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CountryBoy

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  1. Quote: Does she understand and accept that bowing parallel to the bridge is important? Does she *want* to bow straight? (Many of my younger students really don't want to be bothered with this! Odd, isn't it.... ) Many observerving violinists have commented about how beautiful her bowing (grip, motion, and distance from the bridge) was before she "discovered" the difference that the pressure issue made to the voice of the violin. (it is extremely different on her electric violin) It is an issue that I noticed initially. I mentioned it to her and she asked what to do to fix it without tightening her grip, hence I turned to the professionals for advice. So yes, she is concerned about it. Quote: Can she look at the placement of the bow on the strings, and tell whether it's straight or not? One can't take this for granted, really; some people, of any age, have a hard time with it. But if so, StringDad's ideas about long, straight bows might really help. I pointed it out once, now she is noticing that it is occuring and keeps asking me how to fix it. It has become her mission in playing to fix it as she can very much tell that she is doing it. Once again, every post is read for suggestions/advice/past experience and is greatly appreciated.
  2. In respect to my original post I feel that I must clarify some points in order to better illustrate the issue in question. Using my original description of North/South, etc., my daughters bow does not go from northwest at the TIP (downbow) to southwest at the TIP (upbow), it maintains a continuous angle at all times. For example, if bow is in contact with the strings at the frog it is in more like a 105 degree angle to the bridge (as opposed to 90 degrees), it is at the same exact angle when the bow is on the strings at the tip. She maintains enough of a tilt to the bow to keep the bow from sliding down the strings, but with every bow stroke it would seem that the bow hair would have to be pulled or pushed at a somewhat sideways angle. I fear that having her use her first finger as a means of correcting the angle issue would be a slap in the face to the "NO PRESSURE" rule that has been emphasized to her. Currently she is working on ensuring that the violin and strings are level, and holding her right elbow somewhat forward of where she is accustomed to playing "with a tight grip". Both of these seem to be helping somewhat, but please feel free to flood me with replies concerning this issue both on and off list. I hope that this makes the issue clearer. Thank you for all posts.
  3. I would like to post a question to the board for opinion/advice. First, let me state that I am not a player. My daughter (8 years old) has finally found that by letting go of the pressure on the bow that the sound is improved dramatically, however in this an entirely new set of issues have arisen. When holding the bow she has a very, very slight grasp on it. In fact, only her thumb and middle finger are in control with some help from her index to keep it from falling completely down the fingerboard. Problem 1) If the violin was positioned scroll to the north and tailpiece to the south, utilizing such a slight grasp on her bow it (the bow) has a tendency to be northwest at the tip and southeast at the frog. She will almost always stay above the ff-holes with the bow, but it looks quite unorthodox and when she gets into a fast fiddle song (Orange Blossom Special or Tom and Jerry for example) the bow is moving all over the place. Problem 2) With such a slight grasp her fingers tend to migrate up the bow away from the frog on very long songs with no breaks where she would normally reposition her hand. If anyone has an opinion or suggestion, please reply on or off board. Thanks, CountryBoy
  4. I just saw your post today or I would have posted earlier. Below is a link to a midi file that I just made of Blackberry Blossom the way that my daughter plays it. It is a fairly simple version that can be built apon. It is in the key of G and the speed is set at quarter note = 180 bpm. Also, if you require the sheet music for this version let me know and I can post it in PDF, gif, or NWC format exactly as it is played in the midi file. Blackberry Blossom Midi File To save this file to your computer, right click on the link above and choose "Save Target As". CountryBoy
  5. Thanks for your reply, it was quite informative.
  6. I discussed the shoulder rest issue with her teacher this morning and she said that she doesn't have a problem at all with my daughter using a shoulder rest if that is what my daughter wants to do. Her teacher also said that she has recommended a shoulder rest to individuals that have a problem controlling the violin due to the length of their neck, which of course is not an issue with my 8 year old daughter, but that she would agree that controlling the violin is much easier when using a shoulder rest. I would say that my daughters teacher feels that a shoulder rest is somewhat of a crutch, but those are not her words, they are mine. Thanks for your reply .. I would ask that other posters please include suggestions of exercises or recommendations that you have that may help her technique. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
  7. My daughters teacher is fully informed on any additional instruction that she receives. Any and all suggestions that are made will be fully discussed with her teacher, as a matter of fact this morning will be her first lesson since her coaching session and we will discuss a few suggestions that were made by the coaches at that time. Three things stick out in my mind as being areas of discussion. 1. Her coaches feel that my daughter should most definately use a shoulder rest and gave a number of reasons supporting their argument. Her regular teacher discourages the use of a shoulder rest. 2. Her coaches suggested that she stop using vibrato by moving her wrist and fingertip, until she learns to do it by moving her forearm (elbow) and rolling her fingertip. 3. And finally, her bowing technique which has been discussed in this thread. As far as four different people's approaches on top of that of her teachers, I assure you that these are coaches suggestions and if any of their perspectives conflict with that of her regular teacher, we will continue to follow her teachers directive.
