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Absolute Beginner


shark1
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Hello all. I've just joined this forum and have been reading through a lot of the postings. I have only been studying the violin for about 8 months and really enjoying it (I am 30 years old and starting with the very basics). I'm finding everything a bit overwhelming and many times I don't understand everything that is discussed on this forum but I do find the threads about practicing, how to hold the bow, etc. very helpful and inspiring. I'd be happy to hear advice from any of you long time players or pros on improving my playing and just general helpful hints.

Thanks.

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Congrats Shark,

I didn't begin till I was 36. That was two years ago. Why I wasted over 20 years playing classical guitar instead of the violin I'll never know.

Just be patient with yourself and master one thing at a time. My teacher (an incredible player, and really super wonderful person) has been a fantastic inspiration. She has made doing the most tedious scales and intonation exercises exicting. It's almost like not having a lesson. We work real hard, laugh a lot, and I am slowly but surely learning how to sing on my beautiful old violin.

One step at a time and you will be playing really great eventually.

Good luck,

DC

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Listen! Listen to any and all recordings - listen to different people playing the same stuff, listen to your own playing - record your own playing, practise in different rooms of the home (try the bathroom!).

You don't have to have your violin with you to practise - sing songs through in your head, move your fingers if you have to ^^

Happy stringing! smile.gif

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Mr. Woof, I am curious to know if having known how to play classical guitar has made taking up the violin easier than someone who has never played a stringed instrument? Did you have lots of adjustments, or have to "unlearn" stuff?

The reason I am asking is that I am sort of interested in taking up the guitar, but have hesitated because I do NOT want to interfere with my violin efforts. Any insights or advice are appreciated! Thanks! laugh.gif

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I took up the violin about a year and a half ago at age 37. I wish I had had the opportunity to start when I was a child because this instrument has grown on me more than any other I have played. I have played guitar and piano for years, and played flute in high school. It's very difficult not to try to rush ahead too quickly because I continually want to try a new piece, but my advice would be to try not to rush yourself to the next level until you are ready.

As for whether or not learning the violin was any easier because of having played guitar I would have to say yes. I already had the calouses on my fingers and understood the idea of stopping the string properly to get a good sound. There were some adjustments, of course, but not major. I think when I play my guitar now I actually find it easier than the violin because of the frets. I don't find any difficulty going from violin to guitar because the of the differences. The way the instrument is held, the number of strings, the frets. I think a lot of people who play violin also play guitar.

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I've been learning Indian (sub-continent) Violin for about 2 months now (I'm 27) and love it. The style is called Carnatic (actually that is the name for all South Indian classical music) and what is interesting is that the violin is played with the person sitting cross-legged (kinda' like lotus position) on the floor.

The scroll rests on the ankle and the base is rested just below the collar bone. It is quite comfortable and there is no need for shoulder/chin rests.

For the past two months, I've only played scales -- any little songs are taught only after all the scale lessons are completed. This can get a little boring sometimes and I try to come up with the notes to songs and play them - don't get very far! smile.gif

I would also love to learn the western classical violin -- do people think that it is ok to learn two different styles at the same time or will that mess me up?

I'm so glad I finally started -- I completely love it!

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Working up a folk dance tune smile.gif

Get a rough idea of how to play it with notes and audio.

Slow down the audio source so you can better appreciate the way it is played. Play along if you can, get hold of a Viola or Fiddle tuned to C.

Consult Bowing Guides if necessary, most of the time the DBs will be easily idetified smile.gif

Then using either counting or a Metronome start slowly 90 BPM go over it in concert and gradually increase the speed until you are playing accurately but a little faster than a recorded source. It is not as hard as you might think!

Tricks and exercises. Always keep the scroll high - makes more room for your Bow Arm - do make finger exercises a priority, eg 1324 etc. Do play Scales - Use as much Bow as you can then add a mile more lol. Always be working on Posture and intonation.

smile.gif

Help for Fiddle Student

http://www.ionet.net/~qtech/fiddle.htm

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quote:

Originally posted by violinfrog:

Mr. Woof, I am curious to know if having known how to play classical guitar has made taking up the violin easier than someone who has never played a stringed instrument? Did you have lots of adjustments, or have to "unlearn" stuff?

The reason I am asking is that I am sort of interested in taking up the guitar, but have hesitated because I do NOT want to interfere with my violin efforts. Any insights or advice are appreciated! Thanks!
laugh.gif

Hi,

The answer is yes and no. A lot of violin literature has been lifted and arranged for guitar. Pagannini played the guitar (trivia for the day). The way the left and right hands operate though is quite different.

The right hand on the guitar is more similar to the right hand on the bow than the left hand is on the fingerboard of the violin compared with the left hand on the fretboard of the guitar. Scale patterns are so simple on the violin compared with the guitar. The reason is that the violin is tuned in fifths so it is very simple comparitively. The guitar is tuned in fourths with a third thrown in (E A D g b e). There is a lot of squeezing and shifting involved to accommodate the tuning. Also the guitar sounds an octave lower than written, though the timbre of the instrument is deceptive and gives the effect of sounding higher than it is.

