the high powered world of the "next great soloist" but affording (buy or borrow) instruments is increasingly a problem for young players and professionals. Some of my friends play in great UK Symphony Orchestras and do not own their violins. They cannot afford decent violins and are stuck in a permanent void. With young players, there are schemes but mostly I avoid these now and run my own loan scheme. It is a question of simple economics, here in the UK (as around the world no doubt) instrument are "worth" what buyers are prepared to pay for them and many people have too much money; we have collosal inflation in the cost of buying a house (which also disadvantages musicians) and it's not nearing it's end. Consequently, the rich families spend whatever it costs to buy their "prodigies" good violins and the rest suffer from the fake "inflation". There is no answer, but the flip side is that many wealthy people often step in with instrument loans and financial assistance for the tuition. What I think is so sad though is that as professional workers have doubled their fees in the last few years, the earning potential for a musician is not keeping pace. We should live in a "meritocracy" but we don't........the only way around this problem is for those of us that can do something (with our time or violins) to help in any way. I had a parent visit me the other day wanting lessons for his child, he suggested a payment-in-kind (i.e. his services for mine) and boasted a) that he charged $240 p.h. and that affording $20,000 for a new instrument "would not be a problem". I heard the child and realised that money cannot buy talent! and turned down the offer.....I'd rather teach a poor child for free instead.... T_D
  17. I'm no expert, but I would say that putting 4/4 strings on a 3/4 would be a poor idea. The strings are designed to work at a set length from the nut to the bridge, since this length will be well short on a 3/4, it will surely mess all the science up??
  18. Thanks for the link. I have saved the pdf and will read over the next day or so - a brief view looks most interesting. It won't be too much detail for me..... this will be right up my street. T_D
  19. I am quite worried by this thread, and in particular this comment " "Oh, She is a Russian. Russian school is an old school now. Nobody really teaches in that style anymore around here." " At the risk of going out on a limb, I feel this is a remarkably negative comment about a fellow player/teacher, probably from a naive student (from what you have said). In the old days when I posted frequently, I used to suggest that the world is shrinking and that we now have a more coherant "world approach" to pedagogy. However, despite the convergence of various "schools" of technique, some tribute needs to be paid to those that maintain a degree of traditional approach to their tuition style. In my specialist institution, we have teachers from varying backgrounds and value them all. I am a product of a Russian teacher who accepted the influence of more modern technical approaches. He is in the top 5 UK teachers. We have a teacher (who works here) who simply follows everything he learned in Russia, undiluted (it would appear) by modern principles - his students are outstanding in every way. Bow holds and tone production aside, we all chase the same goal and to denegrate a teacher in such an immature way is not helpful - that is why you posted no doubt. Young players often think they know it all, and in celebrating the science behind their teacher's approach (which I totally understand) often forget that much of the "feel" and "general approach" of older schools are totally valid. If I may be so bold, the greatest golfer in the world (TW) was created out of love and dedication from his family and friends and worked for many years with a coach who was not "new school" but believed in the core principles every player must consider. It is the same with the Violin, my teacher and most of my peers would all agree that fundamental basics are the same whatever the school.....there's no quick fix or modern approach that can bypass these...... I hope this makes sense - it's late here in the UK........ T_D
  20. Most teachers will remember what they have set and where their pupils are with certain pieces/studies/scales. All my students work is dated and if something is too hard to remember, I will consult their practice book/sheet. Being primarily a teacher of older children and medium - advanced players, I also rely on them to be pro-active in the process. Often I ask them at the end of the lesson to specificaly remind me the next time to start with something or go over a certain passage. If I have missed something and we have run out of time, I may ask them to be responsibe to remind to do this next time. I rarely cover everything in one lesson. It is possible to remember many, many things (dependant on the ability of the teacher for holding such information). It is not a skill that is necessary to be a good or great teacher though. Try not to judge anyone by these things. If the teachers sets tasks and then doesn't check them (ever) or seems disorganised in some way, then support them if you value them. I am lucky in that I remember even small things (like certain notes out of tune in a scale!) and can ask a student to start at measure 168 or something (when they don't even know where that is!!), but I had some teachers who could barely remember what I was playing...didn't matter most of the time. Interesting topic........
  21. Interesting stuff..... Were they US or UK books originally, or alternatively do you know the titles, because I am the custodian of quite a large selection of music from 1890-2000. I am currently taking some obscure/unknown English Music from very old volumes on my recital tours....even today I played something that may not have seen the light of day for 50 years here in England. What I wish I could find more of is all the light/salon/fun pieces that were published by Bosworth etc. in the 50s but are nearly all left out of books these days. T_D
  22. It's a good point BillW.....well put. It seems obvious when you think about it, of course players would slide, the question is does it bring anything to the music? T_D
  23. Is nobody able to elaborate.....please?....it's making me crazy! The INFERNAL shoulder rest....ahh days long gone....let's not go there! Whatever your preference, learn to hold the violin properly and work daily on relaxing the hold. T_D
  24. My top tip for this is to practice in rhythms. I use the patterns from the Galamian/Neumann book but almost anything will help. Also (and this may cause a few brows to rise) be careful not to have shifts which work poorly at speed. Same finger shifts tend to be slower than different finger shifts and also it is important to let the fingers relax unless you specifically need the rhythmic articulation. Let us know the passage...easy or hard, and someone will remember having struggled with it for sure. T_D
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