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Question for Teachers
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coolpinkone
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July 28, 2012 - 2:16 am
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Hi all...

So I have some questions.  And I am not questioning my teacher in anyway.  She is the "one" to teach me.

So often... I hit wrong notes...close...but not right on.. So I stop and I say, "oh that was not G " and she will say..something along the lines of .."it was a little high but that is okay.."  And we move on.

 

When I show up to lesson she takes my violin and tunes it.... has not showed me one thing...  just goes and tunes it...(doesn't take long as I keep it in tune)....but no words on what she is doing.

The vibrato thing is out of the question.

I guess my point in all this is ... I really have to learn certain things that are very important like form, bowing, and really basic stuff before I can know the things I want to know.

Like many adult beginners.. I want to know everything now.

Input?

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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July 28, 2012 - 2:36 am
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beng the reble that I am... and lacking the funding or time to devote to a decent teacher (if there was one in my location...) I have to rely on FM's canned-videos and other things like all the members here that lend some support and opinions. I just automatically started doing (or trying to let it happen mostly) vibrato in the 2-3 month of learning to play.violin-student

I can do scales, I can do lots of quick notes in order and if I slow down I can really start to make the vibrato come thru on each note played as a whole note. I think learning to tune and how to get to that spot of tuning should be the first thing to learn, and the variations of tuning that are out there as well. So what if you only keep one tuneup, knowing is power. I also think the simple stuff like changing strings properly, winding them on the pegs properly, applying rosin, properly should all be on the plate to learn first as well. Like driving a car, maintenence is important and knowing how to only drive it is ridiculus. You should also know how to change a flat, put in gas, check the oil, operate ALL the devices and you should also know how to keep it clean. I think the same applies to the violin... there's a lot to know beside just how to drag the hair across the string to make a squeek.duncecap

 

I guess you can't learn everything at once but I think if a student wants to deviate a little and that makes them seek more and play more and want to excel more, why not let them do it(?). If they fail miserably at it, back step a bit and lay down some foundational stuff and then turn them loose again. Playing the music of their idol(s) should also be welcomed, after all... it is THAT music that made them get interested in the first place, whether it be a 15 yr old student that likes electric violin in a rock band or somebody my age (almost over the hill gang) that only wants to play classical and minor key tunes that have been labeld "sad songs". If I had to play all the other crap that I have learned to not like, I'd just loose interest and quit...facepalm

 I play because I WANT to, not because mommy and daddy paid a lot of money out and now I have to go to this stupid violin class... so... to each his (or her) own. If you have the passion to play, you WILL find a way to make the music sound like you want it to, even if you have to crawl back to a teacher now and then and ask forgiveness and a little guidence... lolviolin-1267

 

As I have watched and listened to so many others out there blast thru tune after tune in the past months making great strides in playing, I find myself still playing the same one after 3 months and every day just refining it to perfection.. every note exact, every vibrato quiver perfect, every string change without notice and every note in perfect time... so, I prefer to measure my progress in not making a single mistake as though I was playing a sold out performance as a soloist... vs. playing as many tunes as I can get under my bow that kinda sound ok.

thumbs-up

"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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DanielB
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July 28, 2012 - 5:09 am
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Checking the tuning on your instrument may be just one of the steps that your teacher does every time.  If it is always at least close to in tune, then why would they take lesson time to teach you something you obviously already know?

But here's an idea to try.  Take a minute to tune right before you go in to lesson, and have your tuner in your pocket.  If they still touch up the tuning, ask about it.  Your teacher may have a better ear than the tuner you use, or they may feel your particular violin sounds just a bit nicer a few steps higher or lower.  Or your tuner may be set for "standard pitch A 440" and your teacher may prefer "concert pitch A 443" or something like that.  May want to have them check out your tuner and confirm that it does a good enough job.  It is not at all impossible that your teacher may have a better ear than your tuner does.

So far as the vibrato, as I recall your teacher feels it will come to you naturally in time.  She is probably right on that, she has the experience.  Maybe she also has experience of trying to force it too soon causing problems for some players.  I don't know on that.

