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"Radioactive" Excerpt
A new-ish violin player looking for some feedback about her capabilities by playing part of "Radioactive"
Topic Rating: 4.7 Topic Rating: 4.7 Topic Rating: 4.7 Topic Rating: 4.7 Topic Rating: 4.7 Topic Rating: 4.7 (11 votes) 
August 4, 2014 - 5:29 pm
Member Since: August 4, 2014
Forum Posts: 5
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Hi, everyone! Here I go by Snickers, and I've been teaching myself the violin since October 2013. I like to think I've been making good progress, but sometimes it's hard to determine how I'm doing when I don't really get any feedback from people other than my friends and family (who don't really know much about the violin). After seeing how friendly everyone was here, I thought I would post some of my playing here and hopefully get some good advice about how I'm doing and how I can improve.

I chose to play part of "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons--I have loved this song ever since I heard Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix cover it, so I decided to learn it. Hopefully the couple of wrong notes won't make your ears bleed too much. :)

Thanks in advance!

Michigan, USA

August 4, 2014 - 10:57 pm
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2637
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@Snickers :  You've made excellent progress. There's not much to critique you for, your bow hold is good, as your violin hold. You're using your full bow (great) your wrist is flexible and you're bending your elbow.

As far as mistakes with notes and intonation, those are easy to fix so don't worry too much about that.

Keep up the good work.   thumbs-up  clap



EDIT. I forgot to mention your left hand. You don't have a fly-away pinky and your fingers stay pretty much over the strings.

California, the place of my heart

August 5, 2014 - 11:26 am
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 3717
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Well Check you OUT!!!  wow.. Great progress... I agree with Ken (fiddlestix)... Good Job!! Keep it up.  And thanks for Posting.  You must have been working hard and It shows.  10 months.  Most excellent. 


Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Honorary tenured advisor

August 5, 2014 - 2:11 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 882
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Nice form.  Elbow moving -- check.  Bow fingers flexible -- check.  Straight bowing -- check.  Smooth bowing -- check.  Left wrist straight -- check. Fingers over fingerboard -- check.  Everything seems to be headed in the right direction. 

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

August 5, 2014 - 3:54 pm
Member Since: August 4, 2014
Forum Posts: 5
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Thanks, everyone! I really have been working hard at learning how to play--especially getting the bow hold right. For me that has been one of the hardest parts, and I still can mess it up if I don't pay attention. But I'm really glad to know that I'm on the right track. laugh

Thanks so much!

Fort Lauderdale
August 6, 2014 - 1:09 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11611

Loosen the bow to about the distance of a pencil or a bit less from the stick to the hair at it's closest point. There is a good possibility that your bow no longer has much of an arch though as you have it SUPER tight. :)

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


August 6, 2014 - 1:57 pm
Member Since: June 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 2657
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Im one of the REAL Lindsey fans here I can say youre doing great. as fiddlerman said though, loosen the bow a little

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

King for a Day, Peasant for many

August 6, 2014 - 7:20 pm
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1773
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Nice work! thumbs-up

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Honorary tenured advisor

August 7, 2014 - 12:22 am
Member Since: September 7, 2012
Forum Posts: 985
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Nice playing!  As a fellow self-teacher, I'm kind of proud of you, if that makes any sense.



Looks good.


I think your hand position is good, meaning far enough from the nut, so that the fourth finger is able to reach its target, and the stretching is shared by the first and the fourth fingers. 

I noticed your wrist flexing sideways when crossing strings.  You might want to give some attention to the left elbow.  Usually It should swing a little left or right when you cross strings.  That way you won't have to flex as much at the wrist.


Good use of the elbow rather than the shoulder in drawing the bow.

Good action in string crossings, meaning that your elbow is moving up and down so that the whole arm can have a uniform relation to the string being played.  You are accurate in your string crossings, selecting just the string you want to play.

Your control of the sounding point (distance of the hair from the bridge) looks very good.

I was a little afraid you were going to knock somebody's diploma off the wall, so next time give your bow a little more room, ha ha.

Your bow hold looks mainly like the Russian hold, and you are choking up on the stick.  I don't know of anything really wrong with either of those, but I think they are less usual.  I don't want to cause an upheaval to your playing, and I've never tried the Russian hold, but you might consider looking into the Franco-Belgian hold.  The F-B is a general-purpose hold, and is a lot more common, being taught by Pierre and Galamian and many others.  I'm thinking that the F-B hold gives better flexibility and shock-absorbing action.  For one thing, I think the bent pinky of the F-B would give you better control when bowing near the frog and make it easier to keep a straight bow.  If you don't feel comfortable using the whole bow, I think that might be at least part of your answer.

IMO you've made great progress and you're doing very well.

August 7, 2014 - 4:29 pm
Member Since: August 4, 2014
Forum Posts: 5
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Wow, I never expected this many replies! :)

@fiddlerguy and @Barry, thanks for the tip about loosening the bow hair. To be honest, that bow never really had much of an arch in the first place. My spare bow had a much more definite arch, but it broke. I hope to get a newer, better bow in the near future--and I hope it will improve my sound a little.

@RosinedUp, thanks for mentioning the thing about the elbow. I never really paid much attention to it, but I suppose it would help make string crossings a little smoother. Actually, I originally started learning with the Franco-Belgian bow hold, but I was having a dickens of a time flexing my wrist while bowing. When I switched to the Russian, flexing my wrist was suddenly a lot easier.

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!


August 7, 2014 - 4:55 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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I am not a big believer in critique..

But I do believe in applause..


"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

Honorary advisor

September 7, 2014 - 10:15 pm
Member Since: January 18, 2012
Forum Posts: 342
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Well, at least your violin isn't radioactive. Ha Ha. Sounds good. I am not familiar with the song so I can't really critique but it seems you have a good technique and so far sounding good.

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