I am in my 4th month, mostly self taught with 1 lesson only so far with my new teacher. I can learn a song rather quickly from tab notation, and can play it from memory within a short time (day or two), depending on the length of the song. (Tunes I've learned recently: Tennessee Waltz, Angeline the Baker, Amazing Grace, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Oh! Susanna). However, once I try to increase the tempo (slowly, mind you) mistakes start to creep in whether it is crooked bowing, string crossing, intonation or just forgetting notes.
I'm sure this is not an uncommon problem with beginners...at least I trust it's not only me! So, how do I begin to fix this? My solution has been to start again with a very slow tempo and slowly increase each time through the tune, but the same thing seems to happen no matter how many times I try this. I feel stuck no matter what song it is.
Any suggestions? Thanks.
However, once I try to increase the tempo (slowly, mind you) mistakes start to creep in whether it is crooked bowing, string crossing, intonation or just forgetting notes.
Any suggestions? Thanks.
So playing at faster speeds is a separate skill than the bowing, string crossings, and intonation... and will be different from your shifting and vibrato later...
You need to work on all of these areas separately.
- Bowing - practice in front of a mirror and bow slowly straight on each string
- Crossing - slowly play each string open, use whole bow on each over and over
- Intonation - If you are having problems with intonation there are many ways to work on this. Some beginning students will use tape at first to learn muscle memory (have someone experienced place the tape for you). Work on first position until you are consistently playing notes correctly... then work in other positions. Play with a tuner to see you are playing in tune. But keep in mind that players work on this skill for years, continually improving.
- Playing a tune faster - Always begin slow. Play at a speed you feel is slow then reduce that another step or two slower.
Playing faster will always be more difficult than playing slower. But the things you listed as mistakes should be worked on separately, one at a time for a while.
Don't feel bad or that you are doing anything wrong. 4 months is still quite early to play well at fast speeds.
Hope this helps.
- Pete -
I am the beginigest beginner that there is on the violin, but in the distant past I have taught myself guitar, banjo (three finger picking style) and mandolin. Here are my recommendations:
1. A big, BIG YES on the metronome.
2. When you make a midstake. DON'T STOP! Keep playing to the end and then slow down a step and start over.
3. Never practice at a speed at which you make many or even several mistakes. You are only practicing your mistakes when you do.
4. Don't get discouraged. Slow learners make hood music too, it just takes us a bit longer, so enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
The search for great technique does not always lead to great music, but the search for great music does always lead to great technique.
If you're trying to learn fiddling(which by your song choices, it sounds like you might), it's important to keep in mind the rhythmic piece and the groove. Backing tracks can be quite helpful for this. They're out there one the 'net posted to all sorts of sites, including YouTube.
The hardest part I've found with fiddle tunes is deciding on what variant I like best or even combining variants. You'll want to listen to your favorite tunes and listen to various variations and tempos. With fiddle tunes, getting a feel for the very foundation of a tune isn't always straightforward nor all the interpretations obvious.