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Music or fingers?
What to look at?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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katie m
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July 13, 2021 - 10:47 am
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I’m working on a really difficult piece at the moment and I’m really trying to improve it for the weekend ( of get it as good as I can)

Just wondering what your thoughts are on whether I look at the music or my fingers ? I find if I look at the music I don’t go so wrong and I can follow but i keep thinking maybe I should be looking at my fingers. The trouble with that is I keep losing where I am!

I could try to memorise but I think maybe look at the music ! 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Mouse
July 13, 2021 - 11:02 am
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Well, if you do not need to look at your fingers, why do it? It is better to be able to look at the music, as far as I can tell.

If you can memorize it, that is fine, but I would put little markers on the sheet music where you find you have a tendency to need the sheet music. That way, if you need to peek, you know where that section is. Just a down pointing arrow, or red dot, etc. Not anything big and distracting. Not highlighting that section. If you have a tiny dot sticker, or can cut one tiny, put that there, then when you no longer need it, you can remove it. Plus, if you need to make a music related note, you can remove the dot and insert that.

I am working on Fiddlerman's D-string exercise and I am having a hard time memorizing the ending etudes. Not sure why. But if I could, I am sure I could spend more time concentrating on accuracy. I think I can't memorize it because I am having such a hard time. If that is your issue, I would definitely add little markers to your sheet music to catch the trouble spots where you need to peek seamlessly.

Just my thoughts, but others may have other thoughts. It is basically, what works for you, but I do believe that if you do not need to look at your fingers, why do it? Experienced violinists I have seen do not look at fingers, at least most of the time.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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katie m
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July 13, 2021 - 11:21 am
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Thank you mouse.

think I’m going to experiment. If I’m looking at the music my fingers may go way off. Maybe I could keep my tuner out but then I bet that will distract me! I think I’m going to see how I get on practicing tonight see what works best.

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Mouse
July 13, 2021 - 1:13 pm
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Just look at your finger when you need to. What I would do, and mind you, I have issues, too, as my blog will testify to, I would stop in the area I go off track. I would work that section until I can do it better. Then I would add a couple measures before and after until going into snd out of that section works better. I would re-enforce it a few times before just putting it together in the entire piece. I would also mark that spot on the sheet music. 

Take your time and work those places because you will probably have similar fingering again. Go slow, it will pay off. Others may have different strategies.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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stringy
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July 13, 2021 - 2:02 pm
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You shouldnt look at your fingers at all. Violin is an aural instrument not a visual one, I never look at my fingers, ever, I do look at the bow all the time to make sure its straight, though. If you concentrate on reading the music listen as you play to hear if the notes sound correct, in this way your ears will develope

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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katie m
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July 13, 2021 - 2:48 pm
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I definitely need to go slow Mouse! I need to keep telling myself !! I think anything that will wake my ears up!! I’ve been playing almost a year now and I still think they are half asleep !! I had my tuner right next to my music when I practiced this eve and I just looked at the music! I think that’s the way to go! Thing is mouse it’s all hard every part of the music I struggle with. I’m basically going back on everything !!

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stringy
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July 13, 2021 - 4:02 pm
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Whats the piece you are working on ,

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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stringy
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July 13, 2021 - 4:19 pm
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In violin terms a year is nothing, seriously, anyone will tell you that. Its a very ponderously slow instrument to learn, extremely enjoyable though. just think you can do more now than the vast majority of people in the country, hand your violin to one of your friends and ask them to get a note out of it, lol. some instruments are a lot easier to learn than violin, guitar for instance is easier, two hours a night on guitar from complete novice would make you half decent after about six months, thats why I took up violin, its a challenge which I dont get from fretted instruments, and is much more satisfying, I dont care if I sound crap, I enjoy it, simple as that, and it becomes an obsession, dont get downhearted its difficult, no doubt about it, to improve your ears, if you dont already do it, play arpeggios, and dominant sevenths, all over the fingerboard, lots of tutorials on the subject on you tube, I like dominant sevenths because the fingering is used quite a lot in various styles.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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katie m
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July 13, 2021 - 5:27 pm
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It’s Concerto in H moll, op 35

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katie m
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July 13, 2021 - 5:30 pm
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Ok I will have a look! Yes I know what you mean I love playing my violin!

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stringy
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July 13, 2021 - 5:44 pm
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not familliar with the music so i just took a look, which part are you stuck on? I will tell you that to learn anything, no matter what it is you play it slowly, again and again till it sticks, it helps if you listen to the entire thing a few times.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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katie m
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July 14, 2021 - 4:54 am
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Mostly the parts that go up and down the scale which I have improved at but I think like you say I need to try to go a lot slower. Just the whole thing, playing it without mucking up, getting my fingers in the right places. Basically just everything ! I’ve been playing it for a couple of weeks and still on the first page which I think is fine but it’s slow progress and I totally understand it will take time. 

