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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 (71 votes) 
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Mouse
April 26, 2021 - 4:36 pm
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I feel your pain and frustration. I may be bald from pulling my hair out before I become able to play well, remember tunes, keep intonation, etc. Oh, and not lose my place when looking at the sheet music! 🥴🥴🤪😳😩🧑‍🦲

The Bumblebee Flies!

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stringy
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April 26, 2021 - 5:28 pm
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JohnG said
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.

  

When I play I never try to think o the actual note I am playing, I think in finger patterns, the dots show me were to place my fingers. for instance if the key is a minor I just use the a minor scale, unless it says to sharpen or flatten a note. If You asked me the notes I could tell you,, but for me thats only any use if You are playing with other people, like if I was playing guitar and someone asks what key I am in, works for me anyway.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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JohnG
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April 26, 2021 - 11:07 pm
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Only a single half hour session today, playing the usual suspects, plus about 5 minutes of improvisation just to concentrate on tone and bowing technique. It turned out to be a lot of fun and will have to add it to my usual routine. Tried a little Amazing Grace from memory and kinda got a little of it done. Fun times!

I think I've over rosined my bow as the strings are getting crusty deposits that I've been wiping off with my rag. Going to play for a few days without adding any and see if it helps.

The old curmudgeon!

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SharonC
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April 27, 2021 - 3:17 pm
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JohnG said
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.

  

Lots of things going on when trying to play this thing—right & left hand, music on page, the key, intonation, etc., Sometimes, you just need to focus on one thing at a time. 

I know that when I’m first learning a piece, I can get so focus on the notes I can’t focus on what my bow is doing.  My teacher calls this “kerflooey” (focusing on one hand & messing up with the other). smile

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JohnG
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April 27, 2021 - 3:29 pm
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@stringy - I know, but I have high aspirations and to fulfill them in the time I have left (I'm 78), gotta learn to read the notes, too.

@SharonC - Keflooey sounds about right! One of the reasons I'm trying to do some improv, since I can concentrate on tone and bowing and not trying to read notes.

*************************************

Half hour session just completed, not using rosin seems to reducing deposits on strings. Practicing the usual, plus a little Can-Can from Essential Elements, America the Beautiful by ear (not very good), and some improve and scales.

Decided on a place to put a viola wall mount and once I 3D print and install it, I'll post a picture (you lucky people)! May take awhile since I recently swapped out a .4mm nozzle and replaced it with a .2mm so it will require a little fine tuning to work properly.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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April 27, 2021 - 9:45 pm
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An instrument aside, I ordered the 15" Cecilio CVA 400 and yesterday, I measured it and it turns out to be almost exactly 16". I'm glad it is as I'm tall (6'2") with large hands. Not complaining, but actually pretty glad!

The old curmudgeon!

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Mouse
April 28, 2021 - 7:33 am
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@JohnG I am happy the 16" worked out for you. 

By the way, I am really enjoying your blog. I like your structured learning and stick-to-it-iveness. I think it was what egged me on to change my plan. Thanks for sharing your journey so far and in the future. It may be for your records, but it inspires all of us. 

Keep up the good work on your viola.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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JohnG
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April 28, 2021 - 2:39 pm
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Another half hour session, added Frère Jacques to the repetoire! 

@Mouse and all the others who commented on this blog, many thanks! Your encouragement adds to my experience with the viola and this group.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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April 29, 2021 - 5:59 pm
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Now been 8 days since I got the new viola and I managed to get an hour and 20 minute session in. In addition to Ode to Joy, Michael Row, Grandparents Day, At Pierrot's Door, Fre're Jacques, Can-Can, Lightly Row, Baa Baa Black Sheep, This Old Man, and scales, I got 3 videos done to show the progress (or lack thereof) that I've managed to accomplish, thus far.

WARNING, WARNING, WILL ROBINSON!

Do not watch unless you are prepared for absolute Noob-ness!!!!

First up, the C Maj scale that turned out a little better than my first attempt.

Now my rendition of Ode to Joy, with several mistakes and sometimes bad intonation.

And lastly, if you made it this far, Can-Can!

The old curmudgeon!

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iFIDDLE
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April 29, 2021 - 6:37 pm
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congrats @JohnG !  sounds good..intonation really good there to my ear...Thanks for sharing your viola progression and playing.  Its always good seeing new faces joining in.

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Mark
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April 30, 2021 - 12:06 am
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JohnG

For 8 days your doing great,

Keep up the good work.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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JohnG
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April 30, 2021 - 12:11 am
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@iFIDDLE and @markk, thanks for the support. It's getting easier, but scratchy notes really bug me and pitch is usually a guestimate. I'll just keep plugging away at it! 

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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April 30, 2021 - 1:04 am
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@JohnG -

giphy.gif 

 

That was GREAT! 

You are really sounding superb!

Thank you for sharing your progress! 

 

Are you ready to try some long, full, bow-length strokes on your open strings? 

Eddy Chen has some great exersizes for open string bowing. 

Maybe check out, "Eddy Reveals 9 Exercises that Immediately Improve Bow Control and Sound"

https://www.youtube.com/c/Eddy.....lin/videos

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c0/a4/6f/c0a46f4a2d6370d2ed9512536ce19823.jpg

 

...I still find it hard to relax every part of my body (and mind 🙄). 😊

- Emily

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JohnG
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April 30, 2021 - 6:33 pm
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@ELCBK - Thank, Emily! Watched that this afternoon and will give it a try later tonight. My position and muscle memory are not the best and this may help. And if anything corrects my scratchy notes, it will be a blessing.

The old curmudgeon!

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stringy
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April 30, 2021 - 8:23 pm
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I think thats excellent progress, you obviously have a very good ear, I wouldnt be too concerned about scratchy notes your intonation is extremely good especially after such a long lay off. I can hear now what you will be like in six months and I think it will be very, very good.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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JohnG
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April 30, 2021 - 10:11 pm
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@stringy - Thanks for the kind compliments and I hope I will become as good as you foretell. As of right now my main concerns are becoming adept at reading alto clef, fingering, improving my bowing, and eliminating scratching! I think my notes are approximations and will deal with improving pitch in the future.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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May 1, 2021 - 12:14 am
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Finally got my practice time in for the day, 60 minutes, At Pierrot's Door, Grandparents Day, Michael Row, Ode to Joy, Fre're Jacques, Lightly Row, Can-Can, Baa Baa Black Sheep, This Old Man, French Folk Song, Sailor's Song, Eddy Chen Bow 1-2, Scales.

Bow exercise #2 is to hold a tone for 60 seconds on an open string. I managed a high of 25, he did 37 in his demo! So I don't think mine was too terribly bad.

Managed to get through a couple of the songs with only 1 or 2 small errors which is an improvement for me!

The old curmudgeon!

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Mouse
May 1, 2021 - 7:32 am
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I can hear your progress, @JohnG. I think you keeping this blog is helping you keep your focus. Keep up the good work. 👍

The Bumblebee Flies!

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JohnG
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May 1, 2021 - 4:02 pm
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Early practice time in for the day, 60 minutes, At Pierrot's Door, Grandparents Day, Michael Row, Ode to Joy, Fre're Jacques, Lightly Row, Can-Can, Baa Baa Black Sheep, This Old Man, French Folk Song, Sailor's Song, Eddy Chen Bow 1-2, Scales, Sound of Silence.

Our son's oldest son's confirmation is this evening, so probably no more practice time available today!

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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May 2, 2021 - 5:33 pm
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Another reason I preferred viola to violin, I have large hands!

16" Viola and my hand. https://imgur.com/gallery/aHchqsO

The old curmudgeon!

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