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Beginner Goals
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RossTiger
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January 17, 2013 - 3:13 pm
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Hi guys, recently introduced myself to the forums and was hoping to figure out some good goals for beginners.

 

For now I've been following the first few videos, focusing holding the bow and violin comfortably, and making a clean and steady sound on each stroke. I'm trying to practice for around 10 minutes each day, if not longer, and thought I should set goals for each month?

 

I want to prepare a piece for next christmas but I'm not sure what piece to go for, maybe better choosing in the middle of the year after I can see my progress?

 

Thanks

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Fiddlerman
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January 18, 2013 - 9:05 am
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Hey RossTiger,

I think it's a good idea to wait till the middle of the year and maybe even later as you will be learning a lot of new skills in the meanwhile.

There are a bunch of free Christmas sheets here and we usually do a project (twice LOL) every Christmas. <---Fiddlerman.com is a young site.

I am pretty sure we will do another one next Christmas.

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

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RossTiger
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January 18, 2013 - 3:45 pm
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Thanks for the advice :)

I'm making some progress with my strokes, they are definitely cleaner and straighter than when I started a week or two ago. I do find sometimes the bow bounces, but maybe this is just another part of getting used to the feel of the bow on the strings?

Christmas projects sound fun, I'm looking forward to next Christmas already.

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Composer
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January 21, 2013 - 4:20 pm
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10 minutes each day?  Forget it.  It requires 10 hours each day.

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KindaScratchy
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January 21, 2013 - 8:19 pm
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Of course, your time commitment is going to be whatever you can devote to it. As adult learners, we have all kinds of other commitments -- work, family, etc. -- that demand our time and attention.

Speaking for myself, I'm not planning to make a career out of this. I can devote 30 minutes a day on weekdays and an hour on weekend days. If I'm lucky, I might be able to squeeze out an hour and a half on a Saturday or Sunday.

Clearly, I am never going to be a professional or championship fiddler at that rate.

I think it's good to set goals for any new endeavor, but it's really challenging to set realistic goals for something you've never done before. A teacher or other players can help put things in perspective. That's where this site and the folks here can be really helpful.

My experience thus far, after almost a year of learning to play, is that overall, it does take a while for everything to start working together, but there are many small accomplishments to be proud of along the way. Let those small accomplishments build your confidence. Eventually, one new skill will build on another and you'll get where you want to go.

Just keep at it! thumbs-up

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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ratvn
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January 21, 2013 - 10:24 pm
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KindaScratchy said
Of course, your time commitment is going to be whatever you can devote to it. 

it does take a while for everything to start working together, but there are many small accomplishments to be proud of along the way. Let those small accomplishments build your confidence. Eventually, one new skill will build on another and you'll get where you want to go.

Just keep at it! 

 

It's so true and so encouraging. thumbs-up

 

Composer said
10 minutes each day?  Forget it.  It requires 10 hours each day.

I don't recall anywhere that learning violin requires 10 hours each day, for a beginner (as this topic related to beginner goals).

You are the only one stated that. 

Sure like to see YOUR playing result of a 10 hour practice each day.

done

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Barry
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January 21, 2013 - 10:29 pm
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Composer said
10 minutes each day?  Forget it.  It requires 10 hours each day.

 

 

Getting a little tired of your BS negative attitude. We are here to support each other as beginners ,each with our own goals.

All we ever hear is BS, when you gonna play and show us how its done....or maybe youre just a troll as I suspect.

 

 

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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richyankee
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January 21, 2013 - 11:17 pm
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RossTiger,

 I'm just beginning with violin too, and I think you should play a tune right away.

Here's my reasoning: the reason you are playing is to play music, not to practice. If I'm wrong about that, and I could be, then it doesn't matter whether you ever play a tune because practice is the goal.

But if I'm right (you picked up a violin with the intention to play music), there is no reason to wait - for what - perfection? Express yourself. That's what it's all about.

