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Barb Wimmer
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Trying to learn how to play well with others  (ha ha). Okay this is not great but I love this song. Attempting to play along, and attempting to improvise but I think I just kinda played along. Trying to figure out how not to just be a soloist. Thoughts? Suggestions? On how to make any progress - improvising seems a guessing game.  I put the camera down because I play better that way
Barb Wimmer
12 Responses
Posted: November 30, 2017
Last Comment: December 8, 2017

Barb Wimmer
Posted: December 8, 2017
Thank You Dianne good advice. And Sorry Maria not Dianne excellent amazing job on improvising and thanks for making it clearer with your great playing      Will address with teacher next lesson Jan 6.  

Posted: December 8, 2017
Hi Barb, I think you meant 'Maria' but I wanted to comment on your description of the improvisation theory and exercise book. I think from what I read that you may be concentrating on a lot of theory of modes etc., because that is what the book is presenting, and what might be better is to forget all that for right now, and pick the rhythm that is being used (as Maria did), such as a simple quarter and eighth note variation you hear being repeated in spots in the piece, and just use that. In other words, before you choose 'a different rhythm' as you said the book suggested, choose the exact same rhythm patterns the CD is using. I would only use one of the beginning songs, as the songs progress in difficulty up to an advanced level. The descriptions for the book say there are 28 exercises, so I would pick an early exercise. Or pick the song Maria did, listen for the simple rhythm pattern, and duplicate it. Would love to hear it!

What I like @ Maria's playing, is just when I think she will contour down, she goes up in pitch. That is what I think makes her playing so interesting, because you are being led somewhere in that contour, even though it may be a short, simple rhythm pattern in the main song. It works so well, and is such a nice idea for improvising training. Nice job Maria!

Barb, in other words, I'm suggesting that you concentrate on rhythm and phrasing as Maria is doing, and not so much on the theory at this point. You need the theory, too, but not as a beginner in improvising, if it's getting in the way. But definitely work on it on the side in the theory section of VLab and with your teacher as you said.

Barb Wimmer
Posted: December 8, 2017
That is great Dianne.  From the very little I know if I read right on improvising it is supposed to be like you do it so well- you donít play over the others and you have good rhythm. Scanning thru the book it says to play a different rhythm along which seems hard for me to understand. 

Posted: December 8, 2017
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Hello Barb,

I am proud of you for your dedication and patience of learning new things...I tried to read and understand the book or page that was in your video but I'm not a good student I admit when it comes to music theory. I always forget things...

As for improvisation I don't know but I just go for it but then I place myself in a semi-floating mood or mode. Every time I repeat it it comes a bit different, so here's a video I made for you impromptu, raw unedited and you will hear me finding the notes here and there.

I hope this will you somehow and gives you an idea from an amateur like me...:))
 Thank you much for putting genuine value on my input, truly appreciated it.

Barb Wimmer
Posted: December 7, 2017
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Sorry this is a little lengthy Dianne  but if I understand the exercise right. (Lets look at exercise 8).  It tells you that you can play a1 a2# a3 or e1 e2  e3.  BUT not open G in this exercise. And you can get into different positions but then have to keep the same notes above. 

In Other words, b, c#, d,     f, g a     And in the exercise 8 I can use any open string except G because that sounds weird.   They say you can play anything but I don't know if I am improvising or just trying to embellish, play a tune along similar, maybe it kinda goes together. 

Love to hear your thoughts Dianne and Maria's thoughts.

Toward the end of the book they tell you what notes to end on. It is all different scales and you can play the notes in any order but I would think one would want to have a common melody and not copy so much but then there are sections where it says to play your violin where there is silence but use the notes they suggest any order or to change the rhythm a little. I would think you have to always go back to the rhythm in the song to make it sound more together.Anyway, just guessing, learning, will take to my teacher for suggestions. I really need to learn what a key of Phyrgian and Mode of D Mixolydian is but I hear what is played and see how the notes they suggest sound good and that if I was just to pick random notes (maybe a few fast ones in between the main notes wouldn't be bad) but overall following the pattern is the idea and then can get creative I think.  I think I played a few long g's when it said not to and it didn't sounds as good as their recommendations. But again, no idea what am doing but is interesting, hope leading the right direction.