The basics are basic like the base of a triangle is.  The more you have of them, the firmer the foundation you have to build on.  I don't think I have ever seen a musician harmed by lots of basics, but I have seen some who tried to jump ahead a bit too fast where they didn't have the basics down well enough yet to do well at what they tried.

But.. Gotta dream, too.  Pick a piece or two that your teacher doesn't know about and work on them by yourself to get some songs into your repertoire that are ones you really want to be playing.  Maybe ones not even in the lesson book, find the score on the net, and work on one or two just like you work on the ones she assigns. 

6 months is a hard spot, a "wall" in the course of learning any musical instrument, or learning anything, maybe.  You've been at it long enough to know you know some stuff.   But also you have developed enough ear and experience that your expectation levels have crept up higher.

But a year from now, you'll probably be in the same boat about how you view your own playing.  But other people will take it more seriously and some of them will think you can play well.  Oh, and vibrato will be "old hat" to you by then, and there will be some other technique you'll be working on getting down perfect.  LOL

"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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SaraO
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July 28, 2012 - 9:10 am
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coolpinkone said

So often... I hit wrong notes...close...but not right on.. So I stop and I say, "oh that was not G " and she will say..something along the lines of .."it was a little high but that is okay.."  And we move on.

 

The important thing is you recognize when you are not completely in tune. There's no need for her to correct you if you can hear the problem, right? More time (and practice) will lead to more precise intonation.

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Picklefish
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July 28, 2012 - 9:40 am
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coolpinkone said
Hi all...

So I have some questions.  And I am not questioning my teacher in anyway.  She is the "one" to teach me. Like all humans your teacher has her edjucated opinion on what you need to know and when and probably based on your progress. OR she is just following a program from a book and taking your dollars. Only time will tell.

So often... I hit wrong notes...close...but not right on.. So I stop and I say, "oh that was not G " and she will say..something along the lines of .."it was a little high but that is okay.."  And we move on. As the FM once said (typed) nobody is always exactly on tone when they play. So the question is how far off is acceptable to your ear? Do his intonation vids for the note in question if one or two always seem to be off. The key is to issolate the problem, simplify the movement and practice it till it becomes automatic.

 

When I show up to lesson she takes my violin and tunes it.... has not showed me one thing...  just goes and tunes it...(doesn't take long as I keep it in tune)....but no words on what she is doing. For the sake of making the most of 30 minutes (too little time IMO) teachers take the step of "lets get to it". and may not realize you have questions in this regard. I use a tuner and make sure my 'lin is in tune before I play each day. The pegs are for bringing the string in tune and the fine tuners fine the tuning so you can be really exact. However, I have great working pegs and can tune with the pegs only now. I still adjust the tune with the ftrs.

The vibrato thing is out of the question. Nothing is ever out of the question for those who are dedicated to doing it. She may not feel you need to learn it at this point but the FM tutorials are excellent and you can learn it on your own.

I guess my point in all this is ... I really have to learn certain things that are very important like form, bowing, and really basic stuff before I can know the things I want to know. You can only spend so much time on that stuff till your mind begins to wander and mush out. So, break it down...da da da da...cant touch....oh, anyway. I have essentially two separate practice sessions 30 min avg eachish. The first of the day focusing on all the technical aspects and I mean focusing specifically on intonation, bowing etc. The second is whatever piece Im learning and again focusing on the issues I have playing it. Certain bars and tricky phrases. Then whenever I play the rest of the day its free time. I play what I want. I have no teacher except for net vids and this site. So, take time to learn  and take time to play.

Like many adult beginners.. I want to know everything now.

Input? You know everything you need to know in your heart, your teacher is helping you build self confidence. A tuner, fingering chart, ability to read music and off you go. Like everything else you learn in life, start slow and progress and KISS.  -regards the fish.jimi-hendrix

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

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coolpinkone
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July 28, 2012 - 2:33 pm
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I apologize in advance for the lack of spacing... I am at work and the only way I can bypass and post on the forum from work is to write in the HTML source Editor.

@ cdennyb - I love that you are a rebel. I also like how you just dove in and took charge. Way back from the time of the video of Over the Rainbow in the Orchard. I think my teacher wants me to get the fingering just okay.. and not look so that later I can fine tune things. And she is always saying that. That will correct it's self. And I think she is a firm believer in certain basics that will make the other stuff stronger. Hence our long session on bowing.

