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Okay, this is not an ED question, lol. I am wondering if any other newbies are having the same problem that I am when it comes to playing a song accurately, consistently, nearly flawlessly.
I see vids of many violinists/fiddlers, including on this site, who can knock out a tune without error, and I am 95% of the time unable to do that. As an example, I have probably practiced "Danny Boy" 150 times. And when I attempt to play it flawlessly, I always seem to get snagged on a note, or a position, or tempo, or on a correct bow stroke, and it's rare that I actually make it through the entire song without some error. I am usually about 98% [+/- 10%, lol] good on the song each time I play it, but it's nearly impossible for me to "nail" it.
And it's the same with all of the whopping 9 songs I know [Danny Boy, Blackbird, Yellow Submarine, On My Own, Amazing Grace, some Christmas songs, etc.] and these are not intricate, lengthy songs.
I've mentioned this to my teacher and his belief is that it's an experience issue. My question is, is he right, is it just a matter of nailing my skills more than it is a particular song, or is it some other ability that I need to work harder on.
Any ideas would be helpful, thanks.
I'd agree with your teacher. Your fingers are learning patterns and distance relationships when you play and these things have to be fairly precise to play in tune so even a slight error is magnified. Then you've got the bow to worry about. Making all of that reflexive so you can focus on the music takes time.
I'd suggest try to play as best you can each time but don't worry about playing flawlessly going into it. It's possible your getting so worried about whether or not you'll make a flawless run that you're tensing up and getting distracted. I know that when I think "this time I'll play it right" I end up making a mistake because I forget to focus on what I am doing and am playing with some level of dread as I expect each moment will be where I make a mistake. (I know I'm doing this when my errors aren't at the difficult points but the easy ones as well.)
Practice makes perfect? Let me quote this:
Repetition is an important part of learning any skill. Dr Suzuki said 'knowledge plus 10 000 times equals thorough mastery.'
Sometimes we need a break also. I'm a real beginner but when I struggle a lot on something I just put the violin down and try again the next day and ta-dah! often it goes better, maybe because I'm more relaxed? I was checking a video from old timer fiddlers who won so many trophees at fiddling competition that it's filling his house lol. Well he said he was practicing the same tunes for a couple months everyday before the competition to be sure to NOT make mistakes. So yeah, even pros make them.
"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov
Thanks Fiddle4Fun for the feedback; you said EXACTLY what my teacher has said. His point, as is yours, is that there is a lot going on at the same time for a beginner and until some of the process becomes "second nature", there are a lot of moving parts that all need to be managed simultaneously,,, until some of it goes on auto-pilot, it will be tough to pull out a perfect run.
NV thanks for that thought as well; yeah, I have to do the same thing you do; when I just can't get it right, run after run, I do take a break. But the very insightful comment you made that I never knew was the amount of practice, even a pro, has to put into a song to perform it perfectly. If that's true, then I think maybe I have unreasonable expectations of myself at this point.
That's really what I'm trying to find out... what is the reality of playing as a newbie; what's reasonable to expect of myself as a player. I put in a crap-load [technical term] of hours practicing so I have high expectations. I really just want to play well so badly, and I'm having such a ball learning, that I just want to be there NOW, lmao.
Thanks FM for your perspective and encouragement. I'm hearing the same thing consistently which helps me get my head around it. I had actually wanted to post a vid of my playing weeks ago but just didn't make the time. And I'm now understanding that I do have a very good teacher, and he gives me VERY candid feedback and guidance in every lesson. I'm just the type of person that is always evaluating input to make sure it makes sense. I'm just enjoying this experience so much and can't wait for the day that I "own" my instrument.
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