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glenn kotnik
I'm new to this site and find it to be a great resource. I have some opinions about your answer to the question "I'm 60 years old, is it too late to learn to play the violin?" I didn't really start learning the violin until I was about 42 y/o. Since then I've had a great teacher and have been practicing faithfully for 15 years. However I often wish I had put those 15 years into a different instrument. Why? I love the violin, but even after 15 years it is hard to play a piece with a sound others could really enjoy listening to. I think that to play the violin with consistantly solid intonation and solid tone requires starting at a younger age. Someone putting this much time into the piano, harpsichord or even cello would by now be rewarded with a much more pleasing sound. That is not to say that I cannot play in tune, but to solidly and faithfully hit each pitch with almost inperceptable adjustment over the course of a piece still eludes me. The ability of a nonmusical listener to detect imperfections in intonation is remarkable. To eventually find the correct pitch is not enough to please a listener. Other instruments have their difficulties but the violin is a harsh mistress, (to quote someone). Adult beginners on other instruments can often reach a level where they play very pleasingly, not so the violin. Also, when you advise an adult on starting the violin, ask why they want to play the violin. Do they hear themselves playing the Mendelson concerto pleasingly? If so, they may be thinkingly unrealistically. A number of years ago NPR had an hour long program on adult beginner instrumentalists. They had samples of many adults playing nicely on many instruments, even the cello, but not the violin. The adult violinist they interviewed who had played for 10 years spoke passionately about her instrument, but no sample of her playing. So older adults who take up the violin need to understand that it's unlikely they will ever completely rid themselves of that wisp of Jack Benny quality, and play well enough that others will want to hear them play. I'm not saying I regret taking up the violin and putting so much time into it, but it's really a private and Quixotic endevor, and there are very appealing alternatives. It's not unusual for me to put over a year into learning one or two pages of music, the Adagio from the Bach g-minor, Bieber Passacaglia, Chausson poem, Stravinsky Elegy, etc. but never really play them well enough that I would want anyone but my teacher to hear me.
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17 Responses
Posted: May 26, 2011

Ray
Breakthrough! For me this is huge. It is with bow hold. Previously I had tried to balance the bow on the middle finger and had failed. I knew in theory that the bow pivots on the middle finger and the role of the index finger was for maintaining an even bow pressure (at the tip). Some how I was refusing to let go of my death grip. And then I when I was watching and studying Beth's index finger in the Expressive Phrasing videos. I listened and watched how the index finger is used and then just now in the middle of practice, without realizing it, the death grip was gone. I was able to lift the index finger and apply at will. THANK YOU BETH!
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8 Responses
Posted: May 30, 2011

Sean
Hi, I was just wondering if there was any kind of guide tape that will NOT leave any sort of marks/scars on my violin? Because I listened to the suggested tape in guide tape video, but I'm not sure if it would scar my violin with those little lines. Any suggestions?
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7 Responses
Posted: May 31, 2011

Beth Blackerby
I'm pretty sure our disgruntled member won't be posting anymore. I know who it is now and her membership is ending in a few days. She chose an interesting way to say her "goodbyes".

I appreciate everyone's sincere dedication to maintaining the supportive and positive environment we've created on this forum.

And to be clear, I don't mind at all if any one has constructive criticism for me and/or the tutorials. This person's comments about the Suzuki videos I am taking to heart. Maybe I do need to have a variety of approaches to teaching them. In any case, suggestions are welcome, and of course, are better received when stated politely.

I went ahead and deleted her comments, not to be censorial, but because they really weren't germane to the topics posted in the first place. It's been a spicy day here, huh?

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5 Responses
Posted: May 30, 2011


Hi, in Song of the Wind where we need to hop with the 3rd finger from A to the E string, I've seem this done by 'rolling' the 3rd finger so the finger never leaves the fingerboard and the side of the 3rd finger presses down the E string. Is this technique correct in your opinion? is this something done in more advance pieces and is it worth learning? Thanks!

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1 Responses
Posted: May 29, 2011


My problem is I can hold the bow vertically but when going to hold the bow horizontally I need to keep pressure with the pinky to keep it horizontal otherwise the tip of the bow moves to the ground.I don't understand is it natural.Another thing my ring finger become locked.How to solve the problem. Regards, Paul

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3 Responses
Posted: May 29, 2011

KarenJ
I watched the video on facial expression which affects the musical expression. i couldn't help but think of this little girl. she has amazing expression. https://youtu.be/GEOZ31HeZT4
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1 Responses
Posted: May 29, 2011

Ray
Hi Beth, I've listened a few times now to the Expressive Phrasing series of videos-WOW. Can't wait to begin and intigrating what you are teaching into my playing. I know, I know, it's possible to begin now, it's just that I'm working on more basic techniques but I'll get there. On video 44 "Are You Sleeping" I will want to start there with one or two of the expression techniques. To that end and as is my way, I researched where and why this piece was written and hope to express what I believe the author want to communicate with the listener. Frère Jacques might have been created to mock the Dominican monks, known in France as the Jacobin order, for their sloth and comfortable lifestyles. This would place it about the mid 1600s. There's another piece, also originally written in the same time period well known to one and all, "Three Blind Mice" which apparently goes back to one of King Henry V111's wives-Queen Mary or Bloody Mary! I'm already imagining what could be done with that piece.
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3 Responses
Posted: May 29, 2011


One of my favorite pieces for long sustained bow strokes is Air by Bach. It takes a lot of control to hold one note 9 counts at 66 on the metronome. If one can play that first note well it does wonders for the rest of a persons playing. Check out Sarah Chang playing this piece on youtube. WOW
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1 Responses
Posted: May 28, 2011


I have started to learn violin in 2003,September. But I am disappointed about my progress.I think I learnt in a wrong way,So, I can't play good. I need your support. Regards, paul
This discussion includes members-only video content

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6 Responses
Posted: May 28, 2011

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