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Day 2...
link to video and questions
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Luv2Learn
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November 4, 2013 - 4:29 pm
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This is my second day to practice and my first song is Mary Had a Little Lamb.  (that link is to the video in my Dropbox)

Why do I have such a problem with the bow touching other strings when I'm fingering notes?  If I go back to bowing open strings I don't have a problem.  It's not (usually) incredibly obvious, but I can hear it.

I feel like I really mash the strings to the fretboard.  Is this necessary or should I try lightening my touch?

I feel like my fingers are bumping other strings when I'm fingering.  I know my fingers aren't too fat, but it just seems like there is so little space to touch the strings without touching two of them at once.  

I'm sure a lot of this is just a matter of getting used to holding the violin and the bow, but any other advice would be appreciated.

heart Diane

(And the little "grace notes" when I switch notes?  Timing between fingers and bow that I will eventually work out?  I'm trying to play smoothly.)

 

Fave CD right now:  Notorious "Road to Damascus"

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1stimestar
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November 4, 2013 - 6:46 pm
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Try to make sure that you are using the fingertips not the flat part of your fingers.  And yea, it's just a matter of practice.  Keep going.  It will all sort itself out with practice.  Good luck.

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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LyleA
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November 4, 2013 - 9:50 pm
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Luv2Learn said
This is my second day to practice and my first song is Mary Had a Little Lamb.  (that link is to the video in my Dropbox)

Why do I have such a problem with the bow touching other strings when I'm fingering notes?  If I go back to bowing open strings I don't have a problem.  It's not (usually) incredibly obvious, but I can hear it.

I feel like I really mash the strings to the fretboard.  Is this necessary or should I try lightening my touch?

I feel like my fingers are bumping other strings when I'm fingering.  I know my fingers aren't too fat, but it just seems like there is so little space to touch the strings without touching two of them at once.  

I'm sure a lot of this is just a matter of getting used to holding the violin and the bow, but any other advice would be appreciated.

heart Diane

(And the little "grace notes" when I switch notes?  Timing between fingers and bow that I will eventually work out?  I'm trying to play smoothly.)

 

First off, well done.  I think you did great.  This is your second day practicing this piece, but how long total have you been playing?

I'll try and answer some of your questions, but keep in mind, I'm no expert.

When you are playing a note other than an open string you are actually changing the angle of the string itself, making it steeper in comparison to the others.  Or in other words, it becomes lower and closer to the the same height as the strings next to it.  So until you have a very even and level bow stroke you run the risk of bumping the other stings as you play.  To really see this effect in action, press either the A or D string right up at the end of the fingerboard closest to the bridge and you can see what I mean.  I have been playing for a year and half and still hit other stings at times.  You have to really focus on what you are doing until it comes naturally.

No you don't have to press the stings too hard to the fingerboard, just enough to pin the sting against the wood.  It's an easy habit to form though.  I have calluses on my fingertips to prove it.

When I play, my fingers often times touch the stings next to the one they are on.  Not a terrible problem unless you need to play a double stop.  You will learn to compensate.  This can be an advantage.  For instance, I will often roll my finger when playing a B to an E or a G to a D, or any combination of.  Roll my finger instead of lifting it.  However, the notes of the music you are playing will dictate how you approach the fingering.  It's a good habit to think ahead, not just about the note you are on but the notes to come and devise the best way for you to attack them. 

Anyways, hope that helps.  The best way to correct all of the above though, is to just practice as much as you are willing and able.  Experience makes all the difference.

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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Luv2Learn
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November 5, 2013 - 12:25 am
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"First off, well done.  I think you did great.  This is your second day practicing this piece, but how long total have you been playing?"

Thanks, Lyle.  I've been playing a total of 2 days.  The first day I got the violin, my 14 yo daughter and I taught each other (from a book) how to hold the violin, the bow, and how to play the open strings.  I went through the exercises in the book to the point of this first song -- maybe 4 pages worth.  Today I did a quick review and then spent some time working on the song.  

"The best way to correct all of the above though, is to just practice as much as you are willing and able.  Experience makes all the difference."

