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Knowing what you know now...
...is there anything you would do differently in your musical "career?"
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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KindaScratchy
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June 2, 2014 - 8:43 pm
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As I was driving to work this morning, I was listening to music and thinking about music in general and fiddling in particular. I got to thinking about what I might have done differently in my musical "career" that might have made me a better musician.

(I put career in quotes because I'm not a professional; just referring to my experience playing various instruments over the years.)

I wonder if I had started out playing the violin, without having learned all the other instruments I previously took up (recorder, guitar, fife and flute) whether I'd have been able to pick up intonation skills more quickly.

In other words, I wonder if having played other instruments actually held me back on intonation skills. With all those instruments, you only have to know where to put your fingers to play a given note/tone. You don't really have to be able to recognize a tone by ear, therefore I never developed that skill.

So, I'm curious whether anyone else has had similar thoughts about what they would do differently if they were starting their musical "career" with all the information they have now after X months or years playing the violin.

What say you? dunno

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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rczeien
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June 2, 2014 - 8:58 pm
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I'd have spend more time playing rhythm games. When rock band comes out at a party, I tend to just watch and not play. Now, I'm wishing I'd used the chance to get better at those sorts of games.

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Oliver
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June 2, 2014 - 9:20 pm
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I think the "starting early" theory is mostly a crutch.  Or maybe said another way, the violin is always a challenge for the average player.  That has nothing to do with starting early.  Of course, there are probably advantages to an early start for just about everything.  The violin takes no prisoners.

For these reasons I lusted after a purple tenor sax hanging on the wall of a shop in Ct.  I moved but I will always remember the beauty of that sax.  Sometimes I can even hear it ( it has notes!).

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

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RosinedUp
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June 2, 2014 - 9:49 pm
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I would think that hearing well-tuned music, early and often, is a good thing for a learner's ear, and more important than trying to produce the tones.  You can't play violin if you don't have a good idea of what it should sound like. 

I'm not sure the woodwinds you mention are as foolproof (for lack of a better term) as  you indicate.  But time spent playing (and presumably listening) to a well-tuned guitar ought to expose one to well-tuned intervals

I would think that a lot of exposure to poorly-tuned or poorly-timed music could be harmful to one's musical tastes.

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Barry
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June 2, 2014 - 10:21 pm
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to expand on this a bit,another musician who also had played for a living and I had a conversation a few weeks ago. That being how different our lives would have been had we chose different instruments. As a guitarist both he and I ended up in bar bands playing rock, drinking and smoking pot and living the life.

What if I had kept on piano, would I had instead been playing in hotel lounge bars instead and been exposed to a different type of crowd ? And what if it was fiddle, would of I became more like Pierre, playing classical ?

The style of music and choice of instrument some what dictates our path as musicians.

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Fiddlerman
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June 2, 2014 - 10:46 pm
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I remember telling everyone I knew that I didn't want to become a professional musician but I ended up playing for a living. Life is a mystery. :)

Diane - Personally, I don't think that any of your previous instruments have a negative affect on your learning curve. I would almost bet that you are more musical for having played several instruments. Intonation recognition is one thing and correcting it is another.

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

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DanielB
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June 2, 2014 - 11:09 pm
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Well, I don't think that playing stopped/keyed/fretted instruments hurt my ear.  At least I knew when I started playing violin what the notes should sound like.  I think that has helped some.

Having played violin for a couple years now, I can't think of much I would have done different for violin.  Maybe not let guitar sit by the wayside so much in the first year, perhaps.  For me personally, I feel I always learn best when I'm spending a good bit of time on at least two instruments. 

If you mean from way back at the beginning of starting to play/learn music?  I should have gotten myself gear that was just a bit better and not "made do" as much, early on.  Should have never gotten even the first day-job.  I was already playing pay gigs before I was out of high school. 

When I went to college, I should have gone straight for the music degree.  "Backup plans" are bullcookies.  Worst that can happen if you go straight for what you actually want to do is that you can fail.  Big deal, it happens all the time.  If you do eventually give up on your initial goal, just re-train, re-tool and go into another career direction, like anybody else.

Kids going into art or music get encouraged to have a "backup plan".  Ones going into engineering, medicine or accounting don't.  I say it's a load of crap. 

Oh, and if I was doing it over again, I'd make it a point to never EVER "try to grow up", not even once.  It is always a mistake, and nothing to be gained from it.  LOL

To paraphrase a motto from the movie "Galaxy Quest", "Never grow up.. Never surrender!" 

I think that could have put me further ahead as a musician.. But would I have as much life to write songs about?  Hard to tell. 

Y.know.. Sometimes what seems like the long way around, actually *is* the shortcut..

"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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Mad_Wed
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June 3, 2014 - 1:42 am
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KindaScratchy said
....
I wonder if I had started out playing the violin, without having learned all the other instruments I previously took up (recorder, guitar, fife and flute) whether I'd have been able to pick up intonation skills more quickly.

.....

I definitelly don't know how is it about You, Diane, all people are different, but as about me - i don't think that playing other instruments had a bad influence on my ears - opposite actually. Before i got my first guitar (i was about 14 years) i had no other instruments and if i wanted to play something i used a school piano (when no-one was around, LOL) or i sang it or whistled (whistling is a very difficult instrument IMO, and develops ears very good). At first it was quite difficult for me to play something by ear but the more i played - the easier it was getting. Now for examle, there are some pieces that are easier and faster for me to learn by ear than by the sheet. I really doubt that i would have been able to do this without all i previously have done.

dunno

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Uzi
Georgia
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June 3, 2014 - 1:03 pm
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I don't think playing any kind of instrument can do anything but help your ear. As to doing things differently, I don't know that I do anything differently, but I'd sure like to have the chance to do it all again -- Woo hoo!. 