Besides, if you start playing a song now, you will become more comfortable with it and by Christmas, or whenever you decide to play for other people, you may have a dozen or so 'in the bag'.

It's better to wear it out than to save it for the after life :)

(Kindascratchy says: 'I love my guitar, but I'm in love with my violin' - me too!)

 

Rich

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Composer
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January 22, 2013 - 12:03 am
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Sorry Barry, but you were the one that posted the Vengerov masterclass.  In that video Chloe Hanslip said she practices 6-8 hours a day and she probably started at age 5 or something like that.

Fact is we adult learners are at a severe disadvantage.  Do you really think that means we can practice so much less and get away with it? 

 

 

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StoneDog
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Songs are most definitely imperative in the learning process. What ROCKs for me is to learn the intervals withing the song one yearns to learn. Then the fun begins for me > to paint that song with my own colors > One needs repetitious practice for this > I need that kind of thing> when I do that thing > colors start to come alive. The more fluent I get with those intervals the more fun the song becomes.

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Composer
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January 22, 2013 - 12:35 am
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kindascratchy said: "Eventually, one new skill will build on another and you'll get where you want to go"

Impossible even in principle, because as just one example, practicing a full bow stroke for 30 minutes a day will never get the joints flexible enough in the right arm.  The tone quality will never improve simply because the physical hurdle is never removed.

 

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DanielB
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@RossTiger: Well, if holiday music is one of your goals, no harm in thinking about what ones might be possibilities and giving them a try this soon.  I usually start adding holiday tunes in to my practices a little around the middle of summer. 

10 min a day, well, my concern on that would be you don't sound like you have the typical "kid with a new toy" stage going yet.  Having taught myself a few instruments to at least some degree over the course of the years, I feel that the "noob fever", where you want to obsess over the instrument and play it a lot is a useful thing.  A lot of the basic skills for any instrument at least get roughed out during that time, and usually it will be enough to start having some fun and adding new songs and etc to what you play.  What I'd worry about is you might be approaching the instrument too much lijke a "grown-up" and not enough like a little kid would.  LOL 

But if 10 min is what you know you can manage at first, it is what you work with.

Goals.  Hmm.  Here's one for you.  To still be playing a month from now.  Most of the people that wash out on learning to play an instrument, it happens in the first month or two.  That's how those real cheap prices on used student violins on ebay and shopgoodwill.com happen.   If you make it through, say, the first three months without becoming  "statistic" like that?  Then you'll be past at least a few of the first hurdles.

 

@Composer:  "It requires 10 hours each day."   For what?  LOL  Surely not to be able to play a holiday song or a few of them, about 10 months from now, at a level of expertise that will be reasonable for a beginner who has played that long. 

I think that part of the problem here may be that some of the context of your statements may appear to be missing for some folks.  I, for example, would wonder what you feel can be achieved with 10 hours of practice/playing a day, how long a time you are suggesting that level of work for, and how it applies to a beginner who wants to be able to be able to play an xmas song several months from now.

In all honesty, I have to agree that I can see where some goals could take that level of work.  There have been times in my younger years when I played that much some days, although 8 hours was more my usual.  There were some years early on, and some years when I was playing out in bands where I did around 8 hrs of practice and playing a day.  Even with schoolwork or later with a job.  The trick to that is you pick up the instrument when you get home and you don't put it back down until time to sleep.  You learn to do almost everything without having to put down the instrument, and you play through almost every moment that you don't need a hand for something else.  My older children can recall some years when they didn't see me without a guitar on.  Even changing diapers or cooking.  I do play violin/fiddle a good bit when cooking, which as I recall is a notion that amused some folks here. LOL

So I can't actually disagree with you, that there are some elements of progress that can be achieved by that level of practice/play.  I have at least bordered on it myself at some points in life, so it would be hypocritical of me to ridicule it.  But it is not typical, and I would be surprised to hear of anyone in this forum doing it.  A young person in something like a music school environment where practices and music classes are part of their required schedule for every day would be more likely to be where one would actually see it.