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Mouse
July 14, 2021 - 8:13 am
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The violin is hard to learn and you, @katie m, are doing amazingly well! 

Just don't give up. Slow your pieces down. You are, any violinist or violist, are forcing your body to hold things in weird positions, rub your belly and pat tour head at the same time, anything that is anti-normal. That is what it feels like to me, all with a steady beat.

When we learn, we do things slowly. We also break them apart and do it step by step-by-step. This is what you should try with this song. Work the parts you have issues with as if they are separate pieces. The put it together step-be-step. And play it slowly. After it is smooth, start speeding up gradually. That said, that is a good way, but it is hard to discipline yourself to do that.

Why do you want it learned by the weekend? That is not allowing yourself time to really learn it. You are still learning. A year on it is not that long. You are doing great, just be patient.

I hope this helps and encourages you.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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katie m
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July 14, 2021 - 3:21 pm
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Thanks mouse. Yes I’ll do everything you said! It weird because earlier I was thinking how if I took my shoulder rest off I couldn’t even hold my violin and when I started I didn’t even use a shoulder rest. Also I used to hold my bow with my fingers right up on the top of the stick! And now my fingers are far over the stick and it feels so weird to put them where they were! So what I’m trying to say is that I was noticing how you get used to the weird positions. But playing on the g string I find really unnatural like you say it’s really anti normal twisting your arm like that! But hopefully that will start to feel normal soon.

I wanted to try and get it as good as I could by the weekend as I have family coming and wanted to play it for them. But it’s fine I know I got a long way to go with it. I’m starting to keep my eyes on the music and it’s feeling okish but early days! Definitely won’t be giving up though !! 😀

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JohnG
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July 14, 2021 - 4:18 pm
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As a new player (less than 3 months), I can't really give you advice on technique, but I can say you should play whatever you feel comfortable with for family. They will not be expecting Itzhak Perlman and will probably be blown away with your ability already!

The old curmudgeon!

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stringy
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July 14, 2021 - 4:30 pm
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A great tune to play for your family would be annies song, its very simple and impressive, and they would know the song. Trying to learn pages full of music isnt easy for anyone. and your family would have no idea how complicated a tune is to play. Its better with the violin to play something simple beautifully than play something complex badly, dont get hung up on reading music. you are trying too hard. 

John is quite correct by the way, good advice.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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katie m
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July 14, 2021 - 5:24 pm
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Thanks stringy and johnG . I’m thinking oranges and lemons 😀 I’ll look into Annie’s Song I know Fiddlerman did a tutorial. I can hear my sad saying ‘ can’t you playing something a bit easier?!’ Anyway !!

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ELCBK
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July 14, 2021 - 5:29 pm
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@katie m -

My opinion: think it's important to look at where your fingers sound correct... until you are comfortable playing - without looking. 

That extra info your brain receives from your eyes, working along with your hand & ears - helps reinforce what you are learning.  

Now, seems your right shoulder could relax more & elbow come down - unless you going crazy enthusiastic on the G string (then it would be fine where you're at). (lol) 

Think I found a good example for you - take a look here at all the Violinists in this performance of "Béla Bartók", by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.  

Béla Bartók

Look closely at their right shoulder, whole arm, wrist and hand.

ALL of the Violinists play with their elbow down, except for Terje Tønnensen - he needs to exaggerate his movements because he not only has dramatic solos, he is also conducting the Orchestra from his seat!

giphy.gif

 

...think you are doing very well! 

Best of luck for the upcoming weekend, too! 😊

- Emily

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katie m
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July 15, 2021 - 3:41 am
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Ohhhhh yes that’s a great video thanks for sending I see what you mean about the elbows! I agree about looking at the music too. I’m finding I can be playing anything now because I’m not looking to see if my fingers are correct. I’ve got to get them in the right places before I can play without looking at them. I’m not at that level yet. I find if I have my tuner next to my music I get on well because I can see if I’m in tune.

 

I don’t even think I’ll play stuff for them at the weekend I’ll have a session with my mum because she is good on the piano and good helping with rhythms!! 😀

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Mouse
July 15, 2021 - 7:34 am
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@katie m, I have said it before, I love your topic posts. I love you can play your violin with your mom playing the piano. I love you are so eager to learn and take what you learn, or observations mentioned by others, suggestions by others and apply what you need, in a way that suits you, into your learning plan. Keep it up.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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