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In Need of a "Pick-Me-up!"
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (11 votes) 
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EJ-Kisz
Midwest, US
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January 25, 2013 - 2:41 pm
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Hey everyone!

I'm curious to see if anybody else goes through a period of regression in fiddle playing after several good months of improvement.    

I seem to be in a rut as of lately all thanks to a rather rude violinist I met.  I'm always concerned with proper form as I never had any formal violin lessons.  When I met this person, I jumped on the opportunity to ask some questions as there are not that many fiddlers around me during the winter.  

Apparently, my "odd shaped hands" are more suited for piano and I was informed that I wouldn't be able too advance to far in certain styles (including classical).  My bow hold was wrong as my thumbs are too long and flexible and they also hinder my left hand placement and mobility.  

Usually, I just let stuff like that go because I love to play, but it seems to be affecting me recently.  I'm more worried about my form and my play is now suffering.  

Any advice for getting out of this rut?  I know I must have terrible form and I do have odd thumbs, but there has to be ways to fix that.  

Thanks in advance everyone!

~EJ    

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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dionysia
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January 25, 2013 - 3:04 pm
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The finest music must be heard with eyes closed to truly appreciate without distraction... so who cares if you aren't wearing a penguin suit or have a goofy smile on your face or non-classically-shaped hands, as long as you make a nice sound.

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Barry
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January 25, 2013 - 3:59 pm
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Many have been told in this world they dont have what it takes. Both Garth Brooks and Elvis were rejected at first. You have to decide, are you going to accomplish something or let the opinions of others dictate your fate

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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dionysia
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January 25, 2013 - 4:21 pm
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Barry said
Many have been told in this world they dont have what it takes. Both Garth Brooks and Elvis were rejected at first. You have to decide, are you going to accomplish something or let the opinions of others dictate your fate

 

I often wonder if life would have been different if my friend Dawn and I hadn't stood at the end of her driveway snickering at her goofball neighbor playing guitar in his garage like he was some kind of rock star or something... and such a goofy name - "Garth."

Only one of many reasons why you won't see me give anything but encouragement nowadays.

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Kevin M.
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January 25, 2013 - 4:25 pm
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Not dealing with violin but some time ago I was riding my horse and trying to get ready for a dressage test.  This person, who I knew well and at one time respected his knowledge of horses, told me to get off my horse because I was riding him wrong and hurting him.  It caused me to stop riding all together.  After a couple of years a girl came by and wanted to learn to ride English.  My daughter took her on as a student.  She could not ride her own horse because her horse was a top level dressage horse.  I went to see her horse and tried the horse out myself.  As it turns out I had the greatest time of my life dancing with her horse. It wasn't until then that I realized I should not listen to anyone but myself.

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DanielB
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January 25, 2013 - 4:26 pm
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Ah, EJKiszenia!  I see you encountered one of the forms of wildlife that live in the dense forest of music.  "The wild bore".  Sadly, not particularly rare, but tiresome and it is best to avoid them lest they bite or go after you with their tusks (which will always be made of lovely antique ivory, of course).

The wild bore subsists largely on a diet of what they feel passes for dry wit and the occasional juicy bit of gossip.  One of it's distinguishing behaviors is to always root up some fault with someone else's playing or gear or whatever, and then to justify it as positive feedback if they can perhaps find some morsel that *might* be somewhat true, whether it actually applies to the situation or not. 

Usually a bit of translation will set thing right.

For example "Thumbs too long and flexible" = "Wish mine weren't so short and stiff"

And "Hands more suited to piano" = "Wow, you must have some reach!"

Their protective colouration in the wild may include, but is not limited to, "penguin suits" as already has been mentioned.  It really depends on environment, since some of them will adopt the markings of anything including being more of a "hillbilly" than you are, if it serves their purpose.  It will almost always include what can be passed off as a friendly demeanour, though, since they learn that when they are still sucklings.

When encountered, they should not be teased, fed, or annoyed.  Sadly, hanging is probably too good for them as well.

