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Everything posted by technique_doc

  1. Sorry to come in so late on this. The youtube clip has been removed and I'm very keen to know what all this is about.......... Is there someone who might elaborate on the way that it is being suggested to hold the violin......let's not forget that Menuhin formulated his technique some 80? years ago, and one should not read too much into things as pedagogy has come a long way since then!!! I have seen old films of Menuhin and have worked under the Maestro on a few occasions, as well as being friends with pupils from his school etc. I would not site "what he does" and "how he does it" as a good example of the type of technical experimentation a player might consider. For information, my left thumb plays no substantial part in holding the violin, but if I play without a rest (as I do, quite often) the thumb tends to assist more noticeably. I would like to comment on the Modern approach (as a pupil of English/Czech/Russian and "Galamian" influenced teachers) and answer any questions to those who might be unclear on any aspect. T_D
  2. Have you considered using midi/audio software....I use Cubase (on PC) and have made a good selection of simple stereo recordings using two mics (X-Y) and then process them with the plug in effects (reverb etc.) not expensive for the hardware and program. T_D
  3. Yes, the books by Barbara Barber are excellent, just a shame they are hardly known here in the UK. If your daughter has done 2-5 she must be really good now! My pupils play many of these's a well designed collection. I think she (or someone else) should do a set that has baroque and classical too.
  4. Hello Interlochen1978, I have many instruments and have a private collection which are mostly on loan to students. There is a lot of discussion about strings and people have their own personal preference, but this is based on one or two instruments or listening to their pupils violins. Here is my opinion.....take or leave it...... The old favourite dominant is probably the brightest string for a mellow or too quiet instrument. They sound terrible when first on, but this does not carry to the audience, hence the popularity amongst soloists who do not have a sponsorship type agreement. If you put traditional pirastros on (eudoxa and olive), you will be cutting down on your projection. Out of evahs and obligatos, the general consensus seems to be that the evahs tend to suit more violins and obligato are a bit like a bad mannered person, only liked (but cherished) by a few. I rate them both, but a betting man would opt for the evahs. Alliance are well used in the profession, but interestingly liked by players with modern (20thC) loud violins. What I can say therefore, is that with a quiet or mellow Violin, try dominant (or vision). On a superior instrument not lacking in projection, go for warm strings (evahs or obligatos or olive). I know the W H Lee instruments (although they are rare-ish here) and you'll most likely be safe with a quality string that doesn't need the metallic edge of dominants. Don't take aim everyone! T_D
  5. I disagree that they are out of style. What I believe is that the practice has evolved so gratuitous sliding has been taken off the menu..! OK, basic point of principle....try to play baroque and classical as clean as possible. Any student sliding in this music is likely to be shown the door!!! Slides in romantic music are acceptable and should be encouraged as experimentation in expression. The type of slides need to be considered however. For the most part, arriving underneath a note and making the pitch should be avoided unless the music asks for this implicitly, either in direction or through tradition. Leaving a lower note and having a small portamento away from this note is as prevalent today as ever was, not least because of the practice of using helping notes and moving the hand into position is universally taught. Perhaps, what is more interesting is the micro-slides that many of the great players employ. For example, whereas a good (but not really advanced) player may stick fairly rigidly to a set fingering, a high calibre player may swap fingers around all the time to then enable small (mostly imperceptible) slides. I do this a great deal, the fingerings which I choose, but do not ask my pupils to try (at first) often contain swaps and tricks to then allow a different effect for the expression moments later. Also, sometimes I avoid the printed fingerings to free up the strong fingers (2nd and 3rd) for Vibrato as well. I you listen closely, the small adjustments (that help create a micro-slide) are deliberately designed, not some wayward lack of technique. To put the information into context, a pupil of mine played against another pupil in a competition and won. Some of the audience were surprised at the decision, claiming my student was all technique and no emotion....the reality was the other pupil was randomly scrabbling for many of the notes, whereas mine had all the subtle slides worked out and practiced (under my supervision) in the lessons. Both players were actually rather good, but the results would always be scrutinised correctly by a real player.
  6. The boy pag is in Barbara Barbers book no.2 "Solos for young violinists" summy burchard/warner bros. I have never had a student take on this book who has not passed grade V abrsm (UK) and these pieces would be an insult to a good grade VII , so the first few of this book are around abrsm grade VI.... Don't know for the rest of the's a big place...with lots of water...!!
