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I have a question that applies to violin, viola and cello, so will put it here.
Do any of you have issues with bowing and intonation when looking at your sheet music, but not when you are looking at your violin, not necessarily finger placement.
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cid
September 17, 2019 - 6:33 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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I was wondering if any of you have issues with bowing and intonation when looking at your sheet music, but not when you are looking at your violin, not necessarily finger placement.

If I don’t have a song memorized and have to look at my sheet music, my intonation and/or bowing goes right out the window. It doesn’t matter if it is my violin, viola or cello. All are different angles and positions. When I am learning a song, therefore, it is really difficult. While I am learning and getting the sequence of notes and fingering in my mind, my bowing is all over the place. My intonation is worse than ever. 

It makes it really hard given that my midway glasses need to be a bit stringer, but even before that, this was a major issue. It makes playing a new song during a lesson seem worse than it really is. It is like I don’t know where the note is on my instrument, like I have absolutely no control of my bow. Once I have played the song at home and am more familiar with it, it is not anywhere near as bad as it was in my lesson.

Anyone have the same issue? Does it just go away the more you play?

Thanks.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
Utah
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September 17, 2019 - 6:48 pm
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@cid 

Yes, this is common.  

I developed this bad habit early on.  I suppose it was a combination of trying to learn the fingering, trying to get used to the violin, the application of fingering tape, and just not working as hard as I should have to keep my eyes on the music.

It still plagues me to this day, although it is getting better.  There is no magic trick to correcting this habit.  It is a matter of deliberately and intentionally reading and playing so that you are more and more able to play without looking at the fingerboard.

The problem, and why this is a bad habit, is that we don't always memorize.  I am very aware that when I start in orchestra that I will need to read the music, watch the conductor and keep on time.  Trying to watch the fingerboard will just slow me down and be a hindrance.  It is one of the topics I will discuss in my orchestra experiences posts.

So I work at it all the time.  I need to be able to play entirely by muscle memory.  This is one of my goals.

- Pete -

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 17, 2019 - 7:02 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I too believe it's common.
More things for your brain to keep track of.

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

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cid
September 17, 2019 - 7:03 pm
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I agree with memorizing being an issue. I can’t imagine I will be memorizing every song I am doing. The cello songs are getting more involved already. 

I think one issue is that I need to get better mid-range glasses. My bifocals don’t handle the in between what they help. Progressives and I do not agree. The reading glasses found in drug stores, etc, don’t come at the strength I need. 

My glasses I got for music reading last year are not quite strong enough now. I find myself leaning forward to read some notes. I need t get them replaced. I have to wait until I get my bifocals replaced. They did not need replacing this summer when I had my eyes checked. This mid-range is an issue. 

But, even with the proper glasses, it always gives me issues. Maybe I need to reposition the music stand? Will have to try that. I have it orientated differently for violin/viola vs cello. 

My cello instructor gave me a good tip our first lesson. He said he always has his music stand raised higher than really needed for cello because it makes him sit up straight to look at the music. I did that, and it really does! My other instructors always had the stands lower.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
Utah
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September 17, 2019 - 7:10 pm
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cid said
My glasses I got for music reading last year are not quite strong enough now. I find myself leaning forward to read some notes. I need t get them replaced. I have to wait until I get my bifocals replaced. They did not need replacing this summer when I had my eyes checked. This mid-range is an issue. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have mistakenly read a C on the staff when in fact it was a B.  I have aging eyes as well.

My cello instructor gave me a good tip our first lesson. He said he always has his music stand raised higher than really needed for cello because it makes him sit up straight to look at the music. I did that, and it really does! My other instructors always had the stands lower.

That is probably good for posture as well as reading.

- Pete -

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cid
September 17, 2019 - 7:38 pm
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@Pete_Violin It does wonders for posture when playing the cello. You would not believe how much of a difference it makes.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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September 18, 2019 - 1:47 am
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Interestingly, I have the opposite tendency. If I'm playing from the music, I have fewer intonation errors than when playing from memory or playing by ear. This is probably because I don't have to think about what the next note is, and because I can see the intervals on the page. It probably comes with experience reading music.

 

As for stand height, in orchestras I tend to raise it as high as my stand partner is comfortable with, so that my focus doesn't have to jump back and forth over a large angle between the conductor's baton and the music on my stand.

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