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Everything posted by Woody

  1. "iPods have no moving parts." Sorry to correct, but they do. An iPod is technically a tiny disc-drive, not unlike the hard-drive in your computer. If you drop it while it is playing, like I have done to mine, the surface of the disc can be scratched. DO NOT THINK IPODS ARE SHOCK-PROOF. They are delicate little gizmos and aren't able to be dropped as well as some of the "shock-proof" CD players out there are. Get a CD player if you don't want to baby your equipment. If you buy an iPod, treat it like a pair of prescription sunglasses that holds a bunch of data.
  2. Welcome all! I found Maestronet about two years ago, and I mostly just lurk, culling for advice, but not actually commenting. I'm a professional writer/copyeditor for a weekly alternative newspaper here in Anchorage. I started playing the violin after my grandfather passed on and left me his axe. I'm 27 years old and am making small progress in cheap listen-and-play books, and I'll eventually start lessons to reach my ultimate goal of playing old-time bluegrass fiddle with my buddies. Cheers to all! Scott Woodham
  3. Dear Phdezra, In response to your basic question: I started learning to play music on the trumpet at age 9. I quit after two miserable years because it wasn't my idea in the first place, but my parents'. After I quit, I switched to percussion, namely baseball. Now, I am 28 and have been learning violin for two years, having had a teacher for only 6 months. I love it so much that I will play violin forever. The key here is that I came to the violin, and the trumpet came to me. Does your child want to play? Or, are your reasons, as I think your post implies, based primarily in your desire for heightening your daughter's childhood development, and not out of her own interest? The reason I ask these things is that nearly all of your post has you and your spouse as the grammatical subjects of the sentences. The best learning happens out of sheer, innocent curiosity. My early experience with trumpet ruined my interest in playing music for a long time, but the German lessons I begged my folks for at your daughter's age make learning other languages extremely easy for me, even today. It is perhaps more important that your child has the opportunity to explore an interest/innate potential, than what that object of exploration might be. Please forgive me if I've misinterpreted your motives or overstepped any bounds of decorum. Sincerely, Scott
  4. MichelleD, Welcome! You're right about the wealth of knowledge here. I'm glad you've found it. I think all the names and titles you've gotten so far are just great. There have even been a few I've learned here for the first time. Thank you posters! However, I notice a conspicuous absence: Turtle Island String Quartet. I don't know if not-exactly-traditional string music will interest you, but they are great. They do many different classical pieces (uniquely arranged) as well as Jazz and other styles. Anything by them is great to listen to. "Appalachia Waltz" Mark O'Connor, Yo Yo Ma, and Edgar Meyer. Truly interesting fusion of Fiddle and Baroque elements. Great to hear an unlikely combination that truly works. I feel I should plug Gil Shaham's version (with Orpheus) of Vivaldi's 4 Seasons (Deutsche Grammophon). It's just great to my ears. Someone earlier mentioned him, but I feel he needs to be emphasized further. Good luck, for there's so MUCH great music out there. Welcome again. Sincerely, Scott
  5. Quote: Woody, I actually took back a Parker which costed about $40, because it was too scratchy for me, and I hadn't been intending to spend $40 for nothing! Of course not. Why spend 40 on something you don't want? It wasn't my intention to badmouth people who don't like scratchy pens. Get whatever pen you want--just try it out before you buy it.
  6. Falstaff and Mr. Darnton seem both right about the scratchyness. I wonder how much of the scratch is an aggressive pressure on the part of the writer. I remember that when I began learning to use these pens, it was quite a shock to me when I didn't have to choke the thing and press. I've since learned that pens do break in to fit the owner, but also that nibs of the past were often made of thinner metal than the nibs of today and were intentionally flexible. The Eversharps of the '30s are a good example of this. It seems a good rule of thumb that the more a pen flexes, the less pressure is required, but I'm not sure if that fits everyone's experience. I wish I had an answer to the Left-handers' "blue hand," but my grandmother, a very partisan left-hander who grew up during the fountain pen golden age, would turn the page so that she wrote not left to right, but more top to bottom. She resisted the 're-education' of left-handers--so much so that she had to be placed in a new school.
