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Everything posted by stillnew

  1. When I finally asked to do music theory way back, I went through the book and then did the exams, all within a short time. I went through it a second time, this time playing or singing or tapping everything in order to merge it with music, because theory reflects the practical. Then I taught the same thing to a student in the way I would have liked to be taught, and this time I started with experiencing each thing before writing it down, and also finding it in existing music - both what she was playing at the time, and what one might hear. Don't just read it - work through it and experience it any way you can. The Teoria site is excellent since it teaches as well as having interactive examples and also chances to practice. http://www.teoria.com/
  2. Reading through the thread, it seems to go akilter from various ideas of what "theory" means. I would take a very basic approach and say we have the practical act of playing the instrument, and then there is the abstract part that goes with it. Every learned skill has a practical and "theoretical" part with it. I actually feel rather strongly about this, since I finally asked for theory after 4 or so years of violin, and have been going at it ever since - I also have thoughts about what this is, and yes, I would include rudiments. In a practical sense theory includes note names, scales, the intervals in scales, time signatures, note values, and goes on to things like musical form. It's not something that should be learned umpteen years in as an intellectual thing, but can we wedded to music study right from the beginning, concretely to start with - and to some point I think it usually is. Can you play a half note followed by a quarter note without knowing the relative values of these, and learning to count them in some manner? Surely this can also be pointed out then, so that the vocabulary and concepts begin to filter in. Then when rudiments etc. study come, it will be of a familiar thing. If you learn of ABA form, sonata allegro form, rondo form - if you learn that music has various patterns and that you can look for them, then this will help you approach and remember music. The names I listed are less important. I had no theory back then when I was given the Saint Saens Swan, and did not know that 6/8 was compound time comprising two beats per measure. I remember figuring out an image that "the swan seems to kick its feet twice per measure". I've gone back to another piece where I always fudged one particular note which I expected to be a different one, and now I recognize it as part of a secondary dominant and those notes are crystal clear. In short, playing with understanding, in my experience at least, seems to help in a lot of ways - just being instinctive or imitative or a bit of both isn't the same.
  3. A thought on Suzuki's idea of learning in the same we we learn to speak. There is an important aspect of this that Suzuki wasn't aware of, maybe because he didn't actually work professionally in languages and language acquisition - he went by things society often does. That is; people repeat nursery rhymes to babies, repeat sentences to them, and think that babies imitate these directly with increasing success. But what babies actually do is that they experiment with different things that are more abstract. They explore how their mouths, vocal apparatus etc. work by squealing, blowing bubbles, chanting a sound with different rhythms. They imitate the cadence of a sentence saying "dadada", etc. If I model myself after this behaviour, then with a new instrument I would be exploring in a similar way. I'd try to produce different kinds of sounds, fool around with the instrument, be playful with it. In fact, I really like this idea and am inclined toward it.** The Suzuki method as I understand it goes after kids following complete melodies followed by a good player, which would reflect his idea of babies repeating nursery rhymes etc., which is how he understood language acquisition. You say that "he" (Simon or Mark?) emphasizes hearing first. I know little about this (I have two Fischer books, but don't know about this part) - does he go toward hearing in the same way as Suzuki, or differently? This interests me. (** adding: I'm working with a teacher presently who suggests exactly something like that, exploring the kinds of sounds you can make, weird, ugly, whistling, with no worries about "wrong" or "bad" sounds - I instantly took to that suggestion because of what babies do)
  4. Rue, it might have to do with local speech because I didn't get it either. Maybe it's a (particular) American accent that makes the joke allude us Canucks.
  5. I'm not sure that OleBull is still around. Eleven years is a long time. I vaguely remember his posts here and elsewhere way back then.
  6. stillnew


