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Newbie looking for help
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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laserbrainz
SLC, UT
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August 17, 2013 - 12:58 am
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Hello everyone! I'm brand new t both the violin and this forum. So why not jump right in with an awful video of myself? :) I've been learning for just shy of two weeks now, teaching myself with the help of the Internet. 

The first video was taken a few days ago, trying to hammer out Twinkle Twinkle. After watching it myself a bunch of times I think my bow arm looks too stiff, and my bow strokes not fluid and with no follow through...although part of that is just being unsure of the notes still. My intonation is really rough.

The second video was taken today. I was just trying to get more footage of me practicing so I could study it myself, but I decided to share it here to see if someone could help me understand why I get that scratchy/shrieking sound sometimes. It happens most on the A and E strings, and usually when I'm using boTom half/third of the bow. Does it sound like too much or too little rosin? Or is it a problem with my form? Speaking of form, I'm having a lot of trouble with my bow grip. I can't seem to relax my fingers enough to keep my thumb and pinky bent without dropping the bow, and my wrist aches when I'm done practicing.

 

any tips and critiques would be extremely helpful! Thanks in advance. :)

 

 

edit: apologies for the lack of imbedded video. I'm doing this on an iPad and am infuriatingly limited.

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wookieman
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August 17, 2013 - 1:41 am
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I think you're heading in the right direction.  I'm a newb myself though, so take my word for a grain of salt. 

I wouldn't worry too much about studying your own videos TOO much.  Maybe a weekly check to help ID some some problems that you aren't recognizing while playing.  I think that if you try to hard to correct too many things all at once, that you are going to lose motivation REAL QUICK!  Just pick that thing up and play it.  Practice the each song until you KNOW it.  I'm not saying, until you have it memorized, I'm saying, until you can play it 10 times straight with no misses, forgets, or oopses.  THEN, you'll be able to relax while you're practicing THAT song and be able to focus on ONE thing at a time. 

Some ideas of things to think about.  Intonation.  Was my intonation good on all ten of those?  No, alright, where did I miss it, and how do I fix it.  Now let's do it ten times with the good intonation.  Alright, fixed the intonation, how's my left arm/wrist looking while I'm playing?  Oh man, it's horrible, fix it, play it ten times correctly.  Alright, now lets fix my bowing, ten times right.

I think you see my point.  The human brain (pardon me, I'm a non professional psychologist) is truly only capable of focusing on one thing at a time, so if you are trying to split your mental energy, you will see minimal, if any results.  It's better to focus on one thing at a time, and then you will see measurable results in your videos.  Again, I wouldn't worry TOO much about the studying your videos, except to pick out the ONE thing that you need to focus on next. 

As for the sore wrist, you may just have sore muscles.  You're asking your body to do things it isn't used to, so you're going to use muscles that you didn't know you had.  If its this kind of soreness, it will go away as you get stronger.  Just don't push yourself to the point that you start doing real damage. 

You're doing good.  Try not to beat yourself up too much, and keep bowing that bow.  The rest will all come, slowly, but surely.  Some REALLY good videos to watch if you need to take a break, probably even better than watching your self, is watching Fiddlerman's videos on holding the violin and bow, drawing the bow, etc.  Don't try to do too much too fast.  If you've got a method book, try to stick to the lessons, and practice each one until you've really got it.  THEN you're ready for the next one.  Have fun!

There is no failure, only results.

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pky
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August 17, 2013 - 3:30 am
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laserbrainz,

Welcome on board!

Your playing is not awful at all! Keep practicing it will come!

For how to hold a bow and a violin, check on this website's homepage, there a link "never touch a violin?" click here, after you click, fiddlerman has photos of showing you how to hold a violin and a bow.

tips: you violin hand: be sure to keep you hand and arm in a straight line, you tend to bend your wrist. Your bow hand is not firm enough, and don't bend your wrist either. Think of your elbow as a hinge, when you play twinkle, just open your lower arm with your bow arm.

