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New to Forum Sorta new to the Violin
Hello Fiddlerman!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
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Cstuart
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October 2, 2017 - 8:35 am
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Hi There everyone!  My name is Catherine,  I saw Fiddlerman's tutorials on You Tube

and I admire his playing and the way he teaches.  So I did some more digging around

the website, and I printed out the 30 day challenge ( practice for 30 days). 

I started playing and taking lessons when I was 17 for about a year or two, and 

then I went away to college and didn't pick up the violin again until I was 35, played

again with no lessons for about a year and quit again.  Life got in the way. Now I am 

49, I have a teacher, and I purchased my own Violin.  I practice daily and will be

performing at a church in November 2017.  So tecnically I am a beginner, and I never made it past 1st position.   I am still working on my bowing, and am definatley afraid

of vibrato, which my violin teacher says I probably will not start learning for another year yet.  I just don't feel I have the coordination for it, I hope I can somehow learn it.

So any advice about that would be great. 

Thank you!violin-1267

Catherine Stuart

Crytsal Lake, IL 

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Ferenc Simon
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October 2, 2017 - 9:58 am
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Hi and welcome to the forums 🙂 

I'm also fairly new here, though I'm completely new to the violin. 

People here seem to be really nice and friendly, also the forum contains lots of information.. I joined almost a week ago and I'm still digging through all the topics just to get the general idea of the layout and stuff 🙂 

 

Regarding vibrato.. I don't know, the basic concept behind it doesn't seem so complicated.. and even though it's kinda my 6th day of playing violin, I'm actually practicing the vibrato movements and exercises to try and develop it properly in parallel while learning the violin so that when I'm ready to use it I'll only have to struggle with and focus on putting the two together.. 

Based on what I read pretty much everywhere... this probably scares a lot of violinists and teachers alike 😀 a newbie swinging a hatchet at vibrato... haha, but I try to focus on learning it the correct way so I really hope it's not going to do more harm then good.. I find that it helps with bowing.. since trying to keep a steady bow while attempting vibrato motions with the other hand really challenges the motor / coordination skills so when I'm just playing simple notes my bowing seems to require less attention afterwards.. 

There are lots and lots of resources online and we're lucky to have the internet. For example what I did was pretty much watched every noteworthy video about vibrato on youtube and despite of how they might explain it differently, I tried to actually pay attention to what they're doing.. which muscles move.. which ones don't.. Also, given that everyone does a slightly different variation of vibrato what I did was look at all the common elements across all of those videos and tried to make my own educated guess about what I should be doing and how can I apply that to my big clunky hands 🙂 On their own none of the videos give you an actual clear picture, even though they explain it pretty well, but combined you can actually get a sense of how you're supposed to move your muscles and try to visualize that in your head.. then it's only a matter of learning these new motions... 

I hope this somewhat helps, though be advised.. take everything I say with a grain of salt, since like I said.. I have only been playing the violin for 6 days so I'm nowhere near qualified to give anyone any sort of violin-related advice :))) In fact you should probably be the one teaching me based on your history 😀 

 

Cheers and once again: welcome to the forums! 🙂 

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Cearbhael
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October 2, 2017 - 1:20 pm
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@Cstuart @Ferenc Simon Welcome Catherine! If you go to the forum "Learning to Play" and go to the topic "Hello Fiddlers". Charles wrote a novel sized post with two videos, the 2nd video is all about vibrato! Charles says it is the clearest explanation on how to and what is actually happening! It is an Awesome Explanation! I highly recommend you watch it! If you like it, click the Watch button at the bottom of the page, so you can find it easily! I suggest this video for the both of you! I am coming back to violin after a very long hiatus! I last played violin in 1961! I just restarted in late Aug Early Sep or so! I am concentrating on my bowing and tone! All open strings but getting to where I want to start fingering. I was still a beginning violinist but was playing in the school orchestra with others. I was playing left handed so sat with the cello player and the bass. Going the wrong direction to sit with the other violins and violas. I am learning right handed now since I inherited my grandfather's violin. It is definitely slowing down my come back, but violin is NOT like riding the bicycle! You are training muscles unique to playing bowed string instruments! It is a journey of passion for me! The sound of a well played instrument can bring me to tears! 

