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Everything posted by bleeviola

  1. I don't like a thick neck from top to bottom, but I do prefer a wider one. If the strings are very crowded together, it's a pain in the neck for big paws like mine.
  2. I only tried it once, and it didn't sound as good or last as long as my Larsen, so I decided the maker was right about what works best with my instrument. It wasn't false right out of the package, however.
  3. I'm definitely a Suzuki teacher, but I don't like to use terms like "purist". Give the students what they need, when they need it, in order to learn the instrument the best way possible. The Suzuki repertoire is rich and generally beautifully sequenced, but you have to teach other "materials". It's just common sense. What materials to use for supplementation and when to do so has been covered at great length in the archives. One way I'm more extreme than some others is scales. I teach scales from Book 1 forward, and by Book 3 we are going through one key a week through the whole circle of 5ths, first major, then major + minor. By the end of book 4 I want them to have figured out how to play all the major and minors one octave and several of them two octaves. I love it when they struggle with several flats and sharps because it's a great time to reinforce the interpretation of key signatures. To teach patterns of half and whole steps, start the scales on different fingers. Makes them think, and helps them a lot in the non-Suzuki world. Essentials for Strings published by Kjos is a GREAT scale book, until they're ready for Flesch, Galamian, Victoria Chiang (viola), Michael Kimber (viola) or other scale systems. Sevcik in small doses also rocks! Amen to all the discussion of bowing above. You have to start somewhere, why not the middle? And you can't even get through Book 2 without using the whole bow. Is age 5 or 6 too late to be doing that? As for groups, when the student gets past book 2 and is reading, I'm happy enough if they're playing chamber or orchestral music regularly. I find the groups very useful for the elementary levels and less so later. I will now duck the arrows from other Suzuki teachers!
  4. The turnaround makes the number of notes in the scale 48, which is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 24 and allows the top of the scale to be "on the beat" for most of these divisions. Having 48 notes in the scale works beter for some of the bowing variations that some people teach.
  5. I like Victoria Chiang's viola scale system. Very simply organized. Victoria Chiang's Peabody Studio
  6. I was multi-instrumental as a young musician and it created some interesting problems. If she loved both instruments equally, I'd say go with viola. She will get to perform more and be in more demand as a teacher as well, if she would also teach violin. One great way to keep piano skills up in college is to do a lot of accompanying for the viola studio. It is wonderful to learn the solo repertoire for your major instrument from the accompanying role and you end up taking many extra lessons on your major instrument by accompanying your viola-playing friends to their lessons for coaching. This was my experience and it served me well. On the "practical" side, I was also able to make a fair amount of money while in school with my accompanying. I played for singers, flutists, violinists, and ballet classes. I only had one semester of piano lessons after graduating high school, but the strong foundation I had in high school was a good basis for the technique needed for accompanying, which is rather different from learning solo repertoire. Not many pianists are good accompanists, and not all accompanists are virtuoso pianists.
  7. I play a thick viola with a center-mounted Flesch chinrest (no hump) and a Kun Super SR. As for the argument that Kuns fall off, I have discovered a Kun knock-off called "Christino" that stays on my violin better than a Kun - rock solid in my experience. This topic does come up very frequently, but it is important. If you look at people's bodies, and compare their shapes and sizes, it becomes obvious that different solutions will be necessary.
  8. I wish we did have more options in Tampa Bay. If you find one you like, let me know. E-mail me through my website if you'd like to discuss the situation further. I don't want to step on any toes in a public discussion. my web page
  9. I joined this board in 2000 and have enjoyed it very much. I went through several months of not checking in at all, and now that I'm back I'm enjoying it. I was glad to see the establishment of the Soapbox so that I could avoid non-string related discussions. I never read it, so I didn't notice that it was gone. I've also been sufficiently out of the loop to have no idea what you all are talking about when you say "the other board". I remember when Maestronet hit 10,000 posts. There has been so much added since then that it seems natural that the traffic would slow down a little bit. People now have a big archive to look through before posting a question, and perhaps more people are actually using it and finding some answers to their questions before posting. Maestronet is a valuable resource for me and my students, and I think having a section for the "hardware" issues (Pegbox) has been a great idea.
