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BowMeAway
Southern California
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November 9, 2015 - 11:51 pm
Member Since: November 9, 2015
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Just wanted to introduce myself. Fiddlerman has already helped me tremendously though he doesn't know it. 😉 I've been watching various vids and this site overall is a huge help.

I'm 48, a wife, mother of three ages 9-29 (yes, really) and always wanted to play an instrument. Music has always been a huge part of my life and I was in chorus all through school.

But at musical instruments I was a colossal failure and it wasn't necessarily technique that got in my way. (For instance, with flute, my embouchure came instantaneously.) The problem has always been in trying to read music...the bane of my existence. As a writer, you'd think "languages" of all kinds would come naturally to me, but reading the notes AND remembering where the fingering goes AND fingering properly, well...ughhhhhhhhhhh.

I still do "every good boy does fine" and "FACE". Slllllllowly. Alllll the way up and down the staff.

Anyway, what didn't help was that we moved around constantly when I was little. By the time I was 11, I had lived in 13 different places. I tentatively decided to take up violin in fourth grade - having recently moved mid-year, with everyone ahead of me. Reading the staff plus playing made me practically black out from confusion...and then we moved again, so no violin any more for me (it was a rental). I felt I had failed and was afraid to try again.

But I did - with the flute, in the sixth grade. As I said, blowing the thing? Not a problem. But reading that music! Even just looking at the staff, my confidence flew out the window. Then my mother would say "here, let me show you" and burst out an incredible fancy improv scale and I'd die inside and think, I could never do that. My music teacher tried to "quiz" me, I lost the plot two notes in, he shook his head as if it hurt him to even look at me, much less listen to me. I ran out of the room crying and never tried the flute again.

Recorder I fiddled about with here and there. Got the usual suspects down, the alphabet song and so on.

All these many years later, my fourth grader asked to play the violin. And...I just picked that thing up and started playing. Badly, but I started playing. AND trying to read the notes. Trying hard this time. He and I are learning together. 🙂 I am sawing my way painfully through beginner songs rather than just scales at this point, about one month in. And I just can't put the thing down! I get all excited, "It's practice time" and I wait impatiently for him to be done! LOL!

It's only a half-size. After a bit of homework I have just ordered my own student violin in 4/4.

I am DETERMINED this time to get SOME satisfaction out of making music. I despair of ever really being good at reading music but I find there are a couple notes I can get on sight without doing EGBDF or FACE (counting up). I know that must sound horribly sophomoric and borderline remedial but this is where I'm at...and I'll take it...I so want to be able to do this.

Anyway, sorry for the long post and nice to meet you!

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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November 10, 2015 - 12:11 am
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Welcome @BowMeAway !!!   ( a great nick by the way ! )

You have the desire, the passion and the motivation - you'll do just great !!!!!!

I have a similar "issue" with sight reading, although I have played music for over 40 years ( guitar, kbd ).   It was only when taking up violin that I started to "bother" with sheet - I can understand it pretty well - but - no - I cannot "follow it in real time".

One thing that may assist you is to get your hands on a music editor, such as MuseScore - which is freeware, and widely used.   With it, you can take already scored/written sheet and transcribe it into your own MuseScore document, play it back, speed it up, slow it down, play-along, select sections and loop them, change key signatures, "just figure out" how a major scale "works" ( semi-tone gaps 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 ) starting form ANY note you care to select, and then the minor scale semi-tone gaps 2 1 2 2 1 2 2.   LOL - you probably are already well aware of this - I didn't mean to go into "theory" - I just thought I'd mention the MuseScore tool - it might be helpful !!!

Best of luck with the journey !!

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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BowMeAway
Southern California
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November 10, 2015 - 3:03 am
Member Since: November 9, 2015
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BillyG,

Thank you so much for the recommendation! I did download a similar program but haven't started playing around with it yet.

It's great to hear from a musician that not everyone "follows" sheet music. I am so glad to hear that - you have no idea. I'm going to keep trying to learn to read sheet music but am already finding, when I start playing a familiar tune, that I just sort of naturally start "feeling out" where the next note is, without consciously saying to myself "this is E" or something. (Even though I know where E is. Does that make sense?)