  7. Stretch and Do pushups. I'm no doctor, but strengthening the muscles should take stress off of the tendons. If Pushups hurt, please disregard my post. Exercise will be more beneficial than drugs in the long run. If it is the rotator cuff, it will be difficult to find a combination of exercises to target that area. Perhaps you should see a reputable sports medicine specialist in your area. If, that is, you can find one. Good luck in your recovery. Sincerely, Scott
  8. What an interesting thread, at least for me, since I've become a recent convert to the use of fountain pens. Being a recalcitrant young man growing up here in the States, I wasn't allowed near a pen until the sixth grade, and even then it was a ballpoint Bic. I feel safe to say that I am the only member of my generation within miles of my house who regularly uses a fountain pen. I never knew the difference between Ball and Fountain until I became enchanted with, and then, bought a Mont Blanc Chopin as a souvenir in Europe. Since then, I've become a bit of a fanatic for these wonderful implements, which to me represent a disappearing way of life and thought. It has changed things for me in ways I won't go into here, not the least of which is improving my handwriting. Regarding the original post, however, I think that buying a pen is a lot like finding a suitable violin. If you don't have a shop in your area, I feel it's more difficult to find a pen that suits your style of writing. One thing you might want to do is look at E-bay. They have thousands of pens, both vintage and new, many inexpensive. Someone earlier mentioned the Parker 51, and I feel that it is the best value you can find for a durable, reliable fountain pen. Many of those pens sell on E-bay for less than $20 american. They are really quite common, and I'd recommend buying one since you made it clear that price is a concern. Just be sure that it is in good shape, that the bladder is new, the nib in good shape, and so on. EBayBuying is a crap shoot, and if you can find a good, new Parker or Pelikan that you like to write with at a local shop, you should go for that one; I'm not familiar with the way Waterman's pens write, and wouldn't feel good about saying yea or nay about them. If you're interested later on in a more expensive, heirloom-quality pen, I'd urge a look at Mont Blanc. Their customer service is amazing, they have a variety of nibs to fit your hand angle when you write, and they are the lightest, most delicate joys to write with--the nearest we can come to using a sharpened goose quill. Regarding the earlier post about avoiding Mont Blanc's cartridge models: My pen uses either piston or cartridge, and I haven't a problem with either--I even appreciate the convienence of the cartriges sometimes. However, some problems can occur when one writes in the pressurized atmosphere of an airplane cabin. When flying I use a pencil or another type of pen. To conclude: New Parker or Pelikan. Parker 51 is a great value, even today, and they might even still produce that product line, but I don't know, and if they do, buy a new one of those. Oh, I forgot to mention, some people find antique pens too "scratchy," and the nibs too thin, but I sort of like that; it feels more like a paintbrush. You can more easily feel the ink being drawn out. I'll stop now. I hope this helps. Sincerely, Scott
  9. I think that "lee" is the proper spelling, at least where I live, and that it means not a windy shore, but a sheltered one. This definition seems to fit with the other characterizations of the lover the speaker has lost. But, I had a less nitpicky reason for posting: Song: "Time is Winding Up" on the album, "O, Sister!", played by Ginny Hawker and Carol Elizabeth Jones. The vocal harmony is chilling, the fiddle wails like a damned soul. I wept and I'm not even religious. Piece: Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. I had no idea the power music can have over emotion until I listened to that piece for the first time. Without knowing it prior, I listened to it in a pretty fragile mood and started to tear up on the shuttle bus to my car. I didn't realize the music was encouraging this. When I felt I had privacy, I burst into wracking sobs at the (percieved) utter hopeless/uselessness of my life. Not one of my prouder moments, but maybe my proudest; I had no idea music could push me over an edge I skirted. Thankfully, perhaps strangely, a single, shocking catharsis has made it easier for me to be affected in all sorts of ways by all sorts of other kinds of music. Now, I'm very careful when I listen to that piece. Sincerely, Scott
