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What seems the main part of violin learning/practice?

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Isn't it the training of the left hand?

It's only when you have that, and to the degree that you have it,

that you can turn your attention partly to problems and technique

and practice with the right hand, isn't it? Similarly to the

breathing and bending the knees or what have you, darting about,

smiling, dancing, dressing up, advertising etc etc. But isn't it

90% the left hand, and the first 90% at that?

How could anyone possibly divert ones attention to almost anything

else? OK, so the right hand can be thought about once you HAVE the

notes ready to bring out. Then, you have to have the vehicle of the

right hand to bring it out well.

THEN comes the rest. The breathing, the showmanship etc.

OK, so maybe the breathing is for added focus, once you have it all

ready to be played with speed etc.

Then the bending of the knees (I'm being a bit funny here! I mean

dancing, smiling etc), when you want to unite body and soul

together, but that is only when you can already pour out your soul

into the violin, having perfected the technique.

Am I right? Or should it all be in the opposite order?

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It should all be simultaneous, because not only does it take time to make any of them a part of you, one also needs to learn to do them simultaneously.

This is best learned by---doing them simultaneously.

Which body part is the MOST important and fundamental in learning the violin? The brain.

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I think the notes come from the left hand. The music comes *through* the right hand. The left fingers have to be at the right place at the right time, but most of the soul and spirit comes from the heart, brain, and soul through the right hand. Everything else you do seems to operate in support of these two ideas.

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Your right hand just like breathing control and of course just like

a singer - tone color, dynamics all controlled by your right

hand. Even though you can't have your intonation correct, but with

the beautiful bowing from your right hand will still catch

audiences' attention. Most of your style is on your right hand

(apart from vibrato style/speed,  intonation and also

shifting/sliding), and it's the soul that brings your music into

life.

Don't get me wrong, intonation is equally important, but in anytime

you want to catch people's attention, you'll have to get your right

hand to learn how to sing. Even you can play violin absolutely

in tune but your right hand play lifeless bowing then the music

will still lifeless.

My $0.02...

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When I was just a kid, (long time ago) people kept telling me that in violin playing the left hand is a technician, and that the right hand is an artist. To play well, of course you need both. To do extremley well you need a gifted right hand. It still hold true to me. My right hand has more problem than my left.

My brain, my doctor never said any thing

Seriously speaking, the brain is needed to do a coordinating job, to serve an indispensable function.

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It's an interesting theory, and not quite as crazy as it sounds.......

Firstly, I agree with this

quote:


I think the notes come from the left hand. The music comes *through* the right hand.

of course, the notes are bought into "being" by the bow, but getting your left hand to keep up with your right hand is a lot of the trouble for most players. In the normal course of things, the two learn together and my theory is that if a piece challenges you most in one hand, then that is where you should work the hardest. let me offer an example......

The "dreaded" Bach E major concerto has very little for the bow, other than the odd nasty string cross or distribution, but the left hand is very demanding (much more so than most think), not only because of the high third fingers but also because it only sounds good if you are really in control.

The Mozart concertos also require incredible attention to left hand, again more so than people think at first. The music of Mozart comes "alive" in the hands of an expert bow-user, but the regular issues of inconsistent semiquavers (16ths) and either too little or (conversely) untamed vibrato often wreck good work.

I think in 2 distinct parts (processes) when guiding a student through a piece, the early days are more technique, the later stages, almost exclusively the "music". Interestingly enough, in the technique (building) stage of the learning, my attention is 80% on the notes (left hand) and but in the music stage maybe 90% on the bow. Good bowing is wasted on bad left hand, so in a strange way, your idea is not so mad........

T_D

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OK then, so at the technique/early stage, it is closer to 80% left

hand. (well? THAT's something isn't it? and is it such a short

stage?) and in the music stage, closer to 90% right hand. (but that

is an enviable stage to get to, the hard work is already over isn't

it?)

And the brain? Yes, that is always in very high demand. It's the

main thing.

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REcapping my needs on the left hand situation. I noticed that for some reason my left thumb has begun twisting twords the nut, instead of facing the shoulder. (left thumb postion). I have tried to get it in the original (correct) position but it hasnt happedned. Can someone please tell me how to help correct my thumb during practice.

NOTE: I think the twisting of my left thumb is due to my exssecive video game playing hours.I have cut back in hours but it dosnt seem to be helping. ( currently playiong Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)

So with my thumb twisting twords the nut my hand has become hard and hard to do vibrato.

Here is a diagram since I have no digital camera.

past thumb position: thumb [

l [ <- neck

v [

maybe thers something wrong with my brain?

new (uncomfterble): thumb [

-> [ <- neck

[

[

note: arow means flat flesh part of the thumb

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I don't want to get into details about the role of the thumb, but I will say that for most players the thumb pad is touching the side of the neck, but probably twisted a little so that the "pad" is looking a bit towards you (the player). If it sits in a different way, it may not be a problem at all. It is a non-active part of the playing, only offering security and geography assitance mostly. It's role is much more important when the hand is off the neck, higher up. My advice is to work hard on keeping it loose and sometimes experiment with moving it (out and in, up and down) so it's not clamping!!!

T_D

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I don't see the need to have a "numerical analysis" - but I'd say it is ALL BRAIN + 100% left hand and 100% right hand.

If you can't play in tune, you should give it up and try piano or tonet. If you can't use the bow with variety and color (to put it simply) no one but a parent (your own) will want to listen to you.

