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Question about supplementing lesson songs
I am wondering if supplementing songs on my own with lessons is helpful or a hindrance
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cid
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January 5, 2019 - 5:04 pm
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So, a few weeks ago I asked my instructor to slow down, she was assigning 5 songs per lesson. One problem is that the book progresses too qhuckly, so five songs moves along too quickly. First lesson I mentioned that I am in no hurry and need to go slow. She also started in the middle of the book. I asked her to go back to the beginning because I really felt like I needed to get a firm foundation to work from. I told her I have issues with holding the bow, maintaining the hold through an entire song, I have intonation issues, trouble with the bowing itself. I actually had all of this written in the notepad I bring.

To be clear, I understand why she did it. I had her for cello for three months in 2013. I think that played a part. She also said that parents have complained their kids get bored if she goes slower. She also said that she wished all of her students used the notepad to write down concerns between lessons. She agreed and went back to the first song in the book.

We have not had a lesson since the last Tuesday before Christmas, so it will have been two weeks when we have this coming Tuesday’s lesson. I have songs I was playing around before I was able to start lessons and I just found “Rainbow Connection” in a key I can actually finger, except last section cause I have issues with a natural C and it ends in Key of C. I was playing it today, and it is in my range.

My question is, is it helpful or not helpful to work on songs on your own? Should I put these songs away and stick to the curriculum? I am trying to get through songs without losing the grip of my bow, and also know I angle it too much. I really angle it too much. 

Any thoughts from those who have or are taking lessons, or teaching violin?

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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bocaholly
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January 5, 2019 - 5:37 pm
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I usually take a peek at a page or two of material that comes right after my homework and feel it helps me get to most out of my up coming lesson when we get to that new material. Results vary. Sometimes my homework was so poor that we don't even move on. Sometimes the stuff I peeked at was OK enough to move on to things I haven't sneak previewed. 

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Irv
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January 5, 2019 - 6:25 pm
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You have just hit upon my new year’s resolution to myself.  Slightly difference circumstance as you, since I have spent the last year “home schooled” with a method book on violin without an instructor (not that I saved money, I spent it on cheap violins and related materials).  I have just about concluded the second (of 3) method books in the series and have resolved to add a song (from The Portland Collection) to the page of instruction per week.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

I consider any plane that I design a success if it rises high enough to crash.  —RA Heinlein

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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January 5, 2019 - 6:46 pm
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That is very cool, @Irv. I had to google contra dance and one of the first Youtube hits was of a bunch of folks contra dancing in Boca Raton (of all places). The caller, Bob, is from Syracuse (of all places) There was a live fiddler plus a couple of other instruments. 

I don't remember you ever mentioning being into a specific genre. Enjoy the extra fiddle music ride!

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Irv
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January 5, 2019 - 10:55 pm
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Hi bocaholly.  No interest in music type.  Got a good deal on the book and liked the music once I got it.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

I consider any plane that I design a success if it rises high enough to crash.  —RA Heinlein

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cid
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January 6, 2019 - 9:12 am
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Hmm. I just thought of something. Maybe I should move my original question to the teaching section and get input from a teacher’s point of view, too? I certainly do not want my instructor, whom I love dearly (just a little glitch in lesson speed), to rev it up when I mention other songs. For two weeks, due to the holiday season, it has been Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

I went back to playing English Country Gardens, Danny Boy, Aulde Lang Syne, some of the songs from the middle of the book, and just found Rainbow Connection. I have been trying to get through them while remembering I am holding a bow. These are all in the Key of D, so I do not have that natural C next to a B to deal with. They are all easy versions for beginners. The lesson book progresses too quickly from page to page. 

Maybe some input from the teachers’ section would help, too.

