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About Michelle

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  1. Michelle

    How do you decide????

    I'm facing the same dilemma~~ kind of. I already know where I'll be going for college. The music program is strong enough to keep up with me, but not so strong that they'd ignore me. Of course that level is different for everyone, depending on ability. But even though I know where i'll be going, the whole idea of a major is VERY undecided. Honestly, if i could major in music, international relations, education, math, dance, and writing, with a possible minor in french and psychology, I think I'd do just fine covering all the things that interest me. However, i also want to graduate within four years and afford living, so i'm gonna have to pick just a few of those. And whatever i choose I know i'll wonder how my life would be if i'd have chosen the others. Everyone has to make these choices, that's evident simply because we don't have many people going around with 22 different professions. Wherever you do end up going though, just make sure that It has strong programs in most or all of your interests. That way if you change your mind, anywhere the beginning of your 4 years, you'll be able to change without changing schools.
  2. Michelle

    wouldn't it be neat if...North American thread

    Ontario, or even Vancouver, sounds a LOT more affordable, and possible, than England. Just let me know the date and time, and I'll put it in my schedule! It would be pretty cool if this does happen. What fun it would be for us all to get together for the purpose of enjoying music, regardless of ability. So what pieces do we want to try? Or perhaps someone has written some string music they'd like to try...think about it, a piece written specifically to include all levels of ability. I'm sure it's been done before, but if someone feels like composing, go for it. Are the cities mentioned close to the international border? I've never heard of GUelph before.
  3. Michelle

    Hanging violins or violas on music stands?

    I've seen a lot of people, especially younger violinists (those under13 or so), hang their violins on their stands. I would never ever do that to my poor instrument. Someone once told me that hanging the violin on the stand could make the scroll, or even the whole neck, fall off the body of the violin. I've never seen that happen to anyone's violin, and I hope I never do. Maybe it's not even true, but i'd never risk it. Another really bad thing i've seen is people who put their violins in the case with their (really tall) shoulder rests still attached. They keep the lid open, but it could fall closed and crush the bridge in an instant. Sure not all violin accidents are forseeable or stoppable. But couldn't people just use a little commmon sense?
  4. Michelle

    wouldn't it be neat if...

    This ensemble/gettogether sounds like fun to me. Of course if we meet somewhere not attatched to the main part of the north american continent, it'll be a little more difficult to get there (plane tickets for college age students are pretty expensive!). Maybe I could swim....
  5. Michelle

    Any one hate school orchestra?

    It's amazing how many people despise their school orchestras. Even though mine isn't all that great, it's one of the high points of my day in school (the other high point being that i get to go to a local elementary school to help/tutor in a first grade classroom. It's fun!) The first post caught me, because I too was demoted from first chair in 7th grade and the beginning of 8th to third and second chair. I was not happy. But I got to sit by several different people, and now that the experience is behind me, I think it made me stronger. The truth is, I was the best violinist, but there were others who could play well, and they deserved the experience. They practiced, they knew their positions, and they could play all the music. And since school orchestra exists for the purpose of exposing more people to the wonderful world of music, it's okay to switch around the first chair among the top group of players so that more people get that experience. Sure it's a little embarassing when you're expecting first chair and all of a sudden you're sitting behind some one that you "know" you did better than (and boy at that point you begin to wonder about other uses for the bow ) Try volunteering to be section leader of the seconds if you can't stand not being first chair. I played second violin once at camp, and even though it's not in position there are some really neat harmonies that you don't even think about when you're in the firsts. Another unique experience is sitting in the back of a section. That happened when school orchestra didn't fit into my class schedule but I still played with them during concerts. When you're near the front, you wonder why the people in the back never cut off on time, or why they don't ever seem to know what's going on. Suprisingly, sometimes in large school orchestras, they really CAN"T see or hear much, and when you're already a weak player, being surrounded by other people who are lost never helps much. I suspect that some people sitting near me played a lot better when they could hear what the song was supposed to sound like. It's hard to be positive when you're playing simple music, but try to look at it as a good way to work on techniques (position, vibrato, articulation, bow stroke, dynamics, expression, tone,... you get the idea... i could go on for hours). And also remember that by being in the group you are helping it to sound better, even if you're not the best player there, even if you're the worst. Orchestras with only 10 people tend to sound weaker than those with 50. Also, if you really feel like the orchestra is REALLY bad, talk to your conductor and offer to help the weaker players. The conductor will probably be shocked and happy that you offer to help, and you'll be able to gradually bring up the ability level of the group, even if it doesn't fully morph until after you move on, you'll still have the pride of knowing that you got something done instead of just sitting around complaining about it. (no offence meant!) I love school orchestra, even when it's an off year musicianship wise, because it adds a glorious hour and a half (block scheduling) of music to my life 5 days a week, 180 days a year. sure, this year we're playing real music (Mars from the planets--- the original!), but even last year when we were stuck with star wars easy cheesey arrangements, i enjoyed it. So try to stay optimistic, offer help, and never give up on the back row players. From observance I know that they try harder than anyone else, and eventually it will pay off for them and maybe they'll end up beating us all, in the style of the tortoise and the hare.
  6. Michelle

