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Use of Tapes on Fingerboard


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As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

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As a beginer may decades ago I never used them. My son started playing viola a year ago in elementary school and used tapes. It seems that the tapes made it very easy for the teacher to spot incorrect fingerings by the students ... hence a valid use for the tapes. On the other hand if your intonation or sense of pitch is good then you won't need the tapes. In my son's case we found that when we got him a better viola without the tapes, he had absolutely no problems and they are long forgotten! I must admit however that he has a very good sense of pitch.

Ask your teacher ... you do have one? If not I would strongly suggest you find one. There are many, many ways to develope bad habits when learning to play a stringed instrument and they can be very hard to break.

Good Luck!

Regards, Alan R.

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: As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

It seems to me that the last time I used tape on the fingerboard for a beginning student (age 6), we rather quickly settled down to retaining only one tape (for the third finger). In "Twinkle," the third finger A string seemd to be useful for setting up the "crossover" from the E string, and the other two fingers "fell" into position quite well. I seem to recall that we finished with the tape at about the time that we finished Suzuki Book I.

For an adult student, I would rather rely on building the left hand position upon careful playing of the G-major, 2-octave scale. If the intonation errors cannot be heard and corrected by the student, then I would recommend studying piano or harmonica instead.

The tapes are cannot really be felt by the player, and therefore, a special effort must be made to determine where the fingers are in relation to the tapes by sight. And in that regard, the tapes can never be so accurately set, nor the fingers so precisely placed that the visual reference is unambiguous. (In other words, if the teacher places the tapes for his/her own fingers, they will have a different relationship for the student's fingers.)

Andy

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: As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

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I remember learning to play violin with tapes in public school and it was a big deal to see who could play without them first. I think they are useful for children.

I recently started learning cello and I didn't use tapes at first but I found that I sometimes would migrate down a halfstep, basically changing keys. I think I am just too used to the smaller spacing between the fingers on a violin. I put a tape where the 3rd (4th finger on a cello) note is on the strings and it has helped me a lot - Giving me a quick visual reference. However, my teacher stresses for me not to get reliant on the tape (I keep looking at my left hand vice using my ear).

I think the tapes are a double edged sword. My practice is more effecient because I can spot when I'm sliding my hand out of 1st position easily but you should start using your ear as soon as possible to adjust finger positions. On a violin the physical cues are a little closer together so it's easy to keep your hand in first position. If you aren't having any problem with that, try to skip the tapes.

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: As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

Hi there,

There are very many people who tape finger boards - so IF it is "hogwash" don't worry cause the tank is full and you can't fit in. Tape away !

Paul




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Sure, Paul, and there are a lot of people that have taken acid, had children out of wedlock, committed federal offenses and voted for Bill Clinton, but does that mean it is the right thing to do? Using tape is just a music version of outcome-based education. It is great for the public school teacher that wants quick results from a class of 20-35 kids taking strings. Next year half those kids will be taking something else anyway, so they want immediate medioucrity so they will look good at the little concert they put on for the parents, most of whom don't know any better anyway. Next year the same teacher will be teaching a whole new group of kids and putting tape on thier fiddles and cellos too. Anybody that advocates a kid with an ear and a private teacher putting tape on the violin, viola or cello is wasting tape and creating a crutch for the child. You can agree to disagree with me, but I will always say you are wrong!

Adean

: : As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

: Hi there,

: There are very many people who tape finger boards - so IF it is "hogwash" don't worry cause the tank is full and you can't fit in. Tape away !

: Paul

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: As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

I never used tape marks as a child and found it rather "self explanitory" to find the correct position of each finger regardless of the key you are playing in. I would recomend not using tape regardless of the persons age. Any one who has an ear for music and can determine pitches correctly should very easily be able to tell if he/she is not in tune. I have found that my students who do not use tape learned their positions much quicker than those who do,.. but agin those students are also the ones who can hear very well.

Joe

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One of the children I teach , 9 year old girl, had used tapes for 4 years before she became my pupil.

Result: When I removed the tapes she could not place her fingers anywhere near the place they should have been.

In my opinion you should be able to listen if the note you play is correct or not.You just need to learn the right places.After all you cannot watch your fingers all the time!Imagine playing Sibelius cconcerto with the tapes...

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: : As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

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: Sure, Paul, and there are a lot of people that have taken acid, had children out of wedlock, committed federal offenses and voted for Bill Clinton, but does that mean it is the right thing to do? Using tape is just a music version of outcome-based education. It is great for the public school teacher that wants quick results from a class of 20-35 kids taking strings. Next year half those kids will be taking something else anyway, so they want immediate medioucrity so they will look good at the little concert they put on for the parents, most of whom don't know any better anyway. Next year the same teacher will be teaching a whole new group of kids and putting tape on thier fiddles and cellos too. Anybody that advocates a kid with an ear and a private teacher putting tape on the violin, viola or cello is wasting tape and creating a crutch for the child. You can agree to disagree with me, but I will always say you are wrong!

