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mommag

Can a double jointed person play violin?

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After a few years of watching my kids taking lessons, I want to

learn how to play violin!  But I am double jointed. I can't

push a button without my finger bending back ward.  I can't

have a round pinkie on the bow.  My pinkie collapses.  Do

you think I can still learn how to play violin?  Or do you

think Cello is a better fit for me since I don't have to have my

pinkie sitting on the bow nice and round?  Need your opinion.

 Thanks!

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Doublejointedness never stopped anybody from playing the violin. If your fingers collapse when typing on a computer, however, you could be in for some slow going.

Question for doctors: is doublejointedness cured when arthritis sets in? (Kidding - really.)

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As a cellist, I find maintaining nicely curved fingers on the left hand is essential for precise intonation and clarity on runs, especially in high positions. As a violinist, I find it isnt such a big deal, as it is much easier to accomplish.

I don't see any reason why you can't learn to play the violin (or the cello if thats what you want). I don't really have any personal experience with how to cope with being double jointed, but I do have a good friend who is an exelent double bassist who is double jointed, but he has found ways to get around it. (aswell as more than making up for getting a very late start at 14)

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At 49 years of age, I've had a pretty wild and challenging life. I played in Rock and Roll Bands in my early years, got an EE degree from OU, ran marathons, painted a car, put in a swimming pool, put a water sprinkler system, and am now working on making a violin concurrent with taking some violin lessons.

Many said I could not do those things. Many don't believe I can build a violin right now. I accomplished many things in life because I believed I could.

My question to you is... Do you think you can take on the violin?

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WSCool: Thanks for reminding me about your inspiring website. It will help me in my endeavor to rescore Brahms' First Symphony for three student violins and one-armed viola. After that, I'll use National Creative Writing Month to launch my career as the Emily Dickensoon of Rap. First title: "Tony Blair, c'mover hair! Stay next to me in a dooplex in DC. We can Sally in the Garden, Sam won't mind. Just keep yo' hands offa my behind."

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Your pinky might just be weak. Or you might be double jointed and have a weak pinky. Everybody's pinky is weak in the beginning. Just keep at it and it will get stronger by itself. You can also try doing some "push-ups" by pushing down on the bow with your pinky and releasing as so that the bow gets pushed up and down like a teeter totter. Don't overdo it - give the little finger time to get strong.

hth

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I was thinking you might even have some advantaged over us handicapped single-jointers.

Sometimes playing the violin looks like you've become a contortionist anyway -

all those wierd uncomfrotable postures and manipulations.

Good luck with the project.

Hey - It might also be great for vibrato!

Anyway have a word with you child's teacher and get an opinion.

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Thank you everyone for your encouraging insight. I feel much better now. When I told my son's teacher about my concern she said "You're not going to be a professional, so don't worry about the small inperfection and enjoy it!" Now, I can't decide which instrument to choose, violin or cello? Of course I know a little more about violin than cello since I've been taking notes for my kids each lesson, and I listen to violin CD whenever I'm in my car (which is almost all day driving kids from one place to the other), but I also like the sound of cello and may be someday I can play a chamber piece with my kids. Woo... tough decision!

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Good question: is the cello preferable for adult beginners of somewhat advanced years? Is the violin even worth attempting? My granddaughter tells me I have a "viola personality". Ought I to take offense?

It seems to me that violinists seem to take a perverse pleasure in whipping out fast complex runs at breakneck speed. While I assume the purpose is to assert dominance and frighten competitors, which is all to the good, it still seems somewhat out of reach for one looking at beginning the instrument. As I am one attracted to lush lyricism, it may be that the kid is right, after all. And taking cello instruction would necessitate a new car, large enough to transport the thing. Roof rack? Rumble seat? Foldable cello?

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CELLO !!!

Cello is definitely the better "starter instrument" for people older than 20. I've even had one lady start cello lessons at age 59. The proper position for playing a cello is actually as natural as writing at a desk. People who have trouble and find it a strain are just doing things wrong.

Proper violin position is awkward for many people to develop past their 20s - although I've started some in their late 30s/early 40s. Even life-long violinists can get into problems of awkwardness (discomfort and pain) past a certain age; our joints do't last forever.

Andy

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One of my students started violin at age 76, complete with arthritic fingers! She is getting out of her music just what she wanted and that was to play the music of her church.

Who says you must hold the violin a "proper" way or place your fingers just so?

If you can make pleasant music which pleases and overcome any impediments, go for it.

Some of my music (Folk & Irish) requires finger dexterity. Some times I wish I was double jointed!

I wish you well and it would be great if you were living just around the corner.

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I wish I were around the corner from you, too, Busker Thank you for the inspiring story about your student. I am more encouraged than ever. There may not be really a big problem once I start the lesson. May be I was't being positive. Andrew, you got the point there. My joint may not last much longer holding my arm for a long period of time. Being able to sit the whole time sounds very attractive Whether be it a violin or a cello, as soon as my kids start school, I am going to look for a teacher who will take adult beginner students. Andrew, this is really a beginner's silly question, does cello use bass clef or viola clef?

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Hi, Mommag - regarding your question concerning the clef the cello plays in: primarily the bass clef, although those wild and crazy cellists - often they play in the tenor clef, that is, a viola-looking cleff centered on the second line of the staff from the top. And they may play with other clefs, too, since I really wonder what the music looks like when the cello is played waaaaaay up near the bridge. Now I'm going to have to look! (My instrument is the viola.)

Good luck on your quest to play the violin, or whatever your choice. Shirley

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Thank you, Shirl for the info. Ok, I can read the bass clef, so there is a hope So as you play more advanced pieces, you have to learn how to read the tenor clef as well? I haven't even decided which instrument to choose, but If I choose cello, my ultimate goal will be to learn "Swan" by Saint-Sean. Is it really hard? If I choose violin, Dvorak's "Romance". I know it will take, mmmm, probably about 20 years?

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mommag,

Your thread raises a number of interesting questions:

1. Should anyone be offended by being called a viola personality? No, violist are the peacemakers in string quartets, and probably in the whole world. The easy going violists, accepting whatever comes their way, including musical parts consisting solely of never ending afterbeats (the "chuck-chuck" in "boom chuck-chuck"), resolve the strident fights among the pedantic violinists and cellists. In addition, the viola teaches the player how to endure ridicule, physical pain, and aural discomfort. There is a special place in heaven for the long suffering violist.

2. Should anyone play viola instead of violin or cello? No. See reasons above.

3. Should you play cello instead of violin? Andrew Victor has it right when he says that the cello is physically more natural to play that the violin. Witness that cellists have longer professional careers than do violinists. On the other hand, if you love the violin with a fervor you don't have for the cello, then play violin, because love does conquer all. The other advantage the cello might have is that the pitches are lower, and as you age and hearing starts to go, it's the high frequency sounds that go first.

4. Is double jointedness a problem? No. It may be an asset in that it will teach you to place your fingers on both fingerboard and bow with the least amount of effort; otherwise, your fingers will collapse. Placing and using the fingers lightly with the least amount of force is something most players don't learn until they're well advanced. You will learn it from the very beginning.

Best of luck, and enjoy the benefits of doing a learning activity with your child. Your child will get a thrill out of being better than you, and you will thus be contributing to you child's desire to practice.

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