  7. Vivaldi A minor and Boy Paganini are not normaly prescribed (?) for under grade 5 ABRSM (UK system) It is hard to grade a student who plays the Suzuki books; in general (and I need to be careful here), the pieces played by Suzuki children are a little higher than their real ability. A Suzuki pupil will often be attempting pieces a little harder than where they are overall - it's part of the system, and I approve mostly..... If the teacher is recommending the piece (out of the system) that's normaly a good sign.
  8. Hi there, As some of you will know, I tend to teach mainly 12-18 y.o. pupils, most of which are already playing mainstream repertoire. I have been asked to teach a 6 y.o. and see the opportunity to work with a completely clean slate. I have given lessons to 7 - 8s before and succesfully used tutor books that are readily available. I would like to buy/borrow/create some sheets for complete beginners preferably working without written notes to start. i.e. AADD, AAEE, that kind of thing. My theory is to get the pupil holding nicely and playing pizz then bow on Open strings. Then move onto simple music etc. I did this with my own daughter and we got onto reading quite quickly. She holds the violin like a pro and bows well too. Does anyone have any good pointers to web sites or beginner books. I have bought some, but they are onto reading very quickly and the print is small (despite being aimed at under 8's). If I produced some sheets with open string tunes and pictures etc. would anyone like them? T_D
  9. Art Craft Red.... Can't get much better IMO. T_D
  10. You definately know when a string needs replacing if 1) it's shredding! 2) the tone gets bad (not so easy to determine) and the harmonics don't come easy 3) it won't play in tune other than with itself......i.e. the spacing is all out and you can't play fifths. I can't believe some players are getting through an A in two months......even the busiest players (BBC, LSO,RPO etc.) are getting more than that out of their strings??????? An average student will manage for 6-12 months. I always play my pupils violins at some point in the lesson.....I hardly ever miss a bad string. T_D
  11. quote: Originally posted by: ymkim Hi Wendy, Changing them every three to four months will do it (regardless of how they appear). I think this is not the way forward.......good strings last easily 500 hours......the two i took off before the obligatos were 10 months old and if I can make a recording with them and play 3-8 hrs a day...... T_D
  12. I would recommend Tonica or Dominant. Unless the violin is something really out of the ordinary, these would be just great. If the top-budget strings (Obligato, olive etc.) come in small sizes, I wouldn't bother spending the extra. One full size I don't buy the Dominant E and tend to recommend Golden Spiral or any cheaper Pirastro. E's break quite easily and the Dominant is expensive. T_D
  13. I fully appreciate that fitting small violins up is expensive and that you have to do it all over again all too often. What I tend to do with my parents is persuade them that the cost is always worth it. I tend to ask for new strings (if poor quality) and recommend a good teka-type shaped chinrest. As for the shoulder rest.....most of the good ones cover 2 sizes at once. if not, I organise swap rounds and general trades down the food chain! Being comfortable and feeling you have maximised your chances of improving is money well spent. I have exchanged a lesson fee to buy a Kun instead and pass down my half-used strings sometimes. I cannot begin to say how much a good set-up and continual work on the basics in the lessons helps the students. Nearly all tone/bowing/intonation problems stem from poor set-up or the teacher forgetting that kids resort to all kinds of habits if not checked. Nice story...... I had a new pupil who couldn't hold the violin properly with either hand or play as good as his peers. I said I wanted to make a statement to everyone (including other teachers and pupils) that he was getting things right now learning with me. Everyone expected some kind of amazing concert performance or exam mark. Instead I took a photo and put it my book as an example of perfect posture, left hand shape, bow hold etc. To go from something out of a horror movie to pin-up, well you can imagine the 'phone calls for lessons. What I never told anyone though was that he was probably tone deaf and gave up about a year later.....poor boy.....but he looked a $1,000,000! T_D
  14. I'm guessing Hill bows are pricey in the US. There's no shortage from £1,750 upwards in the UK. You rate the Coda....that's good. Nurnburger are variable, I'll agree but there are many grades out there in the market place. T_D
  15. You might get a good new bow or try something like Nurnberger or Hill or Pfretschner. My preference is for Nurnburger over the others, don't know why. I have the "top" Nurnburger (approx $4,000 US) and have not found anything to match it in 15 years. T_D
  16. Hi adzarkos, I know this problem all too well. The technique I teach is for the hand to be set quite high on the neck of the violin (the base of the 1st finger is level with the top of the fingerboard*), so when the fingers curl over to play notes the 1st is a tiny bit downwards, the second approx level to the f'board and so on. The "attitude" of your hand to the fingerboard is crucial. With my young players, I often get them to bring (turn) the hand more in towards the f'board and tap a few pinkies (roughly in place) before playing scales or the 4-5 notes patterns that all my pupils are drilled in. Try, if possible to maintain the arched shape in the pinkie and actually watch it go down when practising a few notes out of a passage. Having a small surface area means you have to be really accurate putting the finger down. Do whatever you need to get some "wiggle" even if it's not textbook vibrato and don't forget that many good players swap the 4th for 3rd when resting on long expressive notes high on the violin. T_D * good/experienced players know the value of not having the fingers too high, I know, but more arched = more clean press.
