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outofnames

Finger tape on instruments

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1 hour ago, outofnames said:

I will add that at the local junior county band and orchestra auditions (US school grades 7,8, and 9) this year (my kids play flute and sax respectively) I saw a LOT of violinists and cellists with finger tape.   I was surprised because most of those kids would have been playing at least 2 to 3 years by that point.

That's pretty standard in Europe, too. Very few people have good enough ear for string playing. Not much to do about it, if anything.

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

 But it’s certainly not NECESSARY. As my rhetorical question showed, tapes come off when the student no longer needs them. Well, what if the student NEVER needs them? And in my long long experience, students have never needed them, ever. Using them reinforces the unnecessary visual, and interferes with the necessary aural.

I don't have "experience" as I never taught violin but tapes indicate the teacher is incompetent, unable or unwilling to explain the pupil the  procedure for achieving good intonation on violin. And I have seen this done by teachers who should really know better. Once the brain finds a way out from the chore of listening to one's "emanations" on the violin it's going to be very hard to put it back to work. Tapes invite lack of awareness. AND, if a child can not aurally compare two notes at unison then he should definetely not be busy with violin. It's wise to start children on some theory and eliminate the ones who can't cut the mustard. There are some painfully amusing Bruch c/tos on YT by teenagers for whom a half tone is only an opinion.  

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

Nah...this is a 'normal' MN discussion! ^_^

While I still feel tapes have a place for (some) beginners, the problem comes when they are left on too long and become a crutch.  And I think what may be happening is that it's just easier for the teachers to leave the tapes on, rather than deal with 'unhappy' kids.

Are these kids in school group programs?  I was a band parent for many years - and because we're rural, when it was my  turn to carpool, I would sit in the back of the rehearsal room while I waited and watch the ensuing chaos.  Hats off to band teachers who don't drink! (During rehearsals, I mean! :lol:).

Also FWIW, I didn't learn with tapes.  We were lucky enough to have a lovely Russian violin teacher at our school (not a knuckle rapper). But again, it's a group situation - minimal individual attention.  My intonation didn't become reliable until I started private lessons - along with ear training, interval training, etc.  Also, the piano was a HUGE help.  'Seeing' while 'hearing' what a whole step/half step was a Eureka moment.

The other two aids I think are really important, and underused, are the mandolin and the viola.  The mandolin has frets so the student can 'see' (like on the keyboard)  the where/what of finger placement - and is the equivalent of a violin.  Then - give them a viola (er,  with no tapes), and they have to 'search' for any given note, because it's no longer where it used to be because of the larger size of the fingerboard.  

I think the desire to make music occurs naturally in most of us, but the ability to make music doesn't.  My annual summer hiatus (but not this summer! :() in Fiddle Camps makes that pretty obvious.  

Not being a fan or user of finger tapes (which I usually have contact with only as a form of vandalism to remediate on fingerboards :angry:) I'd sat most of this out, until an identifiable MN "type" (a recent member with low posts and high dudgeon :P:lol:) predictably showed up to rudely berate us all for the error of our ways.  :rolleyes:

I do have a suggestion.  Because many would-be violin players are terrified by the trackless expanse of ebony initially confronting them, I would recommend the use of drone tones to bow to, when intonation is being established, rather than tapes.  Something that I have found very useful personally is having ABC Explorer available to provide a "canned partner" and accompaniment to practice along with.  It requires learning the (very simple) ABC notation to type in the score, but IMHO, that is useful homework which helps acquaint one with new music.  At a more basic level, the (free) software can be used to generate fixed drones, scales at various tempos, and so on.   :)

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22 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Not being a fan or user of finger tapes (which I usually have contact with only as a form of vandalism to remediate on fingerboards :angry:) I'd sat most of this out, until an identifiable MN "type" (a recent member with low posts and high dudgeon :P:lol:) predictably showed up to rudely berate us all for the error of our ways.  :rolleyes:

I do have a suggestion.  Because many would-be violin players are terrified by the trackless expanse of ebony initially confronting them, I would recommend the use of drone tones to bow to, when intonation is being established, rather than tapes.  Something that I have found very useful personally is having ABC Explorer available to provide a "canned partner" and accompaniment to practice along with.  It requires learning the (very simple) ABC notation to type in the score, but IMHO, that is useful homework which helps acquaint one with new music.  At a more basic level, the (free) software can be used to generate fixed drones, scales at various tempos, and so on.   :)

Sorry, I wasn't following : which post was that ?