---

Seriously, EJ.. if somebody has to go so far as saying your fingers are "too flexible" to find anything wrong with what you do, then your playing must have really knocked them on their butt!

I've heard plenty of such crap over the years.  Hands too large, fingers too long, hands too heavily muscled, fingers wrong shape, "double jointed", left handed people never do well in music, etc.  One of my favorites from a few years back was a person claiming watching my hands when I played guitar saying they were "freakish" like "hairless spiders" and implying to others I might have some rare disorder.  Apparently such a disorder exists, but one of the symptoms is that it is painful.  I am the only one among my siblings with no sign of arthritis by this age (knock on wood), so I think that unlikely.

But yeah, somebody says something and it sticks in the brain and you can end up in a bit of a funk over it for a few days.  Just ignoring it obviously didn't work, so order a pizza to celebrate and see if you can con a couple friends into coming over for a jam session.     

Oh, and take an award for "Most flexible thumbs"!

1st-place

...since flexibility of the fingers and thumbs is usually considered a good thing in music, so far as I have every heard!

Isn't that kind of like saying something like "You have just too much independent control over individual finger movement.. It is sure to hold you back!"  LOL

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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RosinedUp
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January 25, 2013 - 5:53 pm
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It wouldn't be too sensible IMO to let one person's words get you down regarding something that you love.  They have their own experience, and it does not make sense to measure yourself against their values, their goals, their probably-scant knowledge of you, your goals, your abilities.  Yet I would not completely ignore what this person said.  For me, probably the best resolution would be to talk with some other people who might be able to honestly evaluate my potential---but relative to my goals, not someone else's.

I can say that your fiddling and your participation here has done me some good.  It has made me try some new skills including staccato and tremolo.  Your original, The Jolly Fiddler. was the piece for which I first tried double stops.

Folks, check it out.  I think it's a catchy little tune:

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/sh.....y-fiddler/

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EJ-Kisz
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January 25, 2013 - 6:15 pm
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Thanks everyone for the encouragement!  I usually do let that kind of stuff go, but for some reason, it was like my "reset" button was hit!  I'm way over thinking my form now to the point where I can't find my comfort zone.  

Daniel, I'm definitely going to order that pizza now!  I actually have a friend coming over tonight who is excited about learning violin!  I told him that he needs to join this forum! LOL  He really wants to learn violin and I told him that I'll show him some of the tricks to learning that I picked up on.  Maybe that will get me out of my funk!

I know I have form issues and yes, my fingers have been a problem with past instruments like guitar, but I know I've gotten through those issues before.  ......actually, Daniel, this "violinist" DID have short, stubby thumbs now that I think about it! LMAO

I may not look "perdy" when I play, but I know how to have fun and enjoy every moment of it!  

I'll post a couple pictures of my bow hold to show you guys what I mean!  I don't have that "C" grip between my thumbs like everybody else because of the flexibility of my second knuckle.  Crazy thing is, I can get out of almost any pair of handcuffs! LOL  

 

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“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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EJ-Kisz
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January 25, 2013 - 6:18 pm
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RosinedUp said
It wouldn't be too sensible IMO to let one person's words get you down regarding something that you love.  They have their own experience, and it does not make sense to measure yourself against their values, their goals, their probably-scant knowledge of you, your goals, your abilities.  Yet I would not completely ignore what this person said.  For me, probably the best resolution would be to talk with some other people who might be able to honestly evaluate my potential---but relative to my goals, not someone else's.

I can say that your fiddling and your participation here has done me some good.  It has made me try some new skills including staccato and tremolo.  Your original, The Jolly Fiddler. was the piece for which I first tried double stops.

Folks, check it out.  I think it's a catchy little tune:

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/sh.....y-fiddler/

Thanks Rosined!  I'm glad I was able to help someone out!  It's funny, I actually just wrote a waltz in the same style as "Jolly!"  .....no name for it though!  I'll have to get that recorded and posted!  .......I still have to get used to Musescore though....too much time with GP5 which I no longer have.  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Ferret
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January 25, 2013 - 9:44 pm
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Am just entering one of those periods now. Nothing going right. Things seem to be going backwards. It's the third time in one year.