I appreciate your welcome and the info so much!

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cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
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November 10, 2015 - 3:08 am
Member Since: February 13, 2012
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Welcome to the family. I know EXACTLY how you feel. I was that way when I first started trying to pick out notes and with a piano background I thought I would be a lot further along than I actually was. facepalm

I'm sure I sounded like crap that first year but I tried hard, practiced a lot, every day and now 4 yrs later, I can actually say that I have achieved the goal I had set for myself. I don't read music from sheet but give me a couple of days and a good recording and I'll give it a run. Ha. thumbs-up

Now that all the kids have gone and I can do what i want in this 60th yr of life participation... I have evolved into working on violins as well as creating fretted fingerboards for them. I have switched over from the acoustic violin to the 5 string electric fretted violin! WOW, what a change, but I'm glad I learned and practiced for years on the acoustic version for the fundamentals and basics if nothing else. 1st-place

Now I have 5 acoustics (a couple very very old) and 1- 5 string electric with 2 more 5 strings on the way. You can see them in the thread I did on "frets for your violin".

You're going to love it here and I certainly hope you can find the time to practice and participate in some of the group projects here. They're a LOT of fun.

Enjoy it. hats_off

"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

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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November 10, 2015 - 6:56 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
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BowMeAway said
...... I'm going to keep trying to learn to read sheet music but am already finding, when I start playing a familiar tune, that I just sort of naturally start "feeling out" where the next note is, without consciously saying to myself "this is E" or something. (Even though I know where E is. Does that make sense?)

  Makes perfect sense to me !   I had, as a child, a very brief introduction to music, and effectively (regardless of the key - so for "solfege" experts this would be, I suppose the "movable do system") I would simply start on the tonic and go "do re mi fa sol la ti do" etc, obeying the Tone Tone Semitone Tone Tone Tone Semitone gaps, and whistle-along to fiddle and pipe tunes on a fading-out-crackling AM valve radio!!!   For minor scales, I just started the sequence "la ti do re mi etc.." - but I knew NOTHING else about the whole solfege system (and I still don't! ).   But I always carried that with me, and although I'm mostly unaware of doing that now, for any new tune - and again, regardless of key, I'll kind of "hum it along to myself" - and somehow - even without actually "humming it" I hear it in my head.....  weird - so if I just "think do-mi-so" it "sounds major" in my head, and likewise "la do me" just sounds minor....  curious, but it works for me !    And no ( or yes, similarly ) I rarely if ever think "C E G" to play a Cmaj triad - and that is probably why I have trouble with sheet - it "competes" with what I intuitively want to do.... LOL    I guess it's the "old-dog, new-tricks" syndrome.

And of course, the same sequence, but starting at a different point, works for any of the seven different modes - you know - this sort of thing - although generally I'm just using ionian and aeolian - but the rest fall into place if / when needed - 

modes.JPGImage Enlarger

  It is always instructive to find out how other-folks have arrived at their understanding and playing of music and "how it fits together".

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I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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November 10, 2015 - 9:22 am
Member Since: July 23, 2015
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Welcome to the board 🙂 

 
It sounds like your family moved around like mine, lol. 
 
I have a little bit of trouble reading music as well. Words, I'm ok with, but numbers and apparently sheet music I start to get a little dyslexic with. I don't read music as the notes, I know them now, but I read them more as what finger on what string and it's placement. If I think too much about the name of the note, I start to play it in the wrong order, lol. (I don't remember having this issue in elementary school when they were teaching us how to read sheet music, but I might have).
 
What helped me is the way the book I learned from (I'd imagine they are all pretty similar with how they start you out) drilled each new note on each string into your head by slowly introducing each one. So for example, I do know that my ring finger down on the A string in the normal placement is a D, but that's not how I think of it when I play or read the sheet music. I guess I just try not to overthink it and screw myself up, lol.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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BowMeAway
Southern California
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November 10, 2015 - 12:44 pm
Member Since: November 9, 2015
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Thanks, everyone. And yes, it does help tremendously to hear about how others learned. What perhaps helps most of all is knowing there's more than one way to learn!

