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Mohammed Hajjar
This discussion includes members-only video content

Here's a video of my practice of the Bourre from Suzuki 2, after two weeks of practice.

I appreciate your comments and critique.



Mohammed Hajjar
7 Responses
Posted: November 10, 2015
Last Comment: November 15, 2015

Mohammed Hajjar
Posted: November 15, 2015
Sorry for the late reply.  I was travelled and got back last night.

Thanks everyone for the feedback and particularly Beth thank you about providing your comments through video.  This is extremely helpful.

Kim Thomas
Posted: November 11, 2015
Great job Mohammed! 

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 10, 2015
This discussion includes members-only video content

Elke Meier
Posted: November 10, 2015
I was very thankful also for Rustam's answer! Those two links are sure helpful! For one, this explanation about the hand muscles and different muscle groups having to learn to work together was enlightening! I was concerned at times about my palm hurting, thought that somehow tension had been creeping in again. After all, I exercised my fingers with Schradieck, didn't I :)? Well, I learned something there, finger exercises need muscles in the palm, so no surprise I end up with pain from sore muscles... And I loved the idea about starting your warm up exercises in third position before moving down to first. Again - makes complete sense, especially when you don't have very big hands and have to stretch so much to reach with the #4.

And Beth's video about knuckle movement in arm vibrato also was very helpful. I had not discovered that one yet. Lately I started from scratch again with vibrato exercises. The wrist vibrato exercises just did not work, my wrist complained so much about all this movement and it did not want to get used to the exercises even after months of steady practice, and finally I gave in... So now I am starting with the arm vibrato exercises. They don't come as natural to me as the wrist movement, I have to concentrate very hard - but at least I can do the movement without any complaints from my joints :). And the interplay of shoulder, elbow and fingers finally became clear with this video link. Great!

Mohammed Hajjar
Posted: November 10, 2015
Thanks Elke and Rustam. Your comments are interesting and valuable. 

I still have an issue with my wrist which I'm working on and as for intonation, the pinky sometimes fails me and I need to work on it. 

Rustam, I'll check this this the power of this community: the amount of collective support and knowledge. 

Thanks again. 

Rustam Gill
Posted: November 10, 2015
Good job, Mohammed!
That sounds great. I remember this piece gave me a lot of trouble, and you are playing it very well.  You are creating a great tone with your bow, good weight into the strings, and the intonation is quite good, except for a few parts. And you are using your left hand fourth finger, which is great.

I'm procrastinating at school, so I will give you some criticism :)

I may be wrong, but the main intonation issues I heard had to do with your fourth finger, and that is throwing off your third finger also. If you make sure that every time you play a fourth finger note, you check it with the next open string (it should be the same pitch), your hand will learn the correct spacing.

Your bowing is fluid, except that your pinky looks locked out and tense, when it should be bent and relaxed. I think Beth has some videos on that you can check out.

Finally, I noticed you are trying to incorporate some vibrato. To free it up, check out this  video about relaxing your distal knuckle. Also, this thread from was very helpful to me because it approaches the same concept from a more anatomical perspective, which I found very helpful when learning the vibrato movement. Specifically, read Jeewon Kim's detailed post about the lumbrical muscles of the hand. In my opinion, this is a key concept for a relaxed left hand technique. As I recall, you have a scientific/engineering background, so maybe it will help you.

That's a lot to think about, but hopefully some of my ramblings are helpful :)
Good luck

Elke Meier
Posted: November 10, 2015
Hey, you are trying out vibrato - congratulations!! So this is what you meant in Fatih's post that all of a sudden you woke up one morning and your hand knew how to vibrate :). Great!

Just one word of caution, not on the vibrato, but on your left hand position: watch out for your wrist. There seems to be quite a bit of bending back and forth going on. Just observe what your wrist does for example when you change from first or second to third finger, and sometimes also going down. They say that this puts undue stress on the wrist, promoting repetitive strain injury. It definitely will prevent you being able to play fast passages, it just takes too long for the whole hand frame to change. And I would assume that in the long run it would be a real hindrance in getting consistent intonation.