"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein 

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Mark
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October 2, 2017 - 7:55 pm
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Welcome, to the forum, and enjoy the fiddle.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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October 3, 2017 - 7:57 pm
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Welcome to the forum 😀 

I think my teacher started me on vibrato at around 2 months into learning. It felt totally awkward at first, but I'm glad I started then 🙂 I'm sure you'll get it when you're teacher starts you going on it 🙂

Anyway, welcome again to the forum, and hope to see you around 😀 

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On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 6, 2017 - 10:41 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12802

Cstuart said
Hi There everyone!  My name is Catherine,  I saw Fiddlerman's tutorials on You Tube

and I admire his playing and the way he teaches.  So I did some more digging around the website, and I printed out the 30 day challenge ( practice for 30 days). 

Thank you. 1st-place 

It's a great challenge and I am embarrassed to admit that I have never successfully completed that challenge. Many here have though. thumbs-up

I started playing and taking lessons when I was 17 for about a year or two, and then I went away to college and didn't pick up the violin again until I was 35, played again with no lessons for about a year and quit again.  Life got in the way. Now I am 49, I have a teacher, and I purchased my own Violin.  I practice daily and will be
performing at a church in November 2017.  

You may want to get some practice performing before your church premiere on StreetJelly. Talk to Damfino about that. 🙂

So tecnically I am a beginner, and I never made it past 1st position.   I am still working on my bowing, and am definatley afraid

of vibrato, which my violin teacher says I probably will not start learning for another year yet.  I just don't feel I have the coordination for it, I hope I can somehow learn it.

So any advice about that would be great. 

It's different learning as an adult and not having the pressures of childhood and youth. I think you'll find that you are your biggest critic and you'll enjoy your progress more now than you did as a teenager.

Welcome to the forum. Looking forward to your future posts.

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

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
October 6, 2017 - 9:02 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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Welcome @Cstuart Catherine! Nice to meet you. Keep us posted.

-- Diane

cheerscoffee

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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Charles
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October 7, 2017 - 3:22 pm
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Hi, Catherine, welcome to the forum.

 

Cstuart said
  So tecnically I am a beginner, and I never made it past 1st position.   I am still working on my bowing, and am definatley afraid

of vibrato, which my violin teacher says I probably will not start learning for another year yet.  I just don't feel I have the coordination for it, I hope I can somehow learn it.

So any advice about that would be great. 

Thank you!violin-1267  

First bit of advice - relax.  They quit shooting people for not having a good enough vibrato a while back.  1833, I think.

 

🙂 Your teacher is probably holding off on vibrato right now because vibrato is more difficult in first position than it is higher up on the fingerboard. In first position, your hand has very little room to move, which makes vibrato... challenging.

You don't have the coordination for it, but neither did anyone else, and they learned it anyway. Like with anything else, there are some people who pick up a technique like that a lot more quickly than most, some that have to put in a lot more work than most, and the vast majority of us are somewhere in the middle. If you're one of the unlucky ones, it doesn't mean you can't learn it, it will just take more practice. (And don't assume you are poor at it ahead of time: borrow things like ice cream, not trouble. 🙂 )

The motion is not one that is remotely like anything you do in your everyday life, so of course it's going to feel awkward. Your brain has no idea what muscles to move in what order to make that motion smoothly, and only a rough idea of how to make it at all.

If it really bothers you a lot, have your teacher show you the right motion, and you can practice it off and on over the next year until your teacher thinks it's time for you to learn vibrato. Do it as slowly as you need to to get the motion right (with your teacher telling you what's right, of course.)

Don't try to speed it up until it's really easy at that speed. (Warning: if you add a bow to it (unnecessary yet) it will sound horrible. It does that until it gets a lot faster.) Then speed it up until it's a little bit of a challenge, and practice it at that speed for a while. (There's no hurry - you've got a year to work on this, after all.) 

Rinse and repeat, and by the time your teacher thinks it's time to move you on to vibrato, that motion won't seem awkward at all.  I'd say your teacher will be surprised at how fast you pick it up, but you really should have your teacher double-check you about once a month to make sure you're still on track. If he/she starts you early on vibrato because of how well you're doing at that, well, that's your own fault for starting on it so early. 🙂

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CAudreyJ
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October 10, 2017 - 1:30 pm
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Hello Everyone,

I am an adult beginner to violin I got my first violin on May 26th, 2017 from amazon, which was a terrible idea. I started formal lessons on June 11th, 2017 and purchased the Fiddlerman Concert violin which has been an amazing improvement. I have always wanted to play the violin, but grew up playing clarinet for 8 years. As an adult learner I have been struggling with knowing what my progress is from the time I started my formal lessons. I so far have gotten past learning natural notes in the Essential strings book 1 and will be completed with that book by end of October. I hope to be able to post a video of where I am at currently. fish

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Charles
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October 11, 2017 - 10:00 am
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Hi, @CAudreyJ, welcome to the forum.  I did the same thing you did - got one off Amazon. I did a fair amount of research, and got what I thought was a good beginner violin (the Stentor Graduate, their 3rd from the bottom model), but it took $350 worth of luthier work to turn it into a halfway decent violin.

