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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.

Patricia


24 Responses
Posted: January 20, 2012
Last Comment: January 26, 2012
Replies

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: January 26, 2012
That is a beautiful piece, Jo, and your pleasure and joy in playing it will be much appreciated by your audience.

If you can, get some practice runs in. Play for a friend or two, your son, your teacher, record yourself and listen etc. That gives you valuable information, what works and what needs more attention still. And it helps with the nerves.

And to have a video of your playing here would be most welcome, too.


Posted: January 26, 2012

Ray - I like that quote and will try and remember it.  It really helps to know that, in general, the audience are on your side.  I can't help thinking (rather cynically) that " they want you to play well" perhaps becuase they've paid maybe $70 for a ticket!?  ;-)

Eileen
Posted: January 26, 2012
Sounds wonderful Jo !  Enjoy every minute of it....and if you can get someone to video it for you ...we'd all love to hear !   :-)


Posted: January 26, 2012
Well, concert is 3 weeks away,
I am at the 'finishing' touches of learning this piece where I am now trying to make some of the bars flow, the 'sticky' ones are one at the beginning with some chords which I have now 'cracked' and the faster runs later on which go from high up on the fingerboard down to first position, they are very very simple notes but it's hitting them in tune and synchronising the bow and the left hand whilst you go from 7th and 8th position all the way down to 1st, also making things sound 'clear' as you change strings quickly.  
I am doing a lot of SLOOOOOOOOW practice on these passages which is paying back nicely and helping.
At the end I know that on the day with nerves I will not play this piece as well as I should but hopefully I will make it 'recognisable' HAHAHAHA.
I love it to bits, it is full of emotion and I get goosebumps when I play it/practice it (whenever I don't do the 'slow attentive practice' and 'let myself go')

Ray
Posted: January 25, 2012


Hilary Hahn said something on this topic Jo, the audience have to listen to you and they want you to play well, they also want you to enjoy the evening as much as they are.

Ray



Posted: January 25, 2012

Even when I don't know the technical details, the music seems to be for Advance Level which is too far from me at the present time, but I'm sure you will do well.

Patricia

P.S.- This piece changed my mood and it made me tremble.



Posted: January 25, 2012
That's quite a challenge you've set yourself Jo!  But a lovely piece non-the-less.  Good luck, and enjoy learning it.


Posted: January 25, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

I am going to play 'Jewish Town' from the Schindler's list collection but it will NOT sound like this one! LOL ;)




Posted: January 25, 2012

I agreed with Eileen, just go and have fun! And I will like to suggest you to play "Playera". On top of Sarasate's beautiful music, I like the way you play it. The trilling at the beginning and when approaching the end, will impress the audience in a favorable way for the violinist. Beside, there are many measures to be played on the G-string and they sound very well when using a "gut" string. But this is only a suggestion and if you feel secure with another piece of music that you are preparing, pay no attention to this and leave it for next time or for when the audience ask for an encore.

Patricia


Eileen
Posted: January 25, 2012
Lol Jo...just go and have fun !   That's what it's all about..they'll love it !  :-)


Posted: January 25, 2012
Please post a new thread in due time to let us know how you are getting on with your new teacher and lessons :D 

I am only practicing about 3 times a week at the moment and 'trying' to get to polish a piece enough to play it in front of an audience in 3 weeks time! whaaaaaaaaat? I must be 'stupid'!

by all means it will be 'rubbish' but they don't play violin so hopefully they won't notice 'too much' (what a low opinion of them I have HAHAHAHAHA) ;)


Posted: January 24, 2012

Hi Jojo! Iím so glad to hear from you. Now that you know what you have, it is only a matter of taking care properly and be cautious about it. Cheer up and pick up your violin. Iím sure once you are playing, you will not think of any problem. We all need that at least for a little while.

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Hi Ray! Yes, it was required to pay in advance for the lessons. Jo and your advice of waiting and see what happen it is a very good idea. Thanks! I donít have her email address but she said that if I have any questions to call her.

