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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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August 8, 2017 - 11:14 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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I am not new to this site but have not been here for a long time. I had to stop playing the violin for quite some time. I was never good but I did enjoy it. I am going to try again starting from the beginning. The reason I stopped is nerve damage in my left hand. The ulnar nerve. I had it fixed but I waited too long and have limited feeling in my third and forth finger and very week thumb. I had decided to come back awhile ago but I am in end stage heart failure and thanks to the doctors at Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center I was given an LVAD. My life is slowly getting back to a new normal so I am going to try and pick up my violin again. My forth finger is very weak so I am going to try playing with three fingers.

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Mark
Honorary advisor
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August 9, 2017 - 1:13 am
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 384
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Kevin, 

Welcome back, I had wondered a couple of weeks ago how you were doing had not seen a post in quite a while. Hope the new normal is a good improvement from before the LVAD.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 9, 2017 - 12:30 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12783

Super happy to see you back here again.

I've followed your life a bit and it makes me very happy to hear that things are getting back to normal. I hope you find time to visit us again in our new location. It seems like ages since we met and so much has changed since then.

Any plans on coming to Florida to visit family this winter?

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

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Charles
Honorary advisor
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August 10, 2017 - 3:46 pm
Member Since: June 7, 2016
Forum Posts: 304
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Hi, Kevin,

Welcome back. I feel for you on the heart stuff. Mine hasn't attacked me yet that I know of, but I've been having signs one is impending.  Doctor started me on nitro last week because of some shortness of breath and tightness in the upper chest, and the bad news is, it seems to be helping...

 

If the limited feeling you mentioned in the third and fourth finger is only the sense of touch, you can ignore everything I say below. That sense is nice to have when playing the left hand, but not essential, especially if it's just dimmed, not gone.

If what's missing is your proprioceptive sense (your ability to tell where the parts of your finger are just by how they feel), though, that's going to play hell with your fingering/intonation.

For that problem (if it exists) I have a couple of oddball suggestions:

First one is to use tapes, and let your eyes help position your fingers.  Normally, that would be the exact opposite of what I'd advise somebody to do, specifically because you want to train yourself to use your proprioceptive sense to get your fingers where they need to go without your eyes, so you can put your eyes on things like sheet music.  But if you don't HAVE that sense, then you have to change the rules.

It would mean you'd have learn things either by ear or by learning a little bit of the sheet music at a time and playing it from memory, but you'd be able to play reasonably in tune.

 

The second oddball suggestion for handling the problem is more extreme - switch to playing a left-handed violin.  The weakness you mentioned might be an issue, but you could test it with your existing violin (you'd probably have to take the shoulder rest off, if it has one - I don't think you can just turn them around). Expect it to be rather awkward.  (Update: Being the sort to somewhat believe in putting my money where my mouth is, I tried it. Make that horrendously awkward. I had no idea how much my body had adapted to playing the violin in the last year. When I tried to get the other side to do some of that stuff, it said "Admiral-san!! Are you out of your f---ing MIND??!?!")

But... since the main thing is find out if your left hand is strong enough to hold a bow, you can at least experiment that much. If it is, that would be an available option. You might miss out on some of the fancier techniques that require tricky finger work, like tremolo, but from your description of your playing, it'd probably be a long time before that was an issue. And hey, you could always use both tricks and swap off as needed. 🙂

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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August 11, 2017 - 10:09 am
Member Since: July 23, 2015
Forum Posts: 1509
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Welcome back 🙂 I'm sorry about your health issues, and hope that your new normal is an improved one 🙂 

☆•*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆•*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆
On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨* •☆•*¨*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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August 11, 2017 - 1:05 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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Fiddlerman said
Super happy to see you back here again.

I've followed your life a bit and it makes me very happy to hear that things are getting back to normal. I hope you find time to visit us again in our new location. It seems like ages since we met and so much has changed since then.

Any plans on coming to Florida to visit family this winter?  

Yes I am coming back down sometime this winter and would love to visit with you again and see your new warehouse.

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
Members

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August 11, 2017 - 1:15 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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Charles said
Hi, Kevin,

Welcome back. I feel for you on the heart stuff. Mine hasn't attacked me yet that I know of, but I've been having signs one is impending.  Doctor started me on nitro last week because of some shortness of breath and tightness in the upper chest, and the bad news is, it seems to be helping...

