Please feel free to share. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”
This is gonna be A LOT of text, but just need to get my thoughts out.
I've been playing for just over 13 month now.
The last few months, ever since the end of June, I haven't practiced as much as I wish I had. July was too damn hot to do anything and after that I have had problems with motivation and knowing what and how to practice. My last lesson was in May, after that there is a summerbreak as my teacher work through a university.
My teacher has gotten more hours working at a different school that only teach children (like every other music school in this country) and so has limited time for the rest of us at this other small school that DOES accept adults. So I haven't been sure I will even be able to continue taking lessons so I've felt like I might as well quit a lot. I thought I would hear something in September but when I didn't I texted her a few days ago and turns out she is seriously ill and will not be working this semester. Hopefully she will be well enough next year.
This took some stress away from me and I decided I should just take this time to practice daily again and solidify basics and such. But I am not quite sure what I should be practicing. My last couple of lessons she got me started with 3rd position, which I think she did on a whim. I improved very fast in the beginning so I feel like she kept throwing things at me that she normally wouldn't. But I also don't think she teaches the way the majority of teachers online and in other countries do. Although the description of the violincourse on the schools homepage seem more focused on learning being fun than technical accuracy. But I don't know.
For example,I haven't learnt all fingerpatterns in 1st position yet. And still she started me on 3rd.
Anyway, since she did I got Heather Broadbents "Mastering third position" exercise book which I've focused on getting through just to have SOMETHING to focus on. I haven't gotten far with it yet but it seem to help me improve with it. Before that I've just spent the last few months on the same exercises and simple songs for 3rd that my teacher gave me the last lesson, and it did feel so pointless and I didn't improve much. So I'm gonna get through this exercise book, and after that I am planning on getting her book for 1st position to improve intonation in first and also get used to those pesky low first finger.
But what I am missing is song/etudes or something. I just spend all my time now doing these exercises, which is fine. I prefer it over oversimplified versions of songs. But I am now wondering what etudes or such are out there that would be suitable for me? Hard question to answer, I know, as you don't really know my level. But I want something that isn't way too easy nor way too hard and complicated.
Too simple or too complicated is all I find. And I don't want to start up and waste time on something that isn't appropriate for my level that will just depress me more about it.
I get so lost and frustrated with the amount that is out there, this is also why I could never self-teach. Too overwhelming. :/ Even what I've just written feels overwhelming and messy. Not sure I am getting a point across at all. :/
@Bella86 I feel your frustration and understand your confusion.
I don't know whether you should be concentrating too much on higher positions yet, at least until you feel comfortable in 1st position.
Wohlfahrt has a two book series of 60 etudes. The first 30 are 1st position only, and are great exercises for bowing and left hand. The next 30 move in to higher positions. There are some nice sounding pieces in both of these books, especially book 1 (etudes 1-30).
These etudes are available free online at https://imslp.org/wiki/60_Stud.....rt,_Franz)
I think you'd enjoy and benefit from trying these at your own pace.
Bob in Lone Oak, Texas
That has been my feeling too, about working so much on 3rd when 1st isn't completely set. It's been fine, for the patterns I've learned, intonation has been alright. But I get the feeling it's fallen behind a bit, even though I do some scales in 1st every time I practice. But since I've started on 3rd and spent some time on it already, and I do find it fun when i notice exercises getting easier every time, I think I will continue with it anyway. But also do more for 1st.
Thank you for mentioning Wohlfahrt and for linking it! It's a real bonus it's available for free as I am completely broke these days and haven't been able to prioritize resources for practice.
I've seen so many names, wohlfahrt, schradeik, Sevcik and lots more I can't spell either. LOL Their names on books on scales, arpeggios, etudes and everything and it's always so confusing. Especially when the people recommending books for someone asking always talk about things, and use terms, that I am not familiar with yet. So I just get intimidated and don't even bother checking things out.
But will definitely check out what you linked. Thanks a lot!
@Fiddlerman I've looked at the resources on here more than once, but it still just confuse me as I have no idea what anything really is. And the simple versions of popular songs don't interest me. Most of the time they piss me off when I really don't agree with the arrangements, doesn't sound the way I know the songs should sound like. 😀 Drives me up the wall when I've had to play them lol.
I would love to join in on projects like that, but I am not very likely to film myself at all. Not because of my playing, but for other personal reasons that's tormented me my whole life. Which is a shame as I know it's a great way to get feedback. But we'll see, been thinking of trying filming myself lately. Chances are I won't see it as me playing, might not be as hard on myself then. LOL (had jaw surgery, still don't recognize my new face sometimes)
I keep coming back to this forum to try to motivate myself, as no one around me is interested in hearing about violin, but it isn't easy as this place can be very slow at times. And it is hard and intimidating to try to become a part of a community with a few active members that's gotten to know each other already.