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
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November 10, 2015 - 5:23 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
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Hello and welcome to the Happy Fiddle Forum!

I started violin at 46 with no musical back ground.  I mean there was always some piano or keyboard in my life and I pecked out pop songs and played .. but no formal training.  But it wasn't for the lack of wanting.  I was the second child and shy and never really asked for much and I guess I was just too shy to ask. My sister played a few years of violin.  I used to sneak in her room and touch it.. and wind and unwind the bow. The whole "horse hair" thing had me addicted.

Anyway.. I have been learning and playing now for a while.  I am behind as far as where most people are after four years... in most ways.  

I play everyday.   I was COMPLETELY shocked that reading music was "hard"... I always did so well at language and foreign language and memory... well.. I learned it was harder than I thought...and I just completely failed at it for the first 6-8 months...but ...

Since I didn't learn to play by ear, and I wanted to play a lot of songs, I stuck to sheet music and I still practice playing by sheet almost every single day.   In first position I can usually read and play at tempo... albeit slow at first.   It has allowed me the freedom to learn and play songs that I don't think I could have learned by ear. 

Anyway.. sorry to the regulars that have heard all this before.  I thought I'd write a bit more than usual.  (Oh who am I kidding???facepalm)

Welcome and congratulations to you and your child for playing the violin  I look forward to hearing all about your journey.

Welcome and Welcome and Welcome

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fidelestre
Texas
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November 10, 2015 - 11:44 pm
Member Since: June 21, 2015
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@BowMeAway,

Welcome to the forum! We have some things in common - I restarted violin (many, many years after my first experience teaching it to myself) recently after my son started his Suzuki violin lessons at school.

Perhaps you could turn this apparent disadvantage around and work it to your advantage. I'm kind of the opposite way, in that I HAVE to see the sheet music or else it is extremely difficult for me to visualize and learn the piece. I suppose this comes from having piano as my first instrument, since reading music is usually started right away with piano. Anyway, you could work on learning pieces the way Suzuki kids do. My son has been playing for a little more than a year and he still doesn't read music. He learns all his pieces by ear and/or by memorization (from the teacher or me calling out lines like E 2 2   3 1 1). He is expected to listen to recordings of his assigned pieces every day, and hearing the pieces over and over does seem to help him learn the pieces very quickly.

So if you are using Suzuki or another method that comes with recordings of the pieces, listen to the pieces over and over. I listen in the car every day. Sing or whistle along with the recordings, and you will get the pieces stuck in your head. This makes it easier to learn them, even for us forty-somethings. I still like to see the sheet music, but I am very slowly getting better at learning "by ear", and it sounds like you may have some natural abilities in playing by ear.

By the way - another benefit of MuseScore is that you can print out the music with bigger notes that are much easier to read. Is it possible that your difficulties in reading music may come in part from trouble reading the small scores that are often used in modern notation? I often print out my music with bigger notes, and it is very helpful.

Enjoy playing - it is very fun and rewarding!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 12, 2015 - 7:26 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702
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Thanks for your nice and interesting introduction BowMeAway.
We are very happy to have you here. I think you'll find that you will be way more comfortable with a full size violin. 🙂
It's so nice to have that kind of motivation, not to mention the connection, of playing with your son. I hope you guys can keep going for a long time.
I have a feeling that you will continue whether he does or not.
Hope that we can keep you motivated.
Look 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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Taper123
Texas
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November 12, 2015 - 8:35 pm
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I started playing this year when I was 50....   so age is just a number.   The violin is something that if it's in your heart to play it...  you will find the way, the time, the ambition, and just keep going forward with it.

Learning to read music is important, yet I know some good players on other instruments who cannot read a note.  It'll come to you, just relax and enjoy yourself.

After 8 months...  all I can say is that I look forward to the hour a day I find to play, and some days that hour carries on for more 🙂 

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