 

If the limited feeling you mentioned in the third and fourth finger is only the sense of touch, you can ignore everything I say below. That sense is nice to have when playing the left hand, but not essential, especially if it's just dimmed, not gone.

If what's missing is your proprioceptive sense (your ability to tell where the parts of your finger are just by how they feel), though, that's going to play hell with your fingering/intonation.

For that problem (if it exists) I have a couple of oddball suggestions:

First one is to use tapes, and let your eyes help position your fingers.  Normally, that would be the exact opposite of what I'd advise somebody to do, specifically because you want to train yourself to use your proprioceptive sense to get your fingers where they need to go without your eyes, so you can put your eyes on things like sheet music.  But if you don't HAVE that sense, then you have to change the rules.

It would mean you'd have learn things either by ear or by learning a little bit of the sheet music at a time and playing it from memory, but you'd be able to play reasonably in tune.

 

The second oddball suggestion for handling the problem is more extreme - switch to playing a left-handed violin.  The weakness you mentioned might be an issue, but you could test it with your existing violin (you'd probably have to take the shoulder rest off, if it has one - I don't think you can just turn them around). Expect it to be rather awkward.  (Update: Being the sort to somewhat believe in putting my money where my mouth is, I tried it. Make that horrendously awkward. I had no idea how much my body had adapted to playing the violin in the last year. When I tried to get the other side to do some of that stuff, it said "Admiral-san!! Are you out of your f---ing MIND??!?!")

But... since the main thing is find out if your left hand is strong enough to hold a bow, you can at least experiment that much. If it is, that would be an available option. You might miss out on some of the fancier techniques that require tricky finger work, like tremolo, but from your description of your playing, it'd probably be a long time before that was an issue. And hey, you could always use both tricks and swap off as needed. 🙂  

Actually the problem with my fingers is that when touched there is pain shooting up but I have tried using only two fingers or trying to cushion my fingers with tape. I have thought about learning to play left handed but that would require moving the bass bar, replacing the nut, chin rest, bridge and sound post. I might just make a violin a lefty and if I don't use it I'll give it away.

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
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August 12, 2017 - 1:28 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4003
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Hello Kevin:

I am happy to see you.  Super happy to see you here in the forum.

Super glad that we didn't loose touch completely.  You have always been so

very helpful on the forum and a gem of a human. 1st-placeheart1st-place  I think that you can play with the three fingers just fine.

I send healing and happy vibes to you.

Make Music and smile.

Cheers Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
August 12, 2017 - 9:15 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1706
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Welcome back, Kevin! And best wishes for your health issues and your violin playing.

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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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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August 14, 2017 - 7:05 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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Fiddlerman said
Super happy to see you back here again.

I've followed your life a bit and it makes me very happy to hear that things are getting back to normal. I hope you find time to visit us again in our new location. It seems like ages since we met and so much has changed since then.

Any plans on coming to Florida to visit family this winter?  

I should be coming down sometime this fall and I am definitely coming to see the new store. I remember you doing it in a room in your house and Michael sitting there doing the shipping. You have come a long way but still retain your conviction to only the best will do.

Hope you like pizza and yuengling.

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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August 14, 2017 - 7:16 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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KindaScratchy said
Welcome back, Kevin! And best wishes for your health issues and your violin playing.

Thank you all for the great welcome back. As for the playing I am back to the beginning. I am back to twinkle twinkle. My hand has lost a great deal but I still love it. I have started on my true love of repairing violins. I have quite a few here that I started on and left. Several of them are quite nice violins and others, well they make music. I want to finish my Scott Cao violin made in California. I may be a travesty but the neck was broken and being a horse person I have a horse head neck to put on it.

 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 15, 2017 - 1:03 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12783
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Kevin M. said

I should be coming down sometime this fall and I am definitely coming to see the new store. I remember you doing it in a room in your house and Michael sitting there doing the shipping. You have come a long way but still retain your conviction to only the best will do.

Hope you like pizza and yuengling.  

I love both pizza and Yuengling.... We'll definitely have them when you swing by. Let me know when the time approaches. Want to make sure I have time to spend with you.

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

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