On the violin you mostly worry about making a melodic line work smoothly. Occasionally you have double, triple, or even quarduple stops. I am not underrating the skill required to do this well.

The guitar requires that you handle chords up to six notes, while maintaining moving lines. You want to talk about finger stretching LOL.

It takes just as much time to practice and play the guitar well as it does the violin. I am at the point where I find that my efforts are better spent on the violin as it is more personally rewarding to me. I am looking at trading in or selling my classical so that I can just a nice little parlor steel string guitar that I can fingerpick and strum on when I get the itch.

The main drawback with the guitar is that it is very limited as it cannot sustain tone for long. On the violin you can draw that bow back and forth and increase and decrease volume and change tone. Once you pluck a string that is it. Everything depends on where and how you pluck it. It is akin to the problem of the piano being unable to truly slur a note to another note. Regardless of how smoothly it is done, you must strike each in succession.

Good luck and have fun. The guitar is a wonderful instrument, but it is not the singer that the violin is.

Don Crandall

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quote:

Originally posted by IndiVio:

I've been learning Indian (sub-continent) Violin for about 2 months now (I'm 27) and love it. The style is called Carnatic (actually that is the name for all South Indian classical music) and what is interesting is that the violin is played with the person sitting cross-legged (kinda' like lotus position) on the floor.

I would also love to learn the western classical violin -- do people think that it is ok to learn two different styles at the same time or will that mess me up?

I'm so glad I finally started -- I completely love it!

I've been learning Indian (sub-continent) Violin for about 2 months now (I'm 27) and love it. The style is called Carnatic (actually that is the name for all South Indian classical music) and what is interesting is that the violin is played with the person sitting cross-legged (kinda' like lotus position) on the floor.

-----

Welcome! I myself am a veena player, and only took up the western violin at age 48. Most people would tell you that the veena is much more difficult (mostly because of the micro intonational changes.) I have found the opposite to be the case, basically because the way folks hold the western violin is so unwieldy -- the Carnatic posture makes so much more sense!

My older daughter plays Carnatic violin (as well as western, and also plays the oboe, but is mainly a composer); the younger one is an extremely gifted pianist and flautist, and also a gymnast, and is setting her next gymnastics route to music of T.N. Krishnan.

Learning all those scales in Carnatic music makes learning Western styles much easier -- you never have to do Sevcik's or anything to increase finger speed via repetitive exercises, because you'll already know more repetitive exercises by heart than you'll ever need!

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Hi Shantinik! I was wondering from prior posts that I saw if it was a shortened version of Shantiniketan!

Anyway, I've just arrived at Janta Varishai (ss rr gg mm) and it fun and challenging -- probably more challenging than if I'd learnt it as a child smile.gif

Since I am still very much a basic beginner, do you think it would be okay if I also learnt western classical in parallel or should I wait a bit? I think the western style focuses a lot more on the bowing etc. and it might help both styles if I learn them together. Would love your input.

thanks!

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quote:

Originally posted by IndiVio:

Hi Shantinik! I was wondering from prior posts that I saw if it was a shortened version of Shantiniketan!

Anyway, I've just arrived at Janta Varishai (ss rr gg mm) and it fun and challenging -- probably more challenging than if I'd learnt it as a child
smile.gif

Since I am still very much a basic beginner, do you think it would be okay if I also learnt western classical in parallel or should I wait a bit? I think the western style focuses a lot more on the bowing etc. and it might help both styles if I learn them together. Would love your input.

thanks!

My house has a sign on it that says "Shantiniketan", named after the school of the arts founded by the Bengali Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (who is a personal hero.) Actually, it is a bit of a pun too, because both my wife and I abandoned our last names in giving the last name Shanti to both of our daughters, one of whom is adopted from India. And we homeschool them, so we have the "school" (or "garden") of shantis at our house!

To try to answer your question, it really depends on your goals and the amount of time/energy you have. I have put aside my veena (at which I am very adept), for several years while I take up the western violin. But if you do the Carnatic violin right, your practice habits and, more critically, your ear will develop far more quickly than if you do them both together. Ear development in Carnatic music is far more intense from day one than in most western work -- better students in intensive programs are not allowed to play even the most basic songs (Varu Veena, etc.) until about a year into playing (with 2-3 hours of practice a day.) When I first learned the veena, 5-6 hours a day was not uncommon.

But, the flipside -- life is short, and if you are holding down a day job (and, for me, adding a family on top of it -- and I'm also an author and write a regular magazine column, and I homeschool my kids, and....) -- do what gives you the most pleasure, and force your teachers to adapt. I have found, for example, that I can use certain parts (not the whole thing, but parts) of Bach violin concertos (the Double, in particular) in lieu of many finger exercises. Is it a good idea? oh, maybe not, if I ever want to be a high level performer. Since that is not my goal, however, that is wholly irrelevant to the question of whether it is a good idea FOR ME.

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