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Should I change my teacher?
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LizaA
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October 25, 2016 - 3:32 pm
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I have been skeptical about my current teacher for some time now. I think the main reason I have not changed him, is because he is a rather good person, and I like him since he's good and kind to all of us. I live in a small country, and I don't want to create bad relations with people.

That said, I have a few reason to look up for a new one.

(1) The first red flag for me is that he does not demostrate. There is a violin, which he never plays, apparently because he has some sickness and can't move a lot; in fact, he plays the piano, and he said that sometimes his arms hurt at night because of that. This would add up to my feeling bad if I get a new one.

(2) I live in south america. Maybe a lot of books to which now I have access were unavailable to him. Still, the fact that he doesn't even know the existence of Sevick, Wohlfahrt, Kayser, Hrimaly, and other books that according to most people are "basic" is odd, is that another red flag?

I've practice some of them on my own, but shouldn't any teacher by familiar with some etudes?

(3) Should I question his pedagogy? This is a problem, because I don't know if I am in a position to do that. One thing I find odd is the way he teaches positions: while most books introduce third and fifth, he proceeds by numeric order.

I also think is strange the fact that I am supposed to play second position in two different positions, this is, to play a D minor scale, I have to play B b, and according to him I move the hand until my first finger is on B b, instead of what seems the standard according to everyone else: hand until the first finger is on B, and move the first finger back if needed.

Now he wants some of us to take an exam. The exam will be held in a different school. Instead of giving me a selection of pieces, I had to look for some pieces he considered are acceptable for our level.

I still have at least two lessons with him (I paid every month upfront). I wonder if I should change teachers after this two lessons? Although I like the idea of taking an exam, I think I may be better with a different teacher. I haven't been able to find many violin professionals where I live, but there is a another violin teacher who plays viola in our country national orchestra. 

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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October 25, 2016 - 3:48 pm
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I don't know enough about different teaching methods to say if any others teach like him, but if it were me, I would try out the teacher who plays in the orchestra. Just because for myself, with the violin I learn visually and by listening to how my teacher plays something. Being able to watch my teacher play a piece, demonstrating various bowing, or finger patterns, or listening to how she might accent something.... or even just being able to play along with her, making sure I'm trying really hard to match her tone, bowing and of course notes.... is invaluable. I'm not sure how I'd do without having that.

Oh, and my teacher is also a viola player; she started on viola, and about 10 years ago she started playing the fiddle. I find some of the tricks she teaches me that she brings from playing viola... especially with fourth finger placements... very helpful.

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

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Schaick
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October 25, 2016 - 7:27 pm
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I have had 4 teachers in my short career and learned much from each one. I have been up front with each one where I was going and why.

1st was a Suzuki method teacher - 6 lessons over a years time. Learned how to hold the violin and bow.  She knows little bluegrass.  Plays in an orchestra.

2nd was a bluegrass teacher - 2 lessons. Learned a bit but it was more about gaining confidence.  Played in a band.

3rd was an Irish fiddle teacher - 9 lessons over the summer for 9 Saturdays. Learned 2-3 songs every Saturday [way too many songs at once for me to retain] and special speed bowing [which I have yet to master!].     Plays wedding, pubs, etc.

4th and present is a bluegrass fiddler who came to one of the bluegrass jams.  She sings and plays fiddle at the same time!!  I have had 2 lessons with her and scheduling 2 more. Plays in an orchestra and has a band.

Each has played the fiddle for me so I could see and hear what they were teaching. A teacher that didn't play for me would be a big red flag.

I have yet to really study positions except how to get to specific notes for specific songs.

Sorry about rambling on!!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 26, 2016 - 10:33 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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@LizaA - Don't worry about creating a bad relationship with him. It's a business like anything else but more vital to your well being that he teaches you correctly. If he teaches you incorrectly, you can suffer pain, tension, get into bad and hard to correct habits, and learn much slower than potentially possible.
It can be compared to visiting or questioning a bad doctor because you don't want to offend him. They are supposed to be helping you.
Besides, taking lessons form more than one person is always beneficial just like Schaick wrote.

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

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Demoiselle
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November 2, 2016 - 1:42 pm
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Schaick said
.........

I have yet to really study positions except how to get to specific notes for specific songs.
 

 

Not trying to talk ya outta that, but do you really need it in blue grass?

Personally I was shocked when I heard about positions a year ago--half a year after having started my self-teaching. Right away I then went to my ancient music heroes and learned there: they basically don't change positions like they do in classical music.

It's good to know in the first place headaches you possibly might get are unnecessary. 

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Schaick
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November 3, 2016 - 6:47 am
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l have only come across a few songs so far that need a different position.  Salt Creek, Maiden's Prayer, Jerusalem Ridge and Ashokan Farewell. 

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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November 3, 2016 - 11:54 am
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My teacher stresses learning how to do fun variations by shifting in fiddle tunes. She has a fiddle tune book that has all kinds of shifting in it that she wants me to get as I get more comfortable shifting.

I guess my thinking for myself personally as I learn, is a lot of the songs might not need shifting, but I think it would feel pretty limiting if you couldn't shift if you wanted to. Some of my favorite fiddlers on youtube do a fair amount of shifting. 

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

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Demoiselle
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November 4, 2016 - 6:41 am
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Schaick said
l have only come across a few songs so far that need a different position.  Salt Creek, Maiden's Prayer, Jerusalem Ridge and Ashokan Farewell.

Folk and baroque have a lot in common. I looked into about a dozen videos with top professional baroque violin players who play ancient style, that is unlike classical music. Their pinkie stretches out a lot and that's all—only in one video someone changes the position on the E string to go very high. Not gonna waste any time on positions, there're more important things to learn which I really need.

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