Patricia


Ray
Posted: January 23, 2012


Hi Tricia,

I believe that you said that you have paid up until the end of March?  Jo's advice to wait until then to make a decision makes a lot of sense.  I would also ask if you could tape the entire lesson not just her homework.  That way you would have a record of your progress but also her imediate reactions.  That way, when you review her comments you will have examples of your playing at the same time.

Best,

From a Newbie


Eileen
Posted: January 23, 2012
Glad to see you back Jo !   :-)


Posted: January 23, 2012
hahahaha I'm here Patricia (and others!) thanks, how sweet of you :D
(the 'Beth' messenger has worked!)

I've been quite as I have been increasingly 'poorly' but I am ok don't worry!

I have 'discovered' what is 'wrong' with me so now I can fix it, it will take a long time but at least now I have something to work on! I am hypothyroid!!! (discovered it all by myself by the way, being a midwife I did my own blood tests etc).  I started on medication 2 weeks ago now (prescribed by my doctor of course!).  Won't 'hi-jack' your thread for too long but that is why I am quite lately, just too tired/cold/sad/poor concentration/poor co-ordination/weak muscles/back pain/etc (all side effects of hypothyroid which I have had for 3 years) and getting worse and worse and can't practice/play violin much or regularly anymore, it's making me sad :(

About your new teacher:
please give it time!
some teachers you KNOW IMMEDIATELY, some take time....
if I were you I'd give it up to 2 to 3 months, if by 3 months it's not working 'move on'!
but it can take as long as 3 months to get to know each other I think.

I am very excited though that you have a teacher and I do hope it will work out xx

ps I find that sending emails to a teacher is a very effective way to 'save/economise' on lesson time, so that I don't spend time talking in lesson ;)

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 22, 2012
I'll shoot Jo an email and let her know we're all thinking about her.


Posted: January 22, 2012
Patricia - I'm afraid I missed most posts in December, so I don't know what Jo was referring to, but you can contact her through Facebook.  I'm sure she'll be happy to know her Violin Lab friends are thinking about her.



Posted: January 22, 2012

Monica, because of you sharing your experiences, I like my teacher a little bit more than yesterday. Particularly the part, and using your own words: ďThough I could "play" the Handel sonata at the end of Suzuki 6, I could not make a decent sound on the instrument.Ē If we think deeply about any violinistís top priority, specifically the very final goal for which we all invest many hours of practice is, precisely, to arrive to a pure agreeable tone.

Thank you for reinforcing my thoughts of how important technique is and not let myself get anxious to play the song I like, but nobody will like to listen.

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Simon, I also wish you good luck in finding a teacher that you like which is very important for your progress.

By the way, Do you have a way to contact Jojo and give her my regards? I know in December of 2011, she mentioned the need to visit a medical doctor in January of 2012.

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Beth, Iím going to take a little voice recorder that I have by the size of a cell, so the next time she start writing, I will ask her to record the homework. In case that she insist in writing, I will be respectful, open and up-front as Anne told me, by letting her know that writing takes too much time from the hourly lesson.

Also Beth, if you have a way to communicate with Jojo, kindly tell her I look for her input in VL Community every time I visit the site, and I will like to here that she is OK.

Patricia


Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 22, 2012
I think I would like to know what she was writing down. If it was just a list of what she gives everyone, then she could have just emailed you, but if it was a specific list, tailored just for you then maybe.....  I know I'm always extremely self-conscious that I've given someone their "money's worth", and try to balance the lesson with at least as much playing as talking, and very little writing. Most adults who don't trust themselves to remember everything will write things down for themselves anyway.

Here's an idea "to save her the trouble of writing things down". Bring in a recorder of some sort (video would be nice) and tape the lesson. I personally love that, cause I actually hate writing stuff down.... it breaks my momentum.