But I know that it will pass. Just like it did two times before. Just hang in there and keep the practice up and one day, wham, a breakthrough will come and you will be better than ever. thumbs-up

Never give up. Never surrender (From the movie Galaxy Quest) rofl

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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EJ-Kisz
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January 26, 2013 - 12:00 am
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I really need to "disable" my "reset" button! LOL  I've had a few setbacks before, but never had to revert back to basics.  Maybe if I actually fix some of the fundamentals, I won't hit that rut so hard again in the future.  

By Grabthar's Hammer, I WILL overcome this! ;-)  .......love Galaxy Quest! :D

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Ferret
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January 26, 2013 - 12:47 am
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EJKiszenia said

I really need to "disable" my "reset" button! LOL  I've had a few setbacks before, but never had to revert back to basics.  Maybe if I actually fix some of the fundamentals, I won't hit that rut so hard again in the future.  

By Grabthar's Hammer, I WILL overcome this! ;-)  .......love Galaxy Quest! :D

Well, if it's anything like my last two 'plateaus', you will move through the fundamentals very quickly and you will find that your playing has improved and you'll go on to even better.

But remember, the next 'plateau' is not far away. roflol

The full quote is, "As long as there is injustice, whenever a Targathian baby cries out, wherever a distress signal sounds among the stars, we'll be there. This fine ship, this fine crew. Never give up... and never surrender.

thumbs-uprofl

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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EJ-Kisz
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January 26, 2013 - 12:20 pm
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Well, I recovered a little bit last night.  My friend's enthusiasm for learning violin was contagious and for a few moments, I forgot about my fundamental issues.  

Usually, when I hit one of those plateaus, I recover with a new song!  ........I think I need a new one that challenges me to have proper fundamentals!  I guess it might be finally time to move up a couple of positions! This should be really interesting.......

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Steve
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January 26, 2013 - 4:35 pm
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Eric, apart from good comments others have made, in looking at your pictures I would say my hand and thumb are about the same size as yours. No one ever told me I shouldn't try the violin, and I had 3 years of lessons (20 years ago, with a long hiatus and just now coming back to it again). I haven't had any major problems holding the bow and learning to bow. Good luck and keep at it!

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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January 26, 2013 - 5:44 pm
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EJKiszenia said
I really need to "disable" my "reset" button! LOL  I've had a few setbacks before, but never had to revert back to basics.  Maybe if I actually fix some of the fundamentals, I won't hit that rut so hard again in the future.  

By Grabthar's Hammer, I WILL overcome this! ;-)  .......love Galaxy Quest! :D

 

You really need to disable your critical friend. Everyone goe's thround a period like that. Some day's I pick up the fiddle and put it down immediately because I'm not thrilled with the sound I get. An hour later I pick it up and everythng fall's right into place.

Do you you want to do, don't let other's discourage you.

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Mt. Fiddler
Adirondacks, NY
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January 26, 2013 - 6:38 pm
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Wow.The more I imagine the real illnesses that people walk around with, the more embittered I become.  I've had people come up to me and literally beg me to stop singing and playing the guitar.. please.. it just sounds so horrible and I can't stand it!  Relatives of mine jutting opinions that I don't have the right gnenes for music and instead of pretending to play and ruining the cookout, why don't you give us all a break and at the same time, get some realistic appraisal of yourself.  The message is :you can't get water from a stone, and sometimes it's more graceful to concede.

 

Hogwash.  I chalked it up to jealousy and ill temper.  But at the same time nw with my playing, I reach plateaus and have my own mental blocks.  THanks for sharing yours.

 

If anyone here wants I can upload a photo of my left index finger from the woodsplitter accident.  It looks like hamburger and I was sure I would never be able to play the guitar o let alone the violin.  BUt here I am playing nice tunes and keeping up with my contemporaries in learning the basics.  Yes my index finger is 1/2 inch shorter now, but I simply compensate with other posuturing.

