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Everything posted by Catgut

  1. Hey everyone, Just wanted to share my first violin exam experience. I haven't done a practical music exam for about 10 years (I did piano) and it was quite a challenge doing an exam for an instrument that I've only been learning for about a year and a half. Plus I'm not exactly 16 anymore! To begin with, my teacher encouraged me to take up an exam to work towards something. She felt that even though I'm working through several pieces, it would be of a great benefit to learn the technical stuff as well, plus the whole experience etc. I was hesitant at first, remembering the hours of practice and jitters when I was doing piano but, I thought, "Hell, why not?" So I agreed, and after 3 months of learning the set scales, arpeggios etc. and choosing the pieces, I finally took the exam this past Monday. Mind you, it was Grade 1 (St Cecilia's in Australia, although not as technically demanding as AMEB, but still...), so please don't laugh! Anyway, I got there, and this was the strange part - the examiner asked me to play all of the pieces first. That kinda threw me off since I was so used of getting the technical work out of the way, plus it would give you time to warm up your instrument. Maybe it's different for the violin? I don't know... Anyway, 3 of the pieces were suppossed to be accompanied but the student before me accidentally took the piano accompaniment by mistake. So, I had to play one of the pieces solo (like another study) and now I'm thinking, "I hope this doesn't count against me!". Then the technical work came and went, then the questions. Most were ok, although I couldn't remember what the name of the dot on top of 2 notes slurred, so I just told the examiner how that's suppossed to played. I think he let me off lightly. After which I had post-exam jitters, rather than pre-exam jitters. I went through in my head of where I stuffed up, wrong notes played etc. and I really thought that I didn't do well as I had hoped. But, I had a nice suprise. I found out my mark today, and I passed with high distinctions!!!!! I'm completely blown away, and I'm now thinking of sitting another one next year. So I guess there's always hope even for late 26-year old starters! Now, I'm thinking of upgrading the instrument... but one step at a time, I guess Anyway, forgive my ramblings... I'm just totally floored by the whole thing!
  2. Calling the Aussies here... particularly Sydney-siders! Does anyone know of any amateur orchestras/chamber music groups that adult students can take part of? I've been learning the violin for over a year now (I'm 25), but have had previous music experience i.e. been playing the piano for years and have some experience playing in a group with the piano, so the whole concept is not new to me. I'm just wondering whether anyone knows of any amateur groups who are willing to take on adult students just to give them some exposure to group playing? I'm sure I won't ever become a professional musician (alas!) but I would just like to get some exposure in playing with a group, either in a community orchestra or chamber music or both!(I'm talking amateurs here!). I mean, my teacher is great, she has recitals and all that, but the majority of her students are really young kids, and I think I'm the only adult student she has who's learning the violin! You can only learn as much playing by yourself but I think it would be great to learn in a group situation as well. Anyway, can anyone point me in the right direction or if anyone knows of a community orchestra / chamber group etc. who are willing to take on adult students, that would be great. Thanks guys
  3. I'm interested on your thoughts regarding the bow you purchased from this seller. Is it similar to the current one for sale? What's your opinion on its playability, weight etc.? Thanks in advance.
  4. Yeah it's pity that we're so far away from everyone else! Our string options are somewhat limited in Down Under But, thanks guys for your comments... The bow seems like a good buy even with the shipping costs etc. But of course, I'm no expert!
  5. Does anyone have any information on this violin bow (WE. Dorfler - Germany)? There's one being sold on ebay, which I'm a bit interested in obtaining (BTW, I've been playing a little bit over a year... so my experience with these sort of things is quite lacking ). Has anyone tried one of these bows before?? Here's the link: Dorfler violin bow on ebay Thanks guys!
  6. Thanks guys will definitely practice with those helpful tips.
  7. Hi guys, Can anyone give me tips on how to hold the bow correctly while doing pizzacato? I'm finding that my bow grip is a bit wobbly and that I have to put the bow down to be able to do pizz. Any thoughts? Thanks.
  8. Hi and welcome! I'm currently finishing my PhD on Type 1 diabetes. I took up the violin in July 2002 and thouroughly enjoying it. Science and music really go well together
  9. Well, I finally installed Obligatos on my violin What can I say but a HUGE improvement from Dominants! My instrument is not exactly the best one out there, but one of the better student models, and has the tendency to be on the bright side. With Dominants, it just had this metallic sound to it. Not anymore!!! It sounds warmer, with a fuller sound, darker perhaps and the E-string sounds great, not at all piercing to the ear. Even my husband, who has no musical interest whatsoever, noticed the difference. It was quite an adventure, seeing that I've never installed a fresh set in my life... but well... there's got to be a first time, right? I changed the strings one at a time, which was a rather tense moment as I didn't want to break anything!! Nevertheless, all went well. They took a couple of days to settle as I found that I had to tune and re-tune in the first 2 days. The only thing is that there seems to be a "scratchy" sound on the D string... it's not too bad but I'm wondering whether I installed the string correctly, ie no overlaps in the wrapping etc. I wonder what's doing this?? The rest are fine, although I'm finding that I have to put more pressure on the G string to achieve a full sound. Overall, I'm very pleased with the result. It's amazing how the sound can really affect your playing... I'm more motivated than ever to practice
  10. After searching through this forum, plus the advice of fellow Maestronetters I've finally decided to bite the bullet and try Obligatos (my violin is currently fitted with Dominants, in which the sound is not exactly to my liking! Plus it's overly bright). It was a toss up between Eudoxas or Olivs, but given the costs, I thought the Obligato was a nice compromise. But I can rationalised that I'm not a professional , so Obligatos it is! Anyway, I've ordered the set today and should receive it sometime next week. Can't wait to try them! If it doesn't work out, then I'll just have to try the others. Will keep you guys posted. Thanks again to those who've given their input... it's been a big help.
