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Everything posted by elfabala

  1. Philip-- Lucky you, buying a David Caron cello. I heard one two weeks ago and fell in love on the spot. This was a very special cello. I enjoyed your New York story but want to know more about the cello!! Are you having it made or are you buying a "used" one??? Details...I want details....
  2. thanks for the information. It is nice to know who makes this endpin. Has anyone else experienced the difference in sound with his endpins? They cost around $300 here in the US.
  3. While I was in the studio waiting room, My daughter's teacher put a new endpin on her cello just to see what it sounded like...I didn't know what he had done and came in immediately when she started playing to ask what had happened...the sound on her cello became much more "bell-like"...the same sound just more and richer...it went from a good student cello to something else entirely... He said he didn't know who made them but that they were called the "expensive Japanese endpin". Well we finally got ours today...and is has a small tag on the box that says "made in Japan" and that's it...not another word. Does anybody know anything about these...like who makes them? Oh and the expensive part was true too.
  4. I have to share this and hope it makes sense...but after a couple of years of struggling with this, finally my daughter's viola teacher described it in a way that finallly made sense to me... Imagine that your bow is drawing a line that curves along the perimeter of a circle BUT you (the player ) are not in the middle of the circle, rather the midpoint of the circle is somewhere beyond the scroll and you are outside the circle. It is a very large circle, so this line is almost imperceptibly curved away from you.... I know this sounds odd, thinking of a curved line to get a straight bow, but somehow this worked for me...I got the feel of it immediately, and my bow has been wonderfully straight (at least on this dimension) ever since... now I need to remember to keep the bow hairs straight... I don't know if any one else uses this image, but I found it fairly amazing...
  5. Quote:What worked for me was being given a method, a logical, well reasoned approach to playing the instrument with a good expanation for everything I was asked to do and why it will work better than what was doing before. [end quote] What a great summary of how to teach well. But I am still jealous. It leaves unanswered the question of how to find a teacher like that...especially if you have 1.bad technigue because you haven't had such thoughtful instruction or 2. you're older and won't burnish the teacher's reputation...i.e. no youth orchestra, awards etc for you. Probably a different post, but in the same vein...how do we support the local school program/orchestra without subjecting our kids to an experience rife with bad habits? the school mostly wants our money (needed), our chaperoning, our clerical skills, but not much else...i.e they are the teachers, we are not. Also they are required to take all students who want to participate, whether they are taking lessons or not...so, again, for a student who is taking private lessons, and dedicated to their instrument, it can be a trying experience ... I know lots of students(and parents) who wanted to support the school program, signed their kids up but after a year, quit the school program (not music) because it was such a negative experience. So it sounds like you are getting the in-between students...the one's who didn't go into it with experience, but loved it and want to continue, but realize that there is so much more to it than they are being taught.
  6. Deleted? Over a thousand views for a post from only a few days ago? Maybe there should be a "Where's ____________ (fill in the blank with your favorite missing maestronetter)? post every week.
  7. Quote: The key to a great bow change is listening and going for long phrases. Wow! That exactly sums it up, thanks. I am struggling with this issue...I can spend a good deal of time in the lesson working on this...we do a lot of listening...with the goal of making all the notes the same...not louder, not softer, no accent on the new string...etc...and finding the technique to make it happen...my teacher also used the paintbrush analogy...he said, "paint the sound across the gap between the strings."
  8. A comment by Andrew Victor in the recent post on cello playing and violin playing got me thinking about the differences between the piano and a stringed instrument (specifically the violin...since that is what I am trying to do). He talked about the difficulty pianist have when they try to hold a note on the violin and the need to articulate each note. I have recently become aware of another problem (at least for me)--the idea of preparing to play another note on the violin while you are playing a different note...i.e putting the finger down BEFORE you play (rather than AS you play)...I am trying to move away from a simultaneous "finger down/play"...as I think this is causing me tremendous problems in getting a clean sound on the violin...and I am beginning to think it has to do with my initial musical experiences on the piano... Now I know there are many very fine musicians who do both quite well, but I am wondering if violin teachers have any other insights into the differences to watch for...this one alone has been a real eyeopener for me...and for my teacher, it was such second nature for him, that it didn't even occur to him that I was thinking about finger placement in a whole different paradigm (and needed to be "re-educated.")
  9. My Morizot bow is back and repaired and good as new (well it plays the same and since that is why I bought it and love it...I am happy again). But it made me start thinking about all the other repaired bows out there...everyone ( I mean everyone...Maestronetter, the violin shop, my teacher) told me when it broke...well, it has no value now...check your insurance etc...but...after repair it still plays wonderfully, so couldn't there be a marketplace for repaired premium bows for a fraction of their "collectible" value? Does such a thing already exist? I think I read an article once in the Strad about Stephen Kates (cellist) who would collect these orphans and pair them up with his students...as they were still wonderful bows and this was the only way a bow of this caliber would be available to them. Do other teachers do this?