Suggestions: focus on twinkle twinkle, yes it's boring to keep doing it, but if you do it everyday on different strings, you not only practice your bowing, intonation, but also getting used to different string height. Lightly row is another good song for that. When I first started, I did a lot of AEA AEA AAEE AEA DAD DAD DDAA DAD GDG GDG GGDD GDG, just plain open strings, then twinkle. It's okay to practice songs that you like, but it could be frustrating before you got other basics down.

Have fun practicing!

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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August 17, 2013 - 6:18 am
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Welcome to the forum, Liserbrainz!

I like your videos - nothing awful there.

As You've mentioned the scratchy sound in the low third of bow - maybe i'm mistaken, but it doesn't looks for me like too much rosin. It's hard to control this area of bow. I tried today to hold the bow in my left hand to understand what it might feel like... And got the same effect - really scratchy XD So i'd suggest to practice full length bow strokes on every string untill You feel more comfortable. And after that maybe practice bowing with the lower third for a while.

Good luck!

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wookieman
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August 17, 2013 - 9:35 am
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And yes, Welcome!!!

There is no failure, only results.

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StoneDog
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August 17, 2013 - 9:54 am
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Your doing great for just starting. I'm not just saying that to make ya feel good. The second video {the one inside} made me smile > it reminded me how frustrated I would get > the look on your face was like OH CRAP!!! then you would try again, and again. Thats the spirit!!! I know that feeling all too well. Your going to get a lot of help here. This site has taken me to other levels. A lot of great members that have good stuff to help ya. My suggestion > Scales > do them over and over again keeping in mind what others have said about form, etc > Scales > the more you do them, the more your intonation, bowing, etc will improve. The more comfortable you will be playing tunes also. It will all fall into place. I could tell by the look on your face >>

YOUR WANT IT!!!!!! > Good luck, and keep viddling.

 

 

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pky
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August 17, 2013 - 10:32 am
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laserbrainz ,

Corrections: I said your bow hold is not firm enough, I should have made it clear, firm does not mean tight grip. One's bow hold should be firm but flexible. I watched your video again and by not firm enough I meant your fingers were sitting on top of the bow. Try this: relax your hand and fingers -- let your fingers fall in natural curl, then sit the bow on middle sections of your fingers, put your thumb down touching the part of the frog where it extends from the curve and bend it so it is sort of between your index and middle finger or even more like touching the tip of your middle finger, your index lays on top of the bow, and your middle and ring finger touching the frog (you could use frog eye as a reference and rest middle and ring finger on the frog eye), finally your pinky curves and rests on top of the stick. Practice tapping your thumb, index, middle and ring together as a whole, and pinky to check your bow hold. When you hold your bow horizontally and when you leave your pinky, your bow would drop and point to the ground -- pinky help balance the bow.

The bow hand strength comes with practice.

Straight bow practice: get a toilet paper row, empty or not, hold it with your violin hand, put it on our shoulder, put your bow through the hole, and practice long and steady bow strokes -- frog to tip, tip to frog, and divide your bow into three sections and practice with the middle section of your bow, frog section and tip section of your bow.

The scratchy sound could also come from your other fingers touching the strings that you are bowing on.

Rosin: if your bow and your rosin is new: get a paper clip, scratch the surface of your rosin and then rosin your bow for about ten minutes (it would make sound after three or four minutes or even less but you want to make sure you have enough rosin on your bow).

Two ways to check if you have enough rosin on your bow:

1. rosin it and play and see if there's any white powder (not a lot,  a little is enough, if there's a lot then you have too much rosin) on your instrument near where you bow the strings.

2. Rosin your bow till the bow hair turns white -- check by shining light on it, if it's still glittery then rosin some more.