  10. The simplest questions often have the most difficult answers. Diamonds, the most expensive precious stones, are the most geologically common. Go figure. "Worth" is to me a much different question than "value," or "cost." My violin is priceless in the worth category because I am the third generation in my family to learn on it; I can metaphorically feel my relatives moving my hands. At auction it probably wouldn't fetch much. Marx said about capitalism's tendency to force absolute monetary value on everything, "all that is holy shall be profaned." But then again, a fiddle separate from its owner is just a piece of wood with potential. Sincerely, Scott
  11. T_D I know an article regarding "conditions for learning." Dr. Resnick and Dr. Cambourne were drilled into my head in Pedagogy class. They're maybe not the same authors you're referring to, but those conditions for learning might have different appliers in each of the disciplines. I think those ideas would be a fine thing for violin teachers (and students maybe more importantly) to know about. Scott
  12. T_D, That's exactly it, The ZONE. I'd wager that I'd not want to wager at snooker with you. In the very young, entrainment is a way for the brain to build connections between fields of "knowledge," to make the brain's neural structures more efficient, more entrenched, and more plentiful. Perhaps soloists who start very young create a huge number of these pathways in their brains specific to music. That hypnotic state has very real, and beneficial, consequences internally. "who can tell the dancer from the dance?" --WB Yeats For interested parties, the book I'm paraphrasing here is "Evolution's End" By Joseph Chilton Pearce. Scott
  13. Dear all, I thought I'd add an idea I recently came across in a book on child Psychology and learning theory: Entrainment. It is basically illustrated by a two year old banging on pots and pans over and over again with sheer disregard for his parent, who is on the phone, and pleas for silence. When the child is 'entrained' in the activity, he is completely absorbed in the action, effortlessly concentrated and concerned--he isn't just "banging" he "is banging." The child doesn't even consciously hear/see the parent because it is so totally involved in "banging." Forgive me for drawing an analogy between a child banging on a pan and a highly polished adult playing a violin, but the constant in the equasion is a human being (and that hasn't changed much since the upper paleolithic). I digress, entrainment happens often in early childhood, but tends to become less frequent with age, so that by the time we hit adulthood, entrainment often requires effort unless we are doing an activity we have been habitually able to give our total concentration to. This state is outside of time completely; the two year old could bang on the pot until he turned 8 if it weren't for his biochemistry telling him to seek novelty after a number of repetitions. Have any of you become so engrossed in practicing/performing that you didn't realize many hours had passed? When the non-task physical world disappears, that is entrainment. It seems to be one of the most powerful ways we facilitate learning in ourselves, even beyond childhood. I'd suppose that the astounding players of any instrument are able to reach entrainment faster&deeper in their practicing than other players. I hope this helps. Sincerely, Scott P.S. Be the ball.
  14. Thanks for the luck, Adam; I need it now more than ever. Perhaps the part about MNet I've found the most encouraging is the total willingness of all you professionals to accept and help the beginner in any way possible. I think that kind of sincerity is beautiful, and is often the mark of a true professional, or a truly professional amateur.
