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Realistic Goal Setting
Looking for some advice - Beginner
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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FinalPatriot
NW Atlanta
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September 5, 2012 - 11:47 am
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Hello everyone!

 

I've only been playing the violin now for about two weeks though it's something I'm greatly passionate about.  As such, I spend most all of my "free" time reading, studying, or practicing based upon the information I've received from my instructor and the vast resources of this site.  After reviewing over the goal worksheet I found here, I was wondering if some of you all might be able to give me some guidance on what I could use as reasonable goals.  Currently, I'm trying to develop a 1, 3, and 6 month plan along with the 1 year that is suggested.

 

My main concern is that I drive myself faster than what I've been told is "normal" and so I don't want to make a goal that isn't challenging enough.  Yet, being as I have little background yet, I'm not sure what I can expect.

 

In general, I practice about 1 - 1.5 hours per day and spend another 1 - 1.5 hours doing memorization, general research, or finger placement drills.

 

Thanks for the help!

"I know a girl who cries when she practices violin because each note sounds so pure it just cuts into her, and then the melody comes pouring out her eyes. Now, to me, everything else just sounds like a lie."

Conor Oberst
 
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razor02097
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September 5, 2012 - 3:00 pm
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Everyone is different.  There will be things you pick up on right away and other things that might take a while.  My instructor said that about 1 hour of practice a day is great.  I usually separate theory and practice.  Otherwise it is just too much for me... Especially since I am also learning sheet music for the first time in my life.

 

Since I am still new I know exactly what you are talking about the "normal".  You want to keep it interesting instead of the boring drills over and over. I say push yourself as hard as you want within reason (that's what I do).  Just make sure to set enough time to work on the basics...especially if you are taking lessons...it would mean the instructor will spend the whole half hour on review and that is money wasted. 

 

For example I've only had a violin for 43 days and occasionally I spend only maybe 10 minutes or so during the week adding vibrato to playing scales (I can't tell you how great it felt to hear myself play a note with vibrato for the first time!) but the rest of the time is practicing the new stuff I learned during the lesson and reviewing the basics.

 

As far as a plan.... I set my goals with no guidance and I don't really have goals past the 6 month mark.

 

Month 1

  1. Be able to identify parts of the Violin
  2. Be able to tune the violin using an electronic tuner
  3. Be able to perform Bow and Violin maintenance
  4. Holding the violin and bow
  5. Practice bowing (keeping the bow parallel to bridge playing one open string at a time)

Month 2-6

  1. Identify notes on finger board
  2. Being able to play scales with the cheat sheet
  3. Having the basics to read and play from sheet music
  4. Working heavily on left hand and finger placement

Lofty goals would be things like being able to tune strings by ear and be able to play with slurs and vibrato... Those are things that I would eventually like to do but don't really know when they will fit in because they are advanced techniques that are a while off and I don't know if or when I will hit plateaus.

 

Hope that helps you

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FinalPatriot
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September 5, 2012 - 3:22 pm
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This is is a great guide and I really appreciate your help!  It's nice to see that we're pretty much in the same situation as well.  I played the piano years ago but now, like you said, am trying to learn to read music again and train my fingers to hit the notes w/o looking at the strings. 

 

So far, vibrato remains a mystery to me but each day I feel like I'm getting closer to not making my children run in fear when the see me practicing.

 

One thing that I found really helps is that my instructor helps me find sheet music for some of my favorite songs and so it's a great motivator to better learn to read and helps break up the normal pain of doing drills. 

"I know a girl who cries when she practices violin because each note sounds so pure it just cuts into her, and then the melody comes pouring out her eyes. Now, to me, everything else just sounds like a lie."

Conor Oberst
 
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razor02097
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September 5, 2012 - 3:33 pm
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Don't get me wrong my vibrato sucks lol... I find the hardest part is keeping my finger on the string when I rock it back and forth. 

 

Pierre did a great video for vibrato drills.  I've been practicing that to try to get my fingers limber enough to actually do it.  I find that the drill also helps keep your fingers arched like they should be.

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Mad_Wed
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September 6, 2012 - 3:05 pm
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As for me, it's a quite hard thing to suggest any goals for another person.. But those that offered Razor are reasonable.

You may think of where You are now, where You were 2 weeks ago, estimate your progress and decide, where You want to be after 6 months, what do You want to play then, and what skills do You need to play it... Then set the little goals and plan "how to achieve them".

That's approximately it =)

Good Luck! violin-student

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myguitarnow
Laguna Beach
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September 12, 2012 - 7:58 pm
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We're all different. Use written guides as guides only so you can keep track on how you progress. Personally I recommend to record yourself as much as possible so you can listen back to your progress. Plus if you have the resources to play along to recordings do that. Jamming along with others in person or on recordings I think will help you big time. And practice scales as much as you can.... It will get boring doing that but you want to hear those notes in your head (there's only seven - abcdefg). Then there's playing some sharp or flat that make a chromatic scale of just 12 notes. Then there's vibrato and slides and what not to help create your own style.

Don't get frustrated and think you can learn everything overnight, that's why so many quit playing. It may take you a year, even two or longer to play on key but if playing violin is really something you want to do, you got to understand it will take some time but you will get there.

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Oliver
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September 12, 2012 - 8:16 pm
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Keeping track.  When I think I'm on the fast track to nowhere, I go back and play music from 6 mos. ago.  Can be very uplifting

It is odd when I wrote comments on the "difficult" music and today I can't figure out what my complaint was duncecap

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

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Barry
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September 12, 2012 - 8:26 pm
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Oliver said
Keeping track.  When I think I'm on the fast track to nowhere, I go back and play music from 6 mos. ago.  Can be very uplifting

It is odd when I wrote comments on the "difficult" music and today I can't figure out what my complaint was duncecap

I constantly play pieces of beginner status. At leat a couple times a month I'll play through the twinkle variations just for practice

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Picklefish
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September 12, 2012 - 9:13 pm
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FinalPatriot said
Hello everyone!

 

I've only been playing the violin now for about two weeks though it's something I'm greatly passionate about.  As such, I spend most all of my "free" time reading, studying, or practicing based upon the information I've received from my instructor and the vast resources of this site.  After reviewing over the goal worksheet I found here, I was wondering if some of you all might be able to give me some guidance on what I could use as reasonable goals.  Currently, I'm trying to develop a 1, 3, and 6 month plan along with the 1 year that is suggested. a 1 year goal is great, much shorter near term goals also help. How are you gonna reach your goal? I suggest developing an action plan. This would include different bowing techniques, patterns and fingerings. The problem is staying on track to reach your goals. Having a private teacher is good for this. Also dont settle for less than the best at any stage because rushing through a simple concept now ruins it for the more complicated version later.

 

My main concern is that I drive myself faster than what I've been told is "normal" and so I don't want to make a goal that isn't challenging enough.  Yet, being as I have little background yet, I'm not sure what I can expect.

 

In general, I practice about 1 - 1.5 hours per day and spend another 1 - 1.5 hours doing memorization, general research, or finger placement drills. I encorage you to practice less. more often, less time and focus in on what you are trying to learn rather than just glossing over a piece. 15-30 min on intonation and bowing, take a break. 15-30 min on tricky or difficult parts of the piece you are learning. take a break. 15-30 min working on the song as a whole, self critique to identify parts to work on. so that would be any where from 45 min to 1.5 hours but broken up into chunks. In my opinion.

 

Thanks for the help!

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

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