  8. Thanks for your reply, My daughter takes 1/2 hour piano theory (theory only at this point) lessons followed by 1/2 hour violin lessons weekly. The coaching session was over and above her regular lesson schedule. It was recommended by a very accomplished violinist that watched her play at a fiddle contest that she take occasional coaching sessions for her bowing technique. He recommended 4 different individuals from across the United States and I felt that with all things being considered the couple that was 5 1/2 hours away (one way) was the best candidates for the coaching sessions. Due to the distance, weekly sessions with this couple would simply be out of the question, however our sessions are between 4 and 5 hours once a month at this point and are only to address any flaws in her technique.
  9. Thank you for your reply. Actually, one of the coaches gave my daughter a similar exercise to the first one that you suggested. She called it the "elevator". My daughter is to hold the bow to her side and move her arm from the lowest point that she can reach to the highest point that she can reach and maintain the bow straight up and down. She doesn't have a problem for the most part as far as keeping the bow within an acceptable tolerance from the bridge goes, she just doesn't relax her hand enough to allow the weight of the bow to rest completely on the strings. The way one of her coaches described it was to let the bow fall thru the violin. With this in mind he said that you can achieve any dynamic by changing the speed of the bow without ever putting any pressure on it whatsoever. He demonstrated it, and I am a believer. Even though this is somewhat off topic I will mention it. I was completely unaware as to how to determine the correct amount of distance to leave between the hair and the bow when tightening it and here was his suggestion. When tightening the bow, use approximately 80% of the MAXIMUM pressure that you will be using while playing a particular number and then tighten the bow until the middle 3 inches of hair are ALMOST touching the stick. This is a huge difference when my daughter plays Ashoken Farewell one song and Orange Blossom Special the next song. I have been searching for that information for quite some time, I certainly hope that my posting it can help somewhere along the line. The left hand exercises that you suggested will become a part of my daughters "travel" exercises. Thank you very much. Although your second suggestion wasn't directly related to bowing, it is a perfect example of the type of information I was hoping to receive by making this post. Thanks again
  10. My daughters regular teacher is awesome. She has an excellent relationship with my daughter. She has also placed very respectfully in national competitions and has Illinois State Old Time Fiddle Championships to her credit. She has trained a number very accomplished violinists over the years. Besides all of this, she lives within 20 minutes of my home. So I believe that we will remain with her until the day that she says that she cannot teach my daughter anymore or my daughter goes off to college. She does not have a problem with the additional coaches and I assure you that I will share the info that they gave me with her. With respect to the "sans pinky" approach, the more I consider it I believe that you are correct. I would hate for her to trade one bad habit for another .. Thank You. As far as the left leg over approach, I believe that this was for the purpose of making her LEAN into the wall rather than just placing her arm to the wall. Thanks for your reply.
  11. My 8 year old daughter loves to play the violin. She can play ALOT of songs from memory, and is truly impressive when performing .. however, an individual that saw her at a fiddle contest recommended that I schedule a day to spend with a couple in Lexington, KY because he said that her bowing technique could use some help. We spent the past Saturday with the couple and it would seem that this individuals opinion was completely right. My daughter seems to put pressure down with her pinky the entire time that she is playing instead of relaxing it on top of the bow for use when she needs it. She also plays with her index finger completely wrapped around the bow. Due to these habits she does not relax her wrist or fingers while playing. Her intentional wrist movements keep the bow within 1/4" to 1" of the bridge but, generally speaking, the stiffness in her hand and wrist make the bowing seem scratchy. The suggesions made by the coaches for this were to .. practice with her upper arm against a wall, left leg crossed over right, and bowing only with the forearm, wrist, and fingers .. practice with her forearm against a wall, left leg crossed over right, and bowing only with the wrist and fingers .. And finally in a similar position bowing only with the fingers .. _________________________________________________________ Also pointed out was the fact that she isn't moving the bow enough on each note to make it sound completely clean. She loves to play very, very fast .. but often times notes with very short time values lack significantly in tone. One of her coaches suggested that she should play songs, (hornpipes were mentioned specifically), and to use the entire bow for each note. You can definately tell a difference in the tonal quality of the notes when she does this. Also, is there any reason why she should not intentionally play with her pinky and index finger completely OFF of the bow? I do not mean forever, just until she learns that there is no reason to apply pressure to the bow. Due to the credentials, accomplishments, and abilities of her coaches I am fully convinced that these suggestions are without a doubt going to be a part of my daughters regular practice routine, but I would like to see if anyone else has any suggestions that have worked for themselves or their students with issues like this. Thank You
  12. I recently purchased a violin bow. On it I can read the name Albert (I'm not actually sure about the "t" on the end as it is partially rubbed off as well) but there is no last name as it has been rubbed off. On the frog there is a stamp that I will try to reproduce below using the keyboard .. N >>---o---> Stamped on the underside between the frog and the screw is the word Germany. If anyone could help me to identify the maker I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks
  13. Thanks all. Froggy .. The only problem with your suggestion is that I already have over 40 bows and I have FINALLY found one with characteristics suitable to my daughters taste. It is cheap looking and I just want to make it look better.
  14. Could someone please post a list of luthier suppliers that carry higher end bow mountings.
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