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Andie's Practice Sessions!
Follow my progress as I upload each practice session and tell me what the hey I'm doing wrong so I can sound better~
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AndieKae
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March 9, 2013 - 1:49 pm
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Hey all, and thank you so much for taking the time to watch my vids. It'll make you laugh, cry, and may result in ear bleeding. So let's get started!

 

Here is my very first day of practicing! The battery died on my camera so I did not get the whole thing, all I got was a long sorry attempt at playing the C scale, my open finger exercises, and maybe half of the first finger exercises. After that I played FM's G string exercises and D string exercises, and practiced Scarborough Fair and Twinkle Twinkle. I'm sorry I did not get those!

 

My setup is I'm playing on a Cecilio Electric Violin, unplugged, using no-name bow, strings, and rosin that came with it.

 

Part 1 - C Scale attempt and Open string exercises

 

Part 2 - First finger exercises

"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression."

Algernon Moncrieff (Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest")

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Picklefish
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March 9, 2013 - 2:46 pm
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I like to think of the Posture or how you hold the things that are important as first to really get started to play. How you do these things really does have an important effect on everything else you do. So I recommend you watch and really take some time to learn from the fiddlerman vids on the beginners tutorials.

http://fiddlerman.com/tutorial.....tutorials/

The second leg of the four legged stool of violin playing is the bowing. This is very important and of course begins with the bow hold. It is my opinion that you are holding your bow too far down your fingers and should really come closer to the palm of your hand than you are doing it. There are other vids that demo this online of course but here is fiddlermans vids.

http://fiddlerman.com/tutorial.....old-a-bow/

http://fiddlerman.com/tutorial.....e-strings/

Once you have come this far, and there is no rush take your time to feel comfortable with these things. You should begin work on the third leg which in my opinion comes intonation or playing notes, particularly playing them intune. The tutorials on this forum begin with Cmaj scale ie no sharps or flats. which is a fine place to start.

http://fiddlerman.com/tutorial.....-g-string/

Once you have found all the notes on all the strings then you can work on dynamics.

This is the basic road map for beginners to follow before attempting to learn songs. I think preparing the foundation will make learning those songs easier in the long run. Of course there is more to playing the violin than this, this is only the beginning. Take as much time as you need to play the same quality and tone as in the videos.

Good luck.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Raywells
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March 9, 2013 - 2:49 pm
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Hello Andie; Good start... just a few comments from someone not far ahead of you. Convention has it that your bow hand should be at the same level as the violin and you seem a little high.The change of position to go between strings is only fractions of an inch. You may still need more rosin on your bow and I suspect you are being too gentle with you bow pressure. We put rosin on the bow to make it sticky to grab the string but we need to create some pressure on the strings. A little more aggression on the strings should give a cleaner sound. And turn on the room lights the violin is too good looking to hide in the dark. If you have a set of external Computer speakers your violin can play through them specially for videos. Keep up the work.

Ray

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Fiddlestix
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March 9, 2013 - 3:40 pm
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Hi, Andie:  While watching your vid's, I kinda think you have the bowing and fingering concept being difficult for you, kinda like patting your head and rubbing your belly. Work on your bowing first, practice drawing the bow full length across the string's without pause. Practice this without playing any note's until you get to the point of not thinking about it, then start working on your left hand note's.

Your right arm will rise and fall lower than your violin, especially when playing on the G string at the tip of the bow. It's not like a guitar where the string's are all the same height off the surface of the guitar, they are arched, therefore you have to raise your right arm higher and lower than the body of the violin.

I like your vid's, keep posting on your progress.  clap

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StoneDog
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March 9, 2013 - 10:24 pm
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Great vid there AndieKae > I'm also very new to this so I can't critique as others that know much more than I. I really enjoyed how you seemed to be trying to find that sound > that note or two that makes it SWEET!!! > What I really liked about your vid was your attitude toward it. You want it and your gonna get it kind of thing>

That kind of attitude will reap much. violin-1267

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Tyberius
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March 9, 2013 - 11:36 pm
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Very nice and thanks for sharing your start. We look forward to watching your progress and growing with you as you learn and gain more skill.

