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High Strung

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Everything posted by High Strung

  1. Hello, Wow, been a long time since I've been here. Nice to return. I am very anxiously searching for Irish musicians and/or sessions for a recording project on which I am feverishly working. If anyone here can help me, I would be more grateful than you can imagine! I'm looking for musicians in the following areas: Toronto/Barrie/Innisfil areas of Southern Ontario Vancouver area of British Columbia. These needn't be great musicians, but average players who can spin out a natural sounding tune. Any type of instrument is welcome and sought, for I need many. Even if you can only supply me with the name of someone twice removed from a real contact, I'll do anything to find someone. My area is more filled with Old Time and Ottawa Valley types (love the dancing...not the fiddle). Anyway, if anyone has info, PLEASE share. The reward is playing on a professional CD and getting involved in a newly unique project (secret until ready to be released.) To any helpers...THANK YOU!!!
  2. Oh, I agree with you. If she feels uncomfortable, for any reason, she should not continue with the lessons. I'm only suggesting that we not take everything said for its entire worth, since many things are often taken the wrong way very easily, and that we not insult the teacher with unfair claims. It seems to be developing that he is some sort of cruel man, which is probably not the case. I do think, however, that we can all agree that if the student is not happy and the joy is suffering, changes must be made. Anyway, I was just trying to add a little objectivity. By the way, fiddlefaddle, am I usually a "high-key" responder? Are you saying that I am OPINIONATED!!!! Shucks, I'm flattered (blush). I wouldn't assume anyone here even knew I existed!
  3. May I just take a moment to say that we cannot condemn this man as a terrible teacher without proof. Perhaps he is a fine teacher and the poster is simply a sensitive person who clashes with the teacher's personality. I don't believe it is fair to say that the teacher is "abusive", either physically or verbally without having been in his classroom during a lesson. There isn't anyone who would condone an abusive teacher, but we have no proof that such a thing is happening here. The point is, we don't know the circumstances here enough to make any sort of incredibly knowledgeable answer, and therefore, I believe we should simply say that if the personality between the teacher and student is incompatible, then perhaps it is best to leave. That is only for the student to ultimatley decide, and jumping to conclusions based on one post doesn't help the student make that decision any better. Let's please be kind and logical to both the student and teacher who has no defence. To put it simply, we can't be sure of the man's teaching style. He may be wonderful to some students who match his personality or he may be a bad teacher. We simply don't know and shouldn't make unsubstantiated judgments.
  4. Do whatever is necessary to retain your passion. Leave if need be. If you're playing at a five year level (according to your previous teacher), is it absolutely necessary for you to continue with a teacher? Could you teach yourself for awhile? Is there ANY other teacher that you could go to...and do a lot of checking around before you say a definitive "no". By the way, what sort of music do you play? Either that or just don't sweat it with this new teacher. Go to each lesson aiming to take away whatever is taught, listen to the comments you think are fair and ignore the ones that you feel insulted by. Try to make the situation as bright as you can and take away whatever you can. Focus on the benefits. Beneath it all, is that teacher actually teaching you good things? Is there much to learn from this teacher? If so, just learn a technique and say "thanks" and walk out with nothing else but having learned that technique. Simply don't absorb that which makes you uncomfortable. Also, don't discount this teacher's comments. Perhaps your last teacher had lower standards. Perhaps this new teacher is very perfectionistic and demands only the best from students (which can be a good thing.) Perhaps you should give it a bit of time...it takes a while to transfer teaching styles from children to adults...the teaching might improve. Are you sure your playing is really as good as your last teacher said? Is this new teacher your first second opinion to what your last teacher said? Are you simply having to get used to this new teaching style and getting upset too quickly? Were you expecting a teacher just like your last one and now are disappointed? Was your last teacher soft and your new one more gruff and exacting? Both kinds can be good, but there is a period where you have to adjust. Perhaps you were built up by your last teacher and feel torn down by this one. This new one may make you REALLY work and improve. Who knows, he may end up being a great teacher. After all, he doesn't make you feel like you can't play, you allow him to. If you learn how not to allow him to by changing your attitude, you might be in a rather good situation. You see, there are a lot of things you can do. There are many choices you can make. Make your enjoyment of the instrument a priority and then see how you can attain that. Sometimes you have to change the situation, and sometimes you have to change your attitude in order to make that situation better. Do what you feel is right, but make sure it's for the right reasons.