People who can't play in tune usually can't hear the difference, so unless they can fix their hearing problem, they will always have that problem. If they have that kind of a problem, they also probably can't hear the tonal nuances that bowing can create, and if you can't hear the violin (or viola or cello) properly you can't play it properly.

People who can recognize out-of-tune playing on a recording or when others do it still may not hear it when they do it themselves. Hearing your true sound instead of your imagined one can be a skill that needs to be developed; slow practice helps.

Andy

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Well, my thumb positioned is actually making my whole hand uncomfterble. I also say slow practice helps but the real problem is the two ( or more ) notes in the measure. I read in an article that when practicing......I forgot the rest. But anyways when practicing a piece you have to find the measure thats giving you problems, then target the two or more notes that are "teasing" you and play them back and forth untill you can play them.

And yes metronome work, but there like torture devices...

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You may be efering to the article on practicing in the latest issue of "Teen Strings" (I think) a very good point - most people's intonation is the separation of two contiguous notes - and their counting problems are beitween two contiguous notes. So- just keep practicing the parts that are problematic.

I can recall (back in my concertmaster years, between about 1970 and 1990) that i would probably often only do about 5 minutes of at real-work home practice for each concert - selecting those parts that gave me trouble and working them to slightly faster tempos than the conductor took. The rest of my practice sessions were other music - or just for the hack of it.

Andy

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I like what Nonado said about notes and music...I was thinking

something similar.

I think what's important to remember is that this is art and

music...I don't know that you can break down a precise recipe to

get there.  

So yes, work on all of it, all the time.  If you love it, and

you simply enjoy the experience of learning to play music while

working at it, you'll get there.  That at least has been my

extremely non-technical "formula" so far.  Simply play, and

play a lot.  My teacher was there to give me the fundamentals;

the toolbox with which I could work if you will, but the rest I

think must at some level simply flow as a whole from within.

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Ah, Andrew ~ What fond memories you kindled. I LOVED the Tonette! You put your childish finger over a hole and blew and the right note came out. Sigh. That would be my instrument of choice, but I do think I'm playing my viola better in tune. My problem is, I guess, that I CAN tell when I'm off, and I make these horrible faces that disturb my teacher.

New thought: I am told that the older a person gets, the more he/she hears notes as SHARP, and thus their playing tends to be flat - even the greats. Or could I have it backwards? This might be something you know about?

Shirley

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We have the torture devices, ---I mean tools, to fix our problems. Play each note carefully with an electronic tuner checking your pitch, adjust and listen, also, play each song you know with the metronome, adjust and listen.

Always do this on a regular basis and you will be 'roped in' to doing it right.

Remember, music is fun but it is also work. Remember my piano teacher who wanted me to play the complete Hannon exercises every morning while reading the paper and having coffee.

Every musician has his/her work cut out for them.

Ken

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An actor must memorize the script first, then the characterization gets added on. A musician must learn to produce the notes accurately and at the right time - but it is the right hand that speaks. The left hand notes are the words, the vocabulary, the right hand bowing is the inflection, the tone of voice. Just because one thing must come first doesn't mean it's the most important in the end.

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Shirley,

It's not just age that brings on a tendency to hear sharp and thus compensate by playing flat. There are several factors:

1. An over-driven ear hears sharp. The left ear, usually being much closer to the instrument will hear louder and sharp. This can make it difficult to tune by ear because you are trying to match a pitch you hear incorrectly to a tuning pitch. This can even be tougher if your right ear is hearing a reduced amplitude because it is further from the violin - so you may actually hear the violin flatter (but actually in tune) with that ear at the same time. Further complication occurs if you have different frequency sensitivities in each ear (a problem I have, my right ear hearing is down 10 - 15 DB in the important 1000 - 4000 Hz overtone range, relative to my left ear).

2. One can possibly reduce this problem by loosely fitting a wax earplug in the left ear to reduce the sound level by 10 - 15 DB, this might be enough to balance both ears. I tried this as an experiment with a community orchestra's entire violin sections 20 years ago with remarkable improvement in intonation. An alternative solution is to wear a hearing aid in the right ear (which is what I've been doing for the past 8 - 10 years, instead of the ear plug in the left ear). The ear plug will damp important overtones - so if you need to hear them with yor left ear for good intonation,l you might want to consider the other solution (my hearing aid cost less than $200).

Andy

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Thanks Andrew,

Your clear and succinct prose is helping me understand a relationship problem I've been having with my best fiddle recently. Actually it's been a number of years since I first experienced the whoosh in a very loud pit near the end of a busy holiday season. As time went on, I began to keep tabs on its comings and goings with reference to my allergies and headcolds. Then I caught myself trying to turn my head around for no discernable reason other than a big tone coming out of my fiddle. The earplug idea came into my mind recently.

So can this left-right difference in perceived pitch result in a sensation resembling a loud and obnoxious Tartini tone? (Insert Steven King braineater hissing: "Try fortissimo, and your brains will splatter the ceiling.")

ReeeRau

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Marie,

It beats me, but it seems possible. Can you determine the frequency of the Tartini tone you are hearing? I think it is also possilbe for some instruments to respond to some double stops with a third pitch - not desireable, but possible.

Andy

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Pitch seems a strange concept to apply to such an unmusical sensation, though I'm sure it has one. Maybe I should actually try to make the thing happen some time when I feel especially masochistic.

Tartini tones abound in my weird little world, and I rather like them as a way of tuning double stops. They don't seem to emanate from any of my violins, however. My little reading of Helmholtz assures me that such sensations are normal.

The whooshing effect that I was referring to is not like anything I ever experienced in my youth, and I tend to attribute it to some deterioration of my formerly excellent hearing.

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