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1 year 5 months progress
Playing The Swan by Saint-Saens
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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Marikoli
Paraguay
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November 4, 2016 - 3:34 pm
Member Since: November 10, 2015
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Hello everybody, hope you're all well. It's been quite some time since I last posted a video. The past months I've been focusing a lot on bowing technique and tone. I also started learning 3rd position. violin-studentSo I thought The Swan would be a nice piece to learn to play. The sheet music looked so easy, but it was actually really hard to learn!!! I'm posting my video here, hoping to receive some feedback.

I had real trouble with intonation. When I play the piece without vibrato my intonation is much better. Why is it that as soon as I try to add vibrato my intonation gets worse, especially when shifting? Maybe the finger position changes when doing vibrato?? Anyway, I don't know. It may be because of the shifting too, since it's still pretty new for me. Or because I was so focused on using the whole bow etc. Lots of stuff to focus on with this piece dazed

All feedback and tips are very much appreciated. 🙂

Enjoying my violin adventure! :-)

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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November 4, 2016 - 4:27 pm
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I'm still in the very beginning stages of shifting myself, so I can't give you the advice others who've been playing longer would be able to.

I forget if you've told me already, are you going through a shifting exercise book? I've been going through"Introducing the Positions for Violin: Third and Fifth Positions" .... I forget what exercise I'm on, my teacher jumps around a bit. I only have one song I shift in, otherwise I've been pretty focused on getting these exercises down pat. If you don't have this book already, I recommend it, they are pretty helpful.
 
For the vibrato throwing off your intonation, my guess is just as you said, there's a lot going on in this piece so you are thinking way too hard. (plus if you're like me, the second the camera goes on it adds extra nerves and trouble playing) If it were me, I'd take out the vibrato and focus on the fingering and bowing, and then throw vibrato back in there, (probably something you could do within one practice session).
 
When I start to think about too much I throw myself off and then will pull back a little, and usually don't try putting vibrato to a tune until I'm pretty comfortable with the piece, so I'm not having to think as hard about it, then make myself mad, and make myself mess up, haha, but that's just how my cranky obsessive practice sessions go.I haven't let myself try vibrato while shifting yet, I know it would probably make my head explode from over-concentration, lol.
 
But I think you're making great progress 🙂 

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On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
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Charles
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November 4, 2016 - 7:47 pm
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You're at the point where I can't say much about your technique, but I did have few comments.

Your tone is sounding really good through most of it - not only an improvement over the stuff 2 weeks earlier, but a big enough improvement from what I remember of your last video that I thought maybe you'd gotten a new violin.

I agree with Mandy that it's just too much going on at once. In addition to her method, you could also slow it down considerably (half speed maybe) to give yourself time to think of whats coming next.  I thought at first you might be trying to do vibrato in places where it wasn't needed, but when I watched it again, looking for that, I didn't see it - you're only doing vibrato on the long notes, where there's a point to it.

If it's any comfort, according to my teacher, we ALL go through that process, where things we've been doing right for months come apart on us when we try to add a new technique. I'm guessing another 2 or 3 weeks and you'll have this cold. (Feel free to post that version - very pretty song. 🙂 )

I'm always complaining about my intonation and my teacher thinks it's fine. From his point of view, as long as I know it's off, it's not a big deal. It will get fixed in time.

Your bowing technique looks quite good to me (I'm not nearly as far along as you, so take that with a grain of salt.) The tip of the bow does go off the straight line just a bit when you get to the part near the frog where you have to move the upper arm to get any more out of the bow.

I liked the last note, where you changed from an up bow to a down bow and made it all one note. That's a technique my teacher has had me working on, and so far I haven't made much progress on it.

After noticing that, I went back and watched your bow changes. Nearly all of them were while changing strings, which makes the direction change inaudible. I doubt very much that that happened by accident. 🙂

All in all, good job. I think the remaining bugs will get worked out with a little more practice. I hope you'll post the "mastered" version.

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RonB
Jeffersonville, VT
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November 5, 2016 - 9:42 am
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I agree with Mandy and Charles and can only add a little bit.

Bowing might the most difficult part of playing the violin. I think your bowing is excellent and contributing to the nice tone.

This is a lovely tune. I downloaded the sheet music a few weeks ago after hearing it on the TV played on the piano. I haven't really looked at it yet, but, when I do get to it, I'll be looking to play as much of it as possible in the first position.

You're playing in higher positions, and your intonation is much better in just two weeks. The tune is not too much for you.

