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A. Lorraine Pacheco
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a section where for frequently asked questions?  I would like to ask a few but don't want to be redundant if someone else has already asked the same one.

2 Responses
Posted: January 15, 2019

Orchestral Playing Vs. Playing In Isolation
Can anyone comment on the benefits of orchestral playing? If you were to stay at home and practice only would you advance more quickly? Versus practice at home and play in orchestra (subdivide available time)? Or double the time spent in practice if involved in orchestra? Just looking for advice here.

3 Responses
Posted: January 14, 2019

Barb Wimmer
Suggestions welcome
This discussion includes members-only video content

11 Responses
Posted: January 4, 2019

Elke Meier
I need to vent a bit of frustration... 

Who would have thought that G-minor would be so hard? I am working on the Bach Minuet in Suzuki 3 which includes a G-minor section. In the beginning my intonation in that section was all over the place, and in the last part, when the music goes back to G-major, even that section was completely unpredictable after the G-minor section. 

So I started working on G-minor scales. It helped but it did not solve the problem. Then I thought I should look for G-minor etudes. I found Wohlfahrt op 45 #20. It sounds nice and it looked like a lot of repetition, so it would not very difficult - wrong! It kills me. It took several days to even get the first three (identical) measures to where they sounded anything alike. My third finger does not bend well, so the fourth really has a struggle squeezing in next to it without pushing the other fingers out of place. The first few days I got cramps in my fingers when I tried to get the pinky close enough. Then there is the opposite, the stretches: I just cannot manage from a low one to a normal fourth finger. Or another one: B (A-string), then G (D-string), then D (G-string). I have no clue how to do this last note without touching other strings. My arm just does not come around the violin as much as would be needed, so my hand does not get high enough to clear the string. And if I force it my whole arm starts to shake from the exertion.

Maybe it just needs more time. After all, I CAN now do the first three measures so they sound identical - even though sometimes they are identically off, which is not much of a help either. Well, just as I said: I needed to vent a bit of frustration...

7 Responses
Posted: January 13, 2019

Barb Wimmer
Remind me please if you would what a chromatic scale is. It is more than playing every note? And if I am going to have even an inkling possibility of understanding how to play Flight of the Bumblebee understanding what a chromatic scale is and how to practice some or what to practice to understand this would be good. I agree probably not best song for all to play for ensemble. I would crash and burn in ensemble on this one. Kinda fun looking at this song and thinking maybe a doable song to play some day 

2 Responses
Posted: January 12, 2019

A time for us (by Nino Rota)
Hi all,
inspired by a post of Ayoub, I found this sheet music on YouTube : two violins, a viola, a cello and a bass part. I skipped the viola and played the two violin parts, the cello part and the bass part (the last one also on cello).
Hope you will all enjoy it...
Thanks ViolinLab, thanks Beth, thank you al... and happy new year, full of beautiful music!!!
This discussion includes members-only video content

19 Responses
Posted: December 30, 2018

Fred Kremer
String vs. Plate Tuning

My violin coach suggested that it might be a worthwhile idea, okay, she is Russian and made it very clear that my current violin was holding me back from producing the best tone.

We started trialing violins.

So far out of 5 trial violins she has rejected 4 of them, the fifth will be evaluated soon. One came close, great projection, warm and focused with a bit of sparkle but the E string failed. It was subtle, very subtle but eventually I heard it. It was ever so slightly flat. Not in pitch but in timbre.

It was my pick of the first 4.  

This violin is strung with Peter Infeld on the G-D-A, the E is strung with Evah Pirazzi Gold Label Wondertone.

I suspect the culprit is the plate tuning and not the string. If so, change in the E string will most likely not bring about the desired change in quality.

Has anyone else run across this?  Did a different string result in an improved tone, not just a different tone?

2 Responses
Posted: January 11, 2019

I know this was covered some where on the site, but for the life of me I just don't recall where.  When studying a score sheet to decide on bowing how do know whether it needs to be in third position?  My best quests is you decide based upon tone Colorado the strings and ease of fingering.  Wondering if there are other considerations ?  Thanks for any thoughts.

