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Jenn A
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Ok I am a little nervous but here is my first video of me playing.  This a bit scary and I know I need help here, but am looking for suggestions on a "first plan of attack" to improve my sound. 

Hope this embeds correctly, I have never done this before...here goes...

 

Jenn A
17 Responses
Posted: March 23, 2012
Last Comment: March 27, 2012
Replies

Jason Eke
Posted: March 27, 2012
Fantastic.

Beth Hyde
Posted: March 27, 2012
Hi Jenn,

Great video! I enjoyed listening to you. Thanks for posting. I'm nervous as well about posting a video. I'll have to do it soon. I love the feedback everyone gives. Nice job on the shifting.  

J. David
Posted: March 24, 2012
Jenn, for me they tend to bring out the bow BOUNCIES too!

Jenn A
Posted: March 24, 2012
You ain't kiddin Dave!! Those slower songs just bring out the wobblys! 

J. David
Posted: March 24, 2012
Hi Jenn,
Wonderful 1st Video!  Great that you chose a slow piece, I find them harder to do well than fast pieces. But they expose much more in terms of technique - the slightest inconsistency seems to get amplified which is what you want for evaluation purposes.
You have wonderful posture and overall your body seems relaxed. I also noticed you swaying as you played - it's great that your body can follow the music like that naturally.
You also followed Beth's bowing to the letter - sounds nice with that bowing.
Dave

Jenn A
Posted: March 24, 2012
Thanks so much Beth, I was anxious to hear from you and I will try this today. We are forecasted to have 100% chance thunderstorms in PA today- how's them odds- so that will give me a lot of practice time!  Thank you too for the positive comments, at least I know I am doing something right. I started going through the left hand relax exercises last night.

I can even see now that my wrist is bent in my avatar photo- oh the horror!  Must get this taken care of!  

Btw my daughter and I have started Red Red Rose with the second part, we are both slightly out of tune, but are finally getting our timing to match up. Will post this once my wrist is reformed :)

Beth Blackerby
Posted: March 23, 2012
Hi Jenn,

Thank you for posting!!! I know it takes a lot of courage to do that!  Very nice job. I love your bow grip. It looks fantastic. I agree with the others about your l.h. Your wrist is bending out toward the scroll a bit, which puts the base knuckle line at a weird angle, and hence your 3rd finger places too high. Your instinct for spacing is probably correct, and if your wrist relaxes and is at the proper angle, I think your intonation on the finger will be just fine. I can see your working through the death grip. Here's an idea that's often done: Rubber band a washcloth around your scroll to protect it. Then either stand against the wall, leaning into the scroll, or rest the scroll on an appropriate size ledge. This will completely support the violin, so you won't feel any need at all to use the left thumb for support. Then play scales or something else you can do without music. Use as little finger pressure as possible, just enough to get a clear tone. WHile you're doing that, you'll have some freedom in your hand and wrist to re-angle and adjust to find the best placement for the fingers. 

Btw, your shifting from 1st to 3rd positions is wonderful…relaxed, well timed, and I could here the slide. Good job!

This would make a good tutorial. I'll have to find a ledge.

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: March 23, 2012
Thank you for sharing, Jenn. It is true, watching yourself play is most beneficial. My first impression was also that your left hand looked quite tense, resulting in problems with intonation. You corrected yourself several times with repeated notes, so you seem to have a good ear. It is very difficult to really hear what you are playing, what kind of sound you are making, but it can also guide your practice. It is good to see how involved you are in your music. Best wishes!

Jenn A
Posted: March 23, 2012
Thanks Eileen, I couldn't agree more you are all a nice bunch of fiddlers!! ;)

Encouragement is just what I need, and you have all been so helpful already, thank you!

Jenn A
Posted: March 23, 2012
Dick, thanks for the comment- tentative yes you nailed it that is exactly it!  Why can't I play what I imagine myself playing??  I can play Hector the Hero on my tin whistle but not on violin yet ;) how about Dunmore Lasses or The Boys of Bluehill?  I may post an Irish fiddle tune with my daughter playing with me, if I can keep up with her!

Jenn A
Posted: March 23, 2012
Diane, Thanks, I see my wrist does look bent I didn't realize I was doing that!  Can you belive that my left hand is way more relaxed than it was?  Had to break the block fingering death grip.  Getting that elbow under, I will try that-- and off to rewatch Beth's left hand relaxation videos!

Eileen
Posted: March 23, 2012
Jenn,

Bravo for posting !   Beth loves to get videos of our playing.  It helps her out so much when giving advice.   It's hard to put yourself out there but you're sharing with a group of friendly, mostly newbie fiddlers/violinists ourselves...so we know.....and you couldn't find a nicer more encouraging bunch anywhere else I don't think.

What Diane said about your left hand is good.  I would make a suggestion that next time you make a vid...turn yourself more toward the camera so we can see more of your right hand as well.  

Good for you Jenn !   Keep at it.....your intonation needs work but you have pretty good contact with the strings.  Nice job !!   :-)


Dick Stanley
Posted: March 23, 2012
Nice work. I'm not qualified to comment on the technique, but I will say that the intonation sounds as tentative as mine does on Rose. Except you don't stumble over it the way I do. 

I always attributed the tentative sound to not knowing the piece well enough to be entirely comfortable with it. Didn't occur to me that the left hand might be at fault. I'll go back and watch those left-hand videos again.

How about playing Hector the Hero for your next video, Jenn?

Diane in SOCAL
Posted: March 23, 2012
Hi Jenn.   It seems to me that your left hand is very tense and that maybe (at least from the angle of the video) that your wrist is bent instead of being straight.  With tension in your left hand...it makes it hard for great intonation.  Also, a relaxed left hand needs to turn in towards the neck so that your fingers are facing the neck/fingerboard. Keep your left fingers curved (again relax them)  and over the top  fingerboard...bring your left elbow in and under the violin so this action will help you raise those left fingers.  As a suggest, I would view Beth's videos on left hand technique...I remember that one of them talks very specifically about turning your left wrist in towards the fingerboard  and at the same time keeping the left wrist straight and relaxed as well.  Nice video.  It's fun to see others progressing and making video's...congrats.  Have fun and keep posting for us.
Stay tuned. Diane in SoCal

Jenn A
Posted: March 23, 2012
Thank you both for commenting. It is funny how a video gives you a bit of a reality check!  I thought I was using a lot of bow- it felt like it- but the video proves me wrong!  Something to be more conscious of. Thanks!

Nick Thorpe
Posted: March 23, 2012
Dear Jenn,

I am not qualified to provide feedback on your playing other than to say a big 'well done' for posting your video.

Best wishes,

Nick

Jim Gross
Posted: March 23, 2012
Hi Jenn; You did great!  I don't know if I'm qualified to comment, because I think I hear some shifting, and I'm still learning first position.  As I watch my videos I see that I need to use more bow, which is helping me improve the sound.  As I watch your video it seems to me that you could bring more of the upper bow into play.  I downloaded this piece and hope to get to it soon, but I need to do a little more 'groundwork' first.  I applaud your courage in sharing your video.  I was nervous too, but now see great benefit.  Keep up the good work!