It was a great pleasure watching the video. Thanks.

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RonB
Jeffersonville, VT
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November 5, 2016 - 1:39 pm
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BTW, thanks @damfino for the tip on the shifting book. I've sent away for it and look forward to trying out the exercises. I've been experimenting with shifting and been making up my own exercises, which are only getting me so far.

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Marikoli
Paraguay
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November 5, 2016 - 3:17 pm
Member Since: November 10, 2015
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@damfino thanks so much for sharing your experiences with shifting and vibrato. It's true that when we try to do everything at once, maybe our brain gets overheated LOL I did practice a lot without vibrato and then tried to add it again, but the intonation issue stays. It has improved but still have more work. I guess I needed more than a month to polish this piece. Ah and yes, I'm using a method book too, to learn positions and shifting. I'm using "Laoureux violin method" for the shifting which has all combinations of shifting from one finger to a different one etc. And I use "Master 3rd position book with finger patterns" by Heather Broadbent to get more comfortable with 3rd position finger patterns. I think both methods are very complementary and I'm loving it!! Just need some more time to get better in 3rd position. And then I'll start with 5th but in a couple of months maybe. I'm not in a rush to learn more positions. 🙂

Charles said
Your tone is sounding really good through most of it - not only an improvement over the stuff 2 weeks earlier, but a big enough improvement from what I remember of your last video that I thought maybe you'd gotten a new violin.

@Charles waaaw I'll take that as a compliment!! 🙂 I still have the same violin and bow but have been focusing a lot on my tone the past couple of months. So, this is great to read!! Thank you so much for all your comments, they totally make sense. And I was very happy too with how the bow change on that last note turned out. I didn't manage to make it (almost) inaudible all the time. Sometimes it turns out well, sometimes not. Just keep working at it and you'll soon be able to make an inaudible change too. I wasn't planning on working more on this piece since I'm now practicing other pieces. But you've made me want to reconsider. Maybe I'll take this piece up again in a couple of weeks and try to polish it more. Thanks for the encouraging words!! 🙂

Thanks @RonB and I wish you good luck with the piece when you start working on it. It can be played mostly in 1st position indeed. The shifting in this piece is not because the notes can't be played in 1st position, but to avoid unnecessary string changes in the melodic lines. Also playing the notes in one phrase on one string sounds different than playing the same phrase on two strings because each string has a different timbre. Anyway I'm totally no expert on this matter LOL but that's what I understood from it and that's why I did the shifting. 🙂 Hope you will enjoy learning this piece. 🙂 And good luck with the shifting!!

Enjoying my violin adventure! :-)

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AnnyJ
Ga
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November 6, 2016 - 2:19 pm
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I've never heard this piece played on violin before, only cello.

I think you're progressing really really well!thumbs-up I'm sure your intonation with the vibrato will get better as you become more and more comfortable with the piece... I can't even do vibrato yet.

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

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Uzi
Georgia
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November 7, 2016 - 5:38 pm
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I liked it. Shifting is pretty hard to learn.  It's actually almost an impossible task to shift from one position to the next  and expect your fingers to hit an exact spot without any adjustment, when less than 1 mm makes a noticeable difference in tone. 

I think this guy may make quite a bit of sense. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Marikoli
Paraguay
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November 8, 2016 - 6:20 am
Member Since: November 10, 2015
Forum Posts: 86
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Hi @AnnyJ, thanks so much!! Good luck with your vibrato 😉

Thanks so much @Uzi for the video link!! I loved the explanation about how not to miss a shift! Really very interesting and I didn't think of it like that before. This is going to help me a lot. 🙂

Enjoying my violin adventure! :-)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 18, 2016 - 9:36 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Great job Marikoli,

I like your comment about intonation in the video. I'll let you in on a secret, everyone has issues with intonation and it continues as long as you play.
Obviously, it's always a question of how much is and what is acceptable for you.
Thanks for the post.

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

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Marikoli
Paraguay
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November 18, 2016 - 1:43 pm
Member Since: November 10, 2015
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Thanks so much @Fiddlerman for your encouraging words!! It's nice to hear this secret from a professional. 🙂

Enjoying my violin adventure! :-)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 23, 2016 - 1:42 pm
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You are welcome. I can tell you more secrets down the road. 🙂

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

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Marikoli
Paraguay
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November 23, 2016 - 7:17 pm
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Cool!!! Looking forward to it :-)))

Enjoying my violin adventure! :-)

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