  10. If kindness to children (in addition to consumate talent) is the criteria here...then Maxim Vengerov, Sarah Chang, and Gil Shaham were all incredibly kind to my children when they met them.
  11. My daughter is "trying" the viola...by using a restrung 3/4 size violin because we had an extra violin lying around. We didn't want to buy or rent a viola until we had some idea that she would like it (she does!). The question for us was should she use her same size violin as a viola (which would have been a 1/2 size) or should she use the next size up. Turns out this is a question with opinions on both sides,, but for now the difference in size isn't causing intonation problems, and she goes either into viola mode or violin mode depending on which size she is playing. I guess the other question for switiching is ...do you keep playing the violin while you learn the viola? So far it is working for her. To get back to your original question, I agree that when they are first learning the viola, it doesn't seem to make a whole heck of a lot of difference(tonally) violin or viola. (It was really funny when I asked if I needed to buy a viola bow for her or could I use a violin bow...that is when my violin shop admitted that they put violin bows into the fractional size viola outfits they rent.
  12. two full (thank you Tarisio), two 3/4, one each 1/2,/1/4, and 1/8. So that would be 8! My daughter can never give them up, but then she's a collector of everything.
  13. I too am an Adult Suzuki student...taking private and group lessons, but unlike you, I do have a child learning the violin. But, I am the only parent in this studio who is also learning the violin (some of them already know how to play, but nearly all are involved in music in a professional capacity). In other words I can relate to your experience...I feel like I stick out in more ways than one...the kids are incredibly fluid and relaxed. After four years I can comfortably play in group about two books behind where I am studying. I have read two books which helped me...the first is Never Too Late by John Holt. His philosophy seemed to be "just plunge in and do it, and if you get in over your head, well learn from that" And the second book is "The Perfect Wrong Note" which is packed with advice and wisdom, but for us analytical adult learners is very helpful in pointing out how to use mistakes to play better...and not to worry so much about making mistakes. In fact he claims we can't learn UNLESS we make mistakes. After four years I no longer worry about what the kids or the parents think, I've figured out that both groups are in awe that any gownup would attempt this. But I am still frustrated that I can't play in group better. As to playing your violin without asking. I would have taken the violin away gently and suggested that they ask first. That is never okay, and not part of Suzuki as far as I know. ( I also bought a carbon fiber bow specifically for group class!) Finally, finding adults to play with is hard...most are too good for us to play with. I did attend Suzuki summer camps...it was very good for my group playing because I did so darn much of it...at least twice a day. Many of the camps welcome adults even if they don't have kids...though I also enjoyed it because I learned so much at my daughter's lessons... And this year I am looking forward to trying the summertrios camp for adults only...because even at the Suzuki camp...I was the only adult. Which still confuses me because I thought one of the fundamental parts of Suzuki was that the parent learns with the child...but that doesn't really seem to be the case. Hang in there and have fun.
  14. Not relevant to the chinrest discussion, but for those interested...the NY Times on February 27 did an interesting article about Kaufmann's recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons--and the surprising fact that its first American recording was in 1948--a seemingly recent date for such a ubiquitous piece of music.
  15. But the Coda Classic at least seems to retain most of its value. At least my violin dealer let me trade mine in at nearly 80 percent what I paid for it when I bought a new bow. And I hadn't bought the Coda from him.
  16. Everything I was interested in went for way over their estimates so I didn't even bother bidding. I've learned to wait and not get sucked in at the last minute and end up bidding more than I really wanted to. Once it gets over a certain price I walk away and don't look until the auction is over. That's one of the advantages of an on-line auction...it is a lot harder to do that at a "live" auction. But I did get an American violin for less than the estimate. I haven't done a lot-by-lot analysis but it seems like the American violins are still relative bargains...a hand-made violin of decent quality in excellent condition... my gut feeling was that very few of the American violins went for more than their estimates. Even if you don't buy or bid on anything...the Tarisio Auction is very entertaining to watch...what's hot...like the Argentinean violin...what's not...the Vatelot violin...a "modern violin" labeled "Sgarabotto" selling for nearly four times its high estimate. Why? It was a pretty violin, but was there more to it? For entertainment value it would be interesting to have a "color analyst" give us the side stories to the play-by-play of the bidding. Until next time.