  17. I would recommend Sevcik and of course Schradieck and etudes. Make sure you are happy with your basics too, technique improving with a poor hold in either hand is probably (partially) wasted learning. Learn to admire yourself when it sounds good and set high standards for when being critical, ask youself if your intonation, rhythm and TONE are really good and not being missed through laziness. T_D
  18. Hi xdmitrix420 I read your post....sorry to hear you didn't get the audition, I know how it feels. a few things, 1) In my first professional job, I could barely sight-read and was lucky to get in to such a famous orchestra. 2) some people can do it, others less so, there is no fixed ability amongst players. I have friends who can sight read better than me (by a long way) but they are not better players, in fact, often the opposite. If you have to really work on the notes, they often end up better. 3) The only remedy is to sight read as often and as much as possible. If you don't get regular practice through your studies or career (I don't know what stage you are at) you must find music, any music and challenge yourself time and time again. Orchestral excerpts are good, big volumes of pieces (books with 10-30) pieces are good (borrow from a teacher or library) and all the mid-range studies are good too. Forget the top end studies - the whole point of these is to set the optimum challenge, only useful for a demon sight-reader. Do lots, don't get frustrated, we all start from somewhere and whilst a great skill, it needn't define where you are as a player or who you are as a person. T_D
  19. Can you tell us what you are currently playing? (Classical) If you get a good selection of music that pushes you up through the difficulty levels and have a selection of exercises/studies, you could do a lot on your own. I know you'd get advice on technique here. T_D
  20. here are some pictures. This is a small Violin belonging to an 8 y.o. I'm no photographer, but it shows the normal placement and that the shoulder side is minimum, I hope! T_D
  21. "She has a Kuhn shoulder rest and she likes it set up as tall as possible." This doesn't sound at all right to me. I am fully grown (obviously!) and 6 ft tall, the shoulder side of my Kun, and all those of my students is set to the MINIMUM height. In my experience only long necked grown-ups ever need more on the shoulder side. Spare bow - yes, get one, no point in spending a huge amount though. My regular bow is £5000 and my spare £850. If I needed to I could use a $40 chinese. Stick with one and if it's not so great, buy a better one! The tone has more to do with the hair and not having the skill to adjust, any differences in feel are not likely to affect a performance except on short notice. There's nothing wrong with Carbon Fibre either......I have two and lend them to touring pros who don't want to take their sartorys to the back of beyond!! T_D
  22. Yes, Bon Musica is an interesting rest and an old student of mine used one. I find it the most difficult to like because the design forces you into almost only 1 position, very much on the shoulder, as I remember. I could imagine it being used as a training tool or once got used to to, a very efficient rest. Incidentaly, this ex-pupil is now one of the best young players in the country....he has textbook technique and the Bon Musica certainly helped him find a good "set-up". T_D
  23. Hello, just to add a quick comment. I have two Chinese Instruments, presumably made in factory/workshop as opposed to one individual master craftsman. What I can say is that both are suitable for non-solo pro work and get played a great deal. These were both around the $1,000-1800 price mark and compare well (if not better) than old antique/trade instruments. If you are considering $3000 this needs to be a very carefully considered purchase. I have a strad copy violin and a guadagnini copy viola - both absolutely excellent for the price and good looking too.....
  24. Oh, and without wishing to upset Seth.....give the Mach One a wide berth. My students tried this and all ended up with less satisfactroy posture, it doesn't give the lift where you need it and provides a poor base to bring the scroll up. IMHO. 99% Kun in this or two Forte Secondos. NO Primos, no Mach Ones. Straw poll, pro orch........Kun Bravo #1 choice, by a long way!
  25. Hi folks, sorry to crash this thread, but I'm having a bad time with Obligatos. As a long term dominant player, I thought I'd try some ($80, converted). So far changed G and D. The result is quite distressing, similar brightness but quite a fuzz to the tone, not crystal clear like the old technology dominants. My wondertone E is dead...might put the obligato on but shan't be buying another wondertone, way too expensive (sticking with G-Spiral solo or Olive Gold) Disappointing to spend all this money and not like the tone..... I could take them off and try on a pupils violin......not happy! T_D