What do you mean when you say you're struggling with knowing how much progress you've made?

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CAudreyJ
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October 11, 2017 - 11:59 am
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Hello Charles,

I'm not sure If I am where I should be for playing since June 11, 2017. I see other violin players who are already working on vibrato. My instructor said I wont learn that for another year or two. It just makes me think that although she may say I'm doing alright I'm not really doing that well. Here is just one of my practice videos. I don't use very much of the bow and seem hesitant. 

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damfino
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October 12, 2017 - 10:07 am
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CAudreyJ said
I'm not sure If I am where I should be for playing since June 11, 2017. I see other violin players who are already working on vibrato. My instructor said I wont learn that for another year or two. It just makes me think that although she may say I'm doing alright I'm not really doing that well. 

I don't think there is any set rule for learning an instrument. Nothing says if you are playing X amount of time you should know how to do X technique or tune. Everyone just learns differently.

For the vibrato, that could just be your teachers personal teaching practice. When I was waiting for my violin to be delivered and watching all kinds of teaching videos on youtube, I think it was the Online Violin Tutor that said you can't even attempt vibrato until you've been playing a year or two. So that's her teaching practice. My teacher started me at 2 months, so that was hers. 

You can ask your teacher how she thinks your doing if you're really curious. I personally haven't ever asked, good or bad I kind of don't want to know either way, and just plug along learning. Enjoying the process and journey is the important thing 🙂 

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On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
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Charles
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October 13, 2017 - 10:19 am
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Hi, Audrey,

(I'm assuming you're going by that from the username you chose - correct me if I'm wrong.)

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. This part of the week is when I work, and it's been nasty this week - very little free time.

First, a minor point - vibrato is overrated, and it IS an advanced technique. Most people don't work on it until at least a year into their playing, sometimes two. It is (in my opinion) badly overused, to the point where all the music sounds the same. Most violin techniques are easy to learn, harder (sometimes much harder) to master. Vibrato is hard to learn.

Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses. One guy here on the forum started working on vibrato after a week of playing. (And doing a passable job of it.)  I first learned the technique (knew what was supposed to happen) over a year ago, and just figured out some important bits about how I'm supposed to move my hand last week. I still don't have the coordination to do it fast enough to sound like a vibrato, and the muscles needed are both weak and fighting themselves. So I've probably got 3-6 months before I begin producing a decent vibrato. Mastering it will take a lot longer.

So does that mean I'm a bad violinist? No, I'm clumsy and uncoordinated (have been most of my life), but there are numerous other aspects of the violin I do fine on. (And would be doing a lot better if I practiced more.) And it doesn't mean I can't do vibrato, somewhere on down the line. It just means I'm going to have to work at it a lot more than some people do.

Take yourself - your intonation/fingering is pretty good for someone at 4 months. You are hesitant at times, but when you do play the note, it's the right one. There are plenty of other people who can't do that 4 months in.

The point I'm trying to make is that you should not beat yourself up for not being another person. The relevant question is whether you are better now than you were a month ago.

Are you in a group class? Some of what you've said suggests that you are. The biggest downside to those is that they're geared for the slowest student, and they don't take your personal problems and strengths into account. In particular, you can recognize that you have a problem (or problems), but not know what to do about them, and they don't get fixed until the class gets around to that particular issue.

I'm sure your teacher is trying to be reassuring, but telling you that you're doing fine when you can hear issues is not really doing you a favor.  In one sense, it's true - while there are problems to be addressed, you're not doing all that bad for four months.  However, by not acknowledging the problems that ARE there, she makes you doubt yourself.

I'm trying to encourage you, and quite frankly, I suck at that. I'm much better at pointing out problems and suggesting fixes. (I'll do that on your critique video post.)

I can only do what I know how to do, so I'm going to try to encourage you somewhat differently than how your teacher does. Yes, you have problems. However, they're all normal beginner problems, and they will go away with more training and practice.  You're behind some people in some ways at the fourth month mark, but you're ahead of other people.  Overall, just as your teacher said, you're doing ok.

