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Violin Claudia
What's your number one violin goal for 2018?

Mine is to greatly improve intonation.

I have started using the 'Intonia' android app recommended by Beth. I find it has helped me already. Using it I realised that I have a problem 'hearing' the correct interval between b and c. I seem to have my own interpretation of this interval depending on the piece of music.

P.S.: tiny sub-goal.....the beginnings of vibrato

Violin Claudia
14 Responses
Posted: January 8, 2018
Last Comment: January 13, 2018

Posted: January 13, 2018
My goal with the violin for this year? I feel so new, I am so new, my skills have a lot of developing that needs to happen. The biggest thing for me right now is to get past that little uneasiness that keeps me tripping over notes. Lack of confidence in playing makes for a convoluted output. It has been getting better so I know it's possible. I know it will come in time, when I'm not so shaky with the mechanics of it all. This year.

Posted: January 12, 2018
Cleaning up my playing.

Violin Claudia
Posted: January 12, 2018
Thanks for writing guys. 

Thanks for telling me about those various types of training orchestras! I was unaware of that and will totally check this out!

I shall also look into that Earmaster Software.

Thanks again.

Happy practising <3 

Posted: January 11, 2018
New Year Goals
This is a great question that I've thought a lot about since the start of the new year. (P.S. I'm new to violin lab also!). My goal is to get rid of the beginner sound by improving my bow hand (dynamics, articulation.. etc.). I'm also learning shifting and improving my vibrato. I'm really gaining a lot of ground since diving into the videos here. Beth's an amazing teacher and getting me to think about things that I hadn't before!

Best to you all in the new year!

Kara Spain

Posted: January 10, 2018
Hi Claudia,
As a trombone player, I found that playing in relation to other music gave me a context for intonation that was very useful. So as others have suggested, think about some practice with a music background. Youtube is loaded with them.As a newbie violin player I'm spending a lot of time really listening to the GDAE fifths to be sure that my basic intonation is spot on, and I check it during practice. You might be interested in checking out something called Earmaster, a rather cheap piece of software that does ear training for intervals, scales, etc. Happy playing.

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: January 9, 2018
There are lots of “training” orchestras in the UK. Depending where you live the organisations YLSS and ELLSO are fantastic. Late starter or returner string players. The first one is based in Leeds, the other in East London. 😀

Janice Branley
Posted: January 9, 2018
I would really be happy to find someone to play with on  a more regular basis. Any instrument would be great, but bandoneon or flute or another violin would be perfect.  Maybe this year?

Technique wise, it has to be confidence on the fingerboard in 2nd and 3rd pos and maintaining tone and volume there and of course the ongoing mission of integrating continuous vibrato.

Violin Claudia
Posted: January 9, 2018
Thanks for writing everyone. Very interesting to see how others view their progress.

Of course I have smaller goals and plans apart from intonation but I'd say that this is a definite big one for me personally as I loathe 'wrong notes'. What's the point of a beautiful vibrato when it sounds off key is my thinking. I believe I have improved with intonation already since making it a priority for me towards the end of last year. I discovered things like Kreutzer, Schradieck and Intonia and I have slowed right down with my playing. I heard Izhak Perlman say that each time your accept a wrong note (i.e. you just carry on playing without correction/re-playing) you're actually practising playing that wrong note. That really made me stop and consider how I am approaching things. I am now playing difficult small sections over and over e.g. one or two bars to practise intonation. It appears that I can mostly get the correct tone when I play slowly. So now I need to practise doing the same things faster bit by bit.

At the moment I am at Grade 4 (UK) and try to perfect those 3 pieces. 
I will also carry on with the Kreutzer and Schradieck exercises and with the help of my teacher will learn more about bowing, timing, smooth transition from one note to the next  etc. And just on the quiet....keep trying vibrato ;) 

A thing I am really no good at is playing fast (at least much faster than I can play right now) This is a necessity for joining an orchestra, which is a top long term future goal. A local orchestra let me have a try in the second violin section but I found it still over my head........years to go me thinks.

Posted: January 9, 2018

I am not sure I am able to choose only one target for 2018 :)

Intonation - my teacher is a purist, this is something she does not let pass without me knowing I have to make more attention on this. Actually, sometimes when we work on something totally different she says to me to just focus on that specific thing and not to worry too much about other things (like intonation), but I see it from her face when my intonation is off ;). But I won't make this a target for 2018 as it is something I am constantly working on...

Some of the things for the coming three months (I will review these every quarter): 
1. Working on rythm, to establish a better relationship with my metronome and learn to count better.
2. More confidence playing in positions.  
3. Do vibrato exercises every day (I have been progressing well and then get tired and back to square one... need to avoid this)

And as always scales, arpeggios and études...

and yes, one more... there is something weird happening with my left wrist every now and then - need to focus on that and figure out why and how to solve this issue...

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: January 8, 2018

Hi Claudia,

Not sure I have just one main goal :)

My main aim is to pass my next violin exam. To do this I have to:

Pass AMEB Grade 3 theory (going to try and do 4)

Scales and arpeggios (E, Ab multiple octaves, some on same string) double stopped scales (3rds, 6ths and octaves)

Technical work

6 pieces (so far selected Kreutzer No 12 study, Telemann No 9, Kreisler Sicilienne and Rigaudon, Stravinsky Chanson Russe and 2 others, maybe Accolay A min concerto and Bach A minor concerto) plus general knowledge on them.

Aural work


Looks like it'll be a busy year!

I've bought a big calendar wall chart to break all this down so I know what my mini-goals are along the way:


Posted: January 8, 2018
Sautillé with string crossings!

Barb Wimmer
Posted: January 8, 2018

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 8, 2018
Claudia, I recently read a quote that said something like: "The best way to play in tune is to never play out of tune". It was so profoundly simplistic, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I think everyone allows themselves too much leniency with intonation. Sometimes we think" I need to learn the bowing, fingerings, pitches, then I'll work on getting it better in tune". Also as teachers, we let our students slide by with less than perfect intonation, assuming that as they develop, so will their intonation. So Intonation Police Squad now on duty!  :)

Ted Adachi
Posted: January 8, 2018
If you are using the Suzuki books, then this might be helpful:

These are piano accompaniments to the pieces in the Suzuki books up to Book 10. You can slow them down (or speed them up) with no loss of sound quality and you can loop bits or the entire piece to play over and over.

I have it set up so that I wear headphones and hear the accompaniment and my violin through my USB microphone. This way, I can clearly hear both my violin and the piano and it is pretty easy to hear when the two clash (in many of the easier pieces, the piano will play the violin line).

It costs $60 a year but you can try it out for 4 days for free. 

Beth had mentioned in an earlier thread that even she has trouble keeping pitch without any reference so these accompaniments can be really helpful for intonation.