It seems to me sometimes that you may be assuming that everyone on this forum is (or should be) working towards a certain level of proficiency (or even virtuosity), when most probably actually are not.  I doubt many (if any) here expect to become the next Nathan Milstein or Itzhak Perlman.  I know that I don't.  So I think sometimes your advice seems perhaps not quite appropriate for the context of the question or topic.  I would have to say that a beginner who wants to be able to play a holiday song in time for xmas 2013 is stating a reasonable goal, but that telling them it will require 10 hours of practice a day is not likely to be helpful and may even be discouraging.  I personally see no point to that.

Please bear in mind, that I do consider it obvious that you know more than a bit about music, from your comments in many topics here.  But when you say something like "It requires 10 hours each day", I always end up wondering what you feel that is a minimum requirement for achieving and how you know this personally.

"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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HatefulPain
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If the practice are focused a 10 minutes session can be more effective then a 20-30 minutes session that's not focused. If thats what you got, use the time. Okey, you may not become a pro violinist with only 10 minutes, but you can learn to play the violin at a stage that you can entertain yourself and some folks. Not everyone wants to become a star when it comes to the violin.

As a adult you got a lot of commitments. Work, maybe a couple of kids, a husband/wife/fiance to please, a house to keep up. And the list just goes on and on. The violin isn't just for grumpy, unemployed, childless folks who lives in the woods and don't have any social contact at all. The violin is for everyone, either it's for work or if its just for fun and entertainment. Any practice it's better then none at all. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Barry
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Composer said :  Sorry Barry, but you were the one that posted the Vengerov masterclass. In that video Chloe Hanslip said she practices 6-8 hours a day and she probably started at age 5 or something like that.

 

 

 

I post things I find at times I feel others may find interesting or a possible tid bit of useful information. I just think you need to remember that not everyone here is trying to be Pierre. I play for my own enjoyment as many here do. I believe you will find your kindred spirits over at the stuffy site known as violinist.com. Im sure they may share your negative outlook on beginners and fiddlers.

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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RossTiger
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January 22, 2013 - 1:27 pm
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Thanks for all the replies guys, I'm amazed by how supportive everyone is :)

@Composer - Unfortunately I have lots of other things to do that mean I am unable to play for 10 hours a day, however I did undersell myself slightly, my practice sessions are usually nearer half an hour :)

@KindaScratchy - My time commitment is about the same as your, 30 mins per day and longer on a weekend. I'm not looking to do this as a career either, just purely for enjoyment. At the moment I can't afford lesson so am teaching myself, however I do have an auntie who plays so she might be able to help :) I'd be interested to know what kinda of progress you've made in your first year of playing.

@richyyankee - I think you might be right, I do want to play music, even if it's terrible I think I should try and play songs :)  

@DanielB - Your right, I've been approaching it too much as a grown-up, trying to be sensible and practice bits piece by piece, I'll try and let me inner kid out more :D And yeah my main aim is to still be playing in 3 months time, I've given up instruments before and I don't want to this time! :)

 

More feedback is very welcome :)

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Picklefish
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January 22, 2013 - 2:44 pm
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RossTiger said
Hi guys, recently introduced myself to the forums and was hoping to figure out some good goals for beginners. 

-Well as the saying goes you must first crawl before you can walk, you must walk before you can run etc..(I dont recall the rest but I assure you its profound) In working with beginners I encourage you to list the things you think you need to learn to achieve your first goal. As simple as it may seem, following a list and developing a learning plan based on your goal will keep you organized and on track. I recommend choosing a piece as your goal as soon as possible and applying the bowing and fingering challenges located in that piece to your list. It is also a good idea to listen to that music as much as possible prior to attempting it. You can never spend too much time working on the basics and you will constantly revisit your basic skills with each new tune. If  you need any help you can PM me.

 

For now I've been following the first few videos, focusing holding the bow and violin comfortably, and making a clean and steady sound on each stroke. I'm trying to practice for around 10 minutes each day, if not longer, and thought I should set goals for each month?