  11. Thanks for your input. With the Violinos though, do they sound warmer than Dominants? I'm more interested in trying out something that is not as bright as the Dominants that I'm currrently using. I mean, it works ok, it's just the E string that is putting me off, as it sounds quite metallic/tinny and quite piercing for my taste. What about Pirastro Gold? Has anyone used these this set before? I also heard that you can try out a free set from Pirastro - does anyone know how to go about this or do you just write to the company and ask?
  12. Is it difficult to take off the 3 fine tuners, if trying out gut-core strings? Or is it something I should leave for a luthier to do?
  13. My violin is currently fitted with Dominants and I'm finding them too bright for my taste. Plus the E string sounds horrible! I know every violin is different but mine is on the "bright" side and I'm more partial to a warmer, darker sound. There was some suggestion to try gut-core strings to dampen this "brightness". I also read somewhere that you can use a Pirastro Gold E with Dominants but I'm actually thinking of using something different all together - Eudoxas, Gold, Oliv or Obligato. My violin is currently fitted with 4 fine tuners. Would this be a problem if I tried gut-core strings? Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Sorry for the repetition regarding this topic.
  14. I'm also the other way around - I've been a piano player since I was 7 and now I'm learning the violin at 25 (been 9 months now!). I found that having a piano background really helps with my violin playing as I don't have to worry about learning to read notes, rhythm etc. I can fully concentrate on my bowing and learing different positions. My violin teacher also teaches piano, she reckons that it's more advantageous to have a piano background first, then switch to another instrument later. Something interesting though.... every time I play the piano now, my left hand is louder than my right.... it must be from pressing hard on the fingerboard
  15. When do you start teaching your students vibrato? Is it after they've mastered intonation? Learned every position? I'm probably jumping the gun a little, but as a beginner, I'm wondering whether I'm very behind. I mean, I don't expect myself to play brilliantly straight away, but what should I expect after 9 months? Sorry, I digressed.... Thanks for your tips though. I'll have to print it out for future reference
  16. Hi Everyone, This topic may have already been covered... but I'll ask anyway I'm just wondering how often should strings be changed (besides the obvious reason of it breaking)? What's the average lifespan of say, Dominants? I know that it depends on how much you play your instrument, but say for someone like myself, who is an adult beginner (been learning for 9 months) and practices pretty much an hour each day? Also, once you've taken off the strings, say for the purpose of trying different ones to experiment on different sounds, can you use your old strings again, provided that they are not broken of course? That is, if the "new" strings that you were trying out didn't sound that great, can you put your "old" ones back on? Thanks very much.
  17. Well, going from a piano background (I've been playing the piano since I was a kid and I'm still playing) , it's very humbling to back to playing the "ABCs" on the violin. I've been learning the violin for about 9 months now, and it's really been a challenge. But I love it My teacher started me on a few beginner method books like All For Strings and Strictly Strings. I'm now on Mary Cohen's Book 2 plus scales and arpeggios, of course. I've also been working on a few "popular" pieces like With Or Without You (U2), anything by The Corrs (well, we can't all do classical ALL the time ) and Pachelbel's Canon (an oldie but a goodie) on the side.
  18. So, who's willing to trade? Anyone want to try Piranitos for Eudoxas/Olivs/Obligatos??
  19. Interesting point, Daisy. It would be hard to justify sending someone a more expensive set to receive a not-so-expensive one. It would sound as if we're scabbing off other people (i.e. being cheap since we wouldn't have pay the same amount of money for them, only the postage costs) However, these strings would be pre-loved so maybe they'd depreciate in some way? I guess the whole point is to try different strings on our instruments and see which ones that sound the best... maybe we could generate a list of some sort and see who's willing to trade and for what and the point of contact would be a first-come-first-serve basis, and those who are on the list should be honourable enough to say that they're already committed to swap with someone else. The last we'd want is to have a bidding war like eBay. What do you guys think?
  20. I'm a big Corrs fan , so most of their songs have a violin part. Of particular note: Someday Give Me A Reason When The Stars Go Blue Only When I Sleep I Never Loved You Anyway No Good For Me There's also 7 seconds - Neneh Cherry My Immortal - Evanescence Hands That Built America (Soundtrack Mix) - U2 I also recommend Apocalyptica (Finnish cello quartet) who did a few Metallica covers, Bond (covered Led Zeppelin's Kismet), and an Australian quartet called FourPlay (covered Enter Sandman, My Baby Just Cares For Me - vocals with violin accompaniment, My Sweetest Perfection, just to name a few).
  21. Sounds like a great idea, but I guess you would have to rely on everyone's integrity and honesty when it comes to swapping strings. Also postage costs would be an issue, although I think it shouldn't cost too much to post strings through regular mail. I'm interested in trying out Eudoxas/Olivs for something warmer on my violin (I'm currently using Dominants). I've got new Pirastro Piranitos that I've never used if anyone's interested.
  22. Have you heard a Finnish group called Apocalyptica? They're a cello quartet and have done Metallica covers. Although I'm not exactly a fan of heavy metal music, I particularly loved their rendition of Nothing Else Matters, Sanitarium and Fade To Black. If I can say so, without offending Metallica fans, of course, I think their renditions sounds better than the original - less screamming and more melodic
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