    Finally some sense. Some good one-on-one teaching is needed - especially if (as suspected) it has to undo (possible) misteaching. About the bottle advice: I couldn't do it either, though I can hold a violin fine - the problem is in following a written physical instruction reading only words. I did manage to do it by first holding my violin, and then picturing what the bottle instruction was intending to do.
  7. You can also get tennis elbow from knitting because of the repetitive closing actions of the fingers, which are activated along tendons that run in from the elbow. Rest, as Renée says, is one part of it. Years ago I had "golfers elbow" which is sort of the same thing but reversed. If I put even a coffee cup into the affected hand it would simply drop out, until the nerves had healed, or lost their inflammation or whatever was going on. I had been practising a rapid passage on my alto recorder and had also discovered on-line Solitaire, and that combination did it.
  8. stillnew


    Uncle Duke mentioned that I went through something like this. I did. I went back to violin this year after a 10 year absence and things are going well after addressing the issues that arose first time round. I'm short on time so won't write more - look for a PM soon (private message).
  9. stillnew


    Needs to be stressed.
  10. stillnew


    I'm wondering if you actually meant to say right shoulder, because left seems to give strange results, while right goes in the familiar direction.
  11. It's a stock photo. The same page shows the model as: "happy businessman", "businessman playing the violin", "businessman with a laptop". Here he is being happy: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-23627371/stock-photo-happy-business-man.html?src=pp-same_model-23569096-6&ws=1 But the same photo has also been purchased to advertise violin lessons here and there on various sites. Right click the image - choose "search google for image". For some reason there is software having to do with memory storage using this image. Sort of fun.
  12. Apparently Abram Shtern is held in very high regard in Eastern Europe and is a name among the greats such as Horowitz. I submitted the pictures because I actually did get taught the Russian bow hold initially, though at the time I did not know that there was such a thing as "Russian", "Galamian", "Franco-Belgian" etc. The first time I discovered Shtern was while researching Massanet's Meditation from Thais. The clip also shows the overall use of the bow arm from shoulder to fingertip.
  13. My teacher, back then, had the Auer background, and we learned to form the bow hold by placing the bow across our flat hand like this:https://app.box.com/shared/static/4m945pzbaz4kker1r4swcpgselw1nnz4.jpg and when we closed our hand around the bow the hold looked like this. https://app.box.com/shared/static/ap1h3thvykdxyhdhqlh6cthz9054g7ts.jpg I understand that this is the "Russian bow hold". I duplicated the original instructions today in order to get it for the pic. I ended up with the "Galamian" hold maybe 1 - 2 years after starting and haven't held it this way since. It feels way different. There was an exercise that I didn't know about until about 3 years in, which actually induces the arm to move along its path. It was thought that as an adult who had no prior training in music I wouldn't want to do this, but when I learned of it, I asked about it. In this exercise, you kept the wrist flat for a full bow stroke, so that the only way it would move was side-to-side at the wrist. If you try to keep the bow straight at the same time, when you get at the frog, you end up with a very high elbow (which goes with what people are saying, and also goes to the question that was asked). Stage 2 of the exercise brings in some raising of the wrist so that the elbow is not quite as high. I was also told that the side-to-side motion was more important than the up and down motion of the wrist. The violinist whose movements came closest to what I saw in the studio is Abram Shtern. There is one recorded lesson where he shows how the bow hold works for drawing out the sound, emphasizing the interaction between the thumb and first finger.
  14. A google search of "violin / musician + injury" will produce a host of articles. Sometimes it's caused by awkward postures or habits the violinist has had for years, and this is also why a good teacher in the beginning is important. That teacher should be watching for those kinds of things, guiding the student. A tune sounding right isn't enough, plus those are the things that help you sound better. To clarify an old question: Students work with teachers, and those teachers will identify things. "You are gripping the neck with your thumb. During your practice this week, make sure you don't do that. Here's a way that might help you." If the student continues to grip the neck, then other secondary problems will happen. I mean, this is standard, normal stuff. If you ask the student "What goals do you have in your practice?" the student might answer "To make the Minuet in G sound good." or "To not grip the neck with my thumb." Both are correct answers, but addressing different angles of the same thing. To this day I cannot understand post 64. It refers to problems that I have not stated and other things. Maybe there is a major longstanding misunderstanding.