    Re.Violinchicks thread

    Jo- I have to ask, even though someone will probably tell me to ask on the piano board, but how would you make a sustained not crescendo on the piano. That is a mystery. (Note: My piano skills are very very basic, like self taught to suzuki book 2.) ALL- Now that i think about it, people may not post as much on the piano board because many people who play piano also play a second instrument, or at least that's how it seems. But then again, piano is an appropriate secondary instrument to learn for those who start on any other instrument....so wouldn't that make more piano players instead of less? What a mind boggler.
  7. Michelle

    Violin/career plans/injuries?

    I can relate to a lot of that post, or at least the parts about worrying about colleges and being in that intermediate ability range, where you know you're not bad, but don't feel anywhere near 'good' either. Definitely apply to the schools like oberlin that give you a possiblity for studying both music and academic subjects, you'll know before you go there if you've made the conservatory, so there's no negative side to at least trying to go to the school. In addition, look for schools that have good music programs, but that don't limit the school of music's resources to only the students enrolled in a music major. That way, even if you don't qualify for a major your first year, you can be in an orchestra and have a good teacher, and hopefully after a year of additional experience, you'll try out again and make it...although you'll probably be able to make the music portion of the university anyhow. Probably my biggest regret is that I second guessed myself and decided that I wouldn't be able to make the music conservatory at Oberlin, so I didn't apply to the school at all. I have been accepted at a school with a good music program, but I still wish that I would have tried to make a conservatory too. Oh well. maybe after the undergraduate stuff I'll look into a music program somewhere, if that's what i decide i want to do. But don't do what i did! try out for a university with a music conservatory even if you don't think you'll make it. You might just suprise yourself.
  8. Michelle

    unsupportive parent(s) anyone ?

    I'm grateful that my parents have been supportive from the beginning. When I was 4 I heard violin students performing Suzuki at a local fair type thing. From that moment I started bugging my parents about letting me play the violin, and I didn't stop until Kindergarten when they finally let me take lessons. Now i'm a senior in high school, i'm still playing, and am considering minoring in performance and definitely plan to stay involved with violin, at some level, for the rest of my life. It's something I love to do. If my parents had tryed to make me play, and I hadn't wanted to, I'd probably despise them, and hate the instrument. My guess is that my mother has been so supportive because her parents never let her join anything musical. She sang out of tune, and money was too tight for them to afford instruments, so she never got a chance to try (She did take a mountain dulcumer class last fall~~ strange instrument, but to each her/his own!) My other relatives (grandparents etc.) aren't quite so supportive, few of them have heard me play, and when they heard me this fall at my grandparent's anniversary party their comments were all " I didn't know you were good." That's a compliment~ although not exactly a confidence booster. AT least my parents have been supportive. Had they not been, I don't know what i would be doing with my free time.
  9. Michelle

    cost of bow vs. violin

    $100K ?!?! How can any bow be THAT good? I know my $100 bow isn't perfect, but how many improvements can be made to a bow to make it worth so much more? If someone does know all that goes into these bows, i'm really interested in what they do... are they self propelling. I do hope i'm not coming off as rude, but being a student and having no idea how anyone could even find the money to use simply to buy a bow that much, i find it fascinating that bows are made that cost that much.... so in all sincerity, what is it that makes the bow so wonderful?
  10. Michelle

    Help With Planning a Program

    Viola-mom What timing for your post. In my government class (public school), a group, including me, did a report on a bill that, if passed would allow morning prayer and the like to be said in schools.... youch! I never knew it was THAT controversial...I thought some of the kids in the class were getting ready to hit us (my group) because we thought that the two should be kept seperate ~~ pray when you want, but keep it away from being the school's decision. Totally off the subject of music but I thought i'd mention it anyhow.
  11. Michelle

    Concerti order???

