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I KNOW We've Written about this ad infinitum, but.....just one more time.


Theresa
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If you were an advanced beginner--could read notation and understood rhythms well--but you had no teacher and no time....

Or if you were someone in sort of the same situation above....

But you wanted to at least play something with the no time you had....

What would be the best single thing to practice over a period of about six months?

I really don't have the heart to begin lessons again--couldn't if I wanted to because of what's going on pianistically--but I really need to get up a little earlier, hit the road to school a bit earlier, and practice a little violin. Not much, because I really should put every spare moment into piano at school.

So: Scales? Would they be best to practice for a few minutes in the morning? Maybe scales and arpeggios? I am very compulsive and must limit myself to a single thing since piano is more important for a few more months--but I hate letting that poor violin sit totally dormant. And I'm thinking maybe scales would be best--or maybe Sevcik.

What do you think?

Thanks,

Theresa

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Theresa,

Scales and Arpeggios would be fine. I'm not really an expert on this or anything, but I also think that it would be good to once in a while play a few songs or tunes or something like that. It can get awefully monotonous to play scales all of the time. You could alternate between scales and songs, if you wanted to. I wish you luck on your playing and I hope you have alot of fun!!

Best wishes,

Journey

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I would vote for "ad lib" play simple tunes without reading from your head . Go for feeling. And while your doing that concentrate on simple bowing straight, flat, using the whole bow,whith good posture. Just my suggestion, and it's what I usually do in the morning.

It helps me learning to play by ear,and to improvise but most of all, it gives me a "delivery" Which is my name for letting others hear my music . Which is what it's all about.

Respectfully

Bud

[This message has been edited by fiddlefaddle (edited 10-31-2000).]

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Theresa, I second the motion made by Journey -- don't just do ONE thing -- vary it, so that you'll remember why you want to play violin. Scales one day a week (or more, if you want) will help you hang onto your intonation, but alternate with other things -- the other suggestions all sound good to me.

Balancing it all is a problem at ANY level!

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Two things:

Take something you know by heart - popular tune, whatever - and play it with all the feeling you can muster - play it hard and try a little improvisation on the way - that should really loosen you and the instrument up.

Then take something like Kreutzer and work through some numbers with variety.

(Alternatively, play through some sonata movements - the best practice for Mozart or Beethoven is playing Mozart or Beethoven, as a practical-minded teacher of mind used to say!)

Omo.

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If you are willing to resign yourself to complete tedium, you might consider Flesch's "Urstudien" ("Basic Studies"). Flesch claims that these form a comprehensive way to work the necessary muscles, in just 30 minutes (15 minutes for each hand), for players with limited time to practice. Many of these exercises are also silent -- so you won't disturb the rest of the household.

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Dear Theresa,

I've been there once myself. I think scales, and maybe one etude. This was in college. I didn't want to loose my ability, but had limited time to spend. Better at piano but didn't want to loose what I had on the cello. So, I liked scales and they kept me in tune. I'd play 2 or three and then an etude. The next day, I'd progress to the next 2 or three scales, and either same favorite etude or another. I didn't go to pieces because I knew I didn't have the time to spend to play them well enough at the time. I wanted to maintain.

Best wishes,

-J-

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Hi Theresa,

After playing for 44 years, I would say scales and arpeggios would be the best, if you have time for only one thing. I'm sure the piano score is keeping you busy and provides a lot of "music" for you. The scales will maintain your intonation and help the violin as well. They can be played in a variety of ways (bowings, rhythms, etc.), which will keep you musically satisfied as well as increase your ability level. I admire you greatly for juggling all of it ... don't burn out!

Best regards,

Susan

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Ah, lunch time and a few minutes.

Andy, I think I'm probably what most people would say is a good example of an advanced beginner. I'm not intermediate in that I don't shift easily yet--I have to think through and plan all shifting in advance and can't shift yet sightreading very much.

Materials in most series that I've gone through in first position I can mostly sightread in keys with up to three sharps and flats. Some parts of Suzuki 4 are easy for me; some parts are hard. Doflein 1 and 2 are comfortable and well under my fingers. I basically play in tune--with some bad days thrown in. I've worked in beginning studies in Sevcik and Wohlfahrt fairly comfortably.

I'm definitely a beginner because of lack of comfort in keys with more than three sharps, because of lack of experience in shifting, and because I have very, very little vibrato.

I also think I'm probably an advanced beginner in that you probably can't throw too many rhythms my way that I couldn't figure out pretty quickly, if not on the spot.

So, I figure I'm an advanced beginner--looking longingly at one day being a bona fide intermediate student. I figure I'll be an advanced beginner for the above reasons for probably a fairly long time--two, three years at least--maybe the rest of my life. Shifting seems awfully hard to me; so does vibrato; so does E Major, which sits firmly on its little tuffet and will not move for me.

Hope that makes sense. I didn't mean "advanced" in the sense, "A wonderfully accomplished beginner"; more in the sense, "A beginner whose next step--if it ever comes--will be true intermediate literature."

Best regards,

Theresa

[This message has been edited by Theresa (edited 11-01-2000).]

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Theresa, I find that a good way to get a bit of extra technique practice in painlessly is, before practicing a piece (including etudes), always to practice the scale and arpeggios of the key the piece is in.

As to improving vibrato, years ago a very good player told me that it would come naturally when I practiced more and my fingers got stronger. He was right!

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For 80% of the time, play something fun. Music you really, really want to play just because you like it.

(For me, that'd be some nice and fun Irish/Scottish fiddle music.)

Why? With the time you're going to be able to devote, you're not going to progress fast anyway. The time you have got should be fun and not a chore that will give you only small returns.

CJ

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Theresa,

What is an "advanced beginner?"

In order to stay up with it, I would recommend you play the last thing you studied and the corresponding scale and arpeggio (2 or 3 octave, depending on how "advanced"). Also work on the corresponding minor scale and arpeggio. This will keep your fingers in it (so to speak) while not troubling your brain to learn other things. Then you will be as ready to spreing forward when you choose as you ever were.

Andy

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