  15. Arsweet, I live in Anchorage--not really Alaska, but you can get there from here. I started learning violin about a year ago after I inherited my grandfather's axe. No one else in the family had the inclination to carry on the tradition, and I had just abandoned a demoralizing semester in an unsuitable Grad program in The Theory and Practice of Writing, so I had nothing but time. To get over my academic depression, I've moved back up here to reacquire a sense of direction, write freelance (hopefully) and learn to make decent notes in a timely sequence. I'm sticking to the basics now, but later on I'd like to play the more improvisational styles. I stumbled on MNet before I knew how to hold the instrument, and I've learned quite a bit from it. I'm glad this resource exists. Thanks for the opportunity to speak; most of the time, my inexperience prohibits contribution. Sincerely, Scott
  16. Yes, When our tools change, it is easy to notice how we've changed--can be sad even, after a long enough life seeing tools change. I've wondered too about this, but my "the good 'ol days" are the late 70's/early 80's, and that doesn't count. I'm not able to comment on string matters since I have only just begun, but I thought I'd offer a bit of consolation through baseball. The main tools of the trade, in the professional leagues, have not changed significantly since around 1900. Gloves and catcher's equipment are becoming distinctly space-age, but bats and balls are made of the same materials, more or less, that they were very long ago. It is surprising to know that most children, up to the collegiate level, learn to play using aluminum bats. One can hit the ball much farther, and the "sweet spot" is greatly expanded, but with aluminum bats comes the danger of killing infielders with line-drives approaching 200 kph. (incidentally, I heard once that a baseball hit 360 feet leaves the bat with the same force as a .38 cal pistol round). In baseball at least (and golf, and tennis, and others) this new technology is shrinking the learning curve. People can learn to do the action easier, but does it help them learn to think about the action? I know in baseball, children who are good hitters with aluminum bats are often sub-par and frustrated with wooden bats because they have to meet the pitch halfway--they can't exert their total will on the flight of the ball. Maybe there is analog similarity you can see between baseball and strings. I just hope we aren't being conditioned by our tools to give up when something isn't effortless. Back to strings, I wonder if all of these "amplified" sounding strings will cause more significant hearing problems over time for the younger generations of players than older ones. Scott
  17. liljustin, I AM NOT A DOCTOR; I'm just a well-wisher who has personal experience. I urge you to see a physician who specializes in sports medicine. Chiropractors are fine, but they aren't specialists in this area, or some would say aren't even physicians. The things that follow should not be done if you have pain when doing them. Please be careful, and I hope your problem goes away soon. If you play tennis infrequently, could the problem be that your muscle is just stiff from over-exertion? Tennis elbow is mostly caused by the shock of impact while all of your forearm is clenched by exerted gripping, and usually happens over time, but can be alleviated by conditioning when the pain subsides. One way to strengthen your forearm is to use a grip excerciser (there are many varieties, but I'm partial to the rubber or gel ones. Just pick one you like, so you'll use it). Just squeeze it anytime you have a few minutes; I like to do it in front of the TV when the news is on. Doing this ought to make your grip stronger, and thus your muscles won't have to work as hard when you play. If they aren't clenched as hard when you hit the ball, the shock should be less. There is another, more involved way to strengthen forearms, but it is probably more than you need. I'll share anyway: Get an empty coffee can, a wooden dowel (that fits both hands at once, and fits your grip), a length (about 3-4 feet for a 5' 8" person) of sturdy cord, and something heavy (gravel, sand, etc). First, punch a hole in the bottom center of the can and run the cord through, tying off so that the long part comes up, out of the can, and making sure the knot won't slip back through (you might have to use some sort of washer). Next, make a hole in the dowel, run the cord through and tie it off. Now fill the can with the heavy stuff. To use this contraption, simply roll the string up on the dowel, and then back down. Brutal workout, but effective. Good luck, Scott
  18. "Alice's Restaurant"? Ravel's "Tzigane"? The theme from "Dallas"? Delibes's "The Flower Duet"? John Ashcroft's original song, "Let the Eagle Soar"? Sorry I'm not much help, and I suggested mostly vocal pieces. I just think it's a little odd they didn't give you a "preferred" set-list. Luck, Scott
  19. Major Chords link Hope this helps. Best Wishes, Scott
  20. Great news. The man himself! You're welcome for my suggestion, and I'm glad you didn't have to use it.
  21. tononi, I can't help you with tapes, but have you checked with the television stations who might keep a copy on record? The stations in the US that broadcast these kinds of shows usually make copies for sale, especially of the more successful programs. I don't know how TV works in the UK, but see if you can track it down at the station or the producing network. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. Good luck.
  22. Andrewuy, Great! I've got a shot then! Fingers intact here
  23. I like how "Jacques Francais" was one of the consultants. Funny to me, like "Joe American." I like the front view of the scroll. I don't know if it's real, though; no expertise here.
  24. Thank you, The viola trick would be sort of like playing snooker to get better at bar pool for me, though.
  25. Thanks, I'll have no trouble remembering those Viola-niers; my girlfriend's father plays. I had a chuckle imagining hams for fingers. You're right, I could have it a lot worse off. I probably shouldn't have wasted the space with the question, but I feel better now that I know the problem can be fixed. Sincerely, Scott
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