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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 (124 votes) 
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JohnG
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January 14, 2022 - 9:51 pm
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Hodge podge of old tunes, plus Amazing Grace and Simple Gifts for 40 minutes. Really didn't feel like working "the plan" tonight!

The old curmudgeon!

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Mouse
January 15, 2022 - 8:33 am
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32 pages! Way to go.

I have been enjoying following you on your journey. Thank you fpr sharing.

I got my cello out yesterday morning and had to put it away after about 5 minutes. Our son called and he and his father generally talk for a long time. There is no getting away from the cello in the house 😂, and sometimes, 🥴.

I have noticed a few things with my playing/practicing, whether it be the cello, viola or violin since doing my blog - albeit not as active as yours, and I was curious if you have noticed ny or all of these things. I hope you don't mind my asking.

1. My playing/practice time seems to be more organized.

2. My practice time seems to be able to be more focused on certain aspects of the playing, ie right now I am working on shifting, and I find I can stick to that for a longer period of time before moving on. When I took lessons, no matter what I said, the instructors never let me actually learn something before moving on and piling more on. I always felt like I was playing without a bow (up the creek without a paddle). 

3. With the blog I can feel myself progressing and pretty much know when I am ready to move on. I felt that a little when I started creating myself lessons, as if I were taking lessons - but I moved at my needed slow pace. But, since my blog, I find I am able to even go at a better pace for myself and focus more.

4. I have more confidence in moving on. I don't have the feeling that maybe I should stay where I am when I think or feel I am ready to move on and add to my lesson/practice time. I feel more confident that I am ready.

5. I find that I am playing louder and not trying to muffle myself. Hence my statement above about not being able to get away from the cello. I think this all has to do with 1-4 above. I feel my intonation and bowing has improved. In lessons, be they when I took guitar or violin and cello, I was always asked by the instructor to play louder. Kind of odd, but I did not want to be heard. It is not that I WANT to be heard now, I am just not trying not to be heard. Feels different, too.

6. During the times I am just playing pieces, I find that I am not afraid, or hesitant (a better word) to actually try a different song AND use what I have learned. I am changing up fingering and strings. Im am taking simple first position songs and changing them to use 4th position where needed. Before, I would search for easy first position songs and tell myself that that is what I am able to play or able to learn. Too much black on a page still blocks me, though.

There are more things I have noticed changed when I started my blog, thanks to you sharing yours.

Do you find any of these to be true for you? Have you noticed anything changing in your playing or practice routine and how the blog may be helping - or not?

Of you would rather I not have this long post here, please let me know and I will remove it, but I was just curious how keeping the blog has helped. 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the above, or I understand if you would rather spend your time playing, 😁. I hope I found all my typos.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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JohnG
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January 15, 2022 - 11:38 am
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@Mouse - Please don't remove your post from here. I appreciate your insight and your questions! 

I'm still not organized and am not really following a lesson plan, which for me works just fine. That being said, this blog is accomplishing what I had hoped for, giving me added incentive to practice and not let apathy set in. If I don't practice, I have little to write about, unlike other bloggers that I know and appreciate. I have attempted to learn many instruments over the years since my young days when I had teachers, and have never been able to stay with it for very long. This includes a beautiful wooden, alto recorder which languishes in my closet with its plastic counterpart.

This nine month odyssey into learning this instrument has been helped, not only by this blog, but even more by the support, examples, and suggestions of the members of this forum. Although I am probably not advancing as quickly as would be possible with a structured lesson plan, I am happy with what I'm doing.

The old curmudgeon!

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stringy
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January 15, 2022 - 12:52 pm
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I think you are advancing fairly quickly to be honest. you now know that viola and violin are different to other instruments, thats why they are so addictive.

In any case enjoyment is what counts more than anything.

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

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JohnG
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January 15, 2022 - 4:05 pm
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@stringy - Again, thanks! I agree enjoyment is paramount. Without that, what's the point?

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 15, 2022 - 10:15 pm
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A return to the current, normal set of tunes, with 40 minutes tonight. It was enjoyable to get back into the swing of things. Could tell it's been awhile, as it wasn't as smooth as I would prefer, but still fun.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 16, 2022 - 9:58 pm
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Only half an hour tonight, but with the same set of tunes. A bit tired tonight, but didn't want to break my streak of practicing! lol

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 17, 2022 - 11:24 pm
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Forty minutes tonight and it was easier/better than last night. La danse de Mardi Gras in Cmaj, St. James Infirmary, Dark Island in Cmaj, Wayfaring Stranger and Amazing Grace w/ improv, Blackest Crow, Ducks on the Mill Pond, Blind Mary, Nearer My God to Thee, and Simple Gifts. Also, a little improv to cap things off.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 18, 2022 - 9:34 pm
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An hour tonight playing the same tunes as last night, but with a little C major and G major scales thrown trying for a little more dexterity and coordination with the bow. Amazing Grace and Wayfaring Stranger were played with a bit more improvisation which is always fun. Had a little more trouble with Ducks on the Mill Pond than usual, but La danse de Mardi Gras went a better, so I guess it was a trade off! lol

One problem with La danse, is trying to hit a A on the D string and then playing a proper G immediately afterwards. Always want to tend toward a G# or not stretch enough for A. I just guess I have to keep practicing!

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 20, 2022 - 12:30 am
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Didn't feel like a having a full practice session today, so just played some Amazing Grace and Wayfaring Stranger with improv plus a little separate improv. Total time was only 20 minutes, but unlike regular practice, it was done standing.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 20, 2022 - 6:04 pm
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Back to an hour practice this afternoon playing all the usual suspects. Spent about half of that on La danse de Mardi Gras and Dark Island. Just to spice things up, I tried a little improv on La danse which turned out to be fun. The major problem I have with the improv is ensuring tempo and beats per measure are correct AND counting bars to try and keep the "norm" as I am aware it should be to achieve an 8 or 16 bar solo/bridge. Oh well, hopefully that will come with time.

The old curmudgeon!

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ABitRusty
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January 20, 2022 - 7:22 pm
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John I noticed youre practicing improv alot.  Dont know where you are with it but Mark has shared some Christian Howes video ..Emily too I believe.  If you havent watched any of his stuff you may be interested in that.  He does ALOT of improvising type lessons.  Not saying you need it..just sharing something that came to mind.

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ELCBK
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January 20, 2022 - 7:31 pm
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AND, Christian Howes' videos are usually are set up for violin AND VIOLA!  😊

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JohnG
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January 20, 2022 - 7:36 pm
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Thanks, Emily. I'll check him out!

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 22, 2022 - 10:08 pm
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Forgot to post progress last night. Only spent half an hour playing La danse de Mardi Gras Cmaj, St. James Infirmary, Dark Island Cmaj, and Simple Gifts. Did some improv on La danse, which was fun!

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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January 22, 2022 - 11:16 pm
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Played the same things tonight for another half hour. I'm really liking doing improv on La danse. Moreso than trying to get my timing right so I can play along with backing track! I guess, all in good time!

The old curmudgeon!

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