I only go for 30 minutes every few weeks right now. I put strings on thanks to FM's video... not an ace by any means but I am not afraid of it. Now if I ever get all bridge technical and sound wavy geeky... please just shoot me. You will know I have become a groupy for you and Daniel! ha ha... She always spends more time with me almost an hour. And she asks me if she is taking up my time. She is wonderful in that regard. She is wonderful in the regard that she is not a store/studio. I pay as I go, no month in advance and so that has been one of the reason I could stick with it. I have made progress with her that I could not have made on my own. I think she wishes that I hadn't spent four months picking up bad habits. We haven't went over counting/much. She will count it off for me and that helps and she really gave me a guideline for practicing and NOT repeating mistakes. I guess I just wonder why she is not super specific. But I think it is because as SaraO says...if I know it is wrong... why would she point it out. But then I think..."isn't that playing through a mistake?" hummmm......

@ Daniel, thank you as always for the most awesome feed back. I agree that the vibrato will come naturally... maybe I am getting a bit worried. What if I am vibrato challenged? (You did NOT hear that CLINT!!!) And your reassurance is wonderful. As for tuning... she does very little... she walks over an plucks her A string.. and then does a quick bow or two so it is in tune. I guess I want to do that like her. I don't like to pull out the chromatic tuner.. I want to pick it up like she does and just tune by ear. I suppose that is another thing that will come naturally. I guess if I want to do that, I should just ask. But I seem to know enough by now that she will probably say..."in time" And as you know I am working on Sad Romance and I have not told her about it. I think she would be very concerned that I am not getting the slurs correct..or counting correctly. (and she is TOTALLY - right).

@ SaraO.. as I said, you are probably right.. why harp on a G note ... time later to refine. I guess I don't have to have a perfect G every time...but I am one of those that wants to stop when I hear it wrong. I guess I wouldn't get to far if I always did that.

@ Pickle..or Fish.. Thank you. As for 30 minutes being to little, I agree. She is generous with her time for me. And makes it work for me. I am grateful for that. I don't question her... and I think you hit on a good point.... 30 minutes is not enough time.. especially for someone like me. And I really have to settle down and learn some basics. Which is why I am working on easy Jingle Bells and damned London Bridges again. But not so much the playing.. she wants me to play by reading ..not memorize. Which is tough because I can memorize them, almost have already...that is a problem for me. I can memorize well and it is easy to forget the music. Which is a handicap for me. Well I am writing too much this morning. THANK YOU all for the feed back. I have come to the conclusion that all the wealth of info here is a blessing, but for someone like me maybe a curse at times. Thank you Thank you.

update...I think I figured out the html code to make spaces between paragraphs

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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eoj02
mooresvill, in
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July 28, 2012 - 3:32 pm
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Teaching guitar and coaching are about the same.  In coaching, you teach the kids what they need to get better.  You also leave it up to them to experiment on their own. 

When teaching guitar, I teach what needs to be learned. 

I am just learning the violin and I do not take lessons.  I know what I have to learn from the information on FM.  I spend some time working on that.  I also spend time working on things i'm not supposed to know how to play yet.  I still can't play the things I want to play correctly.  But it does make playing more enjoyable.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 29, 2012 - 7:37 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Why don't you ask her to teach you to tune next time she goes to grab your fiddle. You might learn a trick or two about tuning faster and easier.

When she says that you are off a little she might have been better off asking you to stop on a note and hold it and ask you if you think the note is right or not. I do that often and ask the students if the note it too high or low and they can usually tell me themselves. If not, I play the right note for them to help them work it out by themselves. I like to teach students to teach themselves and use this philosophy throughout my teachings.

If a student wants to learn vibrato before I think they are ready, I don't argue, I just go through the steps slowly and let them work on it a little every day. Sooner or later it comes.

I'm glad you like your teacher. If we meet in January I'll be happy to give you a free lesson. Same with Fred, Dennis, MGN, Kelly and anyone else who have a chance to drive close to where I'll be in LA and Anaheim. I know that you, Dennis, and Kelly live quite far away though.

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

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