 

If someone comes up to you and tells you that you are ugly, I wouldn't know what to say, except that the person has some deep routed issues.  

 

Your case in point, I would have said... OH, yes my violin instructor - Mark O'Connor - said the same thing but said that I could use my hands and flexibility to get better than him on the violin.  BUt thanks for your comments......

 

Anyway... don't get down.  Don't beleive the unbelievers.  Some are jealous, prideful, or just deeply angry with thier lives.. in any case I maybe don't want to hear what they have to say and if I do, I will have to find my own strength arising out of the interaction and I can walk away wiser and more grateful for the many talents you have.

 

Having a moderate-termed goal is helpful... like do you want to play with friends at an outdoor cookout this summer?  A special jam session that you could sit in on this fall?

 

Mark

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AdverseD
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January 26, 2013 - 8:54 pm
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I think a good regular informal jam session with a couple of friends, or even strangers would help you out. Sometimes you just need to remember the reason you started in the first place, which is to have fun I am assuming?

 

Just jamming with what skill you have will help you realize how little that critic's opinion matters when you get down to having fun making music.

 

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DanielB
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January 26, 2013 - 8:58 pm
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@Mt. Fiddler:  I got much the same thing from my family.  Got told that musical talent just didn't run in the family, and that I should be realistic and just accept that.  That was around 35 yrs of music ago.  LOL

I think that what it comes from is that if there hasn't been anyone in a family or group for a while, it just isn't understood that it takes some time and work and it will sound pretty rough at first.  Especially with the modern world's expectation of instant gratification with entertainment, and the tendency of marketing and media to paint the "stars" as being somehow just naturally talented, people end up with some unrealistic ideas about music or anything else that one has to work at to get good. 

Not saying I don't believe in talent, or that the "big names" don't have some.  But that marketing angle really doesn't give any credit for the hard work and persistence/discipline it took.  It sells even the most talented of artists short, in my opinion.

But anyway, if a family hasn't had musicians or artists in it for a while, then there isn't anyone to remember that it takes work to get to sounding good and it takes some time.  I was told something similar to what your relatives are telling you.  I didn't accept it, and I went ahead with music.  The belief that it "didn't run in the family" or "wasn't in the genes" is not one I chose to pass on to my own children either. 

Keep playing, and hang out with musician friends, folks that understand the musical learning process a bit. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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EJ-Kisz
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January 26, 2013 - 9:35 pm
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I'm glad I can come here for great advice and encouragement!  Thanks everyone!

Mt. Fiddler, that's amazing that you play on with that type of injury!  It's actually funny, my physical therapist (had a bad accident 5 years ago that caused spinal cord damage in neck/back) actually incorporated violin practice into my home exercise program.  It's been hard at times, but it gives me something to focus on and distract me from everything else that's going on in life.  Now, I can't imagine going a day without my violin. 

I really wish I had more musical friends around me! lol  I just got one friend into violin, which he should be buying his first violin from Fiddler Shop shortly!  I can't wait! I could use a jam session right about now!  I play for Civil War Events in the summer, but we have nothing going on in the winter.  I think that's a problem in itself.

I think the next step I'm going to take is finding a new song to learn that challenges some of my new/old deficiencies.  I know bowing is an issue as well as playing anything outside of G major! LOL  I was thinking about the Swedish folk tune, Hargalaten. I love how fiddlers seem to attack the strings with the bow.  Maybe that will help!  Just have to stay the path despite what other "violinists" aka musical mutants with nothing good to say, say! LOL :D

 

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Fiddlerman
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January 28, 2013 - 1:26 pm
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Eric,
I have worked with students where their teachers have discouraged them and have proven the teachers dead wrong. Your hand looks fine to me. I'm sure I could easily help you feel comfortable with that bow hand.
A lot of teachers, are actually students and have not learned enough to criticize properly. I've seen plenty of teachers that need to rethink their whole way of playing and plenty of students that have unique techniques and manage to play great.
Add me to your Skype and I'll give you a free quick lesson someday when we are both online and available. "fiddlerman"

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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