That is what I'm banking on.  I would love to be able to play a simple Christmas tune or two by Christmas, but not at the loss of good form and proper technique.  So I'm trying not to rush through my lessons!  I have, however, played around with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by ear, obviously on the same two strings.  🙂

I will stay where I'm at and practice this for a few more days before I move on and learn much more new stuff.

Diane

Fave CD right now:  Notorious "Road to Damascus"

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NewFiddlerGirl
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November 5, 2013 - 12:53 am
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Sounds like you're doing fine for two days. I've been playing since October 7th and I completely sympathize with the bow and fingering issue. I bow really well on open strings. But when I start fingering notes and reading music at the same time, my bow stroke gets pretty wonky.  I really "like" ponticello (playing close to the bridge).... facepalm.

I have tried playing a tune very slowly with full bow strokes. It is NOT a pretty sound but seems to help with the "pat your head rub your tummy" confusion and builds muscle memory of the where the notes are. I have also practiced new tunes by playing them pizzacato (plucking) before picking up the bow. 

My only teacher is this site. As an adult with a full time job I don't have time for full time lessons. Try to take you time and just have fun. I'm sure most of what we are experiencing is just learning a new set of physical skills that require coordination. 

Good luck!

 

 

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 
  'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 5, 2013 - 8:44 am
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Rome was not built overnight. :-)

The reason you are hitting other strings when fingering is that you are not used to playing yet. When your mind needs to focus on just one thing it is not that much of a problem but when your mind focuses on fingering as well it leaves less attention to the bowing. Also, when you press a string down with your finger you bring it lower giving you less angle form the other strings.

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

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RosinedUp
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November 5, 2013 - 9:18 am
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As some have said, fingering a string brings it lower, the result being that it's easier to hit its neighbors accidentally.

Just to make sure, please check this:  sometimes the bridge is fitted poorly and the strings are much higher than they ought to be.  Then to press the D or A string to the fingerboard, it may even go lower than its neighbors and actually be impossible to bow alone.

So please check the heights of the strings above the end of the fingerboard.  G should be 4 to 4.5 mm and E should be 3 to 2.5 mm, with D and A intermediate in height.   String heights much different from those will bring trouble.  If too high, you can sand down the top edge of the bridge.  If too low you would need a new bridge.

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suresh
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November 5, 2013 - 10:44 am
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It was not a bad effort.  You are on the way.  Play very very slowly and measure by measure.  Play a bar and see that you play each and every note clearly and cleanly.  After mastering that bar, move to the next one and so on.  Have patience.  With the will to learn you will succeed.  

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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HDuaneaz
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November 5, 2013 - 12:57 pm
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Just keep practicing. You will get used to it. I have trouble with touching other strings especially if I am lying in bed.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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Luv2Learn
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November 5, 2013 - 2:42 pm
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Just keep practicing. You will get used to it. I have trouble with touching other strings especially if I am lying in bed.

Huh?  dunno

lol

Fave CD right now:  Notorious "Road to Damascus"

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Luv2Learn
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November 5, 2013 - 3:15 pm
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The G string looks to be about 5mm and the E string is about 2 mm.  D and A fall right in between with about 1.5 mm difference between the two of them.

Thinking back to my practice this morning, I think it is the G string that is getting brushed when I finger the D string.  I'll pay attention over the next couple of days and sand it down a little if it is. 

Yes, there really are a LOT of little things to pay attention to when you're starting out.  I know it will take me a bit to get "comfortable" and develop habits and muscle memory.  Playing slowly is also very good advice as it allows me to focus on tone and technique.  It is just SO HARD to do, though! I wanna play NOW!  lol 

The song sounded better when I practiced it again this morning.  I watched several videos today and will use what I learned as I practice.  I think learning the natural notes on each string makes more sense than jumping around to learn the notes on different strings for a song or two. 

Thanks for the advice and encouragement!  I'll post another video in a week or two and see what improvement has been made.

Diane

 

 

Fave CD right now:  Notorious "Road to Damascus"

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wookieman
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November 5, 2013 - 11:33 pm
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Diane,

As you progress and continue to learn, don't forget about the learn part. 

It's fun to learn songs, and ultimately, that's what we all strive for; a big part of that however, is taking the time to learn technique etc as well.  Are you working from a method book?  They can seem very slow, painfully so for adult learners, but they are critical in learning and perfecting the techniques that will make great playing possible. 

