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I am away from home and my violin needs tuning. I have only done it myself a couple of times, first under the supervision and guidance of my teacher. Now I have tuned 3 of the strings, but the D string is way out of tune, and I don't know if I should tighten it or loosen it! I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I have this immense fear that I will snap the string. (All strings were new last December, but I only really started to play in February, so they aren't that old.) I loosened the fine tuner all the way, and now according to my electronic tuner it is at F. Help!
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Posted: July 2, 2011

Say 'Hi' if you're in the UK!

So as not to hijack Glenn's thread any further, I'm starting this to continue the discussion we've been having there about organising a meet in the UK.

Drop by and say 'Hi' if you're interested....
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11 Responses
Posted: June 2, 2011

This is great ! It's instant feedback instead of messing around wondering..."do I have that note right ?"

My problem will be finding a time when no one else is home...LOL ! I have to turn the drone up so loud in order to hear it well enough over my own playing....that I'll be dodging pitch forks as I'm run out of the house !

definitely have to find a solution to that though, because I think this will help me immensely with my intonation ! Thanks Beth for the tutorial !


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Posted: June 29, 2011

Beth Blackerby
I just posted 3 new videos in response to threads about practicing with drones, trills, and sautille. You'll see them from your home page under "recently added". I do hope there is useful information.

Yours, Beth

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Posted: June 28, 2011

Hi Beth!

My violin teacher started her holidays and gave me "a little something to do meanwhile".

A bunch of etudes on string crossings and slurs (by some russian guy, can't remember who) and finger agility (Schradieck)...and a song: Allegro by Fiocco.
She asked me: do you think this is too difficult? I take a brief look...sure, seems more difficult than anything I have played before, but sure I can give it a try.

Well, I go home and find some reference performances on youtube...OMG! So I took a closer look at the sheet..

It's FAST, well...allegro, thats what it suggests...
There's shifting, not too much but still, I haven't used shifting in a real song yet.
Mordent is also a new symbol for me. It doesn't seem too difficult to execute, though.
And in the end there's also triple and quadruple stops.

I also found out that this piece is in suzuki material as well....in BOOK 6!! (I'm half way in book 2)

I don't know why she gave me a piece this advanced (or does it only appear that way?). As a test what I can do with it? Or just by mistake.

Anyway, Beth, if this piece is familiar enough to you, any good tips will be highly appreciated. I am going to give my best shot at it, mistakenly given task or not. Very nice piece and I'd be happy to be able to play it.

After studying the sheet, it's quite clear why she gave me those etudes as well :)

Here's one quite nice performance of Allegro by Fiocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkk6DtawbWQ
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20 Responses
Posted: April 26, 2011

Hello Beth, I noticed the “Drones for practice” information on the home page. I checked it out and I’m not sure how to use them. Do you have instructions on how to use the Drones in the video lessons library? I couldn’t find one. If one does exist could you point me in the right direction? If not could you someday put together a video demonstrating how to use them? I‘m interested in anything that would help me with intonation and making practicing scales more exciting. I’ll bet I’m not the only one that could use some excitement when doing scales! LOL
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Posted: June 26, 2011

Hi Beth, along with "Sad Romance" as an easy introduction to shifting for us beginners, what do you think of "Amazing Grace" as another example? There is one shift into third position and no slurs. Ray
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4 Responses
Posted: June 27, 2011

Hi Beth, I like to 'plan' for a project with plenty of time ahead, so today I asked my teacher if I could enter for an 'Advanced Music Certificate Exam' with the Trinity College in London for next year in the Summer, then realised I will be in TEXAS! so we decided I might go for it in the Autumn/Winter 2012 instead (next year) ;) so I know this is a long way away but as I said I like to work slowly with no panic and PLENTY of time ahead, plus the pieces I will have to prepare are quite challenging and I am not quite at that level 'yet' though my teacher is confident I am very nearly there and he is said he is 100% convinced I will have no problem to sit this exam for next year. So anyway, I have to choose enough pieces from their list to play for 25 to 30 minutes, in that time I have to consider any 'pauses' I might take in between pieces (though these are unlikely to be more than 30 seconds to a minute in between pieces). Also I am allowed to play up to 10 minutes of pieces of my own free choice, although they have to 'match' the level of the pieces on their list. I have included here a link to the list of pieces I can choose to play from. I am supposed to choose a range of different pieces to bring a 'varied and balanced' recital but I am unsure what to pick. I have to say half of the pieces I am not passionate about. I tell you what I thought I might like to play, I would love your opinion on what I chose and my free choices, and also if you had any suggestions on any alternate choices I'd love to hear it :) The pieces so far that I think I might like are: Biber: solo sonata XVI Brahms: Sonata in Dminor op 108 4th movement Mozart concerto n.3 in G 1st mov then either: Sarasate Playera (free choice) or: Wieniawski Mazurka-Obertass AND Dinicu-Heifetz Hora Staccato - free choice (these 2 pieces are 2:30 each) here is the link by the way: https://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/?id=1753 thank you
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Posted: June 25, 2011

You are an inspiration Jojo. Some day I may want to look into those examinations. :} Which should be interesting since I hear 3/4 of the sounds most people are able to hear. Beth, I have a question about the Sad Romance, on measures 1-6 I believe you are using third position but when I read the music score I read first position for 1-6 measures. Am I missing something?
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2 Responses
Posted: June 26, 2011

Hi Beth!

I have recently noticed that I sometimes tend to curl my 4th finger away from the strings. Usually when 3rd finger is doing something.

Till now this has not been a problem so I haven't even really paid attention to it, but now that I'm learning that Fiocco's, 4th really needs to be ready to play and not be curled away.
I've already googled around and this seems to be quite common problem. I also found an exercise for the problem from somewhere and I'd like to ask your opinion is this a good one, or do you have better ideas to fix the problem. The exercise goes like this:

Hold 4th finger using harmonic pressure OR just hover it above the string. Then on string below play 1st finger - open string, 2nd finger - open string, 3rd finger - open string and repeat n times. And while doing this 4th should maintain harmonic pressure or the hover. Not press harder or lift up.
What do you think?
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2 Responses
Posted: May 26, 2011

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