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Bowing
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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RDP
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December 16, 2021 - 3:48 pm
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Week #6 and I'm *finally* starting to pay attention to my bowing.  Up to this point I've been bowing and articulating each note wherever I'm at on the bow without any real regard to where I should be.  Basically, I was just sawing on the strings and calling it playing.

 

The tutorial I'm following has the students treat each note as follows;

Whole note - *slow* full bow

Half note = full bow

Quarter note = half bow

Eighth note = quarter bow

 

So, this week's new lesson is "Long Long Ago."  My bowing was so bad I couldn't play it because I was running out of bow and/or going the wrong way (downbow's for upbows and so on).  So, yesterday was spent as 2 sessions of an hour each just playing the first line and *trying* to bow as instructed.  It wasn't pretty.  But, there's some good news; I finally started bowing correctly!

 

Today, hoping that the practice from yesterday stuck, I warmed up with 1 set of scales in A major and went right into the first line of the score.  No mistakes were made so I paused for a minute, remounted my violin and played the entire score.  I made a couple of mistakes (mostly fingering because I can't seem to remember that A2 is my 2nd finger instead of my 3rd sometimes) but was actually able to play the entire song multiple times.  I took a longish break and tried again. making it through once more with no bowing mistakes.

 

I think I'm finally starting to figure this out.  Slooooowly for sure, but still happy to be moving forward.  Now that I can bow properly, I'm starting to work on getting rid of my shaky bow.  Partly it's tension in my back causing me to tighten up both arms and lift my shoulder, partly it's my tremors.  New meds from the doc might help (or might not) so we'll see how that progresses.

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Mark
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December 17, 2021 - 12:19 am
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RDP

Grats on the progress,

Bowing is 80% of fiddle playing, for me it's a constant work in progress. 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Retired
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December 17, 2021 - 5:10 am
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Hi,

Good luck @RDP

I'm still very much a novice but I'm not yet trying to play anything just concentrating on getting used to the bow and using all four fingers; I'm practicing over and over only for 20 or 30 minutes at a time; I want to become so proficient with the bow I no longer need to think about it then I'll move on to learning to play a tune; I can play all four strings and am a great deal better than when I first started; very little bounce or nasty sounds now just nice long notes; I don't even know what the notes are I'm playing but I'm making good steady progress; I'm not in a hurry and just enjoying myself for the fun of it.

Stick with it you'll win in the end.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Gordon Shumway
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December 17, 2021 - 5:53 am
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I forget where the debate was held about whether expression lay in the left or the right (bowing) hand. I'd say about 90% in the right hand, but 80% may be right - there's not a lot the left hand can do but vibrato expressively, rather than mechanically.

Andrew

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RDP
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December 17, 2021 - 1:07 pm
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Retired said
Hi,

Good luck @RDP

I'm still very much a novice but I'm not yet trying to play anything just concentrating on getting used to the bow and using all four fingers; I'm practicing over and over only for 20 or 30 minutes at a time; I want to become so proficient with the bow I no longer need to think about it then I'll move on to learning to play a tune; I can play all four strings and am a great deal better than when I first started; very little bounce or nasty sounds now just nice long notes; I don't even know what the notes are I'm playing but I'm making good steady progress; I'm not in a hurry and just enjoying myself for the fun of it.

Stick with it you'll win in the end.

Kind regards, Colin.

  

@ Retired

The tutorial I'm following is by Pro-Am Strings on youtube.

 

 

The link is from video #1 of her Suzuki series but if you click on her name you can get the entire list of all her videos.  Lots of different violin videos, but the Suzuki stuff is what I'm interested in.  She has an entire series of 30 lessons in Suzuki book 1 (and also for book 2).  The Suzuki book(s) is/are available on Amazon (book 1 is something like $8-$10).

The first 4 videos are basic "this is a violin" type of things and the playing starts in #4 or #5 (can't remember which).  I treat the videos as a "lesson", 1 each week, and don't move forward unless I can play them completely and not too horribly.  I'm putting videos on my youtube channel of each lesson just as if I was playing them for an online teacher each week.  (A linky to my Youtube channel is in my profile)

The lessons are geared for children but I don't care because I want to learn how to play, not impress someone with learning "adult" themed music instead of starting with "Twinkle, twinkle, little star."  (Besides, I can play twinkle from memory and, if anyone were to ask, I could tell them I can play a song on the violin they would know and could sing to.  And then proceed to do it no matter their age.)