Remember, you don't have to learn it over night. You will get frustrated from time to time thinking you just aren't learning. Then you will realize, you just played something a few days ago was overwhelming. You have a great start. Don't be afraid to ask questions or for pointers. There are several very experienced musicians here and even more in the range from just starting ,like yourself, all the way up to a few years of playing.  Welcome to our little home on the web. :)

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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FiddleDetroit
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March 9, 2013 - 11:51 pm
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Great videos Andie, thanks for sharing your starting progress!  You have a great mind set and know you'll go far with your practicing, keep driving on.  Can't wait to see your future progress :)

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HDuaneaz
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March 9, 2013 - 11:53 pm
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Anything I would say has already been said. Keep practicing.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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RosinedUp
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March 10, 2013 - 3:55 pm
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Unless I am wrong, you have a Guarnieri-style chin rest.  It has a kind of elongated hump that crosses over the tailpiece.  That hump would usually fit snugly under the chin.  But I think you are trying to put your chin in the cup of the chin rest.  Your jaw or cheek would normally go in the cup.

If I am right, that one mistake is causing you other problems.  It is making you turn your face too much toward the scroll.  I think it may also be making you tilt your head too far back.   Try putting mainly the left side of your face toward the instrument, turning your face more forward, and moving your chin lower.

I see that you are able to hold with no hands.  That is a good thing.

I believe your violin is laying too level.  I think that is why you are having to raise your bow hand to dizzying heights to reach the G string.   The treble side should be lower than the bass side, so that the instrument is tilted and you can bow with your hand and arm lower.  Modifications to your chin-rest/shoulder-rest arrangement should fix that.

You are young, and given the pace of medical advances, you might have good vital organs and still be playing 100 years from now.  Still, neck transplants might not be an option in the future.  So now is the time to pay attention to your playing posture.  That is a good reason to get a teacher who can get you started correctly in that regard, and a good reason to try or buy several chin and shoulder rests.

If I were you and could afford lessons, I might call several teachers on the phone and tell them I was starting from scratch and ask them what we would do in a first session.  If they didn't mention on their own that they would look at my posture and my hold and my chin and shoulder rest setup, I would be inclined to look for someone else.

 

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Fiddlerman
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March 10, 2013 - 6:22 pm
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It's smart to show your progress for the apparent reason that you can get advice from other fiddlers as to what you are doing wrong. Playing the violin feels very foreign to the absolute pure beginner and requires some time before it feels natural. For some it never does. LOL

I look forward to seeing your progress in 1 week, then 1 month, then 1 year..... Here's hoping that you continue on your pursuit so that we can see that 1 year mark at least.

I'll hold my comments back for a while since you are getting plenty of advice already. :-)

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

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Mt. Fiddler
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March 12, 2013 - 7:00 pm
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Hello and you are doing great Andie.  I am a new violinist and it's so nice to see people practicing and going through the rigors of "good" practice...  do you think you will plug in the violin too?

 

Mt. Fiddler Mark

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AndieKae
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March 12, 2013 - 10:32 pm
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Rob - Thank you for the guideline. I am a person who needs something like that to follow otherwise I'm bouncing around somewhat aimlessly. I guess I got impatient and wanted to just play right away. I watched the videos on how to hold the violin and bow, but that was long before I actually had anything to practice with, and once I got the violin I guess I thought I could recall it all from memory. Thank you for mentioning the bow hold. After watching the videos myself I noticed I seemed to hold the bow with my fingertips (and was really annoyed with how straight my pinky was!) I've watched several videos and have been working on it, the middle knuckle of my pinky still wanted to lock and when I'd bend it then my thumb would straighten, but I think I've finally got it down. Now it's just a matter of practicing and practicing so my hand gets used to it.