  5. Thank you all. The reason I would like exercises in the higher positions is because I don't play music that ever uses them and therefore learning (memorizing) them could only come from exercises. Of course I can understand that once you've learned to shift it's just a matter of learning "where" and the "fingering positions", but because I don't play up there and because it's rather difficult to REALLY learn the fingering simply by doing scales and not putting the notes into context...exercises would help me greatly. That's my reasoning!
  6. What about the positions above the seventh position? Thank you for your suggestions.
  7. I'm looking for a book that has exercises that teach the higher positions separately. This means, it works on the third position alone, the fifth alone, the others alone...and then perhaps puts them all together. Is there such an exercise book out there? If not, what is the best exercise book that deals with higher positions and teaches them porductively? Thank you for any suggestions.
  8. Rosin, that is exactly the point I was trying to make. Heifetz did it naturally in one take, not with doctored recordings that heightened his abilities. He was honest.
  9. I can help but think of all the times I've heard musicians say, "people don't notice half the mistakes as the player." In such a case, I suppose a musician could spend weeks perfecting mistakes that even the audience wouldn't notice, thereby cleaning the music too such a tampered extent that it begins to sound almost super-human, and false. How can a musician keep such a perfect standard when playing for an audience? That causes people to believe that they can't play well in the live arena when, really, they are simply a victim of today's technology and need for such perfection in the studio. I also can't help but notice (and keep in mind that I am a fiddler) that the tapes I listen to are more fun, alive, and in contact with the 'spirit' of the music when raw and allowed to breath. This means no tampering, no redoing, no fixing. The music and musicians seem more human and more 'musical', if I may say it in such a way. That is when the unique nuances occur that can't be created in a studio.
  10. I'm looking to purchase a Strad Pad because my chin rest - though it is the most comfortable I have been able to find - is causing my jaw/neck to 'break out.' I thought a soft pad might help it. My question is, there is the large pad and medium pad, and elastic and velcro. Could anyone help me decide which one is best? What is the difference in the sizes? How does the elastic work? How does the velcro work? The problem is that I need to order it and can't try them all out at a store. As much information as you could give me in order to make an informed decision would be tremendously helpful. Thanks to all of you.
  11. Update...I found a website that had some rather good pictures on it and I paid special attention to the thumb, since that seems to be my greatest problem. Therefore, I've recently attempted to reposition my thumb my rotating the nail towards me more, much like its natural position when you lay your hand palm down on a table. This seems to be helping...the thumb doesn't slip (if I keep consistent watch of my positioning) and my hand doesn't strangle the bow to compensate. However, I do need the pencil grip just to give the thumb a place to ancor against since I don't use the frog. Does this sound right? I suppose it will simply take some re-training, but I'm willing to put in all the time it needs. My positioning of the fingers is correct above the stick. It's just my thumb, and trust me when I say it's great to know where to start for a cure!
  12. As I said, I DON'T have anyone around here to help me. No teacher, no violinists, nobody who even plays, nobody. That's why I'm asking for help here.