9 Responses
Posted: January 11, 2019

Karen Grace
mystery 'gurgly' sound and squeaks on E strings
Hello Beth/ everyone,

One of my student's E string occasionally sounds what I can only describe as 'gurgly'. It tends to happen when she is not bowing straight, or not bowing in the right place with the right pressure & speed etc. But I wonder if it is also something else- a cheap string misbehaving? It only happens on her E string, and I have rarely heard this on other violins. Does anyone have any insight into this? Whilst I think it's partly her techinique, if it's also her string, I would rather her not have a string 'handicap' on top of the other challenges of learning violin. Are there certain brands of strings that are known to have these faults? Any other insights? 

On a similar note, one of my other students often gets a big squeak on his E string - it became a problem when he was attempting a 3-string-double-stop- nearly every time he bowed onto the E string with gusto there would be a loud squeak- and it happened when I played his violin too with this technique. Whilst this very occasionally happens with my violin, it was happening with his a lot. Cheap string?

Should I try and capture these things happening and post a video if any of this is not clear?

Thank you in advance,


4 Responses
Posted: January 9, 2019

Goal for 2019

My goal for 2017 was to be able to play one piece of music in the tempo that was tasteful for that piece.  Those of you who know me well, know that rhythm and I have had an uneasy relationship over the years. 

The music was French Folk Song and it took 154 days.  It happened just 3 days before Thanksgiving (in Canada :)))  ).  And celebrated the feat in suitable fashion, emailing Beth (who was instrumental and a key player in me being able to achieve my goal)  and champagne with family.

My goal in 2018 was to be able to play one piece of music, in the tempo that was tasteful for that piece but in a shorter period of time.  The piece was Moon Over Ruined Castle and this only took 2 weeks.  Again Beth's seemingly bottomless ability to come up with analogies and gently prodding was invaluable for me to achieve my goal.  I am now at the stage of polishing Moon  Over Ruined Castle.  Thank you Beth and numerous other people who helped along the way with fantastic observations and helpful hints on how to improve.

Now for my goal for 2019.

My most ambitious so far in playing the violin.  This year I come armed with a set of techniques, which works for me, in learning rhythm.  This year I also have Beth's Practice Course which dovetails nicely the techniques I am presently using for each new piece.  So here is my goal.  I will learn the rhythm ( NOT to performance level) 5 new pieces of music in the first 6 months.  I am cheating in to some extent because I am surface familiar with 2 of the pieces already.  The pieces I have selected were chosen because they build on each other and I am able to apply skills from one piece to the others.

So here are the pieces of music, hardest is number 1 and so forth, I have chosen:
  1. Don Gievanni, a minuet written by Mozart.  100 bpm 3/4, fastest note value 1/16 and there are dotted 1/8 notes.
  2. Ecossaise, written by Beethoven.  110 bpm, 2/4, fastest note value 1/8.
  3. Moonlight Sonata written by Beethoven.  60 bpm, 4/4, fastest note value 1/16 and there are dotted 1/8 notes.
  4. Minuet No.1 written by Bach and found in Suzuki Book 1.  100 bpm, 3/4, fastest note value 1/8.
  5. Simple Gifts written by Joseph Bracket, in 1848.  80bpm, 2/4, fastest note value 1/8 and dotted 1/4 notes.
So that is my 2019 goal.  5 new pieces in 6 months.  I'll be posting along the way, for feedback and invaluable critique.  Don Giovanni is the hardest rhythm for me as of today.  I can clap in time for the other 4 pieces and for Minuet No.1 and Simple Gifts, I am working at coordinating the right and left hands for the first phrase.

Enough about me!  What are your goals for 2019.  Wishing you'all all the best as we enthusiastically push forward towards our musical goals for the year 2019. 



9 Responses
Posted: January 9, 2019

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