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This discussion includes members-only video content

Two Months

Today is exactly two months since I got my violin. Here is a video of my progress so far.

9 Responses
Posted: February 25, 2012
Last Comment: February 27, 2012

Posted: February 27, 2012
Hi Jason,
That's an impressive concert after only 2 months.  My daughter always mentions taking up the violin.  I'll show her your video next time she's home.  If she sees the progress you've made in such a short time, maybe she'll give it a try.

To echo Jim Gross' comments on your upper arm, take a look at the last video - Perpetual Motion Variation. I think it's most apparent there - quite a bit of movement in the upper arm.  I remember doing the same thing after my first "return to lessons" back in the 90's. It took over a year to unlearn that sort of sideways upper arm movement and do the bowing more from the elbow.  My teacher said that if I wanted to get better, it was necessary.


Posted: February 27, 2012
Very good Jason :)  It is very nice to see videos of other beginners. Looking forward for the next one :)

Posted: February 26, 2012
Thanks for all of the positive feedback.

I'll try to reply to all of the comments, forgive me if I miss any.

I agree, the first couple songs are not so great. I have to admit, I haven't really practiced the first few songs (I don't really care for "Come, Little Children," so it's been neglected and as a result I had to read it while playing for the video).

I have had five or six, half hour private lessons, once per week. I practice daily on my own, for about an hour (more on the weekends).

Right now, I'm planning to not go any further into Suzuki vol. 1 for at least a week, but work on what I have covered so far. I am however also working on some of the first songs in "Fiddle Works vol.1". I find the Fiddle Works a bit more challenging.

I will be returning to revisit the videos everyone has suggested. Making these videos to record my progress is a very good tool for my own progress, because it allows me to see for myself what I'm doing. I never realized that my bow arm was moving so much, although I think that I can feel in my wrist when I'm bowing properly. I do also need to work at making longer bows, towards the frog. There is a song in Fiddle Works, called "Rubber Dolly," which has two upbows one after the other in several places throughout the song. I struggle with it because of the length of my bows.

I will also have to work on my bow hand tension. Truthfully I don't feel it, but that's not to say it doesn't exist. I'll put some attention on it.

I film my videos on a small video camera (Canon FS100) and an external microphone (Rode VideoMic) mounted with the camera to a tripod. Then edited with Windows Live MovieMaker (that came installed on my computer). I wish I had better lighting, but that will have to wait.

The only music experience I have had is learning the Trombone in grade 8, twenty+ years ago. I'm a bit afraid to actually count how many years it actually has been. :)

I'm planning to record myself monthly now to review my progress and to see a third person perspective of how I'm doing. I recommend it.

Thanks again for all of the positive feedback.

During this first two month period I was having a real problem with my A string. It sounded horrible, screechy and crackly. I wasn't sure if it was me, and as a beginner didn't want to blame the strings. It was a real pain, because as I was trying to learn a song, every time I played on the A string it would sound bad and I would hesitate or try to correct the problem. The problem wouldn't go away. I figured that perhaps the beginner violin had cheap stings. A week ago I bought new strings and replaced them all. Since then it has been easier.

Ian Renshaw
Posted: February 26, 2012
Hello Jason,
Welcome to VL. You've got quite a repertoire after just a couple of months - good work. This site is crammed with goodies to help you with techniques and we're all here in the same boat to share in the pain! I've been playing violin for two years now and the growth in pleasure I get from it has been exponential. Keep going - an excellent, solid start there. I'd say!

islam dodeen
Posted: February 26, 2012
Hi Jason, welcome, and great job! Quite a repertoire for two months. I believe your sound was more free in the last two pieces, perpetual motion. Perhaps you can work backwards from there when further developing your bowing. Do you work on your own or do you have a teacher, apart from Beth? Hope to hear more of your playing.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: February 25, 2012
Hi Jason,

 For only two moths, that's excellent! Your left hand looks and sounds great. Your intonation is really quite good. Have you really not had any musical training? singing perhaps? 

You're doing a pretty good job of keeping the bow straight, but I think you will find that job easier, as well as an improvement in your sound if you focused on playing more comfortably at the frog.  I see stiffness in the wrist and fingers, which is preventing you from going passed the middle point of the bow. This kind of stiffness is very common for beginning players, but I don't think it is inherent in your natural style of playing. Judging from the looseness of your left hand, I know you'll be able to get the hang of raising the wrist as you approach the frog. 

I'll add "frog, and "playing at the frog" to the tag word list tomorrow, and will go through the videos and tag videos that address this issue. You should find some good tips.

Thank you for posting video!! Seeing you all play, and seeing what the recurrent issues are to beginning players keeps the ideas coming. 

Posted: February 25, 2012
Great job!!

Jim Gross
Posted: February 25, 2012
Wow, that's great Jason!  I am working on some of the same songs.  I joined up in the first week of January.  I hope to have videos up soon.  One thing I notice is that you seem to move your upper bowing arm a lot.
Seeing your video really helps in boosting my confidence  to submit a video, so thanks, and keep up the good work.

Posted: February 25, 2012

Wow! you've accomplished alot in 2 months.  Your left hand looks great and so does your bow arm.  Great job!