: Adean

: : : As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

: : Hi there,

: : There are very many people who tape finger boards - so IF it is "hogwash" don't worry cause the tank is full and you can't fit in. Tape away !

: : Paul

A Dean,

You can flame away baby - just remember I won't even print the slimes name in caps. Perhaps you should just not be so serious - lighten up or have a ticker flicker.

Best wishes,

Paul

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OK, I admit it,

I use tape to teach my students where their fingers should go.

Frankly, most of my beginning students don't have any concept of what any note should sound like, in relation to any other note or other wise, and the tape gives them a somewhat reliable way to play the notes somewhat like their intended pitch.

Once a student is starting to learn in their ears what the notes sound like, we start getting more exact in terms of intonation. I think of the tape as a course adjustment, like the course focus on a microscope, or the pegs on a beginner's violin compared to the fine tuners.

Once a student can hear the difference, the tape is removed. Often I leave the 4th finger's tape on, because it takes a while for people to learn that the 4th finger can feel like a stretch sometimes, and then other times they are shocked to learn they are playing sharp.

The tape becomes an impartial reference when their ears fail.

I stress the fact that the tape is not a substitute for listening, and that adjustments must be made that fall beyond the accuracy possible with tape.

If you search this board for "ear training" or go to

http://www.maestronet.com/wwwboard/messages/4130.html,

you can read my reply to that ear training issue.

My students, while inexperienced, are certainly not stupid, and understand that the tape trains their fingers physically where to go, while training their ear at the same time. Virtually everyone I have ever trained who has had musical training before they came to me did fine without tape. But the others need the basics that we musicians take for granted. To the untrained ear, the intervals of half steps and whole steps are as arbitrary as tritones and sevenths. To the professional violinist, we can tell what notes are being played - when we are blindfolded and we also know which string they are being played on, and often the fingering and bowing as well, especially with our students - just because we know our instruments so well. But we have been trained and practiced to obtain that skill. I needed tape when I started, because I didn't even know that the notes where different distances apart in a scale until it was pointed out to me.

I think we sometimes want to train our students "the right way" rather than getting them to do it "the right way" the quickest way possible. You do not get extra applause for sweating. It doesn't need to be hard labor to play correctly. Don't overestimate the fact that we understand so many different aspects of playing. To a beginner, the violin is very complicated. Try playing the violin with the wrong hands, and you'll see how awkward and difficult the violin is, and yet at the same time, if you are any kind of teacher, you will know how to correct all the problems too.

My students start out playing only C sharps on the A string. By the time they are comfortable with that, and have used all their fingers, they are ready to learn that each finger can potentially go anywhere, and they start learning all the standard fingering patterns. Soon the tape is unnecessary.

My students are all "tape-free" by the time they are ready to play chromatic scales. By this time, they also know every key signature, and can play at least a one octave scale in any key. There is also no ambiguity as far as finger position by this time. And then they start shifting

I have heard of some famous violinists using a mark of some sort on their fingerboard for some notes of difficult navigation especially in some of the ultra hard music - like Ernst, Paganini, etc. You may think it's illegal, but I assure you that you have heard the results, and you suspect nothing. Frankly, if I found out a great recording of the Sibelius was made with the artist using fingerboard tape, I don't think the performance is diminished. According Ricci, people can play with their feet as long as it's in tune. What's important is the sound. And it's the violin that makes the sound.

Again, like anything else, tape can be used effectively and ineffectively. Probably, a public school class of beginning strings, I'm sure you could find many examples of ineffective string teaching.

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: Sure, Paul, and there are a lot of people that have taken acid, had children out of wedlock, committed federal offenses and voted for Bill Clinton, but does that mean it is the right thing to do? Using tape is just a music version of outcome-based education. It is great for the public school teacher that wants quick results from a class of 20-35 kids taking strings. Next year half those kids will be taking something else anyway, so they want immediate medioucrity so they will look good at the little concert they put on for the parents, most of whom don't know any better anyway. Next year the same teacher will be teaching a whole new group of kids and putting tape on thier fiddles and cellos too. Anybody that advocates a kid with an ear and a private teacher putting tape on the violin, viola or cello is wasting tape and creating a crutch for the child. You can agree to disagree with me, but I will always say you are wrong!

: Adean

: : : As a new student of the violin, do any of you advocate the use of tapes as a means to learn the correct location of the notes on the fingerboard? My teacher has left this up to me.. I'm thinking it would be help but am concerned I may rely to heavily on them and not learn correctly. What's your take?

: : Hi there,

: : There are very many people who tape finger boards - so IF it is "hogwash" don't worry cause the tank is full and you can't fit in. Tape away !

: : Paul

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