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Thanks! We were so disappointed, our music teacher called and cancelled our first lesson as he was sick. I guess we'll just keep practicing and hope no super bad habits are formed 🙂 🙂 🙂
Yes, you are doing great. Sorry about the missed first lesson. I know when I was going for my first lesson (not that long ago), I was really excited and nervous. It had been more than 30 year since I participated in making any music and never had done so on a violin. Also, the teacher was the leader of a popular classical string quartet in Dallas, so that added to my anxiety. I know it was really a "downer" when your teacher couldn't make it.
Keep watching the Fiddlerman instructional videos on these pages and you should be able to avoid acquiring any major bad habits.
But you're doing so well after 2 weeks, I think you're on your way. Hopefully the teacher will be feeling better next week.
Bob in Lone Oak, Texas
You're doing really well @tinksquared 😀 How did you like your first lesson? Edit, oops, missed the post where you said your teacher was sick and had to cancel. Hope you enjoy it when you do start 😀
On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
To me, the tone on Twinkle sounded better on the first week than the second, and if you'll watch the two videos, you'll see why. You were using more bow on each note in the first one. I don't know if you got timid by the second week or were concentrating on something else, but you used a lot less bow per note in the second week and it showed.
Violins do NOT like timid players. You always have to address them as if you have lots of confidence (they don't read minds, or even faces that well, so don't worry that they'll know you're faking it. 🙂 ). In any case, to use the phrase my teacher has used on me more than all the others combined: "Use more bow." 🙂
If you want some tips on getting a good tone out of your violin, see https://fiddlerman.com/forum/introduce-yourself/its-never-too-late/#p88338, post #2. (That was one of my longer novels, and I'm feeling too lazy to rewrite it. 🙂 )
The other issue I noticed is that your upper arm is moving front-to-back. It's not bad when you're playing near the tip (as in the second song on week two), but in the middle of the bow, it's pretty noticeable. Especially if you use more bow, that will tend to make your bow skate up or down the string. (Try it - tilt the bow so your hand is a little too close or too far away from the end of the violin and move the bow up and down without trying to control where it goes on the string. You'll see it magically skate up or down (depending on which angle you picked and whether you're bowing up or down). It's actually a very useful technique for when you want to change soundpoints in the middle of playing, but that's at least an intermediate technique. At this point, you want to be bowing dead straight.
A good exercise for practicing that - hold the bow fairly loosely, and only with the thumb and middle finger. The idea is to let the bow go from side to side if it wants to. Then practice full bowstrokes. If it goes out of whack, look for patterns - is it drifting scrollward when you downbow? Bridgeward when you downbow? All over the place, but consistently in one direction or another at that part of the bow? All of those will tell you where you have problems. When you get pretty good at that doing it normally, try it with your eyes closed. (A camera or a watcher to tell you what happened when will help a lot.)
Another good way to learn how a straight bow should feel that I got off Simon Fischer's DVD - have another person hold the bow so it's on the strings next to the tip. But your hand on it, just like you would if you were holding it (e.g. the wrist is cocked up), and move your hand up the bow, just barely holding on to it. Move your wrist elbow and shoulder the way you would if you were playing it, but you don't move the bow. You follow it, paying attention to your muscles and sense of where the parts of your arm are. The idea is to get the feel of what bowing straight would be like. Once you've got that down well, then start bowing like I mentioned above and see what you get.
I must be doing something wrong, as I can only play for maybe 5 minutes at a time, and my left arm appears to be permanently sore already. LOL
Where is the pain? If it's in your forearm, that's partly an effect of not being as limber as a 6 year old. I'm still limited in how long I can play at a stretch because of that.
The more you play, the more your arm will adapt to being in that position, but don't try to "play through the pain". You're more likely to cause a serious (and possibly even permanent) injury. Take frequent breaks, untwisting your arm, just to check on it (when I get interested in something, I don't notice anything until it's all over with. When I untwist my arm, all of a sudden I have a LOT of pain. It's better to catch it before it gets that far.)
Things that may help:
Play the violin more to left (as opposed to more straight in front). That makes bowing harder, but fingering easier.
Tilt the violin more. You have to leave it flat enough that your bow is at an angle when playing the E string (it doesn't work well at all trying to go straight up and down). Within that limit, whatever angle works best for you is best, and in general, more tilt will be easier on the left arm.
When you do take a break, twisting the arm the other direction, flexing the wrist back (because it's been flexed far forward for a while, and massaging your forearm with your right hand all have helped me.
The biggest thing that will help, though, is time. If you push a little, but don't push so hard you hurt yourself, your body will adapt.
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