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Lesley McCubbin
hi everybody,

as we head into a new year, i thought i'd raise the topic of "achievements" as a sort of counterpart to "goals." what do you feel you achieved this past year? did you hit any targets you'd set? where did you make progress?

in the last year, i made a major effort to improve my bowing. specifically, i wanted to feel more in control (as opposed to always feeling i was about to drop it!). i also wanted my hand to look more like what a "real" violinist's hand looks like when bowing, instead of like limp spaghetti. so i watched a lot of bowing videos (Beth's and others), spent more time watching my bowline in a mirror and really tried to focus a lot on my right hand when playing. it's a work-in-progress, but i definitely feel more control now.

this year: vibrato and intonation!

5 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2019

Orchestral Practice
Any comments welcome. I am looking very much for help in knowing what bow technique would be appropriate for this movement. I will improve the vibrato (hopefully) and intonation. The counting in this was verrry hard after all. Dotted half notes and dotted half rests mixed in, combinations of rhythms and some ties. It took my whole concentration just to get through it.
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12 Responses
Posted: January 14, 2019

A. Lorraine Pacheco
Thumb callous?
The funny Jack Benny video probably answers my question, but here it goes anyway:

I'm almost 1 year at steady violin practice and am noticing some callouses on my thumbs.

Bow thumb:  inside upper right corner is forming an indentation with a callous forming below that due to bow hold.

Left hand thumb:  callous forming on the inside near first joint from nail due to violin hold.

Am I holding too tightly, or is this normal?

4 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2019

I wanted to share that my vibrato journey was interrupted last summer when I dove full time into orchestral music. The music was very difficult and taught me a lot. Even though I no longer did vibrato exercises of any kind, my vibrato would sometimes engage very loosely and surprise me. Whenever I concentrated on something, the vibrato was tight.

2 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2019

Eugenio Portillo
Returning player, frustrated with current lessons.
Hello guys! Hope you're all doing well.

I 'm a returning violinist. I first started almost 18 years ago, back when I was 12 years old and took lessons up to age 15. The last thing I remember practicing was the first mov. of the Vivaldi a minor, but my family had to relocate, so I had to quit. When we got settled I decided to try piano lessons instead, and I ultimately stuck with it and went all the way up to Suzuki 7.

I had been wanting to get back to the violin for a while. I got me a Yamaha Silent violin and kinda tried stuff on my own on for a bit but I really wanted to get serious about it this year so I found me a teacher nearby and I've been taking lessons two times a week. This will be my third week. It's been good, up til now. I went back to 0 starting with book 1 and it hasn't been too hard since I can read quite well and I have a good sense of intonation and rhythm (my teacher said so). 

We were studying the Perpetual Motion piece yesterday and my teacher said I needed to work on my left hand position (I guess he handn't caught it before), even though I could tell my pinky finger was pretty much in tune (or at least not too far off, since I could hear the e string vibrating as well). He said that my thumb is way too high up, and that it needed be further toward the peg box, almost hitting the scroll tail. He made me play like that for the rest of the class and it pretty much messed up my intonation, which he said was more proof that I needed to keep practicing like that. He also said that keeping this position is important because it will help me find my way back to first position when shifting or doing octaves. He showed me by playing a bit on his violin, so he really does play that way. 

I'm finding it very hard to play like this. I get tired real quick and its starting to become really frustrating that I'm so out of tune and that my pinky can't reach e5 conformably, specially since I have small hands (I can barely reach a 9th on the piano). I know it's been a long time since I first took lessons, but I don't recall this being an issue before. I don't even remember having a hard time with shifts back then and this would have clearly been an issue in the Vivaldi concerto, since it's mostly up in the 3rd position from what I recall. I'm thinking that maybe this position is just possible/comfortable to him because his hands are much larger than mine.

I've spent the day looking at videos and reading as much as I could find on the left hand position, but I can't find anything that confirms that he said, so I was hoping you guys could help me out. I was really excited to get back but this has really been a bummer. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated! I'm attaching a picture to try to show what I mean.

Thank you all very much!

6 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2019

I also wanted to share what I have discovered about my violin strings. So many times on this forum I have posted that my Peter Infeld violin strings went bad after exactly three months and I would have to replace them. I was able to tune them, and they did not unravel, but the symptom was that it became hard to bow them. Not only that, they lost their chocolatey sound and became one dimensional sounding. Vibrato was so much easier on new strings as well. One time when I posted about it, I remember someone posting, asking if there was something wrong with the way they played that their strings didn't wear out in 3 months? I think that person was onto something...

1 Responses
Posted: January 16, 2019

Using a Tuning Fork and Fifths to Tune My Violin

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2 Responses
Posted: January 15, 2019

Stephen Nill

Began playing
October, 2018

Level 1
Lesson 56

Lesson 6 - Taught by Professor LeBlanc to Jack Benny
Beth, I know that you're dealing with a hacking situation. (I've run a large professional-community website for twenty-five years, so  believe me, I can relate.)

In case you can use a smile, I thought you might enjoy watching "Professor LeBlanc" (played by Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and so many other characters) give a violin lesson, particularly on the flexible bow hold, to Jack Benny. :)

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4 Responses
Posted: January 13, 2019

Karen Wyatte
Hi, I was wondering what is the difference between etudes and repertoire?  I'm beginning level and trying to organize my practice and planning what I'm putting into each category...

1 Responses
Posted: January 15, 2019

Janet Doherty
Finding that first note
Hi everyone.  I have searched unsuccessfully for a video that might address this problem:

You pick up the violin, place your left hand in position, but for me, I am never sure that I am exactly in proper position to execute the first note with good intonation (other than an open string).  I have asked several teachers over the past couple of years and never got a useful answer.  Anyone have a (for lack of a better word) "trick" they use?  Or is this just a matter of so many repetitions, that you always begin at the correct place naturally?  ...I am speaking of first position in this case

...hope I have expressed my question well  :-)



11 Responses
Posted: January 8, 2019

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