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April 27, 2016 - 6:56 am
Member Since: April 27, 2016
Forum Posts: 7
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Hi all. Here's a bit of background from me.

I tend to be a person who starts new projects spontaneously and enthusiastically, which is how I find myself suddenly waiting not too patiently for a violin to arrive in the mail...

I played piano, pipe organ, and baritone back in middle/high school (some 15ish years ago), but I haven't really played any kind of music since then. My only experience with violin (other than listening to it in the joint band/orchestra concerts in high school) was when my college roommate let me "play" hers for a whole three minutes once. So, I guess you could say, I'm experienced with music, though have probably forgotten a lot, but am a complete beginner with the violin.

I had always wanted to try out one of the string instruments and what actually inspired me to really give the violin a try was this Taylor Davis video which I ran into accidentally and thought was very beautiful. After watching that I spend about a week looking at as many violin tutorials and videos as I could find.

I ended up buying an Antonio Giuliani Etude Violin just a few days ago and I expect it will come sometime next week. I tried to do some research on which violin to buy, but I still wasn't exactly sure. I hope I picked one that'll work well for me for a few years at least.

I will be teaching myself to play, so I bookmarked several violin tutorial pages and I picked up the first String Builders book. If anyone has some recommendations of other good books for self-teaching beginners, I'd love to hear them.

I'm hoping to be able to get some advice and critique from the community here, and maybe to get in on some of the group projects. My only potential issue here is that, for various reasons, I'm not real keen on being in video. Will videos be of any use if I just crop them down to violin and hands? I also don't have any great camera or mic or anything. I'm going to try my ipad and/or webcam first. I'll figure something else out if that proves terrible.

My current goal is to make a video of a duet (with my husband who plays flute) of Lindsey Stirling's arrangement of Celtic Carol for our family for the 2017 holidays.

So, umm... that's my introduction, that kind of turned into a book. Sorry about that. I do have a tendency to either be very brief or to ramble on....


April 27, 2016 - 8:36 am
Member Since: October 18, 2012
Forum Posts: 303
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Hi, welcome to the forum!  

I looked up the violin you ordered and it looks like a nice quality instrument.

I don't really have any suggestions on beginner books, maybe suzuki book 1.  I was not self taught, i learned at high school and recently took it back up, i now take 2 lessons a month so i can't really advise on self teaching.

my own little world

April 27, 2016 - 9:06 am
Member Since: July 23, 2015
Forum Posts: 2038
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I love Taylor Davis' music, she plays so beautifully.

For making the videos, if you took an angle where you cropped out your head for the most part, but left a full view of the violin and your arms that would be helpful. When people watch the videos to give helpful pointers they like to watch your bowing arm motion, your bowing hand, and of course your left hand fingering and left arm position and motion. I hate being in front of the camera myself, but have been making myself get past that for the violin, lol, so I can understand how you feel, and I've seen other people make videos of their playing from about the neck down.
For books, I take lessons, but I went through the first Essential Elements book (my teacher had me skip about the first half of it, though, so it might have some useless fluff in there) to learn to read the notes and fingering (now I kind of pick and choose various books based on the style I want to play). I thought it was helpful, and I know a lot of people go through the Suzuki books, as well. I think these are the two I see suggested here and there the most.
Welcome to the forum :)  

World's Okayest Fiddler
☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨* •☆•*¨*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆


April 28, 2016 - 6:38 am
Member Since: June 21, 2015
Forum Posts: 240
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Hello @Kahlya ,

Welcome to the violin and to the forum! You will find much to enjoy.

The Suzuki books could be good for self-learners because there is a great deal of material available on youtube to go along with them. You can watch tutorials from violin teachers and watch many people play the pieces. Having said that, I do not really recommend learning completely through self-learning.

I also played piano and brass (trumpet) before coming to violin, and the violin is a very different instrument. All instruments take tremendous work to master, but the violin can take a long time before you can sound good playing a very simple song. You can play Twinkle in tune on the piano very soon after you start learning, but it can take months to really learn Twinkle properly on the violin. Also, there are so many things about holding the violin that it is all too easy to pick up bad habits early on that will make it difficult for you to play the instrument. It is much more difficult to unlearn bad habits than to learn the correct way in the first place. Far better to start out with some lessons with a teacher. I wish I had done that, instead of trying to teach myself at the beginning. Now I am taking lessons once a month from a teacher, and my progress is much better.

Now, you will find people on this forum and elsewhere who can prove me wrong. They taught themselves using youtube and similar videos, and within a few months they are playing concertos and other challenging pieces very beautifully. Maybe you can do this too. But on the other hand, maybe you will be like me and will learn things incorrectly by yourself and will then face much frustration trying to unlearn the bad habits and learn correctly. You won't really know which experience you'll have until you try, and by that time you may have developed some bad habits to unlearn.

For this reason, I really suggest you start out at least by scheduling a few lessons. You can always drop them to once a month later, or drop them altogether if you find that they are not helping. But in my opinion it is well worth the cost to get started properly. A teacher will provide the feedback that you will not get from youtube.

If you live in an area where it is impossible to find a teacher, you might look into online lessons using skype, etc. And yes, posting videos on this forum will also give you a certain amount of feedback. You can cut your upper head out of the video if you like, but it is helpful to show the rest of your body if you want to get fuller feedback, so people can see how you are holding the instrument and moving the bow. But a teacher will give you more focuses and individualized attention that will benefit you greatly at the start.

