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Ian Renshaw
Hello everyone,
I've been away from the site for a while - it's been a busy time recently with the pub and with a father in hospital (soon to be set free, fully recovered we hope!)
However, the violin has not been neglected and I'm working each day towards my ABRSM Grade 6 exam. I may even upload a video or two soon - once I can play at least one of the pieces all the way through...
Thanks, Beth for putting the info about the summer's workshop online; I fully intend to come along (I'm going to check flights in the next day or two). I see Tod Ehle is going to be there too - how exciting! He's someone else I follow on YouTube regularly so it'd be great to meet him.
How's everyone getting on out there?
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9 Responses
Posted: January 29, 2012

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Hi Beth and all,

some time ago Beth asked for musical adjectives. I have just stumbled over a whole page of them at themusicaladjectivesproject.wikispaces.com. Lots of fun to select a few for a piece and try to make them word.

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5 Responses
Posted: January 31, 2012


I'm trying something new-atleast for me-I'm using 3x5 cards then inorder to learn both different rhythmes and a song, I'm writing down each measure on a card and on the opposite side the measure number.  I then practice the rhythmes and at the same time learning the song.  When I think that I know the song cold, I'll shuffle the cards and try to arrange them in the right order. What do people think?


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3 Responses
Posted: January 30, 2012

Hi Beth,

I just thought I would inform you that your Gavotte lessons from the first Suzuki Book (performance and tutorial) seem to be out of order: the performance is before the Happy Farmer lessons, and the tutorial is towards the bottom of the video lessons library.

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1 Responses
Posted: January 29, 2012

Your opinions on carbon fiber bows?? Anyone have one or tried one? They seem to be gaining more popularity.
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4 Responses
Posted: January 26, 2012

what is the best way to memorize a piece of music?
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14 Responses
Posted: January 17, 2012


What is exactly a Masterclass? I thought it was where one person plays a piece and gets a critique while others watched and then the others play and get critiqued as well.  My daughter thought it was like a "section " class where like instruments received specific instruction regarding their particular instrument.  Her "masterclass" in summer camp was where all the clarinets got in a room and received tips and such specifically for their section.  What will the Masterclass at the VLR (Violin lab reunion) be like?

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5 Responses
Posted: January 25, 2012

To be happy or not to be happy? That is my question!

I'm so happy today that I have the need to tell others why. I found a well qualified teacher that I hope she will help me to improve faster in this journey of learning our beloved musical instrument. The studio is just a few blocks from my house, approximately 4 to 5 minutes drive including the time to install the violin in the car and open the fence.

Those are in the good part. Now for the bad part, her hourly rate is more than three times of what others usually ask. Yesterday, I went for my first lesson and after a few minutes of playing open strings, she asked me for a note pad and then it took her approximately 30 minutes to write down my homework while I was just standing there, and that was it.

I may be wrong, but I think it was 45 minutes lesson instead of 60 minutes. I hope the next lesson will be more substantial because I really will like to have someone to guide me.


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24 Responses
Posted: January 20, 2012

Hi Beth, and all of my fellow violinists,

I've taken a few shots of my bow hold, from different angles. This is in response to a rather cryptic remark from my new teacher  (I've never had a lesson before! Initial signs are that it will be very worthwhile.) He noted the angle of my thumb (tends to be perpendicular to the stick), and the degree to which it bends when holding the bow, but said it'll do.

I expect he'll pick me up on it at a later date, but for now, can anyone comment?

This is how I normally end up holding the bow after a few minutes. I have a problem with my thumb gradually shuffling in the direction of the arrow on picture 5. Is there something I could change that would prevent this?

Also, I'm unclear about the position of the bow stick relative to the creases of the first finger. I was holding it so that the bow was on the pad between the first two creases, nearer to the crease pointed to with an arrow in picture 2, but I can only get my thumb at the angle shown in the photos by placing the stick pretty much in the first crease.

Which is better?

Thanks for looking!

Richard B
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8 Responses
Posted: January 25, 2012

Have you heard the saying that it is better to play one piece of music really well than 100 mediocrely?

Sadly to say, as much as I want to play one piece very well, I wind up adding more pieces to my practice and afraid that this is not in my best interest to play "really well".  So many wonderful pieces of music, and so little time!  I am on my own here without an instructor, so it is up to me to decide what to spend my limited time on.  In addition, my interests are in several genres of music.

At the moment I am practicing 2 Suzuki pieces, 4 Irish fiddle tunes, 2 old-time fiddle tunes along with a Kreutzer etude and Beth’s finger and vibrato exercises.  I tend to add a few other tunes to this every day, as the mood strikes.  Is this too much?  Or am I on the right track?

My problem is I see myself not stopping there but only adding to it, I keep discovering more music that I want to play and practice.  This has become exceedingly difficult to narrow my repertoire for the sake of quality playing.  Does anyone else have this struggle?  What are your suggestions to “editing out”?    


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7 Responses
Posted: January 24, 2012

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