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anyone use earplugs to learn?
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risk
littleton, Colorado
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December 11, 2014 - 9:43 pm
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I seem to do better at a piece after I use the mute and after an exercise in bow weight I think I might benefit from using musicians ear plugs. I cant tell much difference in bow weight and the sound when trying to do an even stroke.

 

Anyone else have this experience? 

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DanielB
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December 12, 2014 - 2:17 am
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The musician's earplugs that I have used usually were intended to tame down the volume of louder sounds while leaving quieter sounds less affected.  That wouldn't necessarily be a good thing in practice.  It could give you a less than correct idea of what effects differences in bow weight and speed and etc actually are having.

However, if you have a loud or particularly bright violin, and you are getting signs of way too much sound level for your ears' safety... Well, you may not have a choice. 

Just the way we hold and play the violin, usually the left ear is the most affected.  So other than the obvious sign of that ear (or even both) ringing after playing, there is also things seeming oddly a little more quiet after playing or your balance seeming a little worse for a while after a long practice session.  Those are major signs that you're exposing your ear(s) to way too much sound.  Damage can occur without any of those and without any noticeable pain, and that's why it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about regular hearing tests.

In any case though, I don't see offhand where either a mute or earplugs (musician or not) are likely to help with being able to tell what effect the bow weight and etc are having when you are practising your bow strokes.  I would think they will make it more challenging to hear the differences. 

"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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cdennyb
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December 12, 2014 - 8:44 am
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I put the earbud in my left ear when listening to a backing track so my left ear is protected from the loud violin. But my violins aren't that loud I don't think or I'm already half deaf! LoLthumbs-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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augustoad
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December 12, 2014 - 12:59 pm
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Violins usually range from 90dB to 120dB. Listening to any sound superior to 85dB for a long of time can damage your ears (15 minutes of 120dB is enough, while it would take around an hour if around 90dB), so some people recommend you use earplugs to diminish the sound. I've never really used them, though.

Skype: augustoad Email: augustoaguieiras@hotmail.com Phone number/whatsapp: +55 42 9861-4084. I'd be happy to talk anything fiddle-related to anyone! :)

 

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EJ-Kisz
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December 12, 2014 - 1:37 pm
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I use my Frequency Cancelling ear plugs for practices.  They work great and don't obstruct tone quality.  They just filter out the damaging frequencies.  I learned to do that quickly from my bass playing, rock band days! LOL  Being next to a crash symbol is NEVER good for ya!  

If you're thinking that closing an ear like a vocalist works in the same way on violin, it doesn't from my experience.  Vocalist do that so they can cancel out all other noise since the sound is being generated within them.  

If you want something like that to help with your intonation, try practicing with a decent tuner to see if you're hitting the notes right on! ;-)

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 13, 2014 - 2:10 pm
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All you guys that are using earplugs are smart. I have constant tinnitus from not using them and sitting full time in symphony orchestras most of my life. I wish I had been smarter.
A violin, and especially a cheap violin, can give harsh piercing frequencies. A quality violin can produce a better, more enjoyable sound. Those of you who feel like you play better with a mute or earbuds are just enjoying the relief of a less harsh sound battering your ears. :)
As you improve you'll be able to do a lot with technique and talent that will enhance and improve your sound.

"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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December 13, 2014 - 5:17 pm
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Well, quality violins can also be louder.  It is the sound level, not the harshness, that will do the damage. 

But I think that probably any violin at all, considering the short distance between the player's ear and the f-hole, is probably more than loud enough to cause some damage over time.

Odd as it may seem to some people, musician is one of the occupations most known for hearing damage. 

But it isn't just music or loud sounds that can do it.  Playing in loud bands did some of the hearing damage I have.  But the tinnitus and more of the loss in my own case came from repeated ear infections when I was a child. 

If anyone or their children get ear-aches, it is good to get medical attention rather than just toughing it out. 

"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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EJ-Kisz
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December 13, 2014 - 5:25 pm
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Speaking of Tinnitus, has anybody ever tried those ear drops that are supposed to alleviate the ringing sensation in your ears?  I've seen them at the drug store and was curious.    

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 13, 2014 - 9:22 pm
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DanielB said
Well, quality violins can also be louder.  It is the sound level, not the harshness, that will do the damage.

True.

What I meant to say was that many (quality) violins (some "cheap" violins have quality) sound less under the ear but still project. We used to compare violins in a big hall amongst colleagues and were often surprised by which violin was the most powerful. I may be wrong but I know that some violins sound hurt my ear while others (usually better and more expensive violins) are soothing even when I play loudly. It is possibly because of the damage I already have.
Our orchestra made us take hearing tests and most of the violinists had a lessened hearing at high frequency levels.

Then again, the orchestra was extremely loud. So much so that at times you couldn't hear your own instrument.

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

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Fiddlerman
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December 13, 2014 - 9:23 pm
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EJ-Kisz said
Speaking of Tinnitus, has anybody ever tried those ear drops that are supposed to alleviate the ringing sensation in your ears?  I've seen them at the drug store and was curious.    

If that works, please let me know. :)
Do you have Tinnitus Eric?

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

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EJ-Kisz
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December 13, 2014 - 11:21 pm
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Yeah, I've had it since high school marching band & orchestra.  I guess it's part of being a brass player! LOL  Then again, playing bass in a rock/metal band, standing right next to the crash on the drum set may have contributed to it a little! :D

It's weird, I have it worse in my left ear.  I hardly notice the ringing in my right if at all.  It also seems to get worse when my blood pressure or heart rate go up from pain.  .....really weird.  

I may just have to pick up those drops and review them here!  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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coolpinkone
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December 15, 2014 - 12:13 pm
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Good to know about ear protection.  I am going to start using some.  I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

Thanks all for the great topic.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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December 15, 2014 - 4:49 pm
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I have a db meter, I should do some experimenting on the sound levels in various areas while I play both acoustic and the electric violins.

Might be interesting to hear the level of sound.dunno

"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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EJ-Kisz
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December 17, 2014 - 4:33 am
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I'd love to see the results of that! It might even help to determine the quality of a violin, especially in the cheaper ranges, price wise!  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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TerryT
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December 17, 2014 - 11:21 am
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It's usually the people around me that ask for earplugs!

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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chipot
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December 20, 2014 - 4:42 pm
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I personally just use the mute when practising, it makes for a softer sound and my left ear is grateful for that. I wouldn't want to use earplugs since I'd be missing out on the ear training aspect of playing scales and getting the pitch just right for each note. Of the various mutes I've used over the years I find this one to be the best: http://www.fiddleaustralia.com.....-p-73.html

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risk
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December 27, 2014 - 1:53 am
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@EJ-Kisz how about that review? 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 27, 2014 - 11:33 am
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chipot said
I personally just use the mute when practising, it makes for a softer sound and my left ear is grateful for that. I wouldn't want to use earplugs since I'd be missing out on the ear training aspect of playing scales and getting the pitch just right for each note. Of the various mutes I've used over the years I find this one to be the best: http://www.fiddleaustralia.com.....-p-73.html

You mean this one? dancing

http://fiddlershop.com/genuine.....-mute.html

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

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