One suggestion - instead of asking a general question, like "Am I doing ok?", ask specific ones, like "How do I get better tone?" or "How do I get rid of the hesitancy in my playing?".  Hopefully, you'll get specific, concrete answers.  If you get "We'll be covering that later," at least you'll know that you're having issues with that because it hasn't been covered yet, not because there's anything wrong with you.

And, of course, you can always ask those same kinds of questions here, where I will write novels at you. 🙂  (And there are other, less long-winded, people who will help, too.)

Hope this helps.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 16, 2017 - 2:51 pm
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Hey Audrey, and welcome to the forum.

Glad to hear that you are satisfied with the Concert. 🙂
Also, glad to have you here sharing your progress and thoughts.

As far as progress is concerned, you must keep in mind that some people can practice many hours a day where as others barely put in any time on a regular basis. Progress can be based more on how much time, research (lessons, books and even online tutorials) and dedication you give to the task. Talent plays a role in progress as well.
There are usually great practice sessions as well as sessions that basically just pass time.

I think you are doing fine for 4 months. You might be able to progress faster but that depends on your will and desire.

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 16, 2017 - 2:54 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12802

Also @CAudreyJ , you got a "Share Video" badge already. 🙂

Congratulations.

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

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CAudreyJ
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October 24, 2017 - 9:47 am
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@charles I am not in a group class, just private individual lessons.Thank you I will ask more specific questions. I think I have improved on being hesitant while playing, still have a long way to go. You definitely encouraged me to keep playing. I just have to keep in mind that everyone learns at a different pace and everyone is unique in their own way when it comes to playing the violin.  

@Fiddlerman Thank you for the encouragement I am going to keep trying. Typically if I find myself distracted on a particular day that is the day  I take a break and do not practice as I find that I get frustrated. Practice is key and that I have noticed can really improve my playing that and playing scales which I have started to focus on a lot more. 

@damfino Thank you so much, I have seen my teacher play a simple piece and do vibrato and not even realize it and I'm like am I suppose to attempt that. I think when she believes I have gotten to the stage where she can introduce she may perhaps in a year or so. She stated I am doing well, but I always think there is room for improvement. 

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Cearbhael
Minnesota
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October 24, 2017 - 6:08 pm
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@CAudreyJ Well, I am back to Violin in my 60's after leaving violin at 13. I am very conservative and Very critical so I have done nothing but work on my bowing and listening to how the string sounds to me in relation to the string next to it! I am expecting perfect sound with no scratches or weird stuff. Trying to bow straight. I probably won't move on until I am satisfied. My biggest issue is playing two strings at the same time. Finding it very hard to do. Guess you would call it a chord? My beginning lessons expect me to play the open A and E together, and A and D,and D and G. I always lean too much into one string and not enough into the other. Sigh! I will not turn the page of my lesson book until I can master the last song, what is called "extra practice with open strings." It requires bowing the whole bow, the lower bow and the upper bow. You have to move smoothly from one string to the other, be able to follow all bowing directions and play the 3 open string chords. It also mixes up all the whole, half and quarter notes and rests. So, to play it perfectly, I have to master all of it!  I will master it eventually and it will have to pass the worst critic of all (me) before I go on to fingering. Everyone learns differently, some people want to play popular songs right away! I was taught that the very basics have to be learned first. Walk then trot, lastly you can work on running then running and jumping at the same time! I do deep end, I dove before I learned to swim and I tend to do difficult yarn and jewellery  techniques early, but playing the violin, I fall back to the habits learned from my old teacher. He was from Europe and was a stickler for perfection! So, slow and easy is the rule for me. Any tips on playing two strings together guys?

"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein 

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intrepidgirl
Bragg Creek, Alberta
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October 24, 2017 - 9:49 pm
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I play 2 strings all the time, just not on purpose :). welcome, @CAudreyJ and @Cstuart . I am an older player, just started a few years ago and Fiddlerman with his videos and exercises is quite a good resource. In addition, as you can already tell, the forum with all the followers is also great! Have fun!

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Mark
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October 24, 2017 - 10:34 pm
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Welcome to the forum, I agree your doing good.

Easy to say hard to do but work on being relaxed, i once read where tension was the enmey and I laughed at that statement, oh how I had to eat CROW on that preconceived idea. 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Ferenc Simon
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October 25, 2017 - 9:58 am
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Just gonna chip in with my thoughts a bit. I'm probably the one on the forums with the least amount of time spent with a violin :)) I received my cheap Stagg VSO on the 27th of September 🙂

So I don't know much about learning the violin except for what I experienced since..