Every step or misstep you ever took lead you to exactly where you are.  The only thing that really matters are which steps you take next. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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KindaScratchy
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June 3, 2014 - 9:02 pm
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Mad_Wed said

KindaScratchy said
....
I wonder if I had started out playing the violin, without having learned all the other instruments I previously took up (recorder, guitar, fife and flute) whether I'd have been able to pick up intonation skills more quickly.

.....

I definitelly don't know how is it about You, Diane, all people are different, but as about me - i don't think that playing other instruments had a bad influence on my ears - opposite actually. Before i got my first guitar (i was about 14 years) i had no other instruments and if i wanted to play something i used a school piano (when no-one was around, LOL) or i sang it or whistled (whistling is a very difficult instrument IMO, and develops ears very good). At first it was quite difficult for me to play something by ear but the more i played - the easier it was getting. Now for examle, there are some pieces that are easier and faster for me to learn by ear than by the sheet. I really doubt that i would have been able to do this without all i previously have done.

dunno

That's kind of where I was going with my post, Naska. I wondered if playing other instruments gave me a lazy ear. Yes, as long as the instrument was in tune, it gave me the experience of hearing proper tones, but...I didn't have to work to achieve them. All I had to do was put my fingers in the right place.

You're right that whistling develops a good ear, as does singing. I think that, in a way, playing the violin is more like whistling or singing than playing most other instruments because you have to rely on your ear to know when you're producing the right tone.

Another thing that I'd do differently: I'd take a music theory course early on.

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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coolpinkone
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June 5, 2014 - 3:37 pm
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This is my first instrument.  A life long love of music and singing has only enhanced my violin playing in my opinion.  I wish I had been given an instrument to play as my sister was.

 I know with all my heart I would have learned and kept it up.  I kept hoping as a child...then from 20-45, I put it aside or didn't think I would grab the opportunity.

I always played with pianos and organs growing up.  I never had one of my own.  I  wanted to start learning piano about 3 years ago, I don't have a piano, so I got a keyboard, to me it was not a piano and I didn't get too excited about playing the keyboard.

Once I started listening to violin music, I knew it was for me. I am completely violin obsessed.

Not so much on Diane's great topic.. but my rambly two cents.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Schaick
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June 5, 2014 - 9:03 pm
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@KindaScratchy  as a flute and tenor recorder player I know exactly what you are talking about!!  To top it off I read music and learned nothing by ear.  AND in the 6th grade we had to try out for choir, I was not allowed in the choir.  It has been very hard for me to sing in front of anyone, actually I didn't until I had children who I sang to. 

It was not until playing the violin that when I memorize, instead of visualizing the sheet music I am "visualizing" the notes/tones!!

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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MrYikes
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I am a drummer.  I have here learned Godfather Theme and use it as my measuring tool.  I can put passion into it, I can judge intonation because I play it several times everyday, I can vary tempo, sustains(the f note in that tune is the sexiest note I have ever heard), volume and rhythms.  I know that the hardware affects the tone, so I change a lot to learn the basics.  I know that the place affects the sound, so I go to different rooms and especially outside (I live in the woods) to hear the differences...and how much the sun changes the sound.  I play that tune so often that I have made it mine,,I own it.  If I go back to play the sheet music, it is because that is the way I want to play it.
Yeah, being a drummer has effected the way I touch music.

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coolpinkone
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June 6, 2014 - 12:48 pm
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@MrYikes Very cool.

I play Godfather theme, the arrangement by FM also.  I love it.  I think I play it my own way.  It makes me happy to hear it.  My favorite tune to play for anyone who asks.  I also like the way it sounds different in different rooms of my house. 

:)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Ferret
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June 7, 2014 - 6:07 am
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The violin is the only instrument that I've ever played. I started playing at the age of 61. 

The thing that would have changed 'my' musical career would have been to have started some 20 years earlier. It seems to have turned out that I can play 'by ear'

But I was too busy doing 'other things'  back then bunny-headbangrofl

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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DeeLight41
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June 17, 2014 - 9:04 am
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My first instrument is my voice and I started singing in chorus & church choirs and church workshops at an early age, so that was my exposure. I wanted to play in the band so bad as a kid, but my parents were unable to provide that opportunity. So at the age of 26 I started the electric guitar, took a few classes and then started playing songs by ear. I think my previous exposure to singing in the choir and having an "ear" for notes (tones) is/will continue to help me when it comes to the intonation of the violin. I do wish I had started on the Violin at the age of 4, so by now I could get that vibrato just right (LOL!).

Patience is necessary to learn the violin: But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.-James 1:4
When I get discouraged: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.-Philippians 4:13

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Fiddlerman
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June 17, 2014 - 6:14 pm
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There is a good chance that if you had started at the age of 4 you would have dropped it and hated it. It can go any way at that age. :)

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

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Oliver
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June 17, 2014 - 11:51 pm
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Yes, life is fickle.  My son abandoned his first chair grammar school position because the trumpet attracted more girls (who never materialized anyhow).  We can only speculate about his possible violin career.

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

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