  13. So more practice equals better playing...who'd a thunk it?
  14. With the problems I have been having with my bows and my violin...and assuming it was entirely my doing, I have experimented with changing my bow hold numerous times over the past four months (if not more.) This, to put it simply, has completely destroyed by bow hold. Now I can't even find one that works let alone improve it. My hand slowly but surely slips slightly out of position and the music becomes rather horrid. My hand isn't stable. The bow has always rested in the second joint of my index finger, and that gives me the best control for off the string bowing. It seems to work the best for me. My pinky usually stays on the string when I'm playing slowly and comes off when I'm playing quickly (subconsciously but I can train myself otherwise if need be.) Keep in mind that I play traditional music but I don't want that to influence a proper grip. I believe much of the problem is that my thumb slips, despite the fact that I have a pencil grip thumb pad on the bow. How do I fix this problem? To help you out some in helping me, I'll first ask these questions. Could it be simply the placement of the thumb against the stick? Meaning, where EXACTLY does the thumb contact the stick and what part of the thumb contacts it? Could it be that I don't extend my wrist properly and the thumb moves because of it? Because of the slipping problem, I have adopted a death-grip on the stick but this may be making the slipping worse and continuing a vicious sort of cycle. However, I do keep the bow quite straight, so that isn't really a factor from what I can see. Could it be that I should keep the pinky on at all times...even though I've tried this and it doesn't appear to help? Could it be the placement of the bow in the index finger, or even the placement of the middle and ring fingers? I realize that it's difficult do help me over this message board but I'll try to answer any of your questions about my hold if it will help you help me. I'm only asking you after hours of tireless attempts and much frustration and I DON'T have a teacher in my area to go to for help. Plus, I want a legitimate bow grip that can utilize many techniques instead of a fiddler's grip that is used only because it works 'enough.' As well, I can only assume that, since I've lost my original grip with all of the experimenting and cannot get back to it, it wasn't particulary strong in the first place. I'm desperate to make this right. It's so important. Please help me out. Thank you for any time and advice you can give.
  15. NOT the Lester Flatt/Earl Scruggs version...it has no rhythm, is too fast, and is sloppy fiddle playing. It's helpful to know what not to listen to as much as what to listen to, right?
  16. I know there are a few on this board who play the five-string banjo, and I was wondering if any of you would know of a message forum that relates specifically to the instrument. Thank you for any help
  17. Motivation - it's something you can only give yourself, which is why it's so difficult to come by. First, listen to the violinists you adore, and get into that, "I wish I could sound like that..." sort of mood. Then change that statement to, "I will sound like that, but I need to practice..." There's your first step. There are days when I don't particularly feel like practising, I hear any violin music at all, and voila. It's in my hands and I'm tuning up. Secondly, what helps me is to realize that I'm not going anywhere with the violin unless I practise. I NEED to practise if I have any chance of playing at all. This is where setting goals and priorities fits in. I say, "is this television show going to be more important in my life in five years than the hour I took to practise?" More often than not, I give up the show. So ask yourself, "is this remodelling thing I have to do tonight more important to my life in the long run then my happiness of being able to play the violin like I've always wanted?" When you think about it, remodelling can take its own pace, but you lose time when you let a violin just sit around. Take into account that I don't know what the extent of characteristics of you remodelling is, so yes, it is easy for me to say put it off, and if it where me I would. But this is you, so do your best. I know how it is to be tired at the end of a day, but think of the violin as a pick-me-up that will give you energy instead of drain it. Think of the violin as the oasis in your desert of drudgery. Try to go through your day excited with the prospect of being able to practise when you get home. Sometimes us humans have to make ourselves want something for it to be done. Most of all, take care of yourself. If the violin is a part of your well-being, then A LOT of other things can take a back seat. Now, I don't know your situation, whether you have kids or a spouse to contend with, or what sort of schedule you keep, so I'm trying to tailor my advice to suit that average human lifestyle. If it's important enough to you, you'll find a way, and you won't give up until you do. Best of luck to you. NOTHING is as important as your own happiness. Only then can you share it.
  18. COMPLETELY unecessary...just learn how to hold the bow the right way. Learning correctly will not only make you able to play at any time whether you have a "device" or not, but you also won't look so impared with a large red piece of plastic holding your finger! Geez, they really want to make us mindless and lazy, don't they. However, for those who have a physical impairment that may require it, that I will agree is acceptable. Otherwise...