Posted: January 22, 2012
Thanks for sharing your stories - very timely as I'm also looking for a new teacher!  My initial reaction was that you've been short changed, however if it was the first lesson, my guess is that it will be different than once you settle in to regular lessons.  In the first lesson you will both be getting to know each other and the teacher will be making an assessment of where you've got to so they can plan your work.  If you still feel like this after the third or fourth lesson, I would say it's time to find another teacher.  Can you speak to other students or shops that may know her and find out more about her and her style?  On the other hand, it makes me think of the old Karate Kid movies where the teacher had Daniel painting fences and waxing cars to learn technique without understanding or appreciating what he was doing!  

good luck.


Posted: January 21, 2012

Hi Tricia,

I had a similar experience, so I thought I'd share it with you in case it's a helpful story.

I started lessons at 47 and studied for four years with one teacher before I realized my technique was deficient. Then I took about 6 lessons with another teacher who sounds a LOT like the teacher you just found--only I had to drive an hour to get to her. She was also generous with her time and more than once we went well over an hour (which was great but also costly). Now by this time I was finishing Suzuki 6 with my other teacher, starting vibrato and second position (having been doing 3rd for a bit), but with my new teacher I played maybe 5 notes tops and she stopped me. For the next two hours and for the next few times we met, she talked about the basics of the bow hold and the bow stroke. Like your teacher, mine would also write down practice routines during my lesson time. Honestly, I don't think I played 10 notes the five or six times we met!

But I still think my time with the second teacher was incredibly valuable. Though I had been taking lessons for years and practicing diligently, my technique was awful. I did not know the very basics of a good bow hold or stroke!! I had no clue until I worked with her. Though I could "play" the Handel sonata at the end of Suzuki 6, I could not make a decent sound on the instrument. I stopped lessons with both teachers last spring but I want to start next month with a new teacher. I will be sure to find someone who can teach me technique (but who is less loquacious :-)

It is possible that your teacher is good at assessing technique, she saw quickly what you needed, and she got down to business working on it. She may want to teach you technique because--if you are anything like me and she is anything like my second teacher--she thinks you need it. If your tone isn't good and if your technique can't support more challenging music, the other stuff doesn't matter. Maybe her assessment is wrong or maybe that's all she knows how to do, but you probably can't know that until you take more lessons.


I am glad you're going to get to work with her more, and it's great you are planning to work on what she gives you. I can't wait to hear if you find it helpful. So for now be happy!



Posted: January 21, 2012

Thank you so much Eileen and Anne for your words of understanding. I appreciate them.

Probably you are both right and what she was doing was assessing the areas that I need improvement or correction.

I show her the books of what I was practicing at home; but, I asked her to help me with the ABRSM scales and arpeggios and help with a piece of music rated for easy/intermediate level that required natural harmonic and vibrato. She said no, that she will teach me technique, play the scales using Galamian's style and she will leave the music for me to learn it.

The homework is bowing doing the square, triangle and V angle in front of a mirror (without any guidance accessory) and using the whole hair from frog to tip (not tilted). Practice G Major in 8 counts to a bow, then 4, 3, 2, 1.

In a way, I like her idea of learning technique, particularly of the right hand. This remind me of a fishermen saying: Don't catch the fish for the boy, you will only feed him for a day. Teach him "How to Fish" and you will feed him for life.

I already paid until March of 2012. Iím going to follow her instructions as close as possible hoping to notice some improvements. After all, you may know the notes of many songs but if you donít have a nice tone, they worth nothing.

Thank you again for taking the time of letting me know that you care in moments when I was a little confused and disoriented.

Patricia


Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: January 20, 2012
Sounds a bit off, Patricia. Did she actually talk you through the homework? Perhaps give you some assessment and explain why she wants you to do these things? Did the two of you talk about your goals?

I hope that the two of you can work it out. Try and be open and up-front with her. Polite and respectful, too, of course, but that is your nature anyway... I wish you the very best success. Hope the excitement wins!

Eileen
Posted: January 20, 2012
Wow....that doesn't seem right.  She should be jotting things down as you go along I would think....but, it was just your first lesson and she's probably doing a lot of assessing at this point.  It most likely won't be that way for every lesson.

Sounds wonderful other than that !  So glad you found someone...and so close by !   Give it a few lessons to see how it goes.  I hope she works out for you !  :-)