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Beth Blackerby
Simon, The issue of tension in your first finger is very common. I went ahead and loaded this response into the library as well. And some day insert it into a logical sequence of videos. I do hope this helps.
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5 Responses
Posted: September 6, 2011

Hi  Beth,

An attempt inspired by your suggestion to play the composition i had posted earlier.
Thanks a lot for the continuing help.

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7 Responses
Posted: September 5, 2011

I've been a Violin Lab member for over a year now, but this is the first time I've uploaded a video of myself!  It's been a very useful tool for spotting all the things I'm doing wrong, what I noticed straight away was:
  • I'm not bending my right wrist at the frog so the bow tip shoots over my left shoulder on an upbow
  • The scroll looks as though it's pointing a bit high in the air, although while I'm playing the violin feels flat.  I had been playing without a shoulder rest, but recently started to use one to give more of a stable platform for shifting and vibrato.
  • My left wrist seems to bend outwards (towards the nut) when I'm playing on the E string
  • Intonation needs some work and as for 3rd postition... !!!!!
What else?  All comments gratefully received!



PS - The melody is the Ashokan Farewell.
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39 Responses
Posted: September 2, 2011

Ok, I have 'tried' to get rid of my horrible look of pain while I am playing.

I have tried not to hold that first note for too long Beth, am not sure if I succeeded though as rhythm is a weakness of mine....

I have tried to control the bow at the frog a little more

I think as a result I have rushed the piece too much but I have to admit I get TERRIBLY NERVOUS IN FRONT OF THE WEBCAM, I SHAKE/RATTLE AND ROLL hehehehe and I was thinking so hard not to look disgusted by my playing and was thinking so hard to do what my work colleague told me to do (to think I was this very good concert violinist) but my EVIL MIND was popping its rear ugly head now and again saying SEE SEE YOU BOW SHAKED JUST THEN/SEE SEE YOU MISSED THE NOTE-SHIFT SLIGHTLY HEHEHE YOU ARE NO GOOD YOU ARE STILL RUBBISH!!! there was all this commotion going on in my head as I was taping this video for you, if only you could have been in my brain you'd beg to get out ASAP!!! LOL

I have only done very minimal practice on this piece since the last video so if you notice an improvement I'd be quite amazed/chuffed!
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6 Responses
Posted: September 5, 2011

Hi Beth,

Just an update on the left hand relaxation exercise:  it's working (all caps)! Not only that, but my vibrato has become so easy and natural!  (You're so inspirational and cool - all caps.)

Thanks a mil,
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1 Responses
Posted: September 5, 2011

Hi everyone, I have a question.

is it possible to change the colour of your violin? Because I do like my current colour, although I see other violins and I find I really prefer darker violins opposed to the lighter brown/orangey look of mine. So is it?
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2 Responses
Posted: September 3, 2011


Hi All,

At long last, I have a few variations of Twinkle that I like. The last variation (var.5) is to be played 'tongue in cheek'. Picture two players-the first the teacher who wants the student to play exactly like him. The second player, the student, you could say has an attitude. The story goes on with a battle of wits until they finally come together at the end. Until of course the last note which has been left up to the student. You could say that it ends on a low note. (Sorrrrry for the pun).

Beth, I tried to incorporate as many of lessons as my skill level could. Now I will learn to play it as a unit. Complete with facial expressions. And yes I do have massive eyebrows.

Anyway, let me know what you think.



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4 Responses
Posted: September 2, 2011

Hi Folks, a quick question: when playing in a higher position, say 3rd+, do you need to use more bow speed or weight than in lower positions to maintain the tone?

Thanks.  Simon
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19 Responses
Posted: August 29, 2011


I am just starting out after having a 20 year hiatus from the violin (also played viola & cello).  But now I am returning to it and today I found your online lab! I LOVE IT!  I have my first lesson with a teacher set up in about a week but I wanted to know how many hours/days a week I should be practicing?

I practiced for about an hour this morning and was amazed how much came back after such a long break!  Your tutorials are wonderful and I know they are going to help me tremendously!

I plan on taking weekly one hour lessons to start.

Thanks for all you do!

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10 Responses
Posted: September 1, 2011

Hi, I never really post any videos of myself as I do have a teacher and he tells me where I need to work to improve next....I have posted in the past a video as I was preparing to perform a piece to perform to a small audience so in that case I wanted as many people to feedback to me as possible, not just my teacher, not that I don't trust him, but I think it is nice to get many 'perspectives' before a performance is due as after all I would be presenting my piece to many people.

Anyway, after that I never really post any videos of myself as I think I can't really play ANYTHING well enough to come here and post something to entertain you with, this is the honest truth, I am not writing this to get any attention or any 'here here Jo' replies, this is the true honest opinion of my playing.  I hope to be a good violinist one day, but I am really not there yet, far from it.

BUT, I have had a couple of people (one especially, you know who you are) who have been kindly asking me to post a video  as they are very genuinely interested in hearing how I am getting on/progressing with my violin learning.

So here I am posting a video.

How I am getting on?  My honest opinion?  I think I am still at the same stage I was roughly 10 months ago, still STUCK at playing slow pieces (this is a slow piece), still NOT confident in playing fast bits, in fact in this piece I am NOT confident in the fast passage in the beginning (well it's not fast but it's faster than the rest).  I am learning other pieces, including fast ones with my teacher (ie Vivaldi 4 seasons and Bach Allemande etc but they are really too bad to post here)

This piece I only really practiced for 2 weeks, spending approximately 20 to 30 minutes on it per day (5 days a week, so I spent ten days on it). If you wonder how long it took me to play it the way I play it.  So I don't find it challenging, although as you can hear, I still play it rather poorly!!!  It would take me another 6 months to play it 'ok'.
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10 Responses
Posted: August 27, 2011

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