Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

Check out the “Let it Snow” Xmas 2020 Group youtube project!”

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
The New Old Guy Re-Entering the String World
A personal view of the start of a journey into music and the viola.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (15 votes) 
Avatar
GregW
Members

Regulars
April 21, 2021 - 10:31 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1504
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
21sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

way to go @JohnG!  glad to see you jumping right in!  intonation is sounding good and viola has a nice sound to it.  congrats on the video badge!

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
April 22, 2021 - 2:28 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 1800
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@JohnG -

How fun! 

Your new Viola sounds wonderful!  

Give it a name, yet?

The bow is SOOO important.  If you can pay close attention to Fiddlerman's instruction on how to hold it, right from the beginning - it will save you many headaches later.  Time spent on finger exercises (even with a pencil) is well worth it, also. 😊

If your neck starts to hurt, or your viola feels unstable on your should - maybe try a sponge w/large rubber bands, or similar, as a 1st shoulder rest. 

KEEP HAVING FUN! 🤗

What's the 1st tune goal of your "MPL"? 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/18/21/9d/18219d74b9516c673a11effee5a9c8e1.png

 

...or is it "MLPL" (must learn to play list)? 🤔

- Emily

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
April 22, 2021 - 7:28 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 178
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
23sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Such a special moment, the first contact with a new instrument. Thanks for sharing !

Keep us updated with your viola progress (if you want to, anyway). We always like videos, especially viola videos (no, that's just me as a fellow violist)

Have fun :--)

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 22, 2021 - 12:51 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
24sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

@Mouse - Thanks for the approbation and my very first badge!

@GregW - Appreciate your comment and happy to hear that the instrument has a tone that I may grow to use properly.

@ELCBK - Yes, it's fun and glad to hear the tone sounds good to you, too. I'm leaning toward calling it "Mickey", which was my mother's nickname as she would have approved of this new journey.

@wtw - Thanks, I think violas are the best, also. I plan on sharing more as I am using this blog to force me to focus on development.

 

In the future, I may not directly address every comment individually, but know that I will read and appreciate each and everyone!

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 22, 2021 - 12:55 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
25sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

This was the first video I did and is of the unpacking. It will probably be of no interest to anyone else, but wanted it included to document the process for myself. There is no dialogue and in the future may replace it with a dubbed and edited version. But who knows, I may just apathy out! lol

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
Mouse
April 22, 2021 - 1:09 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 2891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

JohnG, We are all interested in seeing each unpack our instruments, as well as being interested in any videos you want to share.

I,loved watching you unpack. It is so exciting to watch. 

Thank you for sharing this special moment with us.

The Bumblebee Flies!

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 22, 2021 - 2:37 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
27sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

And once again, more for my own records, first tuning attempts. Later used the included Cecilio tuner and the fine tuning knobs to complete the effort.

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 23, 2021 - 12:14 am
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

With a sharp and hard bony clavicle, I just can't get a comfortable position. It hurts and slips and slides, making it difficult to concentrate on pitch and technique. Upshot is that I'm getting a Kun Original Viola Shoulder Rest tomorrow. I'm hoping it will let me get on with building stamina, technique, pitch control and bowing.

The 10-15 minute practice session today resulted in better tone and pitch but the battle to hold the viola caused me to end it.

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
April 23, 2021 - 1:25 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 1800
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

😊 That's why I mentioned the sponge to try... sometimes rigid shoulder rests don't adjust low enough. 

You'll catch up in no time - a little at a time, a lot of times. 😁

Avatar
stringy
Members

Regulars
April 23, 2021 - 12:48 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2020
Forum Posts: 544
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
30sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

If slipping is a problem, the bon musica rest can be bent into shape and hooks over your shoulder, the fiddle will not move at all they can also be adjusted very high if needed. In the uk they are about forty five quid. Check them out on you tube.

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 23, 2021 - 2:25 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
31sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

Although this blog is mostly about my new viola and its exploration, it is also about my re-entry to the world of performing musical arts that I left behind so many years ago. Generally I was not a performer, except for few student recitals and my participation as a baritone/bass in our church choir and a member of a junior college chorus.

It was as a member of the Wilson Junior College Chorus that I participated in one fantastic experience. This was in winter, 1962 and though the memory had faded, joining this group has stirred some of those old thoughts. The Northwestern University Orchestra, Bands, Choral Union, and junior colleges of Chicagoland had a mass choral experience. The chosen music was the Berlioz Requiem.

