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Playing violin is like spinning plates
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Southern California

July 11, 2013 - 12:25 am
Member Since: May 13, 2013
Forum Posts: 256
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dazedHave you seen the circus act where they have a dozen plates spinning on top of a tall pole?  The artist spins them then runs from plate to plate as they start to wobble, and spins again so they don’t fall.

That’s how I’m feeling right about now with my violin playing.  It’s been almost 6 weeks, but there is so much to learn.   Learning the notes… holding the bow correctly… bow straight, and smooth…. Intonation… timing… bow pressure…. Correct fingers… and where is that awful squeak coming from?  Then on top of that my husbands says “smile, have some expression!”  Yikes, the only expression I can muster is a frown of concentration, or the all too often grimace of the sour note.

I swear I feel like the guy running back and forth spinning plates! 

Please tell me this will get better.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 


July 11, 2013 - 12:56 am
Member Since: December 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 256
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Hey Ginny,

Just keep practicing--it will get better! I'd leave the "good expression on face" as the last priority. laugh

Michigan, USA

July 11, 2013 - 1:22 am
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2647
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@ Ginnyg; you're too funny. roflIt will get better. Everyone goes through the same thing, you are no exception to the rule. We suffer a lot of setback's learning anything we do in life.

We take on a new challenge and think it's going to be easy and that in just a short period of time we'll be playing like the different people we watched who are responsible for getting us interested in playing. We never stop and think about their hour's and year's of practice, how many time's they asked themselve's the same question you are asking now.

Hang in there, ladyg, you are doing an excellent job for only 6 weeks.  clap




July 11, 2013 - 2:45 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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It does get better, or at least gets to seeming less impossible.

Spinning plates is a great analogy.  And any time you think you're getting them all somewhat going right, someone will think of something else to add to the list.  But kind of like driving a car or riding a bicycle, eventually you get used to almost automatically keeping track of the different parts of the task.




"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Honorary tenured advisor

July 11, 2013 - 7:11 am
Member Since: September 7, 2012
Forum Posts: 985
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Ha ha, I'm afraid it's harder than spinning plates.  All of the plates are just plates, and the performer is doing the same thing to all the plates, just at different times.

Since playing violin requires performing many different functions at the same time, I think it is more like spinning plates while juggling, riding a unicycle, and playing the harmonica, LOL.

Actually the closest analogy to violin in my experience is golf.  This is despite some people being bad at golf and not so bad at violin and vice versa.

Southern California

July 11, 2013 - 9:28 am
Member Since: May 13, 2013
Forum Posts: 256
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Thank you for the encouragement.  I knew playing violin would be difficult didn't realize all the aspects of it!  But I've always loved the voice of the violin ... so I know it will be worth it!

ok, now I need to go pick up my violin and spin, juggle, ride,.... I mean practice :-)

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

Merritt Island, Fla
Pro advisor

July 11, 2013 - 10:03 am
Member Since: June 25, 2012
Forum Posts: 1281
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Just relax, breathe and relax. Thats all there is to it.

All of my issues surface the moment I fail to relax. Sometimes its obvious sometimes not. It is complex multitasking for sure, and you feel the pressure definately. But, thats all just a mental game you play on yourself. Learn the basics and relax, breathe and relax.

:) (thats about two cents worth)

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

Regular advisor

July 11, 2013 - 10:13 am
Member Since: December 14, 2011
Forum Posts: 196
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Good NEWS it gets better!!!!

BAD NEWS then you try to do more stuff faster and feel that way AGAIN ( but not as bad because you choose how many things you add and when)

GOOD news it gets better again



California, the place of my heart
July 11, 2013 - 12:50 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4169
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Keep up the good work Ginny.  Great analogy.


@Picklefish ... I agree about relaxing.   

@screeeech .... Yup.... I seem to come back to spinning plates after every little bit of progress...

Keep on playing.


Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city

July 11, 2013 - 6:59 pm
Member Since: October 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 2849
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That WILL get better!!!

The more You practicing - the earlier it will happen. Many things will go away from the mind and become automatic. Though there will be other things which You'll have to pay attention for.

Don't be so upset about it. At the Beginning it is very important to do everything as right as possible - to build your automatic skills properly. Don't rush. Separate the tasks. About myself i can tell that i still feel like that man with the plates, but at the beginning i felt like my head's going to blow up, lol. Now it's a bit easier roflroflroflrofl

Fort Lauderdale
July 12, 2013 - 12:15 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14652
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"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Honorary advisor

July 13, 2013 - 6:26 pm
Member Since: January 18, 2012
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It will get better. It just takes time. Keep at it and keep working on your technique yet don't try to do too much at once. 

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