  17. Thanks for the information. I was glad to hear that a repair is possible, and possibly doesn't change the sound? But can most violin stores do this type of repair? Should I take it to the same store that did the rehair? Any recommendations for who/where to go? Thanks for the info on insurance, but since my deductible is so high, it won't apply in my case. (And after my experience, I'm wondering why any company would offer insurance for bows.) Did I mention that I have only had this bow for a year...yikes!
  18. I was just in the middle of practicing this evening, and during a down bow, my beautiful bow just now exploded. That's the only word I can use to describe what happened.. the tip suddenly separating from the stick. It hasn't been dropped or abused in any way. It is a Morizot bow...it WAS in great shape AND I just got it rehaired. So I am extremely sad right now, and I will have to wait until tomorrow to take it to the violin shop. Two questions I have are--- What could have caused this...why would a bow suddenly explode after 50 years....could it have anything to do with the rehair? and two, can it be repaired, what will they do, will it sound the same, are there better places to go than others for repairs of this type? Thanks for any comfort you can provide.
  19. I had Dominants. They are the standard put on at my violin store unless something else is requested. But when I switched to Obligatos, it was like a revelation...the whole violin vibrated with them...responsive yes, but as a beginner myself it made me more aware of what I was doing and more focused on the sound.
  20. Thanks for the comments. I am very torn because my daughter does love playing the violin...and I do attribute that to the teacher's easy going attitude. He plays beautifully and I think that also inspires her. Yes the cancelled lesson will be made up...but often it means two lessons in one week which does not seem terribly productive...but maybe not. My daughter has been taking lessons for five years now, which is why I was hoping for more discipline in the approach. She is progressing in the sense of moving through the Suzuki books, but in terms of musicality...it seems to be more "organic" ...i.e. self generated than taught... Some of his students do well, though I have noticed that those tend to be children of musicians...the non-musical parents children seem to flounder quite a bit in terms of rhythm, tone etc... I didn't mean to sound so negative, but I geuss I am really wondering at this point if it is just my ignorance of a more "whole child" approach to learning an instrument versus a structured approach that ensures mastery of fundamental skills. I have decided that the lesson canceling problem is mine...I am too nice and probably need to be a liitle more assertive like the other parents around...but it just isn't my nature. oh well. Lioness...your comment is probably more apt then you thought, there is a new young child in the family!
  21. My violin teacher cancelled our lesson this week, 45 minutes before I was to leave the house and drive the 30 minutes there...he was "under the weather"...okay...(of course if we cancel 45 minutes before the lesson, it is not made up...just a--paid for but not received lesson .(We pay 3 months in advance for lessons.) But sick is sick...unfortunately, I just found out (from another family) that he only canceled his first three lessons of the morning...the rest starting at noon went on as scheduled...miraculous recovery...I was extremely bummed out...this teacher doesn't like morning lessons...which is okay with me...we can come anytime during the day (homeschool) and don't insist on early morning...but ...and here gets to the nub of my question...we are one of the few families willing to come early...so we get scheduled then so he can fit more lessons in (and we get canceled more often). I have begun to feel like this is just a way to earn money...and nothing else...I know I should talk to the teacher about this...but it strikes me as a symptom of a larger problem...not really wanting to teach... This teacher is very popular ...with waiting lists...and very expensive...his rates increase by 5 percent every year...and yet he seems very uninterested in pedagogy or performance...I know more about who current violinists are (or historical violinists for that matter). He never references or recommends recordings to list to...I don't think he attends classical concerts and does not play in any ensembles...but I don't know...maybe this is typical of most violin teachers???? We do no etudes or studies. There is no metronome in the studio. On the positive sides (because he does not focus on technique---thus my child's only fuzzy knowledge of rhythm and a steady beat.) he makes playing fun...my child likes going for lessons--very few of the children in his studio have any anxiety over playing in public...because they do a lot of playing at senior centers, sporting events and shopping malls...so this is a good thing...but I am beginning to ask at what cost? So, a long rant...which I think I might distill into a separate post entitled "Private lesson no-nos for teachers". If anyone has any insights to help me out of this funk and make a decision, I would appreciate it. Oh, in our area most violin teachers have waiting lists...so changing teachers is not a decision made lightly.
  22. I was lucky enough to attend the Gala opening of the new concert hall in Bethesda Maryland...it was great fun...to mingle with the poobahs and furcoat set...free bar, desserts, red carpet and gifts...but what was truly fun was the chance to see musicians having great fun..the Baltimore Symphony played some sure fire hits...Nutcracker...Kol Nidrei...and Yo-Yo Ma was the name draw...it felt like a party rather than a concert...but the music was good and enthusiastic... My only complaint was that even though this was a "thank-you" to all the donors and contributors who helped get it built it's too bad more seats weren't specifically set aside for children.The highlight of the show was a concert with four young cellists who doubled the parts with Ma and three cellists from the Symphony...they played the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Villa-Lobos. Unfortunately very few children were able to see this marvelous collaboration...I counted only three kids...I understand the need to do these events for the money people, but the future of classical music audiences depends on finding a way to make these kinds of events also accessible for kids...my daughter loved all the accompanying glitz and was amazed to see it at a classical concert.