From Wikipedia, "The Grande Messe des morts (or Requiem), Op. 5, by Hector Berlioz was composed in 1837. The Grande Messe des Morts is one of Berlioz's best-known works, with a tremendous orchestration of woodwind and brass instruments, including four antiphonal offstage brass ensembles. The work derives its text from the traditional Latin Requiem Mass. It has a duration of approximately ninety minutes."

The various choruses practiced separately and I believe we had 2 or 3 group rehearsals, and then the grand performance held at McGaw Hall on the campus of Northwestern University. It was a basketball court with the combined chorus taking up the entire stand on one side with the audience on the other side. Two of the four brass ensembles were on the highest portion of our side, two on the floor off to our left and right. In the center of the court was the orchestra of Northwestern. There were approximately 450-500 voices!

In the Northwestern Yearbook, Evanston, IL - 1962
“From his position on the podium, Dr. Thor Johnson expresses his interpretation of the musical score. Orchestra Performs In Requiem The University Symphony Orchestra was interested this year, as in the past, with centering its activities around public performances. Dr. Thor Johnson, Director of Orchestral Activities, conducted the six appearances of the orchestra. ..., and a winter performance of Hector Berlioz's "Requiem" in co-operation with the University Choral Union, the University Bands, and guest choruses."

Here is a very poor resolution picture of the event from that yearbook.

ucWzyYa.jpgImage Enlarger

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 24, 2021 - 12:27 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
32sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

The Kun shoulder rest came late yesterday and although adjustment probably isn't finished yet, it does really help a lot. Upped my practice time to about 15 minutes, which certainly doesn't sound like much, but it did allow me to play "Twinkle Twin..." in C with two open strings! lol I do feel that my position is still not favorable to playing and will use videos and a mirror to find something comfortable and steady.

After doing all practicing and learning by ear, I've started using the Hal Leonard Essential Elements book to formally start training. While I've been using the C and G string, the book starts out on the D and A. Unfortunately I'm still having trouble with alto clef as I tend to use a conversion from treble to alto instead of just reading alto notes naturally. But I'm confident the old mind can someday adjust!

On a different topic, my son (a trombone/baritone player) composed a very nice dirge for violin, cello, and piano on his phone using Maestro. He sent me the midi file and I was able to take it into MuseScore, transpose and change clef for the violin part with the hopes that someday I'll be able to play it!

Music is SO exciting (again).

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
April 24, 2021 - 3:43 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 1800
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
33sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

@JohnG -

You caught my interest with "Dirge" - how wonderful! 

Love them 🤗 so can't wait to hear you play your Son's.  

Hope you can get up to practicing for 10 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day - doesn't have to be all at once. 😊 

 

60e3600607d7f8ac8739c49df99d7e32--nursery-decals-nursery-rhymes.jpg

...guess I better get back to my practice. 😏 

- Emily

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 24, 2021 - 5:16 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
34sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

@ELCBK - The full name of the piece is "Dirge for Malkier" and is for his interpretation of a fantasy world he is developing with writing, maps, paintings, and now music. It will probably be a long time until I am experienced enough to even try it and, of course, will need his permission to share on here.

And yes, I'm planning on starting multi-sessions today. Got one 20 minute session but a lot of that was further adjusting shoulder rest and working out a pad for the bracket that holds the chin rest as it is perfectly situated to rest on my clavicle, even with the shoulder rest (so far).

Today learned a little of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" from sheet music I downloaded and "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" from the HL Essential Elements.

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
Unfretted
Members
April 24, 2021 - 8:00 pm
Member Since: October 17, 2020
Forum Posts: 23
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
35sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Hi @JohnG,

I bought myself a

“Chin Smart Chinrest Cover for Violin and Viola-Brown”

for $9.99

This thing has been miraculous for me!  It’s made of a non-irritating fabric (and I’m sensitive!) which has a slight texture to it, kind of like chamois but it’s not leather.  It does not slip.  It has a thin pad inside of it.  It’s a little pocket the size of a chinrest that slips over the chinrest and is secured by a large rubber band across the underside of the fiddle.  It fits securely and you’ll forget it’s even there.  I never take mine off.  No problems.

It’s small yet it covers all those nasty hard metal brackets on the end of the instrument that torture bony people like us, in addition to making the chinrest itself more comfortable.  I LOVE it!!!  Before finding this I had to use side-mount chinrests.  Now, I can use any chinrest comfortably.