Bocaholly, I am not talkimg about peeking at furture lesson songs, which I have done ?. I have been playing with songs within the level I am at (songs in Key of D, in first position) and trying to use them to firm up bow hold, bowing and intonation. I am not sure if that is a hindrance or will be a hindrance in the future. I really do not want to mess this because I really want to learn to play solo violin, and then viola.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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January 7, 2019 - 10:43 pm
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It's not bad to learn pieces on your own. I think it could be a bit wasteful to pay for lessons if you don't prepare for them but not if you get your teacher to work on the pieces that you like and have been working on.
You are learning to play because you want to and not because you have to. I say, keep on working on the pieces that make you happy and if the teacher doesn't like that, perhaps find someone who suits your needs.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cid
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January 11, 2019 - 6:53 pm
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I had my lesson today. No problem with adding songs. I showed her the one I thought would be good to help me cement the bowing and fingering and explained why. She agreed, and also got out some of her books and I took a snapshot of one and am hoping I can find a less expenisive version. She paid $40 for it and she doesn’t want students spending that much on it, it is very good, though. She said it was expensive because it had to be imported. Hm,.

Then she looked through book 2 of the series we are using and found 2 songs that should have been in book 1. She gave me the book to bring home. I was just going to buy book 2 because I will be needing it anyway. She said to just make a copy of those 2 songs. But, I don’t do that, so I will just take the cello version of those two songs, it is the same series I use for cello, and rewrite manually for my violin, not a biggy, or I will just go ahead and order book 2. I just started the one song with my cello.

So, I am good with my songs. 

Thanks, everyone.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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January 11, 2019 - 7:40 pm
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cid said ............Then she looked through book 2 of the series we are using and found 2 songs that should have been in book 1. She gave me the book to bring home. I was just going to buy book 2 because I will be needing it anyway. She said to just make a copy of those 2 songs. But, I don’t do that, so I will just take the cello version of those two songs, it is the same series I use for cello, and rewrite manually for my violin, not a biggy, or I will just go ahead and order book 2. I just started the one song with my cello.

So, I am good with my songs. 

Thanks, everyone.  

Which pieces are you referring to? Sometimes you can find that stuff here:
https://musescore.com/

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cid
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January 11, 2019 - 7:54 pm
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Fiddlerman said

Which pieces are you referring to? Sometimes you can find that stuff here:
https://musescore.com/  

The book she has is, “Bärenreiter’s Sassmannshaus, The Sassmanshaus Tradition” “Violin Recital Album, First Position Erste Lage, Volume 1 / Band 1” Apparently German? 

It has simple songs rhe nirmal,way, and they getbmore difficult the further into the book you go. That song is done in three ofher versions with different rhythms, etc. It is so neat. It had “Lightly Row”, of clurse. But the different versions were really something. Not just simple 1/2 notes changed to 1/4 notes, A little more variated than that, the songs do get more involved, and they each have versions that are more involved than the original. 

Ever hear of that book? 

Will look at the link you provided, too.

Thanks. This has been a very upliftinf violin day. 

On top of that, my Obligato strings for my violin and viola arrived today. Ordered them from Fiddlershop. They were in the mailbox while I was at my violin lesson,so we let them warm up. Might wait for tomorrow to put them on. Getting kind of late and it takes me so long to change my strings, yet. Popped my bridge last time when I put Violinos on it. Almost done, and boing! I was checking all along and then did a tiny turn, bummer. I could see where it was before and put it back where it was. I want to put the Obligatos on to make it more soulful and keep the Violinos as a backup. They have only been on a few weeks.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Bob
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January 12, 2019 - 8:07 am
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@cid you might enjoy surfing through Sassmannshaus's web site (link below). He has videos of him teaching students specific techniques. A little bit on the "stiff" teaching style, but still very interesting to watch.

http://www.violinmasterclass.com/

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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cid
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January 12, 2019 - 8:33 am
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Bob said
@cid you might enjoy surfing through Sassmannshaus's web site (link below). He has videos of him teaching students specific techniques. A little bit on the "stiff" teaching style, but still very interesting to watch.

http://www.violinmasterclass.com/  

From the looks of the book, it does not surprise me. I suspect strict classic style, which is not me. I think my instructor purchased her book straight from their site in Germany(?), found it there yesterday evening. She paid $40 for it and said most was shipping and she said some import fees(?). I generally order from US stores (I don’t do much online shopping) and have not encountered import fees.

