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sdsalyer's progress
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sdsalyer
Abingdon, VA
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February 5, 2012 - 4:07 pm
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This is my (Drew's) progress thread.  

My first video is not terribly good -- I think I was playing much better last night, but I figured it's probably better to not show my "best" playing at first, then the next video will look that much better by comparison!

I'm calling this Session 0 since I've only had my violin 3 days and haven't had my first lesson yet.  I'll record Session 1 next weekend (hopefully) after I've had my first lesson and a few days to practice.

In the meantime, I'd be glad to hear any feedback, especially any bad habits that need to be nipped in the bud straightaway.  I seem to have trouble with a bouncing bow, but it seems to do that whether the hairs are very taught or very loose -- probably something I'm doing with my arm.  I also have trouble hitting the A string by itself -- again, it's probably all me, but perhaps it could be the setup somehow?

Thanks, and a pity upon your ears!

 

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Late bloomer
Dallas Texas
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February 5, 2012 - 4:37 pm
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Nice level violin.thumbs-up

Some thing that helps me is to just bow, bow , bow, open string. try different angles and pressures . Long slow bows and short fast bows.

A little bit of it is like driving a new car.

When you first drive it its a little uncomfortable but after a while your driving with one hand while texting and eating a sandwich. cheers

No matter where you go, there you are!

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Moris
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February 5, 2012 - 4:54 pm
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Great start I'd say! The second tune is my fav, can't remember the name. I would advice to keep practicing the etudes for each string, and take it slowly, don't rush...but am sure your teacher will give you some nice exercises to do.

I also noticed that your bow tends to be a little bouncy, am on the same boat with you, that it could be because the hair a little too tight. I know that happens to me, if I tighten the hair a little too much, but again it could be the quality of the bows.

Other than that the Violin sounds pretty good, and am looking forward to your next videos!

Best,

Moris (SirRyu)thumbs-up

"No one can do everything, but everyone can do something."

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Fiddle4Fun
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February 5, 2012 - 5:05 pm
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What Late bloomer and SirRyu said. 

 

To practice only hitting one string at a time, I do a couple of things.  First, I use long bow strokes on the open string, E for example, focusing on tone production, and then pivot over to A where I do the same thing.  I then pivot to D and G in turn before reversing the pattern and heading back to E.  My goal is to get a feel for how much the bow has to pivot before hitting the next string. 

 

Second, I actually try to play two open strings at once e.g E/A, A/D, D/G.  I'll do the long bow on E (say, five times) and then try to do the E/A together five times (where both notes are equal in strength and clarity) and then transition to A alone five times.  My goal here is to feel the difference between what results in two strings being played and what results in a clear tone on only one.

 

I also like to just play with the transition, so I'll bow on a single string and try to get as close to its neighbor as possible without actually hitting it.  (I think I just really like playing with the open strings and the bow.  Especially the D.)

 

With these exercises, I don't lift the bow from the strings. I just roll it over to the next one.  (Now that I think of it, it probably would be a good exercise to do something similar while lifting the bow.  Huh.  I'll have to give it a go.)

 

Either way don't worry too much.  Mainly it just takes playing time to sort it all out.  For having only had your violin three days, you are doing well.  I spent a full week doing nothing but bowing on the open strings for hours before I even attempted to use my left hand at the same time.

 

Can't wait for the next installment!

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sdsalyer
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February 5, 2012 - 5:50 pm
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Thanks for all the advice, guys. 🙂  Everything you're saying is making perfect sense to me.  I kept on playing after the video and sounded much better -- honest!  Next week I'll get a bit more warmed up before recording.  

So far I've been able to play (to some degree) Twinkle Twinkle, Amazing Grace, Good King Winceslas, Swans on the Lake (this is from a John Thompson piano book song I remember from my youth), and the first little bit of Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter (I'm sure it's not entirely right, I just worked it out by ear).

I feel semi-confident with my left hand fingering from playing guitar, but the bowing is definitely new ground.  I'm sure the comfort level will increase proportionally with time.

Thanks again for the tips!

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Kevin M.
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February 5, 2012 - 9:38 pm
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Your bow grip, your fingers are apart and not angled and your 4th finger is perfectly straight.  Cure your fingers, watch the video on holding the bow and try to emulate the way fiddlerman holds it.  As for hitting the other strings on the D string come a little more down so you will not hit the G.  When you play the A stay up a little more.  From what I can see, when you play the G string you come way over and when you play the E string you come way past it.  Try to make all the movements equal.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 5, 2012 - 10:56 pm
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A little more pressure. You want to get the strings to vibrate. That is how you get the sound. Using as much bow as you use causes the bow to slide around kind of easily with that little pressure.
Just to get started, when you play your G string scale in the beginning get that B natural quite a bit higher. Right up against the third finger.
Great ambition with your first post. smile
Thanks for posting.

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

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Mad_Wed
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February 6, 2012 - 4:41 pm
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Good!

I like your left hand! exactly

Right hand: try to hold fingers closer to each other, do it in natural way to make the hand feel comfort.

Learn a piece slowly, don't hurry =)

That was a great first video! dancing

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sdsalyer
Abingdon, VA
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February 6, 2012 - 9:51 pm
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Thanks again, everyone... great advice and you're all so encouraging (sometimes that's even more important than advice)!  