Posted: December 6, 2017
<<I am reviewing Fun Improvisation for Violin Alice KayKanack. There are exercises where you play notes based on a scale they give you and there is an accompaniment.>>

Please do let me know what you think of the book + CD, and if it helps you. That was the book I was asking about a couple of weeks ago.

<<My knowledge of scales is there are 14 of them - a,b,c,d,e,f  allsharps and the f has a # next to it and then the abcdefg flats and I have them memorized. But I heard there are like 36 scales and things called dorians. >>

This seems like a good topic for the theory section. It seems that you just might need a chart of some kind that shows the structure of scales. The overall structure of major and minor scales is, as you mentioned, simpler that we think, it's just a matter of getting the big picture.

Barb Wimmer
Posted: December 5, 2017
This discussion includes members-only video content

Thank you for the advice. I think I have a lot more to learn before really improvising. It has to do with some feeling and guessing I guess but also scales I think. My knowledge of scales is there are 14 of them - a,b,c,d,e,f  allsharps and the f has a # next to it and then the abcdefg flats and I have them memorized. But I heard there are like 36 scales and things called dorians. 

I am reviewing Fun Improvisation for Violin Alice KayKanack. There are exercises where you play notes based on a scale they give you and there is an accompaniment. I think if I copy, or play fast notes, or play the same note on a different string, lower or higher than the accompaniment then sometimes it sounds nice, and maybe that is improvising. 

And then I think it must have to be more complex than that.

Sorry I don't understand jazz well. Trying to look for the 36 scales and some rules on improvising.

Sometimes maybe there are less rules than I think there are and one just plays. Thank you Kurosh, Dianne and Maria. Maria you are good at improvising and I am thinking the more I just play by feeling (sounds like I still need a little/lot more music theory) it might get better.

Below is me trying to improvise or copy.   Thoughts appreciated thanks

And this is inteesting also - - I am not sure what she is doing, playing open notes yes but then making a melody? copying the melody faster

Thanks again

Posted: December 3, 2017

Beautiful piece and love how you mixed your notes it goes well with the BGM, if you would do it again don't be shy -just bow away freely and carefree...

Love it!

Posted: December 2, 2017
Reading your post today I was reminded of an Improvisation course I took at a local college last year and I thought I would give you this link which could be an opener in the direction of interest you have indicated:https:
I hope you will find it useful.

Ted Adachi
Posted: December 1, 2017
Hi Barb,
I think you are on the right track.

When I started improvising on the piano, I would just play whatever came into my head a bit like you're doing.

One day someone told me that the key to improvising was just to play the singing you hear in your head. This is so obvious but for me was a revalation and real turning point.

So then I would play and sometimes some things would sound better than others so I would try to remember those and use them more often.

Another thing you can do is base more of your improvising on scales. If, for instance, you start playing your A major, not on the A but on the B, the whole sound and mood of the scale changes. This is modal playing. When you play scales in an improvisation, you don't just play the scale from the root, which is boring, but you play bits from different starting points.

If you hear a high note and then a lower note, you can, instead of just playing two notes, play a run, in which case you're just connecting the two notes with a scale.

Most important though is to keep on playing and experimenting. It doesn't happen overnight but the more you do this, the more you will discover.

Barb Wimmer
Posted: December 1, 2017
Thanks Dianne.  Sometimes I think it sounds musical nice and sometimes when I think of improvising I have heard some violinists play something more Complex and completely different in addition to melody and embellishing and it sounds good When I try more complex I try like one note that sounds like other. Sometimes I sound like a parrot when I try to get more complex or embellish.  I wonder if there are books on improvising examples of songs. I am starting to understand what notes blended together I think  And it may have to do with scales and chords. Like the c scale there are the c e g c notes and the d major scale there is d f sharp a and d again and maybe those notes say in a song with c scale blending those notes around may sound good. I think I just confused myself. 

Posted: November 30, 2017
Barb, I think you did a wonderful job with this. My understanding of improvising is also to totally let yourself go and play fluidly, even at the expense of making a mistake. I didn't hear any mistakes or any notes out of the key here, in fact when the piece modulated, you did also. Your improvising had a beautiful sound. Fine job!