  23. We have faced this problem as students in elem and middle school and I have a few observations suggestions. The first is to recognize that if you are a teacher with "late starters" to recognize that these kids have made a tremendous leap by starting private lessons...the barriers are tremendous...usually starting with convincing the parents to pay for lessons...hey, why do they need to, the school lessons are free! the kids are making progress?(or so the parents think), it is hard to find a teacher (in our area teachers have waiting lists...they can pick and choose their students...and who wants a "six year " student who can't play?, and finally they don't think there's enough time to squeeze in one more thing in the prime after school time...so that's how these parents are thinking...I know this because when other parents compliment me on my daughters playing, and I suggest it shows the value of private lessons, they don't believe me, and think it is all due to talent...rather than hard work. Anyhow, my point is if you have them give them lots of encouragement but also be honest...praise what they are good at, but then use it as an opportunity to move on to the fundamentals you want to start on...they will get discouraged, but I don't think they will quit, it has been too hard for them (usually) to get to this point.. I am always thrilled when any of my daughters' friends make the leap and start private lessons and I try to help the parents any way I can as another parent...like the eternal, "how do I get them to practice, or find the time?" Second, I do agree that it is a shame that these kids are being taught so poorly in the first place...and wish they could all have string teachers in addition to the wind teacher..etc..but it's unlikely to happen...hey in some parts of the US there is NO elementary or middle school music...most California schools haven't had it for years. Also I have noticed that (again) parents don't know any better...just as they don't understand how badly their children are being taught, they also don't know when they are being taught well...my violin teacher taught in the public schools for a few years and would have joint concerts with both groups of students...wnen I would chat with the parents then, they were totally unaware of how good a teacher he was and how lucky there were to have him for their pulbic school when the rest of us were paying $70/hour for lessons. Just my thoughts.
  24. I'm an adult student, but there were two things that really helped me this year with this. The first was at a summer camp when a teacher bowed simultaneously with me while she was standing directly behind me and we were both facing into a mirror, so I could see my arm and hers behind me...and could see the stiffness in my wrist compared to the suppleness in hers...it emphasized to me that I wasn't doing it (even though I thought I was). Half the battle is really believing you aren't doing it right. As I played with her I tried to copy her motions and I "felt" it.. the seond thing that helped (and I don't remember where I read it (maybe here?) was that the down bow motion feels like stroking a cat from its head to its tail...and exageration perhaps, but almost everyone knows that feeling and can recreate it....I am still working on the upbow part. I can also tell you what does not help...when you are told not to use the muscles in your upper arm....(which is quite different from saying don't move your upper arm. It is impossible to get to the frog and use the bow if you don't use your upper arm muscles because they are th ones that control the movement of your forearm. It is more accurate to say don't use your shoulder muscles perhaps. (I spent a week trying not to use my upper arm muscles after a teacher said that....and realized they mean't something else!)
  25. I just finished a very frustrating year of lessons (my teacher does not teach in the summer). Anyway, I got me to thinking. Is it me, is it my teacher, is it the lesson stucture, or is it completely normal to feel stymied (possibly even going backwards!)? But that's not my question, as I was reading the post where teachers talked about "firing" students...a more general question/thread occurred to me... For teachers-- What do you expect of your students (beyond the basics of being on time and paying promptly)? For Students-- what do you expect of your teachers (beyond showing up)--don't laugh, teachers forget some times. And finally for both groups-- Is it ethical to keep teaching (and receiving money) when a student is not getting better? I'll go first... as a student I expect the teacher to have a plan for teaching the fundamentals of playing an instrument-- with identified sign posts of accomplishment and a "bag of tools" for addressing difficulties when they are encountered. In general to provide not only encouragement but also analytical criticism that helps the student "master" a skill. It is NOT enough to merely point out a flaw...e.g. "you're flat" without providing an indication of where it is going flat or why. A good teacher would help target the specific problem that was leading to bad intonation. An analogy would be in school if a student was flunking math and the teacher merely said..."you're getting the wrong answer" and left it at that for the student to figure out why. It is not enough to merely practice...I am a firm believer in the adage that practices makes the same...perfect practice makes perfect....it is very frustrating to keep practicing when you know you are doing it wrong, don't know how to fix it, but don't want to keep doing it wrong over and over. Just my thoughts, I would love to hear other points of view. Thanks.
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