I did find it at one of the US violin shops online, but not sure I want it. The page they sampled was not like the three she showed me. The song in the sample did not have the three variations of that song after the traditional version. It was a sample page using one of the songs further back for the student who is a little further along in first position. Maybe they do not give the variations with those songs.

It also had all that piano accompaniment part, that just gets in the way for me. The book title I browsed did not state it was the version with the accompaniment. It was exactly as I Googled, but the version displayed said, “with piano accompaniment”. My instructor’s version was just violin. The one I saw in the official website was just violin.

I am going to see if I can have another look before I buy it. I don’t want a collection of books starting here. You should see all of my piano and guitar books. I have enough songs to hone what I have learned for now. I realized that last night.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Bob
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January 12, 2019 - 9:43 am
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I personally wouldn't buy the Sassmannshaus books just because there are so many resources available for free on the web. I tend towards "classical" pieces, so I get a lot of my studies and pieces from https://imslp.org/index.php?title=Category:For_violin&transclude=Template:Catintro

But, I really enjoy folk, popular, Scottish and Irish fiddle music as well and find endless sources for these on the web:

In addition to musescore FM mentioned https://musescore.com/sheetmusic?sort=view_count&instruments=9

There are:

https://www.8notes.com/violin/

http://www.katyadelson.com/

https://thesession.org/

http://sfo.org.uk/free-sheet-m.....-fiddlers/

There are numerous others, but the best source of sheet music is right here on Fiddlerman.com with all the "project" tunes along with everything on the "sheet music" tab.

Have fun 🙂

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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Fiddlerman
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January 12, 2019 - 10:30 pm
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Thanks Bob. LOL

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cid
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January 13, 2019 - 9:12 am
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@Bob “

There are numerous others, but the best source of sheet music is right here on Fiddlerman.com with all the "project" tunes along with everything on the "sheet music" tab.”

I have downloaded and printed many Fiddlerman songs. Some are beyond where I am at. I am always looking for more songs at my beginning level, but not too simple. I probably have enough, but I like to be able to site read a new one here and there and just see how I do from scratch. I should probably just settle on what I have and wait until I advance a little further and check again. The Fiddlerman downloads have become my first go to since I stumbled upon it back in October. I think I have printed all that are at my level, some that are a little beyond.

I can do first parts of “The Hobbit”, the “Harry Potter” one (Hedwig?). I think the “Rainbow Connection” one was a Fiddlerman, can’t remember off hand, but I can do that until it switches to key of G(?). I have big issues with a natural C and am working on it. Anyway, I am working my way through those. After I am comfortable with one of them, I will work on that one and get it down better. I am still working on them. They get beyond my abilities for many sections and I go back and see if I can do those parts I have issues with periodically. 

I can’t remember if the “Danny Boy” one, that I can do, is a Fiddlerman download. I don’t use the sheetmusic anymore because it is memorized, so I don’t see where I got it from when I play it. I know the “English Country Gardens” came from Allison Snow.

I actually use “Danny Boy” and “English Country Gardens” to warm up with. I do not know why I can do those and have issues with more simple ones. But, I can do those on my violin, viola and cello. Just used the violin sheet music to figure it out for the viola and cello. I used “Danny Boy” when I was trying out violas.

I am trying to use “Danny Boy” for dynamics in bowing and trying to figure out how to do that. I am not ready to ask my instructor to use that one with me. I need a shorter, easier to finger song so I can concentrate on the bowing, only. I brought “Lullaby” with me Friday to use for that. Not sure If that came off the Fiddlerman site or not. Just downloaded it about a week ago. Nope, just checked. It was from Copatastomusic.com. It was a free download.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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January 13, 2019 - 10:32 am
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cid said
@Bob “

There are numerous others, but the best source of sheet music is right here on Fiddlerman.com with all the "project" tunes along with everything on the "sheet music" tab.”.............