Ray - I was wondering about the height of my arm while playing! Everyone's arms are so low in their videos, I felt like I was holding my arm so high, and it definitely doesn't look nice on video. RosinedUp mentioned in the chat that I have the violin right on top of my shoulder and that I should bring it forward more. It won't show in my next video because I recorded it before I put up the first videos but I have made adjustments and I think it's made a huge difference, especially for my neck. I'll have to check myself in the mirror, also, and make sure. I definitely needed to put more rosin on the bow. I still do, I think. I'm not sure. I hear if I don't have enough it'll be scratchy, if I have too much it'll be scratchy, how do I know which one it is? And you are also very right I'm being too gentle. I guess I have so many things I'm thinking about and I'm worried about breaking something and not wanting to mess up or not wanting to be too loud or just not really having the confidence to really play it. Maybe if I convince myself to play like I already know what I'm doing it'll be a little more deliberate. I'll make sure to only record during the day and have changed the location of the camera so the light is more in front of me, not behind me, that should fix the lighting issues. I have also found a way to hook my violin up to my stereo, so the sound will be a lot better. Well, by sound I mean volume, haha.
Fiddlestix - Here I was thinking after playing piano and having to play two hand parts doing different things, the bowing and fingering would be pretty easy, at least I only have to pay attention to one note at a time. Apparently not the case! I'll work more on my open string exercises so I don't have to think about fingering at all. I just wish there were more interesting things to play on open strings. I want to be able to show I can play songs. Oh well, one step at a time, right?

StoneDog - Thank you so much! I'm especially glad that came through in my video. That is really how I feel, and if there's anything I want to do with violin, it's to express my emotions. If you can tell how I feel and my attitude just from my practicing, then I must be at least doing something right in how I'm expressing myself. :)   I've tried and quit so many things, so I was very hesitant when I thought to myself that I wanted to learn violin. I told myself if I started I could not give up. I wasn't going to give myself that option, so I had to be certain that it's what I really wanted to do. In a way I sort of tried talking myself OUT of learning violin, but my heart just wouldn't have any of that. I knew I wanted to play violin, that I HAD to play violin. It's my biggest encouragement when I start to struggle. I don't care how bad I do; well, I do, I care a lot how bad I do, but whether I struggle or I succeed I will not quit because I am so happy to be learning the violin and to always have something to improve on.

 
Tyberius - Thank you, I have had so much help, this website is amazing and I am so grateful for it. I knew violin was going to take a long time to do well, but once I had it in my hands it's as though that knowledge disappeared and I wanted to play right away. I need to remind myself that I've only had it a short time and this is WHY I'm practicing. I guess a part of me was really hoping to be a natural, haha. Then again, I'm happy I'm the way I am and that I can really work on this, I think I'll appreciate it more being able to look back at my first frustrating practice and watch my progress down the road. It'll be more inspiring for others as well.
 
FiddleDetroit - Thank you, if there's one thing good about my mind, it's that I love to learn. :D I am very happy to share my videos and so grateful to have such wonderful, supportive, and helpful individuals to come to who take their time to watch these. I was worried that I wouldn't take constructive criticism well, I get pretty emotional and am easily discouraged, but this has been so fantastic, and I do bounce back well!
 
RosinedUp - I've moved where I've been holding the violin and it has been such an improvement. I haven't watched myself in the mirror or on video yet so I'll need to do that to make sure I'm doing it correctly, but it feels a lot better. I don't notice anything wrong with the chin-rest, so I'm not going to replace it if it's not necessary. I'd also rather not use a shoulder-rest. I guess it's just there's other things I'd rather be using the money for, hehe. If after a while of practicing with these adjustments something still isn't right, then I'll look into different chin-rests and shoulder-rests. I also have no way of paying for lessons right now, so, I'm just kinda out of luck there. But when I do get the opportunity, I'll make sure to keep that in mind in looking for the right teacher.
 

