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Left elbow; Right wrist
Making videos of my playing is so helpful. I debated posting these because I could already see (finally!) my left elbow problem- how it starts and why it happens. But I'm going ahead and posting these so I can share with you just how helpful a video angle can be, and in case you see further things.

What I found was that:
#1 - I position my left elbow for the lower strings right from the start, before even playing a note! The elbow is too far under and pretty much stationary throughout! I do further rotate the elbow a little on the lower strings, but it is negligible. Instead, I need to position the elbow hanging loosely beneath the instrument for the E string, and rotate the elbow minimally for each subsequent lower string as needed.

#2 - I closed my eyes and heard that I increased volume at the bow change at the frog on many notes, as well as gave an extra consonant sound, because I suddenly flattened the wrist. Playing with a flattened wrist is fine, but not suddenly changing to a flattened wrist at the bow change at the frog, unless intended!

#3 - Harmonic pressure at the bow while trying to keep light fingers during vibrato. (Bow pressure being affected by the pressure of the fingers.) Ray, I am joining you on these exercises!

#4 - Bow slowing and even drifting to fingerboard while vibrating on 4th finger. (An old problem that occurred while playing a 4th finger with no vibrato.)

The two videos are not that different, but I included both because the second one gave an even better camera angle to see what was going on with the elbow. Finally, I see it and can work on it. Hooray!

Just a note: using the vibrato is emphasizing exisitng problems in both hands.
This discussion includes members-only video content

7 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2018

Barbara Habel
Do you have fun playing the violin?

I visited a friend yesterday. She used to teach piano to kids for over 20 years. I am too analytical was her response to me telling her about my last violin lesson where my teacher taught me something specific about shifting. That hurt me. And then she laid it on by aksing: do I have fun playing the violin?

Well the answer is no. I do not have fun playing the violin. It costs me quite an effort to play the violin. It costs me physical and mental strength that sometimes I quite simply I do not have.

BUT - when I put the violin away after, say my regular 30 minutes of practice, I do feel "refreshed" and "euphoric" that I have once again mastered to pick up the violin and done something with it.

This is the reason why I pick up the violin again and again. Not because I am having "fun". It is the "after" and not the "during".

Am I am off the beaten track here?

21 Responses
Posted: January 15, 2018

Rhythm Question
Hi Beth,

I now have a handle on 3/4, and 4/4 time signatures. (Working on being able to hear 1/16 notes)

But my question has for 6/8 time signature.  Is it easier to think of this time signature as two 3/8s in one measure?  Especially in reading the notes?



3 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2018

Inge Black
"progress" since last
When I was a violin student some 12 years ago, I was in discomfort all the time.  In fact, simply thinking of resuming made my left side ache and get tight.   I made small inroads.  Beth, you showed how the arms being out 45 degrees is natural, and I used that just to feel staying balanced in center.  I put the violin on my left and right shoulder without tensing or contorting either side, and it's starting to happen.  I'm still not at the point of showing anything until I get past this.
I was playing loosely with the idea of "sticky thumb" for the left hand.  As I prepared to do anything with my left hand, that massive tension came into my neck and left side, and I caught what that was.   When I first played, I had hung the weight of my arm from my fingers, because the violin neck had a shape that hurt my thumb, and I'd have to clamp for dear life with the left side.  There's some kind of reflex that associates left hand fingers and tightening that side.
One last observation.  Doing a few bow strokes, I allowed the bow to move more loosely in the hand as I know it can and this felt positive.  I have no video yet to offer but writing in does help me keep at it, if that's ok with everyone.

12 Responses
Posted: January 15, 2018

Sonia Lancaster
Summer string camp Tasmania
Hello All,
Iím off travelling again next week. Iím going to the Residential String Summer School in Tasmania. 130 string players will be there. Iíve not been before so am looking forwards to lots of playing and learning. :)


6 Responses
Posted: January 11, 2018

Inge Black
embedding videos - dimensions
When you embed a video, you'll get  a code that looks like this:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The first part is "width = ......
I remember seeing text instructions, asking for a size limit so as to not mess up the formatting of the site.  I remember that the width of my videos would be too wide, and I posted and deleted a video at the time.  I'm not able to find those dimension limits, and that's what I need.
thanks :)

5 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2018

Day 1 of Keeping a New Year Resolution: Independent Hands
Hi Everyone,

I am starting my New Year Resolution today on working towards playing with indenpendent hands.  I'll worry about independent fingers later.  They are important buttttt I can only work on a couple of things at a time.

Towards that end I will be working on at least 3 different exercises, perhaps more, which will help me to address this issue.  By working specifically on independence of the right and left hands I am hoping that this skill will lead to an increase coordination for slurs but also playing dynamics.

So, this video is some what different for me because I really did not care if I made a mistake.  That is not quite true,  of course I cared, but what I meant to say was the it is through my mistakes that I will improve especially if I also share those mistakes to people who give great ideas on how to improve.

So warts and all, here is my first attempt, for all to see and hear.  Next time will perform these exercises with a metronome.  Now I have done my part it is now your turn to pipe in and give advice.  Perhaps you know other exe
rcises that I could use to improve my independence between my right and left hand.

P.S. I have not seen this video yet.  I will be reviewing it tomorrow.  So this is being posted sight unseen.  :)))

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1 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2018

My true source of fun and enjoyment...

Is to sit in front of my raggedy piano and play just anything in my head and then have a bite of sweet chocolate at the very end :)

Ending this short amateur composition too abruptly because I wanted to eat the 🍫 !  🙃

Have  a great night!!!

This discussion includes members-only video content

6 Responses
Posted: January 15, 2018

Toshie Habu
Mittenwald violin - how much?


It has been a long time since I posted something in this community. I recently rejoin Violinlab to learn music theory. I haven't been able to the course but I am still playing the violin.

I am wondering to buy a Mittenwald violin - Mathias Neuner, Geigenma cher in Mittenwald, 1844 (the last two digits were uncertain hand written)  Nro 94. It is beautiful to look at and sounds better than my Eastman violin (about 500 pounds as new).  It rings well. But what I'm not certain is whether this German violin is 6 times better than the Eastman reflecting the asking price?  Any advice will be appreciated.

Thank you



4 Responses
Posted: January 15, 2018

Venting time, happens every time when I pick a new area to focus on.  Of course I work on rhythm everyday, that will never change for me.  No I have chosen the goal for this year to be cleaning up my playing.  But I am finding that there are so many areas that I need to work on that my daily list is now unyielding.  There is no focus and so I am flouberuing with no real direction.  And because I am having some (limited) success with rhythm that I am wanting to also expand the number of new pieces I want to learn.  

From lazy dropping and lifting fingers, poor coordination timing on string crossings, tension in my shoulders affecting articulation, inflexible wrists, slow left-hand fingers, and wanting to add dynamics in Moon Over Ruined Castle are only a few of the areas that affect 'Cleaning Up My Playing'.  

I know I need to just pick one of these and concentrate on it like I did with rhythm but I have reached a point in which when ever I hear ANY 'fuzzies' as Beth calls them in my playing it really bugs me.  Maybe I will write all the areas that need more attention, on individual pieces of paper that are related to cleaning up my playing into a bowl and then pick one and then focus just on that one.  Ahhhhh!!!!!!

7 Responses
Posted: January 13, 2018

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