As you continue to practice the song you're learning, make sure you take a little time at each and every practice session to pay special focus to improving one skill and not just learn a song.  Even if that one skill is playing open strings...it sounds boring, but I promise there are a LOT of people here that have been playing for a good amount of time that still work on that because they haven't "perfected" their bowing technique. 

Aside from that, great job, keep it up, stay motivated!

There is no failure, only results.

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wookieman
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November 5, 2013 - 11:37 pm
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Caveat; the human brain is literally only capable of FOCUSING on one task at a time.  The idea of multitasking is a common misconception of what is really focusing on ONE thing at a time while everything else is on "autopilot"  (this is why, despite how "good" of a driver we are, we should NEVER use a phone while driving).  The way you can use this to your advantage however, is to perfect one thing in a song, THEN focus on the next.  Get the fingering for the first five measures, then play that 50 times so it's automatic, then perfect the bowing for those measures, then on to the next thing. 

I hope that makes sense...  Enjoy.

There is no failure, only results.

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RosinedUp
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November 6, 2013 - 4:46 am
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Luv2Learn said
The G string looks to be about 5mm and the E string is about 2 mm.  D and A fall right in between with about 1.5 mm difference between the two of them.

Thinking back to my practice this morning, I think it is the G string that is getting brushed when I finger the D string.  I'll pay attention over the next couple of days and sand it down a little if it is.

Well, your bridge setup doesn't sound horrendous.

The string heights are measured as clearances: top of fingerboard to bottom of string, as I understand it.  Synthetic strings vibrate bigger, so they need a half millimeter more clearance than steel string.  Thus the half-millimeter range I mentioned above.  It sounds like your E string may be a little crowded if it's synthetic.

Also check the distance from G to E.  That should be about 34 mm.

 

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RosinedUp
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Luv2Learn said 

I'll pay attention over the next couple of days and sand it down a little if it is. 

The intent of my post was for you to detect whether your bridge is grossly misfit, as sometimes happens.  It seems that yours is not very bad, so it's advisable to use caution and do some more reading before changing it much.  The numbers I quoted come from a document containing the phrase "Average Measurements of the Violin in millimeters", which you can find using a search engine.  But I see other sources quoting other numbers.

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Luv2Learn
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November 16, 2013 - 2:57 pm
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Diane, As you progress and continue to learn, don't forget about the learn part.  It's fun to learn songs, and ultimately, that's what we all strive for; a big part of that however, is taking the time to learn technique etc as well.  Are you working from a method book? 

Re: this and your caveat...

Yes, I am using a method book, although I am considering paying a teacher for one lesson to check my form and technique and give me pointers and correction.  I am a stickler for sound.  I know how a song should sound and I want it to sound that way.  Learning the notes is easy.  But it requires technique to make it sing.  So once I learn the notes, then I work on making it sound correct, one area at a time.  Right now that means tone and bowing.  It can be very frustrating, but I know it takes time and practice to get it right.  (I look forward to learning vibrato.  :-)   )

I am working on scales (G and D, so far) and arpeggios within those scales.  I have about 5 simple songs that I can play, some better than others, but it gives me enough variety to not be bored.  And I have no plans to add any new songs for a while. 

I attended a wedding last night that included pre-ceremony violin music.  I told my husband that I wished I could go up front and stare at her while she played to see how she was doing it.  :-D   She was probably an intermediate player--occasional notes wrong and out of tune, but she sounded pretty when she got the notes right.  And she was playing a lot of different music.

Thanks!

Diane

Fave CD right now:  Notorious "Road to Damascus"

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Luv2Learn
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November 16, 2013 - 3:10 pm
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RosinedUp said:

The intent of my post was for you to detect whether your bridge is grossly misfit, as sometimes happens.  It seems that yours is not very bad, so it's advisable to use caution and do some more reading before changing it much. 

 I did take my bridge out and sand it down ever so slightly.  Seems to have helped.  Plus I repositioned it to get it straight and upright as it was crooked to begin with.

Diane

 

 

Fave CD right now:  Notorious "Road to Damascus"

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