I am improving with almost no effort beyond an hour each day spent doing the lesson for that week.  Yes I concentrate on doing it "right" but compared to all the other things I do in life, spending a few extra minutes working on trouble spots is nothing.

Eventually, book 1 ends with playing Bach's concerto's #1, 2, & 3, which tells you how much you can learn in 6 months of steady weekly lessons.

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Mouse
December 17, 2021 - 2:21 pm
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Congrats on your progress, @RDP. I am so bad at bowing. I am concentrating on that at the moment. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Retired
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December 17, 2021 - 3:40 pm
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Hi,

Many thanks @RDP for your comprehensive and useful reply; I've just bought the Suzuki Volume 1 so the Suzuki tutorial you've kindly posted will be of help to me and I'm sure others too once I move on from bowing practice. I don't want to impress anyone; this is just an hobby for me to pass away our long dreary winter. I've bookmarked the video and will have a look at it tomorrow.

Kind regards, Colin.

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RDP
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December 17, 2021 - 6:33 pm
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Retired said
Hi,

Many thanks @RDP for your comprehensive and useful reply; I've just bought the Suzuki Volume 1 so the Suzuki tutorial you've kindly posted will be of help to me and I'm sure others too once I move on from bowing practice. I don't want to impress anyone; this is just an hobby for me to pass away our long dreary winter. I've bookmarked the video and will have a look at it tomorrow.

Kind regards, Colin.

  

What I did was go to her channel video page and bookmark every Suzuki Book 1 video in their own folder.  I right clicked on each video to open them one at a time in a new tab, hit Ctrl D, and closed the new tab before repeating it with the next video.

Each week I just go to the next bookmark in the series and there's no need to dig through all the other videos I'm not interested in to find the one I want.  She has a lot of videos so bookmarking each one is much faster.  30 mins (tops) preps you for everything for the next 6 months.

I did the same thing when I was learning Tai Chi.

 

P.S.  Don't skip the first few videos even if you think you don't need to watch them.  There are finger exercises in there as well as terminology which come in handy later on.

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Retired
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December 18, 2021 - 10:11 am
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Hi,

Thanks for the additional information @RDP Last night Bron and I watched the second video because it was the first to pop up on YouTube but tonight I'll start from video #1 and as you kindly suggest will work through the series. Very interesting indeed and well presented in a clear and understanding way.

Kind regards, Colin.

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RDP
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December 18, 2021 - 10:45 am
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Gordon Shumway said
I forget where the debate was held about whether expression lay in the left or the right (bowing) hand. I'd say about 90% in the right hand, but 80% may be right - there's not a lot the left hand can do but vibrato expressively, rather than mechanically.

  

The bow hand is probably where most expression lies, but don't discount the other hand.  Triplets, for example, are not done by bowing alone.

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RDP
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December 18, 2021 - 10:52 am
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Retired said
Hi,

Thanks for the additional information @RDP Last night Bron and I watched the second video because it was the first to pop up on YouTube but tonight I'll start from video #1 and as you kindly suggest will work through the series. Very interesting indeed and well presented in a clear and understanding way.

Kind regards, Colin.

  

You're welcome.  Post a video in the critique thread when you get to a point where you think you're "publicly presentable."

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RDP
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December 18, 2021 - 10:58 am
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Mouse said
Congrats on your progress, @RDP. I am so bad at bowing. I am concentrating on that at the moment. 

  

Some of my new learning didn't stick completely.  Which tells me it's probably something that needs focus all the time.  I don't know enough to be sure of that, but it seems that way right now.

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RDP
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December 22, 2021 - 10:32 am
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After almost a week my bowing is getting even better.  In my "I'm being bad" thread I outline how I'm now able to add expression to the music and I owe it all to better bowing.  Instead of just bowing "up, down, up, down, up, down..." for each note I'm now able to do so much more.

In the next week or two this is going to help a lot.  O Come Little Children begins with a quick "upbeat" note.  "May Song" has one too as the second note.  If I hadn't concentrated on my bowing, I'm not sure how much of a train wreck trying to learn either of those songs would be.

 

I wonder if this is the point in the lesson plan where students start to open their eyes or if I've uncovered the key to unlocking the door to where I've hidden my inner Itzhak Perlman.  Not that it matters.  What matters is that for those who are beginning like I am, pay attention to your bowing.  It really does make a difference in how well you play.

 

 

Speaking of playing...  Mouse, your bowing (as was everyone's) in the "White Christmas" group project was amazing.  WELL DONE!  Seriously, 75 musicians in different locations all playing the same music and no one dropped the ball?  I am in awe.

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