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I am doing Fiddlerman's 35 Day Practice Challenge
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Mouse
June 20, 2022 - 12:07 pm
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So, I did do the violin challenge yesterday. I spent the entire time in the Hunter's Chorus. 

I just finished the violin today. I used my FCD (Fiddlerman Concert Deluxe) violin, this time. 

I started with the Hunter's Chorus. It kind of loosens me up. I am still having trouble with bow direction. I do find that sticking to the challenge is helping with the overall bowing, just keep getting the direction messes up in the this song. I am also finding improvement in my intonation consistency. It is better, and I do attribute it to the being determined to complete the challenge and get the most out of it.

I also did Fiddlerman's exercise for the D string. I do love these Fiddlerman string exercises. They really do help and are fun to do.

I played a couple of fiddle type tunes, since I was playing the brighter FCD violin. They were actually better. 

I will do my cello later.

I am not sure I will be able do either tomorrow. I have done extra on other days, so I am not considering this as not having done the challenge. 

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June 20, 2022 - 7:21 pm
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I know the challenge is to play for 35 days straight but if you have to skip, then you have to skip.  Life gets in the way sometimes.

Take me for example.  I didn't play over the weekend because I'm at a point where I'm seriously concentrating on my intonation and fingering but I finished working on Happy Farmer and wasn't going to keep playing that.  Ugh, enough already!

Yet, when I played A Time For Us before practice today it was loads better than how it used to sound.  So the practice and days off actually helped.

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June 20, 2022 - 7:32 pm
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I am so pleased you are following this topic. This is soooo encouraging. 

Thank you, RDP, you are extremely helpful.

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June 20, 2022 - 10:46 pm
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Actually it's the other way around, I get to read what you post and then do some magical googlefu spell casting and learn stuff I didn't know.  Sometimes I can contribute in small ways but for the most part I'm in learning mode.

It's also kind of refreshing to read about someone on the forum who is playing/practicing.  Yes I know there are others who play/practice regularly but they don't post about it.

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June 20, 2022 - 11:09 pm
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Well, RDP, if that is the case, when I am finished with the challenge, I will have to continue the detailed reporting in my blog. In my blog I haven't gotten into this much detail, but I think I will be more diligent with my blog when I finish the challenge.

I didn't do this in my blog because the blog does not get many viewers, and my purpose was to make the challenge more aware for members. It is a learning tool. So, when the challenge is done, I will keep doing this in my blog. I think it helps us both, 😁.

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June 22, 2022 - 6:21 pm
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This morning I did about 45 mins in my cello challenge. I am beginning to think that even though the strings are getting easier, they still are hard to play on. I worked mainly on bowing. I did have to put two tapes on, one for the first finger and one for the fourth finger. I can't learn intonation if I can't tell pretty much the area and sound that is correct intonation. This is not being mentioned to start a debate about it. For me, it is necessary and this challenge has shown me that. I am paying close attention to what I am doing and what issues I keep repeating over and over. I have noticed over and over that if I get lost I spend all my time finding my way and the proper place and sound is not registering because I am just sliding all around, frustrated. I gave it a shot, and find that sliding around to find the spot does not work for me. 

Now, I also found that I have issues at the tip and frog of the bow. Not sure how to fix that. I also find that my string crossings are not improving. They were the reasons for bowing time. I wish I knew someone around here that plays cello. It is not the same as viola and violin. Cello is angled vertical, violin and viola are horizontal. Strings are also bigger and require more work, so violin playing, although it helps with a tiny bit of cello, does not relate, with me, with my cello.

These are all things that are becoming more clear to me as I continue with my cello challenge. I do need to find a scale book. I thought I had a cello scale book. I need to look again. I have a bowing book, but it is not dedicated to scales. I think, from looking at my violin scale book, a scale book incorporates bowing, whereas, a blowing book deals with bowing, but does not incorporate as much time to scales. At least that is the way is looks when I compare my violin scales book to my cello bowing book. 

I am still finding that the challenge has me focusing more than when I was not doing a challenge, weird.