You are way too kind. 🙂 Thanks. I need to get better about finding time to do more "Tune A Week" and Tutorials.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Irv
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January 13, 2019 - 12:38 pm
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With all of the posts regarding the playing of Jack Benny, I think we need to add “Love in Bloom” to the collection.  I can only find piano versions.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

I consider any plane that I design a success if it rises high enough to crash.  —RA Heinlein

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Gordon Shumway
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January 15, 2019 - 8:04 am
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Bob said 
@cid you might enjoy surfing through Sassmannshaus's web site (link below). He has videos of him teaching students specific techniques. A little bit on the "stiff" teaching style, but still very interesting to watch.

http://www.violinmasterclass.com/  

Cid said: -

From the looks of the book, it does not surprise me. I suspect strict classic style, 

Yes, I've seen Sassmannshaus online. It seems rather strict to me.

You can get all of Suzuki online. I don't know how legal it is, but a few of the pdfs I've got are old editions, so perhaps they are legal.

I've been debating with myself for a long time and drawing up a year plan and discussing it with my teacher. We've come to the conclusion that I'll learn two pieces in parallel for two months each, so that I cover 12 pieces per year. I hope to be able to go up three grades per year. I'm trying to arrange them so that each pair will consist of a fast détaché piece (usually Suzuki Bach or Vivaldi) and a lyrical piece. But we're only 3 lessons in, so it's still too early to know if this schedule is a practicable one.

Then if I want to supplement them, I'll play things like Trott or Wohlfahrt or Kreutzer, but we probably won't look at them in lessons: I'll only be using the Wohlfahrt for détaché exercise. I'll ditch him for Kreutzer as soon as we do third position.

Also, the ABRSM syllabus has three sections in chronological order, so section three is always moderns and things like blues or jazz. I suspect that a good thing for me to do will be play the blues and jazz numbers entirely on my own aiming at nothing but feel - probably not something my teacher will be able to help with anyway, no offence to her, lol! Otoh, there may be bowing techniques involved in the syncopation, so I will be flexible. But if I fiddle at the uke club, I'll want my playing to be fairly free.

If you are only interested in popular songs, then two at any one time may be insufficient. But if 5 is a rush, perhaps you should concentrate on 2 formally and supplement them in any way you like.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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cid
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January 15, 2019 - 10:49 am
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I have seen the YouTube Suzukis online. Watching the cello ones online helped with my bowing. I haven’t really paid that much attention to the violin ones. I keep finding ones that have all that vibrato that people in book one just do not do. That prevents me from being able to get anything out of watching and listening to them. I have asked my instructor to stop putting vibrato into the songs we are doing because it is very distracting because we are supposedly playing the same thing. If she is doing an accompaniment piece, it is fine, but if she is doing exactly what I am doing, I cannot have vibrato. Why, oh why, if people are demonstrating a piece being done by those beginners not doing vibrato, why do they use vibrato? That is for another post. 😁

I lost the CD that came with my book 1. That is fine, the Suzuki CD’s have too much accompaniment with their sample songs, at least with the cello CD, assuming the same is true for the violin CD.

I am feeling more confident moving on now because for the two weeks I had off, I did extensive work on my bowing. Last week my instructor was really impressed with my bowing. She noticed immediately. My husbands little thingies he made out of the tubing helped a lot. I am not able to do the hold without them. They were great!

I have a lesson today and need to ask her the plan. I don’t want to do songs helter skelter with no plan or structure for technique, when to add a new bowing technique, when to add a new position, etc. I need structure in lessons, always have and always will, probably why online lessons do not work for me.

Thanks for sharing your system, I am going to reread it and see how I can modify and use it. It sounds like a good plan. Thanks. 👍 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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pchoppin
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Fiddlerman said
It's not bad to learn pieces on your own. I think it could be a bit wasteful to pay for lessons if you don't prepare for them but not if you get your teacher to work on the pieces that you like and have been working on.
You are learning to play because you want to and not because you have to. I say, keep on working on the pieces that make you happy and if the teacher doesn't like that, perhaps find someone who suits your needs.  

So I LOVE finding music I want to play and bring it to my lesson.  I will first become familiar with the piece before the lesson just to get the sight reading out of the way.  At my lesson, I play the piece for my teacher.  She will give me pointers and help me with some of the challenging parts of the piece.

She loves it when I bring in my own material.  We get to discuss how the piece is structured, maybe some fingering/bowing that will help me on the piece and she also loves that I take initiative and look for music on my own.  It's a win/win!

- Pete -

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