    "Perfection" is probably unattainable for anyone....but I don't always learn pieces to anywhere near perfection before moving on...but sometimes I do. I guess it just depends. Starting with about a year ago, I learned the entire Bach A minor, then I was introduced to the Mendelssohn~~ for techniques and style (hopefully I'll go back and really learn the piece later). After that I did the first movement of Mozart#3 to as close to perfect as I could get it, learned the notes for movements 2 and 3, but if i want to ever perform those, or audition with them, it'll take a lot more work, especially with style and emotions. Now I'm learning the Bruch violin concerto, and I'm pretty sure that I'll learn the whole thing until it reaches performance level. So I guess it just depends on the piece. (Now that I actually take the time to look at these pieces, I have no clue how I've done all that in a year. I never learn pieces that quickly...)
  12. Michelle

    more griping about shoulder rests

    From what i know, shoulder rests are more a matter of preference than of talent or ability of of definite right/wrong answers. I have a short neck, comparatively speaking, but I've never really gripped the violin enough with my neck to go without anything, at least not comfortably. I use a sponge....which seems to be acceptable although unprofessional looking...perhaps because the sponge is brightly colored Most teachers that i've had use the taller stiffer shoulder rests, although one did use a sponge like me~~except hers was molded and of a less noticeable color. But I also had a teacher at a camp that had studied at Curtis, and he didn't use a shoulder rest at all. The presence or absence of a shoulder rest hasn't really made a difference in the ability of the musicians, except that each seems to play best when they hold the violin in a way that is the most comfortable to them individually. To people who haven't decided, I reccommend you try different ways until you find what is the most comfortable for you. And to everyone who knows what they like, stick with it. Don't change just because someone else uses a different sort of shoulder rest.
  13. Michelle

    Help With Planning a Program

    Just a few ideas.... Panus Angelicus---it's originally for a vocal soloist, but it works for solo string or ensemble just as well Ave Maria--basic standby for religious stuff Mendlesohn--reformation symphony--- we played an arrangement w/ my school orchestra. The arrangement was simple~~as in we actually sounded okay playing it
  14. Michelle


    Time for a (probably) dumb question..... but What is purfling? I did a search and it's mentioned, but i can't figure out WHAT it is. It's probably something that should be common knowledge (most of you anyhow seem to atleast know what it is)...is it like a design around the violin or something? Thanks ahead of time, for taking the time to answer this simple question
  15. When my teacher let me start the Mendelssohn this year, i was suprised because I felt that I was no where near good enough to play it. But her reason for having me learn such a challenging piece kind of makes sense to me. She never expected it to sound great musically at least not yet. Her purpose was to introduce me to the techniques and the styles that are necessary for the piece. After being introduced to the techniques at such a high level, the pieces that I played after it seem so much easier to learn technically, and it lets me focus more on making music than just hitting notes. I only spent about 3 months with the Mendelssohn, because i needed to prepare a piece for a state music evaluation type thing, so obviously I'll go back to the piece, hopefully this summer, to gain more from it. I think that beginning to learn it gave me motivation to work harder, with everything from etudes to concertos, because I really want to be able to play it well..hopefully . I think i kinda went off the topic a little.....what i was trying to get to (I think) is that as long as the student has gotten to a point where the piece will be reasonably attainable, and if the student has the motivation to work towards perfection of the piece, then the teacher should be willing to teach it. Most people practice more when they like what they're playing, so if this is something that the student wants to play, letting them start will help them practice more to become a better overall violinist. Obviously beginners would only be frustrated by the piece, but if it seems like it could be attainable, then let the student go for it. Performance, however, shouldn't be permitted, especially in competitions, until the student has really grasped the piece with intonation, techniques, style, etc. But working on it would be okay...in my opinion.