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Aside from standard lessons from a method book, what else should I be learning?
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wookieman
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January 9, 2014 - 12:08 am
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My question here is for any and everyone.  What else should I be learning?  I'm studying and practicing from my method book, and they've certainly brought me a LONG way, but I'm afraid I'm missing something.

The real question, is what else should I be studying?  What are the critical pieces I should eventually learn to really develop as a violinist?  Who are the composers I should study in order to further enhance my development and appreciation for the instrument (I'm kinda partial to classical, but I'm sure there are others, and "classical is a broad term).

I don't think that any of the method books out there are really "all encompassing."  I personally will never go to college as a "violin" major, so I'm curious, what are those kids learning that the rest of us don't? 

Digging deeper in my line of questions:  before method books, what was the "standard" or "classic" way of learning?  What did students study then?  What did Jascha Heifetz study, I know he played Mendelssohn, but what did he study that got him to that point?

How do I get past playing "performances" from method books, and start playing concertos?  What is it (besides years of playing) that will bridge that gap for ME (us really)? 

Any and all thoughts are welcome.....

 

There is no failure, only results.

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HDuaneaz
Chandler, Arizona
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January 9, 2014 - 12:12 am
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Get a good method book. Practice scales. Just practice, practice, practice, practice,..........and practice.

Duane

 

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

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StoneDog
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January 9, 2014 - 8:37 am
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I agree with HD on the scale thing. I read that Heifetz would start each morning out with scales for hours. Scales do rock> they may seem somewhat repetitive and boring to some but once they start flowing up and down the neck with proper intonation > thats when the party starts to ROCK!!!!

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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January 9, 2014 - 10:51 am
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wookieman said

My question here is for any and everyone.  What else should I be learning?  I'm studying and practicing from my method book, and they've certainly brought me a LONG way, but I'm afraid I'm missing something.

I will third the motion for scales! Scale work also includes the intervals, arpeggios and speed drills so its not just playing a boring scale up and down for hours. Also all the classical and newly composed classical style pieces have scalular runs, so scales enable you to prepare for future pieces.

The real question, is what else should I be studying?  What are the critical pieces I should eventually learn to really develop as a violinist?  Who are the composers I should study in order to further enhance my development and appreciation for the instrument (I'm kinda partial to classical, but I'm sure there are others, and "classical is a broad term).

Bach's Air (on a G string) in Dmaj is a pretty tune that Juan introduced me to. Its not super difficult. Since its painfully slow, it forces you to work on intonation and bowing, tone. The next piece I am about to start is Vivaldi's concerto in A minor, Op.3, No. 6, 1st mvt. There is actually a free google hangout class that is going to be teaching this starting next week I can hook you up with if you have webcam and google plus?

I don't think that any of the method books out there are really "all encompassing."  I personally will never go to college as a "violin" major, so I'm curious, what are those kids learning that the rest of us don't? 

I couldn't tell you but I bet Pierre could.....I'm interested in finding this one out.

Digging deeper in my line of questions:  before method books, what was the "standard" or "classic" way of learning?  What did students study then?  What did Jascha Heifetz study, I know he played Mendelssohn, but what did he study that got him to that point?

From what I understand you went to a "master" and they taught you what they new based on the "master" they learned from. Thats why from Joshua Bell back you can trace the "Lineage" of masters and those they studied under. But, I will defer to Pierre on this one as well.

How do I get past playing "performances" from method books, and start playing concertos?  What is it (besides years of playing) that will bridge that gap for ME (us really)? 

Its about the Nike slogan...."Just Do it!" as far as feeling comfortable or skilled enough, I am in my 3rd year of playing and I am just now getting to the point where my fingering speed and mental ability is up to the task, almost and just barely. Being able to process the notes at tempo, finger them and make it sound nice is key so I would focus on those aspects of improvement. I am also making a concerted effort to get the vibrato going.

Any and all thoughts are welcome.....

 

At the bottom here I have attached my current practice list. At the bottom of the first sheet it lists the workbooks recommended by my teacher to get and work through. Dont get them all at once, they are for different experience levels. Get the book on shifting as your next one and then so on. Maybe consult someone who has experience with this in a music store or orchestra. Also on page two is an excellent example of how one successful person approaches scales. It is interesting to note that they are played at 60bpm so she can focus on intonation, bowing etc... I also recommend that if you are opposed to a practice list, at least have a journal so you can write down difficulties as a reminder of things to add to your eventual practice list. lol. Good luck!

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

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Robyn.fnq
Queensland, Australia
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January 10, 2014 - 12:39 am
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Hi Jesse ... I'm sorry, but I'll go along with the scales.  Yes, they can be boring, but if you practise one of them and get the fingering right without thinking about it, add a little spice ... jazz it up or put a swing into it, or break some notes in half ... etc.

I've picked up some duet scales and arpeggios from violinonline.com.  Of course the Fiddlerman site has some great resources for learning, including etudes, which are written expressly for people learning scales and intonation.  Wohlfhart has some really nice pieces, melodic without being boring.

Maybe if you listen to something on youtube and feel you'd like to play the piece, do a search for a simplified version of sheet music.  I did that for Bach's 'Air' and Vivaldi's 'Spring', both pretty tunes.

If you have a teacher, you'll learn new techniques which you can then apply to tunes that appeal to you.

I'm obviously not an expert (you've all heard me play) and I've never had a teacher, so what I say is obviously just my opinion.

Go with your ear.  I've heard you play, and you've come along in leaps and bounds already, so nothing should be too difficult for you to aim for.

 

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.

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Oliver
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January 13, 2014 - 11:34 am
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My amateur status and wandering mentality allow some special freedoms.  I do not, for instance, believe in the rites of passage/practice music.  It's not like going to the drug store for an over-the-counter cure.

My focus for practice is analysis and then corrective action. Practicing in order to remedy an unidentified problem may not be very efficient.  (If it ain't broke ......)

At the moment, I am very unhappy with my string crossings and that's true for almost all my music except the very slow tempos.  I do not need special exercises given my choice of perhaps 15 pounds of student music, methods, etc.

 

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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canman763
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March 23, 2014 - 8:17 pm
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@wookieman.  First of all let me say I've only been practicing violin for about a month,, so I'm no expert. 

First of all, scales! They are the foundation of music and no matter how or what we play, we must have a working knowledge of them. Without them we will only be forever searching for the notes when we play. Maybe not note for note, but, how they are constructed. Most 'instruction books' I am familiar with will show you how to play the scales, and expect you to memorize them. I disagree, because there are too many (for my memory). Which will bring us to my second 'free' advice:

Theory! This has opened numerous doors in my musical quest. Understanding how scales, chords, intervals, etc interweave and interconnect will help understand the piece you are playing and how it is 'constructed'. This will help immensely in improv or just playing by ear. There are lots of theory sites on the net, but, don't let them interfere with your practice - some can very indepth.

Just my two-cents worth.

Bob 

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