 

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4 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

Sorry, I wasn't following : which post was that ?

 

Carl, it's spread through several posts, beginning with cheap shots at Rue.  Hopefully, it's over.  :)

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7 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

if a fingerboard is a trackless void of nothingness, singing must be really, really, hard

Yes.

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6 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

... beginning with cheap shots at Rue.  Hopefully, it's over.  :)

It's a discussion!  As long as it doesn't devolve until Jeffrey removes it...all good! ^_^

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1 minute ago, Bill Merkel said:

if a fingerboard is a trackless void of nothingness, singing must be really, really, hard

Singing begins in infancy, and most people take it for granted.  Kids can sing "Twinkle" by imitation without any special training. Playing violin-family instruments has the reputation of being a difficult activity, complicated with its cost, high-status connotations, and accompanying parental anxiety.

1 minute ago, Rue said:

Yes.

Doing it well is, for sure. 

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4 minutes ago, Rue said:

It's a discussion!  As long as it doesn't devolve until Jeffrey removes it...all good! ^_^

Yup.  Oh, by the way, [Pops and aims a shaken magnum of bubbly]  CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!  And wishing you ten thousand more!!  Banzai!!!!!   :lol:  [Breaks out glasses.]  ^_^

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Thanks!  Looking forward to when you catch up!  Hurry! :D

(...my favourite typo from today's editing:  "dessert beatles" for "desert beetles".  Now I want to eat one.  I hope it's a cake!...)

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Singing is like speaking. Everybody can do it, but not everybody wants to listen to you do it.

Suzuki training is exactly like learning speech. Actually according to his book, comparing learning music to learning speech was Suzuki’s “aha” moment.

And I applaud everyone learning music. But just as everyone learns to speak without necessarily  learning to orate, so too do many people learn music without being able to become musicians, and that’s ok.

I would suggest that a student who cannot recognize or reproduce a pitch lacks the fundamental requirement of music and would be less frustrated doing something else. And a student who can does not need tape.

I strongly oppose the notion that using tapes indicates incompetence, but they do involve unnecessary effort and are best avoided.

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23 hours ago, Rue said:

Not all children/adults have 'musical ability'.  Or maybe they do, but only believe they don't have musical ability (for whatever reason; something they were told, or an issue with comprehending certain abstract concepts, a learning disablity, etc.) and it becomes a huge hurdle to overcome.  Either way, that doesn't mean they can't learn to enjoy music, or playing the instrument.  So why make it harder on them?  Why risk having them quit?

If someone does not have musical ability, it’s best to find out quickly so one can devote energy to more productive things. They can still enjoy music even if they cannot effectively produce it. 

Meanwhile, if a kid wants to quit, sure why not. He is seeking his own path and his own preferences and exploring his own desires. If he hates playing violin, let him find out what he does like.

For me, learning what I CAN’T do is every bit as important as finding out what I CAN do.

I firmly believe every 3-year old should be exposed to as much as possible: music, painting, construction, carpentry, mechanical creativity, everything. Children will find their own way.

And the musical kids won’t need tapes.

 

 

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Edited by PhilipKT

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21 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Singing is like speaking. Everybody can do it, but not everybody wants to listen to you do it.

Suzuki training is exactly like learning speech. Actually according to his book, comparing learning music to learning speech was Suzuki’s “aha” moment.

And I applaud everyone learning music. But just as everyone learns to speak without necessarily  learning to orate, so too do many people learn music without being able to become musicians, and that’s ok.

