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First off I wanted to say I got a REAL violin now, thanks to the wonderful rental program from The Loft Violin in columbus. What a difference, coming from my cheap VSO. I also purchased Wolhfahrt op 45 60 studies book 1 and 2. After trying a few etudes, I feel they are still a whiles a way for me. I am about 2.5 months in with a few breaks due to illness and my ferret passed away. =( But anywho, can anyone give me some suggestions on some easier etudes and some very easy beginning reportoire to try? I am a bit lost for structure without taking lessons. I know this might be hard to suggest without seeing a video of my progress, but I am working on getting the courage haha. Thanks guys!
Aw, I'm sorry about your ferret 🙁 I had a couple ferrets growing up (Freddie and Ferrah), and often ferret-sat for my brother (Ralph and Wendell) and they are such sweet animals. I'm sure you gave it a lovely life, but it still hurts to lose our little buddies.
Oh I'm jealous you got to go to the Loft. It's a couple hours from me, but it looks like a neat violin shop to visit.
There are some easier etudes in the Wohlfahrt book, but I don't have the book in front of me at the moment. But, Fiddlerman has some etudes and exercises here to try out: https://fiddlerman.com/studies-etudes-and-music/free-violin-music-studies-and-etudes/
For tunes, there are lots on this site, but if you aren't opposed to the price, I recently got the Mark O'Connor Method book 1 (I wanted to go back to the basics through a new method in my practice) and I really like the way it's laid out, and the play along CD it comes with is really nice. I kind of wish I had this book when I was first starting out. It teaches you the tune, the technique, and then encourages you to try out your own thing on the tune by giving some suggestions, focuses more on being creative than the beginner book I went through (Essential Elements)
World's Okayest Fiddler
I've found some of the Tune of the Week ones to be easy, and some quite challenging.
If you're comfortable with picking out songs by ear, and if you like the Beatles, I've found the vast majority of their stuff is very easy to pick out, as long as you're just going for the vocal melody line. (I'm trying to do something a bit fancier for the Beatles Party, but following the main vocal line is easy.)
There are probably other groups that's true for - I mention them because every time I've tried to pick one out, it was pretty easy both to pick out and to play.
If you strongly prefer sheet music, there's a good (albeit pricy) pair of books available:
They have the the vocal line (which is good for violin), but also the piano (or harpsichord, in a couple of cases) part, and guitar chords. Those are helpful for figuring out double-stops and such if you want to fancy it up.
Playing any piece of music that you like is both good practice and more fun than etudes and scales. In particular, if you pick it out, you'll be memorizing it as you go, and there are many virtues to playing from memory. (Many virtues to playing from sheet music, too - I'm not knocking it.)
If you don't care for the Beatles, you can try any music you like and know well. No guarantees on how easy they'll be, although most vocal lines aren't too hard.
Charles that is funny you mention memorization and playing by ear. I am still working on sightreading (I'm sure this will be a long term process) I find that I honestly have to hear the music before I can really connect the sheet music in my head to the fingerboard. More often than not once I have heard the tune in my head, Before i can solidify the actual notes I am playing, I have already memorized the melody. Playing by ear is much more enjoyable, which is how I learned to play bass guitar. But I def. feel I need to work on connecting the fingerboard notes to my eyes and brain.
haha. I actually was able to pick out this song, Rose of May a cover by Taylor Davis from final fantasy 9 and play it by ear just by watching it.
I'm the same way. Any time my teacher gives me a new song to learn (one that I don't already know), the first thing I do is hit Youtube and listen to it.
I can get the pitches off sheet music with no trouble, but I don't do well with the durations. And two songs with identical notes in an identical order can sound very different depending on how long each note is held.
I used to be able to get duration decently off sheet music, but that was playing in band in high school, over 40 years ago. I really ought to put some work into getting that back.
I mentioned the play-by-ear stuff because it's a perfectly good way to practice intonation and bowing, and more pleasant that most etudes.
If you want something that's simple and good to do (albeit very boring), check out Schradieck. (It's one of the ones Fiddlerman has a free copy of on that page that Mandy pointed you to.) Very good for training your fingers to do various patterns. Playing music will do that, too, but it's much more haphazard. You keep running into new patterns that you need, and don't have yet. That's bitten me several times. (Because I don't practice them as much as I ought to!) My teacher told me to play one of the ones off pages 1 and 2 every day. (Doing other stuff in the book will prove fruitful, too, of course.) The nice things about them is that they're short - 8-12 measures.
All of the stuff on pages 1 and 2 are single-string exercises, so they should be well within your capability. One warning - Schradieck is inordinately fond of the 4th finger. Yours will get a workout. If it starts being painful, skip the ones that use the 4th finger (or use it much, since there aren't too many that don't use it at all) for a day or two until it recovers. Schradieck wrote this stuff many years before they'd figured out repetitive stress injuries.
Nice thank you for the suggestion. I looked those over Schradieck, those look fun and doable for me. The 4th finger shouldn't be a problem for me. I aldready have that built lucikly because of alot of bass and bass chords.. Those strings are thick! lol Btw i did take a stab at the first wohlfahrt 45 etude and am getting thru it, slowly haha. I honestly am not sure if I should even tried it yet? Isnt wohlfahrt more in line for someone who has been playing for at least 6 months? Idk.
Shoutout to Fiddlerman, thank you for all that you do. The free resources and sheet music, are so helpful. Without your info and this website to keep me going, I wouldn't be where I am today.
@RoseOfMayIX I echo what the folks say above: I have been teaching myself for a few years now, using mostly Fiddlerman etudes and songs. I started with the Suzuki books on my own and found them pretty boring so diverged into some Schradieck from this website (just the first few pages), and some basic one string etudes from here that I practiced at the beginning of every practice session I did for the first year at least. Being an adult learner, my desire was also to produce something fun and recognizable pretty quickly, and things like the tune a week sure helped with that. On the website, there is also music for a fine selection of other tunes, sorted by level of hardness.
I found it probably took me a good 6-9 months before my finger positions started to relate to the notes I was reading. I still benefit hugely from hearing a song when learning it. Just having the page of music is hard. (perhaps I have no imagination).
One final thing that has been pretty motivating for me has been the group projects. I tried my first one quite early on, but there were some easier parts and some harder parts so it worked out pretty well. The satisfaction of contributing to these has been great.
Glad to hear you have a better instrument, that will make a difference in your enjoyment, I bet. Have fun!
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