My friends are also so tired of hearing me "talk violin" non-stop. I'm like the golfers who play a 4 hour round and then go to the bar and re-cap every blade of grass they encountered.
Keep sharing your thoughts here and I bet more and more of us will chime in with useful tips and encouragement. At the same time, you're sharing some important stuff with us so it takes some reflexion to give you a deserving response.
I went back and read your intro to the forum from last year. I sounds like you and the violin were made for each other so hang in there. You want suggestions on what to work on (etudes) now that you don't have a teacher. Maybe it would encourage people to intervene more specifically if they could hear where you're at, playing-wise. I know you said you're not crazy about the idea of posting a video... but how about some audio? You wouldn't be the only one going that route. Just a thought.
Hi there @Bella86 - Pierre summed it up above, the only feedback you'll receive is helpful, constructive criticism, nothing more, nothing less !
As regards video - depends what sort of kit you have, but, if you have a movable USB connected web-cam for instance, or indeed a separate video camera, it should be quite possible to locate it in such a manner that records only your bowing, fingering and violin. I've seen a number of folks do this (not so much here on the forum, but definitely in some of the fiddle Facebook groups I'm involved with). That may well be worth considering, as it will help share your hold, fingering and bow control - which after all is what it's really all about - just a thought......
As for your earlier comment regarding pieces/scores that don't "sound the way I know the songs should sound like" - well, that goes for me too - but I'll often take them as a starting point and play, and play, and play them and the more I do that, the more they evolve into "how I want to hear it". Obviously, for group projects, gotta stick to the score and the timings, but otherwise, I simply regard sheet as, well, exactly what I said - a starting point. Very often, sheet is kept startlingly simplified, especially for fiddle tunes, and giving what is merely an "overview" of the piece - leaving the intricacies of playing (embellishments, articulation and so on) to the individual player.
Don't give up ( I know you won't ! ) we're with you !
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
@BillyG Thank you for your reply. As I do photography from time to time, I own a DSLR and a decent tripod so I know I can freely choose positions. I've never done well when recording myself when I used to record piano just for my own sake. The will to do well at the time of recording messes me up, always. ;P
Don't be sorry about my jaw surgery @Fiddlerman, I did it on purpose lol Fixed my open bite and saving my teeth in the long run.
I am very well aware of everything you're saying, but in the end, what matters is what we think of ourselves.
We'll see how I go. My biggest problem is what to practice. Working on solidifying 1st position and getting used to 3rd with exercises all I can really think of. (although I really don't mind exercises, I just feel like I am being a bit boring lol)
And bowing needs work again. Don't really want to start or try anything new while I don't have someone to really check on what I am doing.
REALLY getting a daily routine going again is my first step though, I am still dodgy with it. It is what will really motivate me I think, as when I'm consistent, I usually see a lot of improvement in a short period of time.
Might try record something, even if it's just scales or exercises, at some point. Although I do get discouraged when I think about what it sound like. Used to be ok but getting worse due to the tension, fatigue and pain that I constantly have in my body due to stress, that's been getting worse. It's hard to focus and relax when you're constantly feeling like you're out of time and your arms ache just lifting them. Bowing is just absolute crap because of it. (Yes I know when to quit and take it easy!...most of the time)
I keep thinking of songs I would like to play, but sadly, it's all stuff that is years away. I often wish I had kept my piano and taken pianolessons instead lol.
Hi Bella, I hope you can keep the fun in playing the violin. I recognize myself a bit in your story. When to move on or keep practicing older things etc, what to play, is it good enough. Hopefully you can find a way to move on with lots of joy ?
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain!!
As a restarted newbie, I played for a number of years through elementary, middle, and my first year of high school, but restarted after a mere 30+ year absence. I can somewhat understand. I only learned first position. Some of the other students when I moved schools, was learning vibrato and third position. I think I was gone that day though...
Anyway, I struggle with how I sound. My wife, bless her soul, thinks that I sound good. I have been working on my intonation, trying to get my first position back to where it should be. But I also want to do the little things that I think make the violin sound amazing, like vibrato. I just need to ensure that I have the time to make a good practice schedule. I would like to learn the higher positions, so that I can move on to some other songs. I just don't have any instructors where I live in such a rural area. I look at the learning materials and sheet music, but I am completely lost when it comes to all of it.
Enough rambling, please don't quit. I regret the 30+ years I missed. Keep practicing and working through everything. I'm sure that the kind folks here will help us both get to where we want to be.