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Ian Renshaw
Hello violin chums,

I just wanted to tell you about a wonderful day I had on Sunday. I attended a fiddle workshop in Camden (North London, UK) with a violinist friend of mine.

We had the privilege to meet -  and join in workshops run by - Chris Haigh. If you don't know his name do a quick Google - he's a top-notch fiddler player and has written quite a body of literature on the subject.

His focus on Sunday was 'rock violin' (interestingly he always calls it a violin, not a fiddle - which is a clue to his classical background..). He said if you get to the point where your audience are playing 'air violin' along with you then you've made it!

Just one day of intensive violin-ness has stiffened my resolve to get those flights to Austin booked. Four days..? Heaven! :o)

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Posted: February 22, 2012

Hello fiddle-friends:

Is anyone out there going this summer to either Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA (https://www.centrum.org/fiddle/ft-description.html) or to the Stanford Jazz Residency in Stanford, CA (https://stanfordjazz.org/jazz-camp/2012-residency/)?


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5 Responses
Posted: February 22, 2012



Ikaalinen Handicraft and Industrial Arts Institute
Elno Salmelaisen Katu 20
39500 IKAALINEN, Finland
Tel: +358-33-4501-346
Fax: +358-33-4501-330

2 - 4 year courses in string instrument making. 24 student to 2 teachers. School founded in 1984. Entrance by examination. Also short summer courses.

Hi Tomi,

Above you will find a violin making school with summer programs and longer if that is what you want.  Newark in England is good.

Places to buy tools, violins partly made, varnishes, books, dvds, would be: Atlantic Violin Supplies, International Violin Company, and Geo. Heinl & Co.

You may want to buy a violin in the white from China from ebay and then finish and set up the violin yourself. Some good quality violins are coming out of China.  Like everything, you have to be careful.

If you build your violin from scratch tool alone could run you $700 plus and then books and materials; whether you are building an average violin or something  of some quality.

Oh, a good source for varnishes and ground system is Old Wood 1700. I like their system and their colours.   

Hope this of some help.


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Posted: February 22, 2012

Where can the score be found?

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1 Responses
Posted: February 22, 2012

First Recital: the longest, scariest 3:41 of my musical journey.

While rummaging through my hard disk recently, I came across this clip and thought I should share.  At the time, I had returned to lessons after about a 16 year "break" and had just finished 5 months of weekly instruction culminating in this annual recital with about 80 people in attendance (fiddle students and families).

For me, it was the one of the most heart pounding, adrenaline pumping activities that I can recall. Fortunately I had practiced quite a bit, which was a good thing because I was completely on "auto-pilot" throughout the performance.  The only things I can recall while playing are thoughts like:
  •     why is my bow bouncing like this, that shouldn't be happening;
  •     this sure is taking a long time, and I'm not even half way through;
  •     now, how does the next tune start;
  •     don't look at the audience or you'll surely crash and burn;
  •     oh, that didn't sound good;
  •     hmm, I wonder why my vision is getting a little blurry;
  •     wow, she's (my fiddle teacher) really picking up the tempo,  hope I can keep up.
How the notes managed to come out at all in that turmoil is beyond me.

Looking back at it from an adult perspective, I can only say that the emotional anxiety that builds up leading to a recital is exceeded by your feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction once it's complete.  I've since started doing the annual recital as a solo with my teacher providing piano accompaniment - yes, all those feelings remain although they do seem to get a bit more manageable each time.

Hope you enjoy!
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13 Responses
Posted: February 20, 2012

Jim Gross
I have a question That is bothering me at this time.  It refers to the fact that I am rather tall, and long in the arm.  To make the characteristic box when bowing, in order for my forearm to be parallel with the strings, I end up with only about six inches of bow to the tip.  This makes it an awfully long way to the frog, consequently I am not using all the bow.  Your thoughts?
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9 Responses
Posted: February 20, 2012

FYI - Anyone wanting to buy a Bon Musica shoulder rest, the type Beth uses, can be found the cheapest (I think) on Ebay. I've compared many sites for prices. Brand new and genuine. $41.89 and free shipping. Here is the link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/260833395329?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
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16 Responses
Posted: February 10, 2012

Dear All. Forgive me if I am stating the blindingly obvious here but it might help someone - especially those left hand grippers and squeezers out there.

I have recently been practicing G major scale which necessitates using all four strings and stopping them down. I was fine on the lower G & D strings but as I moved up to A & E, I could feel my left hand pulling the violin neck to the left and downwards. I tried rejigging my hold to get a vice like grip with my chin but to no avail.

But then I remembered one of Beth's videos (it's a slow process this end),  where she talked about how little pressure is required to stop a string down. I tried lightening my left hand finger pressure when stopping a note and bing - it worked - perfectly. That really was one of those Homer Simpson doh! moments. Best wishes. Nick.

See 05mins:58secs at Beth's VIDEO
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8 Responses
Posted: February 11, 2012

Hi everyone :)
Another month another video...
I tried to improve bowing again and I think it got a little bit better, but itīs not easy for me ;)
My tiny camera doesnīt seem to be capable of the loudness, Iīll try out an external mic in the near future (that is the reason why my playing sounds out of tune sometimes hahaha :))
Feel a little bit lost in my practice at the moment, perhaps I should take a look at the beginning videos again and get a better "foundation" in my skills
A few days ago I got my copy of "Superstudies for Viola 1&2" :D

Your comments are highly appreciated and required ;)

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23 Responses
Posted: February 14, 2012

Hello my friends! you were all wondering if I am still playing lately since I've been so miserable having been recently 'diagnosed' with hypothyroidism and being SO TIRED all the time and COLD!

I used to practice my violin EVERY DAY for 3 hours up to a few months ago, then it went all DOWNHILL and these day (since 4 months+ ago) you won't believe it but I only practice 20 minutes ONCE A WEEK!!! :'( whaaaa! that's how miserable my 'illness' has made me :(

But I hope now that I am on medication I will get back to be my 'old' self by next year hopefully (it takes a long time to 'recover').  I am 'committed' to get back to full health and I am about to start a new 'diet regime' as well!

In the meantime with the little time I practice I have learnt this new piece in the last 2 and a half months and this is me practicing it just 2 days ago.

It does sound as nice without the piano accompaniment, it really sounds like 'something's missing' but I could not find ANYWHERE an MP3 piano accompaniment for it, so apologies, it will sound strange 'violin on its own', but here I am... and apologies for the 'sub-skilled' violinist too HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :D
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13 Responses
Posted: February 15, 2012

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