  10. I change my viola strings every six months - CGD Helicore, A Larsen.
  11. I'm a teacher, with students from 3 to 40-something. I have gotten the P&H bows for my little ones because they are much better balanced than the Glassers in the tiny sizes, but I would not recommend them for anyone else for the reasons cited above. They also do not seem very sturdy. I have seen a couple of them start to fall apart after a year or so; the heads come loose and start twisting a bit. If you're ready to move up, check out Coda Aspire - very, very nice for the price. Nothing to look at, but they handle like butter!
  12. They've only been available for the last 30 years or so.
  13. Suzuki is not a group method. The basis of Suzuki is an individual lesson COMBINED with a group experience. Dr. Suzuki said a weekly private lesson and a semi-monthly group lesson is the right mix for most people. That formula works well for me as a teacher. A Suzuki teacher can't teach any more students than a non-Suzuki teacher.
  14. I second the Goldbrokat recommendation.
  15. Well, this thread deteriorated fast! A gift certificate for a book store is always nice.
  16. I just got a bag of rubber bands and a crayon sharpener from a student. Practical, for me, but still kind of funny in a nice gift bag with tissue paper and all.
  17. I bought a "Provigny" STV-750 from George about a year ago. I hope you like yours as much as I like mine. It's super for the price and trouble-free.
  18. But I WAS a public school orchestra director (grades 4-8) for five years. Such a device would just be one more thing for them to break. Teaching tuning isn't so bad, and is worth the time it takes. Those little Korg tuners that tell you what note you're playing and if you're sharp or flat are helping my wee ones to figure out how to tune themselves. I also went to piano tuning school and did that for a short time. That is MUCH more difficult than tuning a violin - over 200 strrings to tune and you can't tune pure fifths, thirds, or anything else or you'll wreck the temperament.
  19. I'm a teacher in Florida. I have two students who are over 40, three in their 30s, one in her 20s and the rest are age 4-16. I love my older students. I am lucky to have a great group of older students who are all improving and enjoying playing. Of those, both of the 40-somethings and two of the 30-somethings had not played the violin before. Two other adults had played before. I especially enjoy the "fresh start" with the folks who have no previous experience with the instrument. Every new thing they can do is a joy. With experienced players there is sometimes the less thrilling work of undoing bad habits. I enjoy all of it and don't care how old the student is, as long as they're at least 4. - Brian Lee
  20. Someone who can't hear well enough to tune a violin manually will not hear well enough to play in tune once the open strings are tuned.
  21. I learned in college that the best way for me to memorize is with the sheet music, away from the instrument. After you've played it a gazillion times, you know what it should sound like, so hearing it in your mind while you look at the music should be no problem. Then I take a phrase at a time and look at it and hear it, then look away and hear it, while playing it in my mind. If it helps you to play "air fiddle" while you do this, by all means do it. I found I memorize much faster and with less risk of injury this way. Also, sitting down with the music away from the instrument, you really start to see the patterns in the music that make it easier to memorize, such as sections that repeat, sequences, and section changes. Being able to hear it away from your instrument (called audiation by the psychologists) is the first step to making the music come from inside you, rather than you acting as a funnel between a written page and the audience. Everyone is different and this may not work for you, but everyone should try everything to figure out what works.
  22. Wooden instruments take in humidity and swell up, making the strings higher. This effect is magnified by the size of the instrument, so cellos and basses have bridge issues when the seasons change. Many bassists have bridges with adjusting wheels in the feet to raise and lower the height. Take a look at the next symphony concert you go to and you'll see these wheels in many of the bass bridges.
  23. A good range for kids is B-flat below middle C up to about 4th line D or E-flat. Children used to singing in choirs with good instruction can go a bit higher without problems. Many carols have a range of about an octave, so this shouldn't be a problem.
  24. Bass clarinet cannot play nearly as high as a viola. Bass clarinet is hard-pressed to play above the B-flat in the middle of the treble clef (and it's not the best sound up there). If your bass clarinet player also plays the regular (soprano) clarinet, they could cover viola parts quite nicely.
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