  19. If you play tunes together and they sound good, then use it. If you think there are rules, break them. If you want to follow tradition, make your own.
  20. Crystal, just think of all the fiddlers who play amazingly well with a normal sized bow. They can do it, so I believe any fiddler can do it. There is a reason that a bow is the size it is, and I think it is the masterful fiddlers who can play both fast and slow on the same length. When you think about it, classical violinists have fast passages that are much like reels, and they do it without a hitch. In some cases I think fiddlers are a little "lazy" and look for the easy solution rather than really work to use the tools given. Now, I'm sure I've offended many fiddlers by saying that, but if the best fiddlers can use a full sized bow, any of them can. That being said, I'll completely contradict myself and say that what is good for one isn't necessarily good for all. Some fiddlers may have short arms, and since fiddling is a sort of "anything goes" sort of genre...well I guess a shorter bow is acceptable. Gee, I'm pretty opinionated for being a "fiddler" myself.
  21. Concerning the choking up, I would first analyse the bow grip you use and the ability of your keeping the bow straight on the strings. Make sure your wrist is in good form and not pushing on the string. Also make sure that you arm is not pushing downward onto the strings. This takes practice in toning the arm and wrist, but it happens eventually. Just make sure your hold is beneficial and that your bow is straight. If your comfortable with the placement of your hand, then I wouldn't change it, but I would suspect that choking in certain areas and bouncing are the player's doing, and can be overcome. As Simon said, bouncing is a great thing if under control, and I've actually found that more control of it comes when gripping closer to the frog. So, work on your grip and/or keeping the bow straight and tone your arm/wrist/fingers to make the sound smooth. Keep an eye on the weight you place upon the strings and where any excess weight may be coming from. If violinists can play on a full length bow, than fiddlers can't use the excuse that they need a shorter one. It's all about the player in that case...not about the bow.
  22. Thanks. I know how to do the vibrato. It's just the "travelling" vibrato I'd like to do. For instance, the position starts at the top of the E string, and the vibrato is maintained as the finger cascades down the string towards the scroll. The vibrato travels during the entire slide along the string. Is there a tip for this sort of technique?
  23. Okay, so is there a technique for the vibrato that moves along the string (usually downward from what I've heard)? Or is it simply that you vibrato and shimmy that finger along the string. I've tried that, and it wasn't incredibly successful, so I'm wondering if there is a special way of accomplishing this...something more than I've tried. If not, it could simply be a practice, practice, practice thing, though it probably is anyway, right? Thanks for any help/tips.
  24. Crystal, that is important. Thank you.
  25. Mr. Nielsen, he he he. First, thanks for the man's last name. I had a feeling it was Peoples. Secondly, I suppose by the amount of questions I ask about the Irish playing and style, one would think I actually want to focus on it and play it. Well, I don't. You see, the reason I ask questions concerning the Irish music is because that is the basis of the project I am working on, and while I need some to be played by a purely Irish player (not me), the playing I personally need to do is much varied, with a "little" Irish flavour. Therefore, I ask about the various techniques of Irish playing, both for the completeness of the project and to know I am being authentic in it. If there were anyone here who could tell me about cajun, Spanish, old time, bluegrass, gypsy, etc...I would also ask all of those questions. I've done that before and NO ONE gave me ANY help about it. Because my project is very Irish, I need to know as much as I can about the Irish sound, but I don't need to take lessons to learn it myself, and I don't want to waste the little money I have going to an Irish teacher who can't really tell me any more than the people here. Besides, the Irish fiddling community in my area is non-existent. But thanks for thinking I would be a good player. Yeah, I'm coming along, but I want a style that incorporates a tremendously eclectic sound of many techniques. That's what I need my playing to be. I suppose it sounds rather confusing not knowing what the project is, but I can't tell you. I'd have to hunt you down and...well, you know the rest of that very over-used joke.
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