  15. Here you are: You brought up the topic of practising and pain, it comes from your post.
  16. My thinking is, when someone asks a question, other people with the same question might come upon the thread to find answers. Nobody had mentioned the physical and technical side of piano and that is important so I mentioned it. I have worked with the teacher whose link I put in. From what I've heard, Alfred and Faber are decent, while there are concerns about John Thompson because of the extensive finger numbers that can interfere with acquiring reading skills. It has interesting music, I've heard. Some students (and their teachers) opt for the non-adult version of Alfred because it goes into greater depth, while others like the adult version for what it gives.
  17. Not the one you diverted it to twice. But since you did create those other topics, I decided second time round to address one of your ideas. The topic of pain and practising was brought up by you. Nothing anybody wrote involved pain and practising, but for some reason you did bring it up. To me this is serious enough to ask the opinion of teachers about, and so I did. If our fellow members are willing to discuss that, then it is up to them. That is a different thing than getting personal, which is what I addressed in what you have highlighted in red.
  18. I could ask which member you mean, since there have been various participants "talking" in this thread. But I assume you mean me. How can you possibly know how "little" or how much I practice? Or the practising of anyone else in this forum? Answer - you can't. Let's stay on topic rather than getting personal, please.
  19. I have not worked directly with Alexander in lessons, but I have read of ideas and seen demonstrations on-line, and maybe played with some of the ideas. I know people who have done Alexander, especially musicians. Proprioception, or the whole idea of body awareness, body movement interests me because I've had to work on things in this area. This helped not just in music but also in life, because if you move better or balance better, there are less aches and pains, less fatigue etc. One interesting person also is Mary Bond http://healyourposture.com/new-rules-book/ Bond was originally in dance, and then studied with Ida Rolf (rolfing) and combined the two disciplines. "Posture" in this case involves movement, and she includes the interaction of emotion with the body and movement. I haven't met anyone who has worked with her system, but there are new angles there. From another source I got the role that breathing plays. Do either Alexander of Feldenkreis go into breath? Of course as musicians or music students we might be inclined to hold our breath, and that is a thing we don't want to do.
  20. Thank you - this all makes a lot of sense. I like the combination of slowly, steadily, carefully. I also imagine that the "proper technique" (taught by a student's teacher) mentioned by crazy jane is in this "carefully" as well. (?) I imagine that prevention is in there as well, precisely because of a teacher's own experience in these things and witnessing them. Thank you for the important point you made about medical professionals. That was interesting to read. I have read here and there about Feldenkreis but I haven't heard from anyone until now who had gone to Feldenkreis sessions. Are they much different from Alexander or do they arise from similar principles? Anyway, I was happy to read about that, and am off to check your links.
  21. Thanks everyone for your answers. I wonder if I can manage a multiple quote of different people. Well, my world is right-side up again, because this is also how I understood things. In regards to "over-practising", for beginners the idea is of early fatigue and tense muscles, with the little bit of technique falling apart, which brings us to the second thing you mentioned. An advanced player is doing advanced repertoire, so the same thing happens for those reasons. I was in fact injured first time round and it is one reason why I'm taking the approach I am - including not going all out for long periods yet. Alexander Technique - I've heard wonderful things about it. It is the first time I heard of this book. I'll check it out - thanks. While I've been doing piano the last few years I discovered "What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body" and a surprising number of things gave me insights into old violin matters. Part of it was also injury prevention as well as recovering from injury. This makes me curious about The Athletic Musician. I'm thinking that with these sports we might also learn how to move well for them, being coached, and then those skills will transfer over to the violin.
  22. I would like any experienced teacher to address the issue of pain or discomfort that a student may experience. Imho, this is a serious matter. I am not the only student on this board.
  23. Piano is a musical instrument, so there is a physical side of playing, though it's much less obvious than when you start an instrument like violin. The books can give you the notes, but not the technique. It tends to catch you out later on, since even cats can "play" the piano as far as getting notes out of it. http://playingpianoblog.com/is-self-teaching-piano-possible/ This teacher also has a course on-line which I'm familiar with.
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