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How am i doing?! :)

11 Responses
Posted: July 3, 2011
Last Comment: July 8, 2011
Replies


Posted: July 8, 2011
Thx you guy's are really awesome! i loved the help from all of you I feel everyday I am improving THANK YOU ALL very much for the continued help and I would love to hear your' input don I do have a youtube account it's Hunter1226 also a fb if you wanna add http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.uduno


Posted: July 8, 2011
Thx you guy's are really awesome! i loved the help from all of you I feel everyday I am improving THANK YOU ALL very much for the continued help and I would love to hear your' input don I do have a youtube account it's Hunter1226 also a fb if you wanna add http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.uduno

Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 7, 2011
Don, "pretending" to be a virtuoso violinist is actually a fantastic way to improve, and here is why I think that's true. For one, when you "pretend" you are using technique in ways that pros do. I.e. increasing amount of bow, playing at a higher sounding point, straightening the posture, sustaining at the tip. And it only feels silly because most beginning players don't "feel ready" for those things and hunker down, only concentrating on things like intonation and coordination. But the truth is, applying the "virtuosic" style of playing, frees up the hands, improving coordination, tone production, etc...

Here's a little story: I played in a chamber orchestra in Santa Fe New Mexico called the Santa Fe Pro Music for several years back in the 90's. We were working on a concert, and there was a passage that was difficult and VERY exposed for the 1st violins. I and my stand partner would get together outside of rehearsal in our hotel rooms to practice, hoping to get more solid and feel more confident about the performance. The trouble spot I remember was a shift up to a high note, that if not "nailed" would come off horribly.

Anyway, as we were practicing together, and getting a little punchy, we found that every single time we played the spot "pretending" or posturing confidence, we nailed it, and every time we shrank away, playing timidly, we missed it. It was uncanny. The trick was to posture at the concert. Honestly, I can't remember the outcome, but it was then I saw the value in the "pretending" and how creating intention through posturing resulted in a more successful outcome.



Posted: July 7, 2011
How 'funny' Don, I love hearing about everyone's experiences :)

I used a shoulder rest/pad for 4 years and I increasingly experienced problems with posture/pain/tension, it was getting worse, my technique was suffering too. I went on a journey of discovery, I ended up buying 12 different shoulder rests, 4 or 5 sponges even made my own ones, I had Alexander Technique lessons for 10 months at the end and I found the solution that worked 'for me' which is to play with nothing at all, not even a chamois leather.

Funny you mention how a shoulder rest 'freed up' your vibrato as to me the opposite happened, my vibrato has improved so much since I have stopped using a rest LOL but I am also improving so much in everything else, intonation and bowing too. I think the answer is not the rest or without the rest, the answer is that we both have found what works for us :) this is FANTASTIC NEWS for you and me :) :) :)

Simon, I don't know where to start LOL also a little bit conscious that I don't want to hi-jack Nick's thread too much (blush), sorry Nick!! though Nick may want to join in this too? Nick?

If you want Simon you can send me a message through my youtube account: joparkeruk



Posted: July 7, 2011
I'm a shoulder rest convert. Always hated the thought of using one, not too sure why. Something about attaching a lump of plastic to my lovely violin :) However when I really wanted to master Vibrato I took Beth's advice and got myself a Bon Musica... boy it made a hell of a difference to my left hand technique. I found it so much easier to free my left hand and start to use it more fluidly, as required for Vibrato. Nick you're doing great, keep it up. One thing that improved my sound was "pretending" :) might sound daft but I would pretend I was a virtuoso and would really rattle those strings producing the biggest sound I could make. After a while I wasn't frightened to really make sound and my tone is real nice now. The best thing though for good sound is to really build up your finger pads, this happens over time, the hard skin on the end of your fingers. I feel like I am hardly touching the string now and I can make a clear note. That just takes practice and time. Incidentally its something that I have found alot of established people miss, simply because they cant remember when their fingers were soft !!! Don


Posted: July 7, 2011
Jo - I also play without a shoulder rest (but do use a leather cloth to help stop slipping.) Although there is some information out there about how to play without a rest, I've had to figure most of it out for myself! I'm not experiencing any pain or discomfort but would love to hear about your experiences and the tips you've picked up - could you share them with all of us?

