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What do you think about when you play?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 19, 2011 - 10:20 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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What goes through your mind when you play the violin?  Do you think about technique, intonation, rhythm, dynamics, phrasing or the music?

I was reading a discussion about playing great one day and completely different the next,  and it occurred to me that the mental aspect of playing the violin must be dependent upon what we are thinking about while playing.

What goes through your mind when you play the violin?  Do you think about technique, intonation, rhythm, dynamics, phrasing or the music? Personally, I like to focus on phrasing, articulation and dynamics. It makes playing so much more fun. This is not to say that I don't work on technique as well.

Fiddlerman

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

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Chinny
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September 24, 2011 - 8:45 am
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When I play (practising) i usually think about what changes I need for specific parts of the song. If and when i perform, i blank out and hope ive memorised the piece well enough LOL yell

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Mustang
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September 24, 2011 - 9:39 am
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What usually goes through my mind when I play is: Man, my vibrato really needs work.

 

And: 1 2 3 4 - 1 & 2 & 3 4 - 1 e & a 2 e & a clock

 

Hehe. note

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Chinny
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September 24, 2011 - 9:48 am
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LOL at least that means you stay in time. I just fluke mine big time yell

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HeadCheese
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September 24, 2011 - 10:35 am
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"OK. Quarter note is on the middle line, so that's a uh... C*, right. Um, finger down here and ... no, that sounds wrong. Wait wait wait wait ... OK HERE is where the finger goes and ... OK that's right. Next."

 

Lather, Rinse, Repeatdrooling

It's pretty noisy in my head right now...

 

*Alto/Viola Clef

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David Burns
Winfield, Missouri
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September 24, 2011 - 10:43 am
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I know the voices in my head are not real, but they have some pretty interesting ideas. Some of them are even legal.

 

I do think to myself, I am out of time, I am off pitch, I am bowing in the wrong direction, did I change my oil? This song doesn't sound like this on the radio, maybe I should have picked up an easier hobby like brain surgery.

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Chinny
Perth
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September 24, 2011 - 11:16 am
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LOL somehow i dont think brain surgery is easier.... just keep working on that fiddle! serenade

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SaraO
Michigan
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September 24, 2011 - 1:01 pm
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When I'm practicing I concentrate on intonation, dynamics, tricky rhythms, working on vibrato, etc. When I'm playing just to play my mind goes elsewhere...grocery list, wondering what the kids have gotten into since I started practicing, school planning...

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Svento
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September 30, 2011 - 4:14 am
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Usually not everything at once. I concentrate either on rythm, phrasing and timing or the left hand work like staying in tune.

I usually start with intonation, but the bowing is the hard thing. While playing with others it's not that obvious, it comes out music any way, but playing alone or just with a drummer, those small errors become very appearant. I usually start practicing at a very low tempo, trying to get some extra stress on the fourths while playing a fast rythm of eights or tripled eights. When those thing works, the tune becomes interesting.

I notice that I'm getting the tune when I start to think about other things. All those things that I play not to think of.

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Oliver
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September 30, 2011 - 8:55 am
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Yogi Berra said  "How can you hit and think at the same time?" which has a lot of meaning for me.  My best music is that which I do not have to play with a mental check list of do's and dont's.   And that is usually music I have memorized but, unfortunately, I don't retain memorized music for a long time.

coffee2

 

PS Yogi also said that baseball was 90% mental and the other half was physical!

Which makes me question allocation of resources.  Do all instruments require similar mental effort?  Does a sax player have the same mental struggles as a violinist?  I do not remember my old clarinet as being so demanding and a keyboard is music therapy by comparison. 

(Is my violin an addiction?)

coffee2

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

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TerryG
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September 30, 2011 - 9:33 pm
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I think and listen to the sound I'm making while making sure I'm using straight bow strokes. I try NOT to look at the finger board as I want to memorize the notes. I also do not use tape. I'm also thinking is my bow and fiddle hold proper. Of course being new there isn't much more at this point I'm concentrating on. But all the while I'm loving it.