Brora, North-east Scotland
April 28, 2016 - 9:21 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 3741
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Welcome @Kahlya  !

Don't worry overmuch about video - some folks will happily post a video with the camera pointing at a picture, or something music related.   Not a problem.   Having said that, if you can position the cam to get all of your bowing action and left hand fingering clearly shown - that's GREAT !   Also, video is not mandatory anyway (well, for the FM International Group Projects it is) - and there are also quite a few posts where folks have just uploaded audio to SoundCloud, or even, just posted an mp3 file directly to the forum.

Do just what you're happy with !

You do realize what you've done of course ?    Addiction is just around the corner !


I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

May 1, 2016 - 10:43 am
Member Since: April 27, 2016
Forum Posts: 7
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Thanks for the welcomes and advice.

I got most of the books I had ordered in on Friday and after looking at the String Builders ones I decided that while they had some nice information they probably won't be sufficient by themselves. So, I picked up both the Suzuki book and the Essential Elements.

I haven't received the Essential Elements yet, but I've been working with what I have to try to put together an order to work through them. This is what I have so far:
1. Parts of the Violin and Bow, Posture, Bow Hold (Suzuki 6-19, String Builders 2)
2. Finger Patterns, Bowing, and Rhythm Exercises (Suzuki 20-22)
3. Open String Melodies (String Builders 3-7, A. Sparrow's Open String Exercises)
4. First Position D & A & E (Suzuki 23-24, String Builders 8-16 [skip 63 & 68] & 22-24)
5. Twinkle Variations & Theme (Suzuki 25-26, String Builders 15 [68])
6. D Major Scale (ref. String Builders 29 [D instead of C])
7. Lightly Row (Suzuki 27, String Builders 14 [63])
8. Oh! Susanna (sheet music)
9. Song of the Wind (Suzuki 28)
10. Go Tell Aunt Rhody (Suzuki 29)
11. Boil'em Cabbage Down [easy] (sheet music)
12. O Come, Little Children (Suzuki 29)
13. A Major Scale (Suzuki 30)
14. May Song (Suzuki 31)
15. Long, Long Ago (Suzuki 31)
16. Allegro (Suzuki 32)
17. Amazing Grace [easy] (sheet music)
18. Pizzicato & Fourth Finger (String Builders 26-27 [skip 122 & 124])
19. Perpetual Motion (Suzuki 33)
20. Blue Danube (Easy Classical 15)
21. First Position on the G String (String Builders 18-20)
22. Allegretto (Suzuki 35)
23. Andantino (Suzuki 35)
24. Finger Exercises (A. Sparrow's Exercises)
25. Etude (Suzuki 37)
26. Dynamics & Slurs (String Builders 17, 21, 25)
27. Minuet 1 (Suzuki 38)
28. G Major Scale (sheet music)
29. Melodies for All Fingers (String Builders 27[122-124] & 28)
30. Minuet 2 (Suzuki 39)
31. Eighth Note Practice (String Builders 30-32)
32. Minuet 3 (Suzuki 41, Easy Classical 27)
33. Polly's Polka (sheet music)
34. The Happy Farmer (Suzuki 42)
35. Swallowtail Jig [easy] (sheet music)
36. Gavotte (Suzuki 43)


May 2, 2016 - 8:07 am
Member Since: June 21, 2015
Forum Posts: 240
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 Good morning @Kahlya ,

This looks like a reasonable outline to follow. Be prepared to make changes along the way, of course, as other pieces will come up that you'll want to play.

At least some of the Essential Elements pieces are the same as those listed here, though not necessarily the same arrangement or even the same key.

I have found that sometimes I spend a lot longer learning a piece than I might have predicted from how easy or difficult the pieces looks on the printed page. For example, it probably took 2 or 3 months before Perpetual Motion was at least somewhat reasonable. Likewise for Etude and Minuet 1, and it looks as though Minuet 2 (my current main working piece) will follow this same trend.

So, the list you've outlined could easily take a year or even more to work through.

Fort Lauderdale
May 2, 2016 - 10:16 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16058

Hey Kahlya,

Glad to see you excited about your new journey.

They say that patience is a virtue but I know how you feel. :)
Funny enough, I played the Baritone horn in high school too (The Euphonium) among other instruments. Also played a little piano but just as much as I was required to play. Not that I didn't love it, just that I had too many hobbies and my main one was the violin.

I feel, no matter what you do in life, music is a huge part of it and the more you can soak up, the better you feel.

Thanks for your long introduction. Hope that we can motivate you sufficiently here.

Look forward to hearing about your startup!

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

Milan, Illinois
May 3, 2016 - 9:25 pm
Member Since: January 18, 2016
Forum Posts: 56
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I started playing cornet in the 1960s, switching to trumpet in the early 1970s and played well into the 1980s (Can still play, but lip not in shape).

In the early 1980s after seeing a bluegrass/Cajun concert, I decided to take up fiddle.  Not as easy as I thought it would be!  It took eight years before I was good enough to play in a band.

Now, after a 21 year absence due to some injuries, I'm back at it, but it's like starting all over again........

Be patient.  It will come around with enough practice, but won't be as fast as you might think.............

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