 

 

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DanielB
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August 17, 2013 - 10:47 am
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Not to worry, laserbrainz. If after only two weeks, you were doing beautiful fluid bowing with perfect intonation and form..We'd have to kill you and hide the body before you made the rest of us look bad.  LOL

It takes some time and work, and you're not doing bad at all for 2 weeks in.  Hands and wrists are likely to ache a little, and that's not unusual.  It takes some time for them to muscle up a little bit, since the movements for playing and holding the bow are not something your hands are likely accustomed to from any everyday activity.

Too much rosin isn't a common problem.  If you do manage to get too much on the bow, the excess will come off in the first few strokes.  Too little is more likely to cause you trouble early on.  Too little can make the bow skip or make some weird noises. So, when in doubt, put on more.  About the worst that will happen is any excess will wind up on the top of your violin and you just wipe that off when you're done playing. 

"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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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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August 17, 2013 - 11:21 am
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Try using more bow pressure. It looks to me as if the bow is just gliding on the strings. It's very OK to bear down on the bow.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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August 17, 2013 - 12:01 pm
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your first video wouldnt play for me but upon review of your second video I recommend the following videos...

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

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

and I would reiterate Mad Wed's advice: So i'd suggest to practice full length bow strokes on every string untill You feel more comfortable. And after that maybe practice bowing with the lower third for a while.

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

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RosinedUp
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August 18, 2013 - 10:46 am
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Laser, I would from the outset check the intonation of each note against a tuner---or other authority, such as a nagging teacher, if you can afford it.  Try to play a note, then check the tuner to see how close you got, then try it again.  And as one or more recommended above, play scales.  I would start with the scale of of whatever piece you are learning.

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Crazymotive
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August 18, 2013 - 2:36 pm
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Not bad. For a person who's only been learning on their own for 2 weeks yiou are doing good. You string crossings sound clean and you seem to be on the right track. Are you using sheet music or are you playing be ear ? It is good you are playing nice and slow to start with and trying to develop smooth even strokes

 

Now for a few minor critiques...

 

1) I think you need to work on your bow hold. Seems like you are supporting the bow entirely from the top above the frog. While there is no single universal bow hold that works for everyone you might want to check out some of the videos and tutorials and experiment with some of the different finger placements and positions on the bow. Eventually you'll find the one that is comfortable and works right for you.

 

2) You need some work on your intonation, but who doesn't. I've been playing for many years and  there are still moments where my intonation can be off a bit on some notes. Keep practicing, working on the tutorials and videos, listen to your own recordings and compare them and work on those notes that just don't sound quite right. I think Fiddlerman also has an "intonation game" on this site which can be quite helpful. Intonation is a matter of time and practice. Stick with it and you'll get it.

Follow along with the Fiddlerman video tutorials. If you are interested in additional tutorial videos and exercises,

 

Todd Euhle also has a series of video tutorials dealing with everything from basic bow holds and intonation right on up through advanced techniques.  You can reach his site at the following link.

http://www.toddehle.com/id69.html

 

Otherwise you seem to be doing great. Be patient, take your time, stick with it, and before long you'll be amazed at how much progress you'll make. And most important, enjoy it and have fun.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 18, 2013 - 8:51 pm
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Welcome to the forum Kayla,

Great start. Lot's of good tips above. What I like the most, and it will really pay off, is how you stop and think, analyzing yourself. It's obvious that you are trying to figure out what you are doing wrong. This is the absolute best way to learn. You try something and it sounds bad, so you change it. If it sounds better you go in that direction. More pressure, less pressure, closer to the bridge, further from the bridge. I think you get the picture..... Do the same thing with your intonation. I realize you just started but this is the best time to make sure you are playing in tune. If you get used to playing out of tune and placing the fingers in the wrong place you may get stuck with it. :-) But one of the reasons I'm already mentioning it is that your intonation is not bad at all.

Thanks for keeping those things in your video.

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

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laserbrainz
SLC, UT
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August 23, 2013 - 3:01 pm
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I just want to thank everyone for your replies!  I am actively gleaning the wisdom.  I've been working a lot on my bow hold in particular...mostly because you can't hold a bow out of tune and it therefore is the least depressing thing to work on, lol.

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