I had my first lesson today and was a bit dismayed when the first thing the instructor did was put tape on the neck -- he promised to take it off very soon, though.  We jumped right into it and he gave me 3 songs to practice, as well as one of the Fiddlerman etudes I showed him!  Much of what he told me has already been said here, so I suppose I just need to get off the computer and go practice.  🙂

I'll update in a week or so and see how I've improved.  I'm mostly going to work on bowing in front of the mirror since I feel like that's the real weak spot.

 

P.S.  He was rather impressed with the Mendini violin!

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Fiddle4Fun
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February 6, 2012 - 10:21 pm
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That's a great!  Have fun practicing and don't get discouraged.  Just stick with it until it "clicks."  I'll look forward to the update.

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Fiddlerman
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February 7, 2012 - 3:54 pm
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Sometimes you have to crawl before you can walk 🙂

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

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sdsalyer
Abingdon, VA
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February 29, 2012 - 8:01 pm
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Here's round 2, about a month after the first video.  A nifty little tune called Mississippi Sawyer.  You can find the sheet music (and an MP3 of what it's *supposed* to sound like), along with several other fiddle tunes at http://www.johnboulware.com/Do.....nload.html (thanks, whoever you are).

There's a few rough spots (I have trouble with the low 2 to 3rd finger sometimes), but hey... it's progress!  Any helpful tips, comments, critiques, etc. are appreciated!

 

 

Probably should've tried to get my bow hand in the frame... oh well, maybe next time. 🙂

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sdsalyer
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March 1, 2012 - 9:21 am
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I do notice my posture is a bit different.  The scroll seems pointed more towards the ground (this may be from fatigue, I'd been practicing quite a while before the video).  I also seem to be using much less bow than in the first video -- which may be attributed to the nature of the song?

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TerryT
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March 1, 2012 - 10:14 am
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Love the flexibiltiy in your left fingers.

Your bow action is not straight, in the opposite direction to my same problem.

You've certainly come on in the last month though, good stuff!

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

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sdsalyer
Abingdon, VA
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March 1, 2012 - 11:33 am
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Yeah, I was noticing the bow angle was off, too.  I wasn't entirely sure if it was me or the camera angle -- probably me.  I wonder if I could correct that just by adjusting my posture properly (ie. the violin would be more level with the floor and further to my left)?  Thanks for the feedback!

 

PS. I watched it again and it's definitely me.  This also explains how I sometimes nail  the point on the upper bout with my bow hair from time to time...

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coolpinkone
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March 1, 2012 - 11:54 am
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wow...looking great.  I am  too new to offer anything but praise.  It gives me

something to shoot for.  Thanks for sharing.<img class="spSmiley" title="birthday_balloon" onclick="spjEdInsertSmiley('birthday_balloon-738.gif', 'birthday_balloon', 'http://fiddlerman.com/wp-content/forum-smileys/', 'birthday_balloon');" src="/wp-content/forum-smileys/birthday_balloon-738.gif" alt="birthday_balloon" />

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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sdsalyer
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March 1, 2012 - 12:03 pm
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Barry said

By the way, do ya'll know what a Sawyer is ?  Its a tree or brush hung up in the river bobbing up and down in the current..When i play this tune I always keep that in mind

I assumed it had something to do with Tom Sawyer, but that makes sense as well! I think this tune also goes by the name of Soldier's Joy.

I haven't tried the time machine, but it looks pretty interesting.  I'll give it a try!

 

I just ordered a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rest (the "magic posture" kind), so that might help me get more comfortable holding the violin in the right position.  I also ordered a FM bow since both of the ones I received with my Mendini are warped (looking top-down with the hairs below, they curve to the left towards the tip -- I assume this isn't normal).

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sdsalyer
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March 1, 2012 - 12:20 pm
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Hmm... my mistake about Soldier's Joy.  They are definitely very similar though!

That website is pretty awesome and the song a month sounds like fun, too!  I will definitely try to get on board with that. 🙂  Thanks, Barry!

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Fiddlerman
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March 1, 2012 - 1:07 pm
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Thanks for the post.

I would slow the piece down for some intonation adjustments for practice and see also if you can hear which notes are off while doing so. I noticed that you are looking at the tape on your fingerboard. It could be worth a shot to play without looking and use your hearing.

Besides intonation which everyone must constantly work on, try using a little more bow and bow pressure. Also as mentioned above, work on your bowing angles to try to get the bow moving a little straighter.

If it is not too much of a strain, bring your left elbow slightly more under the violin.

Good job!

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

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sdsalyer
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March 1, 2012 - 1:19 pm
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Thanks, Pierre!  I usually play without looking at the tape unless I hear that I'm off, then I take a peek for adjustments.  I was looking while playing this time to make sure I hit the right spots for the video (which apparently didn't work so well!).  I'll be glad when my instructor lets me take them off, but they have been helpful at times.

My posture is definitely off... I think it was better in the first video.  I also was playing this song faster than in the video, but realized I'd never get it unless I slowed it down, but I suppose I need to slow it down even more (the original is *really* fast, so it's hard to not want to play at that speed).

I'm also working on a waltz, which is much slower and easier to play (and probably more appropriate for my current skill level).  I may post a video of that once I get it down.

Thanks for the tips, everyone!  'Til next time!  (I'll be around, somewhere, working on my bowing...)

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