Duane - You were a great help with the rosin you suggested. It may just be me, or maybe just that my bow needed more rosin, but I think it sounds much smoother now. But I feel a lot more confident using a rosin you've recommended.

Pierre - I guess everyone beat you to it, but that just shows what a great forum this is. :) Thank you for your time, your videos, this website. I don't know where I'd be without everyone here to encourage me. It means so much to me for you to take the time to stop in and comment. I look forward to sharing every moment of this journey, the abridged version, anyway.
 

Mark - Thank you, it's so encouraging to see so many other beginners, as well. It makes this much less lonely. I'm editing my Day 5 practice now, and I have the violin plugged in for that one, so the sound will be much clearer. I can't wait to post it!Thank you all again for your time, your suggestions and encouraging words. It is so nice to have so much help and support. Even if I struggle, I know I can do this because I have such a wonderful community to turn to for help.

"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression."

Algernon Moncrieff (Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest")

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AndieKae
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March 21, 2013 - 12:26 am
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Well, I've been in and out of town a lot and haven't had much time to record or for proper practice, but I have picked up the violin every single day. I refuse to miss a day, even if my practices aren't as substantial as I'd like. I really need to work on that. But I really need a list - Do this for this long, do that this many times, etc.

 

So I missed my one week progress update, but here I go at two weeks.

 

"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression."

Algernon Moncrieff (Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest")

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suresh
Tuticorin, India
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March 21, 2013 - 1:37 am
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Very well played.  You seem to enjoy every moment of your playing.  Is the sitting position comfortable for you.  Good luck for coming weeks.

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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March 21, 2013 - 2:08 am
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Andie, you've shown great progress from your first video. You have a sly little look in your eye's and a positive expression on your face, good.

Your left forearm and wrist are nice and straight and your elbow is tucked nicely against your body (under your violin) this is very good.

Now try using the full length of your bow, counting, 1,2,3,4 with each bow stroke from frog to tip. Do this while changing string's.

I also like how you are playing Twinkle and using your pinky finger to play the A on the D string, it's good exercise for stretching the pinky.

You are doing well, keep it up.

Ken     clap

 

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RosinedUp
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March 21, 2013 - 5:25 am
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AndieKae said 

but here I go at two weeks.

Your left arm position is great.

I would change your bow hold.

You are keeping the bow pretty well on track, although it is not as consistently parallel to the bridge as it probably should be.

Your intonation generally needs some work, but is not too bad.

Your Star of the County Down is incredible.  Really great for a beginner.  Very well done.

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StoneDog
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March 21, 2013 - 6:15 am
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It shows that you have been practicing > really good progress > sounds like you will be part of the Canon project. I agree with Fiddlestix about using your pinky finger. As a beginner it is very important to include the pinky from the start instead of waiting to use it latter.

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coolpinkone
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March 21, 2013 - 3:18 pm
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Hi... It is great to see your progress.  I like your violin also!  Good job!

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Tyberius
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March 21, 2013 - 5:44 pm
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Very nice - not bad for a "total geek"  ;) . Keep working on your form (posture) and longer bow strokes. Thanks for sharing your progress with us. BTW - I love the color of your violin!!

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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AndieKae
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March 22, 2013 - 12:52 pm
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Thank you all so much, the improvements and your encouragement have been really motivating. I got a lot of help on my bow hold and worked on it for hours yesterday. The tip of my pinky was so sensitive that it even hurt in my dreams last night, haha! I think I've made a big change in my bow hold and can move the bow with my fingers now, if I can remember to do that while playing I'm sure it'll help keep the fingers soft and flexible. I'll try making a video of it today, going back to my open string exercises so that I can focus on just bowing and not have to worry about fingering and intonation.

 

@suresh I guess the sitting position is comfortable, why?

"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression."

Algernon Moncrieff (Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest")

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