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GennaLea
Western New York
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September 30, 2011 - 10:10 pm
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I usually think about the mistakes I'm making as I play. "Oh, that note was flat." "Oh, that one was sharp." "Well, that wasn't even close!" Stuff along those lines. (I know the beginning of A LOT of songs.) I tend to be quite critical of myself (that's why there aren't any videos posted yet).

When I play a song I know the words to, I sing it in my head (and sometimes out loud) to get my rhythm down. It also helps me place the notes.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 1, 2011 - 5:57 am
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How about if you change your statements to "if I move this note down slightly it will sound better, or, "from now on every time I play that F# I'll land a little higher". IOW, positive commands in your head instead of negative ones.

Secondly, from time to time, practice while humming the notes and music (even if there are no lyrics or you don't know them) either in your head or out loud. Many people do this, even soloists.

Thirdly, every once in a while you should at least try to think about the phrasing and forget technique. You may be surprised how much better the technique can become all by itself, provided you have been working on it.

cow-fingerscrossed Look forward to your first video post.

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

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dillcasey
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October 1, 2011 - 12:21 pm
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Honestly i think of my grandfather and how beautifully he played as a younger man. Im remembering his songs as i play them. The way his bowing arm moved to get the sweetest tone from his fiddle. I try to match his style. Luckily i have some video of him to help me out. He is the only fiddler in the family and noone has even tried to carry on his instrument. So i made it a point to pick up the fiddle. I bought an old ragged fiddle had a pro set it up and went to town on it. My grandfaher doesnt even know about me learning. Its a surprize for him. Besides getting my posture and holding the violin as correct as i can, this is what i think. Its tradition in my family to learn an instrument whether ur pickin a guitar or singin and i hope me learning makes my grandfather happy. Thanks fiddlerman for all of your vids. I think ya make this fiddlin thing easier for all of us.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 1, 2011 - 12:46 pm
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dillcasey said:

......Thanks fiddlerman for all of your vids. I think ya make this fiddlin thing easier for all of us.

Thanks dillcasey. I'm happy to hear this.

Welcome to Fiddlerman.com smile Happy to have you here.

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 1, 2011 - 4:29 pm
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Barry said:

.... I do let myself off the hook sometimes and grab a six pack or a glass of wine and just play....thats when it gets fun

dancingviolin-student

I'll be doing that after my gig this evening. We can all have a glass together and celebrate one year 🙂 and Barry's third year of fiddle playing.

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

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SaraO
Michigan
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October 1, 2011 - 4:37 pm
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oops. nevermind. nothing to see here...

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Paul
Indiana
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October 1, 2011 - 11:43 pm
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I think about the same things as a lot of the rest of you. Intonation, bowing, why can't I only hit one string when I'm trying to do double stops and I hit 2 when I'm tring to hit one. When I'm not so focused on trying to learn and just play. I'm thinking about how much I love this instrument and how I love making music with it. Even if I'm the only one that hears me play.

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suresh
Tuticorin, India
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October 2, 2011 - 8:28 am
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Well said Barry!   And I quote from "The Young Violist's Tutor and Duet Book by Wm. C. Honeyman:
"Determine from the first to master the instrument-not let it master you-to gain such a complete command of its powers, as to be able to pour through the quivering strings and wood every thought and emotion which you are capable of conceiving or expressing in music.....  It will raise you above the earth, it will sob and sigh with you in sorrow, rejoice with you in gladness, ...... cheer you in trouble..."
 

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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HeadCheese
Plano, Texas
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October 2, 2011 - 8:59 am
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…those of us here that are at the top of the posting "food" chain are here for a reason.

 

You're not going to eat us newbies, are you? crossedfingers

 

But more seriously, Barry, you have the soul of a poet. Beautiful thoughts there. I hope I can live up to them.

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