Thanks!


Posted: July 7, 2011
Hello Nick,

I think Beth has given you some great advice about the bow hand and the left hand. I am just 'dropping in' as I am a person who does not use a 'shoulder pad' (shouder rest as we call it in the UK ;))

I would like to express my opinion that not playing with no shoulder pad is not 'necessarily' a concern at all

Of course the right posture is a main important point for all violinists as incorrect posture will eventually lead to injury and incorrect playing technique in your journey and we don't want either (especially injury right?)

Now, we would have to establish one thing: are you having your 'left hand problems' (the bent wrist) because you are 'struggling' to hold the violin up? or because you just never learnt the correct way to shape your hand/wrist? either way it does not mean you 'need' to use a shoulder pad but at least it would mean we know what your needs are....

if you have a bent wrist because you are 'struggling' to hold the violin up with your left hand at least half the battle is won already as you know what you should be doing :) then all you need is to do some 'muscle training' (I can help you there just let me know this is very easy it just takes a little patience). If you just don't know the correct way to use the left hand then it's ok, this can be learnt too and then you can also go onto learning how to hold the violin properly as well once you learn the correct hand/wrist shape.

From looking at you there are some very good points indeed:

you have long arms and for this you will need to keep the violin more out to the left of your body and you are alredy doing this so well done!

you don't 'droop' the violin down with the scroll pointing to the floor: this will help you keeping the bow not too much over the finger board, it will help your tone and it will also help the body of the violin under your chin to fill the gap between your collarbone and your jaw! Do a search on YouTube for Yehudi Menuhin playing Malaguena by Sarasate (it's a black and white video) and look carefully how he holds the violin playing with no pad :)

looking at you, the body of the violin seems to fill up nicely the gap in between the collarbone and your jaw, so it looks like you will be alright to play without a shoulder pad so....the main thing is: have you been feeling comfortable so far playing without a shoulder pad?? if the answer is yes, if you have not been getting tired, getting aches and pains, if the violin has not been slipping off your body (though the violin slipping off the body can be easily fixed by learning how to play without the pad)etc etc then you can carry on as you've been doing, as to me you look like you are doing well without one.

But Beth is right about your left hand, there is work that needs to be done on the left hand.

I am at work and cannot see the videos from the work computer but am sure Beth has posted loads of help in her video about the left hand, if you want I can send you through your youtube account a private message about important key points when playing with no shoulder pad, I have had help by prominent professional players who play with no shoulder pad about what to do and not to do to avoid injury and avoid technique problems.

if you decide to switch to a shoulder pad and you prefer it then it's ok, there is not one fixed answer for everybody, we are all different :)



Posted: July 6, 2011
ok thx beth i will def work on that now ! I do have a violin rest i jst never really use it lolz i will start using it see how it feels

Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 3, 2011
This discussion includes members-only video content

I'm embedding your video at the top of the thread for easier viewing.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 3, 2011
This discussion includes members-only video content


Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 3, 2011
Nick, I'm so glad you posted video. I see some good things going on. Mainly, you are negotiating bow speed and bow pressure well to get a nice sound, and you're not afraid to use a good amount of bow, which helps to project sound.

My primary concern now is that you're playing without any shoulder pad support. Did you try one for a while and then decide not to use it? It's ok to not use one, as long as you can support the violin so that the left hand doesn't take on the roll of violin support. It looks like your left hand is bending at the wrist and you're using the palm of your hand to hold up the violin.

I would also like to see your right wrist position a little higher so that it will be easier to flex as you draw a bow stroke, which will in turn help you keep the bow moving straight.

I'm posting again the video that I posted for Paul a few weeks ago. I think you both have similar bowing issues.

I would love it if you could try the suggestions in the video and repost. It would be a huge help in refining my pedagogy if I can see the outcome of my "advice".