 -There are a few technical things that most everyone gets just a bit off and need to have it tweaked. I recommend getting a private teacher to get you off on the right track. If not I recommend you posting a vid of your ability right now and let us give helpful critiques to show you anything that might help you.

I want to prepare a piece for next christmas but I'm not sure what piece to go for, maybe better choosing in the middle of the year after I can see my progress?

 -I think you will be surprised at your progress over the course of the next few months. Make sure the piece you choose is challenging enough as you will be a student of 10 months experience by then. I don't know how much time you plan to devote to this but I have a few suggestions. 1. learn the 20% of playing that provides 80% of the results. (4 hour chef)

2. Practice with a plan- You play from the heart but you learn with the brain.

3. Focus on areas of improvement- playing to fill 30 min isnt necessarily the most effective way.

4. Beautiful Tone is the goal.

Pfish

p.s. yall leave composer alone, bless his little pea pickin heart.

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

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January 22, 2013 - 9:15 pm
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The mistake everyone makes is focusing on the left hand while ignoring the bow.  The kind of exercises to develop the the right arm are technical and very boring.  What could be more boring than son File (long, slow, sustained bows)?  Or speed and pressure exercises?  Figuring out how to do a smooth bow change?  Etc etc  There are a bunch of them and they will occupy several hours/day.

Why should I waste time on that stuff when quality of tone, smooth bow change, string crossing, division of bow, change of dynamics, etc will just automatically improve by learning the songs I like.

Because it doesn't automatically improve.  The proof is in the videos.  Go see for yourself.  Its very very easy to practice 100's of hours and the most basic bow problem, loss of contact point (hair skipping from point to point which most people aren't even aware is happening) on the string during a down/up bow, will persist.

Its not about practicing 10 hours/day to get to level 10 repertoire within a lifetime.  Its the simple fact nobody can escape the physics of the bow no matter how simple the repertoire.

 

 

 

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Picklefish
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I agree with you <he admits reluctantly>. But I dont like it.

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

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StoneDog
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Thats some DEEP stuff there "COMPOSER" > kinda like what my inner head is telling me as I am playing > I just keep going at it. Brings joy to me.

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DanielB
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@Composer:  Ok, I see what you are talking about now.  Thank you for clarifying.

Agreed, that just adding and playing more repertoire will only improve some points of a person's playing and then only to a certain point.  However, for an adult beginner whose current goal is to be able to play one or a few holiday songs, it will improve their beginner playing and start to work on some skills.  If they find sufficient encouragement in that to perhaps get more serious later, or become more committed to the idea of playing even just for their own enjoyment, it could still be worthwhile for them. 

To me, with any musical instrument, practice is practice, and playing is playing.  My practice is not playing songs, it is exercises and activities so I sound better when I *do* play songs.  One might also practice one or more songs, if one has a particular need for those songs at a certain level of competency, but that would be another matter.

There are different levels of seriousness that different people may approach an instrument (or music itself) from.  For some, being able to play a few tunes now and then is all they want.  Others may decide to put in more work to get more results.  Young folks, their course is often decided by parents and educators.  They are more likely to be actually required to put in a certain amount of time a day practising and playing.  But the average adult is unlikely to block out hours of time every day for practice, and will only perhaps engage in actual practice if they find sufficient pleasure in learning a few songs and sufficient support from a community like this one or from some non-online group in their local area. 

Since the original poster definitely indicated that at this point he has a limited amount of time to put into violin on a daily basis, suggesting 10 hours a day for practice maybe wasn't as helpful as some encouragement might be at this point.

I myself have added some (not nearly 10 hrs worth) of practice that largely focuses on bow-work into my daily routine.  I feel it has helped at least some so far, and I would be interesting in the thoughts you (and any other interested parties) have on the matter.  I have started a thread for it..

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/le.....-practice/

.. to hopefully help this thread avoid becoming too specialized to be of much interest to the original poster at this point in their 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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