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June 22, 2022 - 8:59 pm
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I played my violin for about 30 minutes. The schedule called for 45 minutes. I was working on the C scale and then on intonation. I had to stop when I was losing it. I had the Fiddlerman D string etudes going pretty well, then I lost it. Rather than keep going and just get flustered and get to used to hitting the wrong spot on the fingerboard a lot of times, I decided it was best to call it a night. 

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June 23, 2022 - 9:50 am
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Do you think that the strings getting easier to play might be you getting stronger?

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June 23, 2022 - 10:01 am
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@RDP I don't know. I am finding the G and C strings to be an issue, more so than the D and A strings. The C and G are a different brand. I am thinking about putting the Evah C snd G on it, but I don't want to split that new set. Maybe, I have an old Evah C and G left. Not a fan of changing strings, but might be worth a shot. Maybe, I like the Evahs so much, that I am magnifying the issue? I know there is something off. 

I don't think I have gotten stronger in my playing, at least I really don't think so.

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June 23, 2022 - 10:12 am
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So, I just finished 45 minutes on my violin. I worked on Fiddlerman's etudes for the D string for intonation for about 95% of the time. Once in a while I did it on the A string, although there is an etude for the A string. I don't have it in my folder for what I am working on for the challenge.

I did feel like I got better by the end. I did this yesterday, too, more or less. I almost had to start from scratch this morning, though 🥴. That was a little depressing and felt like a huge setback. I did, however, feel like I had it a lot better when I just now finished, than I did when I stopped yesterday, so maybe ...

I have a hard time with the A on the D string. It is harder hitting it from any note other than the G before it. Makes sense since the G is closer to that note. The etude has a lot of F to A, D to A (if I remember correctly). It is also harder going back down from A to D. It is harder to hit the G. Not sure why. If I am off with the G, the F and E are off. 

I do know that the challenge is what is making me aware of all of this and it is making me pay more attention. 

Oh, I also did some long slow bows for each note from D to A in the D string. Isn't part of the etudes, but I figured that it would be a good thing to do. 

I highly suggest others use this challenge, or modified, when trying to learn something. There is something about it being a "challenge" that keeps you at it, or at least it does for me.

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June 26, 2022 - 2:57 pm
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I haven't updated in a few days. I am still doing the challenge. I do feel I am improving, but my consistency is an issue, which kind of contradicts the feeling like I am improving. But, when I am doing well, I am doing really well, but there is so much inconsistency, even during a session, not just from one session another. I haven't been able to fix that.

I am going slow, I am paying attention, but the inconsistency haunts me.

I searched through my violin books and I don't seem to find one that really deals with scales and etudes at a beginner level without jumping from beginner to advanced and skipping the middle.

I did PM another Forum member who seems to know a lot about helpful books and am waiting to hear back before I spend money in another book. I had to return a couple that I was loaned. I found the same issue, I can't remember who wrote them, rats! I should have made a note not to get those. I can contact that person and ask. Not a forum member. 

So, that is where I am at. I am doing scales in keys that I know. But, I am no good at improvising to get any type of exercise from them. 

I do not get anything from videos or reading online. I learn better from actual written material that I can set on my music stand and mark up, or sit down and read and flip through pages and mark up.

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June 27, 2022 - 3:44 pm
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This is something I wasn't aware of but have discovered.  Right now I'm working on a Gavotte by Gossec (last piece in Suzuki Book 1).  The beginning of the piece is almost all staccato.  My bowing makes it sound worse than horrible and my intonation is way way off.  I listened to the recording and couldn't get there with whatever method of bowing I tried.  So I tried something different.

I don't know what the name of the bowing technique is, but it's the one where you bounce the bow on the strings for each note.  I tried that for the staccato and it worked to give me good clear intonation.  I did it for a few days and then started leaving the bow on the strings yesterday.  Most of the time I had good intonation but then lost it again.  I went back to bouncing the bow a few times then leaving it on the strings again.

