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taking a break
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Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor

April 10, 2019 - 5:45 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1774
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cid said
I am wondering about what plans or system self-teaching violinists use to learn the violin.

This need has been forced upon me too.

@Fiddlerman - I didn't know where else to put this, as it's a mixture of random stuff.

Some of you may have noticed that I've been quiet for nearly a month.

That's because I've been living with my parents who are not internetted.

My mother is now disabled and walks badly with orthopedic shoes and a zimmer frame; and my father fell over in the garden in March and fractured a vertebra, so he too is walking with a body brace and a zimmer frame. The tailbacks for the bathroom are not fun!

I'm back in London for 3 days to get supplies of my own heart medicine and to sort out other business here, then I'll be going back to the old folks for at least another month.

The good news is, I took my violin with me, and I've been "practising". It's more like noodling, but I have been working on tone-production and developing confidence, so it has been beneficial. I've been playing a Vivaldi piece full of arpeggios that isn't thrilling me, but I assume, like medicine, it's doing me some good.

I discovered how much fun it is looking for sheet music in charity shops. I went in one and found an old ABRSM grade 4 exam book (piano part), but none of the pieces was interesting to me. But the violin part stuck inside was for the grade 5 exam, and it contained Corelli's Sonata in C, op 5 no 3 third movement, some Schubert, some Shostakovich, and Elgar's Salut d'Amour, among a few other pieces, so I extricated it, told the lady how honest I had been (I could have had two books for the price of one) and paid my pound for it!

Corelli fascinates me due to the position playing in his harder pieces, and I'll try to find a semi-academic source of information on him, as I didn't even know his name before I began the violin.

Also I can highly recommend two books I'm using by Jessica O'Leary called "80 graded studies for Violin". These are great because there are literally thousands of violin studies, and you need a way to be selective. There are 8 grades commonly in the UK, 1-8, so these two books contain 10 studies per grade. But the very first grade 1 study is a 4-finger exercise by Schradieck; and 2nd position is dealt with in the grade 2 exercises, so it's not an easy-peasy book such as you might get for little children: it's serious work. I assume that the "grade 1" exercises are more for people who have passed grade 1 and are working for grade 2. This is a bit weird, but they aren't going to be tested on 2nd position before their grade 3 exam. Well, that's good. If I can reach grade 8, the grade 8 exercises will be post-grade-8 and a good introduction to more advanced study. Or maybe they are for those hell-bent on getting distinction in each grade.

I was hoping for a violin lesson during these 3 days in London, but "Teach" isn't available.


Fort Lauderdale
April 10, 2019 - 10:14 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15826

Well, I'm happy to hear that you are still practicing. Totally understand your situation. Enjoy London. 😁

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

Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor

May 8, 2019 - 5:59 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1774
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Fiddlerman said
Well, I'm happy to hear that you are still practicing.  

Define "practice" lol!

I have now collected a nice amount of sheet music from charity shops, and I've been noodling Corelli sarabandes and slow movements at every level, practising my tone, but my speed and dexterity are now lagging way behind. So in one way I have wasted 2 months, and in another way I haven't.

I'm back in London again after another month away and offline.

My dad has been given the OK to drive, but the muscles in his back need so much physio that that's just fantasy at the moment - a week ago he couldn't stand long enough to make a cup of tea in the morning. I have to go back for a week with my biggest rucksack to pick up some clothes, but I'll leave it for a while to see how they cope without me.


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