However I do know a lot about learning things in general and developing different kinds of fine motor-skills etc.. since I did a lot of sports which required the learning of new movements and making them 'automatic'.. I learned how to operate heavy-machinery, which again requires fine automatic movements.. I do some gaming from now and then 🙂 (some of those are actually quite hard and challenging), not to mention that I started learning the piano in January and have been playing guitar for the past 6 years. 

All of these pretty much have one thing in common. They require you to embed the information required for those fine movements deep within your brain / sub-conscience so that when the time comes, you don't have to think about them, they become automatic and you only think about which rock you want to move with an excavator or which note you want to play on a violin, etc. - the rest is pretty much automatically performed by your hands 🙂 

The 'focusing on one thing at a time' approach is fine, but imo it's mainly aimed towards kids who have no intention of learning instruments and would prefer to do something else all-together.. so their mind is racing and you somehow manage to give them one additional task which would be bowing or something. It has been used for decades and usually it works since most successful instrument players are the ones who started at a young age. 

When it comes to adults however.. it is your own decision to be there and use the time you have to learn violin.. and that's it.. you even go as far as to try to empty your mind before practice so there's not much else going on. Our brain works in a very funny way though. It usually also 'stores' the things that we can't pay attention to, much like a computer stores memory data that isn't actively being 'processed' in a page-file, but most of the time when it comes to movement.. this type of 'storage' is much more efficient and fast. That is why for example people who have learned how to text while driving are actually way better drivers when they put that phone away.. since they learned to drive while having a distraction present and once you take away that distraction the skill level skyrockets. 

Now let's translate that into violin terms 🙂 

The way I do it for example is that I try to focus on something else or something less specific.. I want to play 'something'.. be it a song.. a scale.. whatever. I'm not focusing on bowing open strings to learn how to bow properly.. I'm trying to focus on the sound for example and if my bowing is off, that will be heard in the sound, which will then force me to come up with an automatic 'fix' without thinking about it too much. Or if you want to focus on bowing alone, then find ways to overload your mind by breaking down that bowing into multiple parts and try to do those at the same time. For example work on finger flexibility by standing infront of a mirror and only look at the mirror to see how your bowing looks, never look at the strings, but still try to hit them separately (or together in case of a chord), then reverse it.. try to play a song as accurately as you can while trying to look for those fancy bow-changes with flexible fingers from now and then while looking at the mirror 😀

So the key is shifting focus from the thing you want to learn the most then back again instead of just mindlessly hacking at it for 2 hours. If you manage to implement this successfully your progress will speed up. Also keep general learning tips in mind like playing before going to bed (which will make your mind process the information in a much more relaxed state storing it more efficiently) and just keeping your violin around all day if you can.. You can learn even when not playing.. simply not stashing away your violin and keeping it in sight can help, since looking at it can trigger all the stuff you learned before and reinforce it in your mind even if you're just busy doing the dishes 🙂 It 'reminds' you of important information. 

Lastly, don't be afraid to try new stuff.. Ever since getting my violin I've been reading about people being afraid of vibrato for example, like it's some big scary monster that you're not allowed to go near until you've played for at least a year or two.. Why? Nothing is preventing you from trying and experimenting with it, who knows? maybe you'll get it the first time 😀 As long as it doesn't hurt your progress (meaning that you spend more time with it than you should instead of doing more useful stuff) nobody is stopping you from trying and the fact that your teacher doesn't want to teach you that yet since it's an advanced technique doesn't mean you can't try it at home in your own time. Or cases where you are afraid to move on to fingerings because you want to perfect open strings first. Remember, you can always go back, but sometimes taking a peek forward isn't such a bad thing. As far as learning bad habits to a point where it takes more time to fix it, that doesn't happen overnight.. it would take years of playing badly to reinforce it at such a degree and even then it's easier to correct than with a beginner, it simply seems longer, because it doesn't feel like you're learning something new and it's more boring 🙂 

 

Anyway.. this is just my opinion and my way of learning things, the only reason I dumped it all here is in case someone finds some useful ideas among them that actually helps. I am not trying to convince anyone to change their ways or to even try new stuff 🙂 Everyone should learn and play the way they want to, perhaps the only golden rule is to enjoy it as much as possible since music is supposed to be about that!

 

Cheers!

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