What this showed me was that good bowing is part of good intonation.  Which makes sense but until I actually experienced it, it was hard to believe it's true because up until now the focus in my lessons has been on learning all the different notations and how play them rather than how to play them well.

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June 27, 2022 - 6:11 pm
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So, I am seeing where I need to really concentrate more diligently with doing this. I really need to get back to basics. I need to figure out how to hold my violin properly and bow properly, not fancy bowing, just normal typical bowing. I think one of my books, maybe the Essential Elements, has details on how to hold it. If I recall, though, it is standing  up, I am sitting down. I wish my first violin teacher actually dealt with this, would be easier to have something to draw from. 

I think concentrating more is really helping, but it is also requiring going back to the beginning, pretty much. Will be worth it.

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June 29, 2022 - 12:07 pm
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Going back to earlier lessons can be rewarding.  I'm having to revisit my staccato bowing technique because my staccato stinks worse than aged cheese.  It is interesting that by going back to earlier bowing and bow hold lessons my overall intonation has sharpened.  Mostly because of me practicing my Martele hand/finger movements a lot more in each practice session.

The intonation improvement also includes 3rd position (through C) on the E string but for some reason my 4th finger A string still sounds dull and muddy.  I watched a video on something or other violin related and in the video was a nugget about ensuring that I'm using the very tip of the finger on A4.  That helps but it's still dull sounding unless I bow spiccato.  Then the violin rings, although it's short lived.  Maybe a better Martele will eventually help in that regard.  That and a better bow  hold - there's some kind of relationship between how firmly I hold the bow and intonation but I'm not sure what.  More firm and I get better volume, but worse intonation.  Less firm and I get better intonation but it can be wispy in volume.  I need to explore this more.

I also need to go back to working on rocking the bow silently across the strings.  I've been skipping that because of my shakes but I really do need to get better control of my bow arm/hand.  Some of the squeaks are unavoidable, but a lot of it is just poor technique and me taking the easy way out and blaming my tremors for it.

 

And, of course with every step forward there are multiple steps backward.  Right now bow control means trying to not let the bow wander so far it hits my left hand fingers while playing.  As my Martele improves that will change.  I hope.  I think I'm seeing something in Paganini spending years with his bow always in his hand - he was probably practicing his Martele constantly.

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June 29, 2022 - 12:47 pm
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That and a better bow  hold - there's some kind of relationship between how firmly I hold the bow and intonation but I'm not sure what.  More firm and I get better volume, but worse intonation.  Less firm and I get better intonation but it can be wispy in volume.  I need to explore this more.

RDP, Maybe it has to do with tension throughout your body when you are more firm?

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June 30, 2022 - 4:00 pm
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I am still doing this challenge and keeping up, but my minutes fall show on some days, but are picked up on others, 

Today, I did my violin outside on the frint porch. It was quite nice to do it out there, except the wind. That was a pain. It wasn't that windy, but a slight breeze and paper do not mix. I used magnets to hold rhem on the stand, 😁.

It actually did not sound too bad. I used my Fiddlerman Concert Deluxe. My intonation seemed better, again, I am inconsistent, so it does not really mean anything. 

A couple books were recommended to me and I took a look at them. I am going to get them. I am holding of ordering them until I see if I need anything else with the order. 

I played my Parker American Fiddle for a great-niece and great-nephew yesterday. They were with their grandpa, my husband's brother,  who stopped over. Good timing, my husband needed help getting a TV off a wall we needed to paint today. Anyway, I played 5e Parker American Fiddle and my cello. I did have brain drain and songs I knew, I could not remember. Good thing about a 4 and 6 year old who don't do music, they do not have a clue! 

I would not have done that if I had not been doing this challenge. I know my intonation needs to become more consistent, but I still really do feel like I am improving and doing better, more times than not. 

My consistency is needing more work, but the confidence is building. Before I started this, I could not feel any confidence. I lose it at times, but it seems to cime back. This is not going to get me playing in front of people, except my 4 and 6 yr old great niece and nephew, but, for my enjoyment, it helps. This is a life long issue, and I am not, at this age, going to worry about it.

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The Bumblebee Flies!

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