Ignore the internet cronies who speculate that it may reduce the tone of your instrument.  I haven’t noticed any interference.  It’s improved the tone of mine immensely because I now practice endless hours a day 😄, and practice counts more than anything. If I get hired to play Carnegie Hall and there really is a minuscule difference in tone, I’ll remove it for the evening. LOL.

Hope that helps.

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 24, 2021 - 9:18 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
36sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

With the two changes, a temporary pad on the chin rest bracket and the shoulder rest that I think is adjusted pretty well now, I managed a full half hour playing session tonight! Practiced "At Pierotte's Door" (which have played on the alto recorder in the dim past), "Michael Row the Boat Ashore", and attempted "Ode to Joy", all from Essential Elements. And also a little bit of the "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" from Fiddlerman's collection.

@Unfretted - I have added that “Chin Smart Chinrest Cover for Violin and Viola-Brown” to my Amazon wish list although at this time, it may not be necessary. It is actually getting easier to hold my viola for longer periods of time, but with my beard, it may make even better. THANKS for the suggestion.

I'm sure this blog will not be of great interest for many, for long, but it will keep me focused on the task ahead of me. Any, and all, comments and suggestions are appreciated.

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
Mouse
April 24, 2021 - 9:49 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 2891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
37sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I am happy your are getting your viola into comfortable setup for you, It takes a while.

I, for one, of many, am enjoying you blog. Keep it up. I don’t respond much to blogs, but I do read them. I just like to read your thoughts and progress, and pop in a comment when it may be helpful. 😁

The Bumblebee Flies!

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 25, 2021 - 5:09 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
38sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Another half hour session today, and it does seem to be getting easier to get some semblance of decent tone. Got all my practice sessions entered into the Essential Elements log and I'm up to a total of 1:50 since I got the viola on the 22nd. 

Today (so far although hope to get another session or two in), practiced Sound of Silence, Ode to Joy, Michael Row, Grandparents Day, and At Pierrot's Door. All from EE except the Sound of Silence from Fiddlerman's collection.

Man, it gets to be more fun the more I do this! I'm thinking that maybe doing a video every Thursday with repeat of one or more items from the previous week's video would help me determine if I'm really progressing or merely holding my own. Not that I would necessarily inflict them on others!

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 25, 2021 - 5:39 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
39sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

And now another bio entry as I remember my earlier exposure to music. My friend Jon was a drummer and in the early 60's had a black drummer, Harold Jones as a teacher. As you will see, his race was important to this story. He invited Jon to a jazz concert at a Chicago, southside church and Jon asked me if I'd like to go. Hell ya' I said. So we drove to the church in black neighborhood, parked the car, and entered the church. The hum of the crowd waiting for the performance could be heard before we even stepped inside the door. That is until we did. There was a wave of silence that overtook the church from the back all the way to front until Harold noticed the silence, turned and saw us, the only two white folks in the entire crowd. He waved to us with a smile on his face, and with that everyone turned to their neighbors or the front of the church and the hum started up once again. It was quite an event in our lives and coming here has reminded me of that significant day.

From Wikipedia here is what I most remember of his professional life:

Exodus to Jazz is the debut album by American jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris recorded in 1961 and released on the Vee-Jay label

Personnel

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
April 26, 2021 - 12:33 am
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 117
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
40sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

And another half hour playing the same selections. Sometimes I think I'm doing better and then I get scratchy notes or lose my place or need to calculate what notes I'm playing. Someday it may come easy enough I can concentrate on pitch and tone.

The old curmudgeon!

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 696
Currently Online: Jim Dunleavy
Guest(s) 62
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today Ogre, marcnaz
Upcoming PaTooDoNaLD, Almandin, UtahRoadbase, goettjp, Griff, Briant, wendym, ElisaDalViolin, sus49, djroger, Cleverpun, Faith, Raven, The Modesto Kid, joko_emm
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2680
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
damfino: 1992
Kevin M.: 1971
cdennyb: 1815
ELCBK: 1800
TerryT: 1728
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27457
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 75
Topics: 9001
Posts: 111883
Newest Members:
Trebor, googe, bankirkassir, classicalbeast, Kaleun, kanishkd4
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 15417, KindaScratchy: 1756, coolpinkone: 4180, BillyG: 3571, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, Mouse: 2891