I would suggest that a student who cannot recognize or reproduce a pitch lacks the fundamental requirement of music and would be less frustrated doing something else. And a student who can does not need tape.

I strongly oppose the notion that using tapes indicates incompetence, but they do involve unnecessary effort and are best avoided.

I wonder if the tapes haven't proliferated for the convenience of teachers more than of students, used as a pedagogical short-cut around the "talent barrier" like clip-on plastic bowing guides (something I never used, and absolutely detest)?  I can understand the attraction of rapid results in a large class, however, and don't criticize.  But, IMHO, overuse of training aids may hold the gifted students back, in any field.  You need to suit your approach to the student's abilities.  :)

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I agree.  

We also need to separate the gifted from the rest of the riff-raff (including me ^_^). 

That is too hard to do in a school setting though.  From my experience sitting at the back of the room during band rehearsals, I saw that the teacher spent most of her time disciplining and nagging.  The gifted kids spent most of their time bored out of their wits, waiting for the pandemonium to end.

However, most of the 'better' students also had access to private lessons (so the lack of individual attention during group rehearsals didn't hold them back), and they sucked-up the issues in the band room, with the reward being the opportunity to play in a group setting.

...and that's the negative side to only having private lessons - you may have a recital, but no access to group play.

It's not an easy system to work in, while trying to accommodate individuals.

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3 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Carl, it's spread through several posts, beginning with cheap shots at Rue.  Hopefully, it's over.  :)

Oh, this is nothing.

I remember a violin competition in 78 where the distinguished judges spat on each other over intonation disagreements. :)  :)  :)   Like 10 minutes of spitting. 

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8 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

Oh, this is nothing.

I remember a violin competition in 78 where the distinguished judges spat on each other over intonation disagreements. :)  :)  :)   Like 10 minutes of spitting. 

But isn't that normal at the Tchaikovsky?  :huh:  :lol:

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Just now, Violadamore said:

But isn't that normal at the Tchaikovsky?  :huh:  :lol:

Not uncommon...:)  Basically a deal is a deal, I let yours win last year how dare you tell me mine plays out of tune this year ? Have you no decency ???  

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3 hours ago, Violadamore said:

I wonder if the tapes haven't proliferated for the convenience of teachers more than of students, used as a pedagogical short-cut around the "talent barrier" like clip-on plastic bowing guides (something I never used, and absolutely detest)?  I can understand the attraction of rapid results in a large class, however, and don't criticize.  But, IMHO, overuse of training aids may hold the gifted students back, in any field.  You need to suit your approach to the student's abilities.  :)

There is no need to wonder and tapes and pedagogical should probably not be in the same sentence. Once tapes are off we are still left with the old and trusted "fingers closer, closer still !" which does wonders for one's ear.  :)

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What a nice, relaxed, mildly mannered teacher ! I wish mine could have been like that. I could take the beatings, it was the insults which left life long marks. :)  :)  :) 

 

 

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Frankly, I think more adults should tackle instruments even if they've never played.

I was so nervous at My first month of lessons that my hands were shaking.

But now, the amount of life enrichment and satisfaction I enjoy is even more than I imagined.   I just need more practice.

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40 minutes ago, outofnames said:

Frankly, I think more adults should tackle instruments even if they've never played.

.... the amount of life enrichment and satisfaction I enjoy is even more than I imagined.   ...

:wub:

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1 hour ago, outofnames said:

Frankly, I think more adults should tackle instruments even if they've never played.

I was so nervous at My first month of lessons that my hands were shaking.

But now, the amount of life enrichment and satisfaction I enjoy is even more than I imagined.   I just need more practice.

Almost the happiest moment of my entire time teaching a given student is near the end of the very first lesson.

I’ve taught the child how to hold the instrument and the bow, And I have shown him how to draw a good sound. Then I just have him draw a slow open G string, and I improvise slowly above that drone G, simple intervals, suspensions and the like. I always have mom videotape it and the joy on their faces is indescribable. They both have a wonderful feeling of being able to make music.

so rewarding.

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