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Dianne
Well through necessity, I am back to revisiting the fast playing in practice and rehearsals. I know I have reached my limit in playing fast 16ths, so I thought I'd try something different to see if I could move on. I placed a paper towel roll using elastic bands onto an inexpensive beginner violin I have held onto, grabbed an old inexpensive carbon fiber bow, and by removing the sound of the intonation errors which stop me in my tracks, I worked on left hand/right hand coordination.

Very interesting results when things are sped up! First, I found that I had a mirroring problem. Whenever I would cross over the to the E string, the bow arm would 'reach and crash into the side of the roll. This would be hilarious if it wasn't for the fact that this has obviously been going on and taking time away in the string crossing and affecting the coordination with the left hand. And there are other fascinating things going on as well!

The silence is just a way to further break down the pieces to get this hand coordination going. Remember, I have started slowly and worked for months, following every conceivable tip, and have reached my limit as a player at this time. But I need to play these areas the best I can starting in 3 weeks, so I thought I'd try this for fun. Who knows!
Dianne
9 Responses
Posted: November 3, 2018
Last Comment: November 4, 2018
Replies

Ray
Posted: November 4, 2018
Now the light comes on.  Beth had made something similar a while back, only instead of the paper tube attached unto the violin it was another tube at 90 degrees.  Thanks Dianne.

Dianne
Posted: November 4, 2018
You can also just attach it beneath the strings, but I opted to do it this way.

Dianne
Posted: November 4, 2018
I used 3 elastic bands
Hope this helps

Ray
Posted: November 4, 2018
Hi Dianne,

Are you able to post a photograph of how the paper towel roll is 'attached' to the violin? 

Sincerely,

Ray

Dianne
Posted: November 4, 2018
Progress!
Right after I posted, I said to a family member, I know what someone is going to say. "If I can't hear what I'm doing, then how do I know that I am playing in sync with both hands?" Ha! I am able to feel the out of sync quite clearly. I feel the pulse, or the beat, in both hands, whether seperate notes or slurs, and it is quite amazing how out of sync my hands feel without sound. I thought it felt better with sound even.

With the removal of the "sound", so many things become more obvious to me. Today, I am back to just left hand only, because during this exercise, I discovered something I had not noticed before- I have a doubled jointed 4th finger when it is asked to play at tempo on 16ths. I had this exact same problem years ago when I was learning how to play fast 8th notes. Back then, I taped the finger for playing for a period of time, and the finger strengthened and the problem went away. So I did the same today. Taping up the finger has already made a difference in a feeling of control. I also had to keep moving the left hand higher, as it wanted to lower constantly out of habit. I have the metronome low and working from 40 up to 60bpm/quarter for the 16ths and stopped. With the higher hand and taped 4th finger, my goal is to spend the time slices during the week for this to get it to the required 88bpm tempo (or higher for some pieces). Then to put it back with the two hands with no sound and see how it feels. Once it feels in sync, then play it normally. One nice thing about left hand only is I can hear the "ping" of the notes pretty well for intonation atleast.

So the removal of sound is just thinking outside of the box- a way for me to discover just what is going on in both hands without having to put it all together yet with sound, and it is really helping me. For someone else, this might not work, as you might be wanting to hear the sound. But for me, I am discovering progress where I thought there was none. Wish me luck!

Elke Meier
Posted: November 4, 2018
Hmm, Dianne, now I am a bit confused. How do you work on improving the coordination between the two hands if you silence one hand? If the bow is silenced then you won't hear those slight extra sounds that come with uncoordinated left and right hands. My fingers can go very fast. I can type very fast. Then I should also be able to move them as fast on the fingerboard. And I sure can - but it sounds absolutely horrible because the right hand has a different rhythm and speed, even though I feel them as being in sync. If I would silence the bow, I would believe this perception, whereas my ears give a very different reality check. 

For me,  most often it definitely is the slight hesitations that throw the two hands off. Working with the bow line helps a lot in this. And Barbara's suggestion of memorizing does make sense to me. Well, sure enough you have to play something many times to memorize it. But it would also mean that the extra mental step of translating a visual cue into motor action would no longer be there. I have to try that out. Although memorizing faster passages are even harder for me than nice slow, melodic sections...

Dianne
Posted: November 4, 2018
This discussion includes members-only video content

Silent Bowing
Hi and thank you both.

I am not near the violin right now, but this video shows what I am doing. It's basically the silent bowing technique, but in this case I used an empty paper towel roll placed onto the top of the strings, and fastened around the bout of the violin instead of the small cylinder around the string that this woman is using. I think you've seen these devices as used for straight bowing (there is one in video 21 here on VLab). I am using it instead for silent bowing while working on left hand/right hand coordination.

If this works for me, I will let you know. I am waiting for a breakthrough of some kind on the coordination, because both the left hand and the right hand seem fast enough in isolation (the right much faster than the left though), but when put together, I can't get them in sync, even using all the practice tips. I think my ear is always listening to intonation and cringing. Plus I have a problem with crooked bows when crossing over to the E string when fingering notes at the same time. And the list goes on!

Barbara Habel
Posted: November 4, 2018
Dear Dianne

Dito to what Elke said.

And I have recently started to learn pieces by heart. The Pachelbel Canon has 16th and 32nd notes. When I was then playing again with the sheetmusic - I could play those fast areas much faster - than what I can when playing by heart. But it is obious that the learning by heart has improved my speed.

Are you playing by heart or with sheetmusic?

And are you counting the notes in your head? My teacher has suggested to me instead of counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,  8 for the sautille in the Elves Dance by Jenkinson - she has me say in my head:

Tscha - ka - ta - ka    Ti - ka - ta - ka

You can say this much faster than you would be with counting.

God bless and happy practicing.

Elke Meier
Posted: November 4, 2018
Can you show us what you are taking about, Dianne? I would be very interested in seeing it (as you know I also struggle with left/right hand coordination and getting faster), but can't follow your explanations... :(