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Removed My Fingering Placement Strips
Tonight, I removed my fingering tapes, auto pinstriping. I got tired of them.
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cid
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January 19, 2019 - 9:17 pm
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So, I got tired of the finger strips (car pinstripes) on Rudoulf’s neck. I removed them tonight. I didn’t do too bad without those strips. I want to stop looking at them and relying on them. Might be too soon. It has only been 3 or 4 months of lessons. We will see if I have any idea where I need to be tomorrow

My viola is a little big, I am trading it in when we get a break in the weather, but I can do the fingering much better without the strips on that viola better. Not sure why. I have an issue with its size, though. Hope the 15” or 15 1/2” one will be as easy as the 16” one is without the strips. But, even the 15” or 15 1/2” viola is larger than my violin, so we will see.

I know it is relative to the violinist because many factors play into this, including physical features of the violinist, violinist’s personal restrictions (if any), but on average, how long does a student violinist wait until the fingering strips are removed? Is it generally a different learning curve for that step in violin study for a senior citizen student than it is a teenager or younger?

I think that at this moment in time, they are no longer actually helping. I am spending too much time looking at them. I actually have an issue bowing while looking at sheet music as a result. I can only bow straight when I am looking at the fingering tapes. I end out memorizing my pieces, but have to look at the music until it is memorized. Weird. 

I also am preoccupied with hitting the mark, instead of listening to the sound. I am trying to get a feel for how my left hand feels when it is in position to finger first position, and how my index finger feels relative to my hand when it is in the proper position, and the feel of the stretch from (using D string as an example) E to G. I can judge the in between from that for the other fingering. 

Does this make sense? I need to get the feel for it. Not just vibration, I always know when I hit a note spot on by the vibration (most prominently the G on the D string) and the ring. But, by that point, I have already bowed it. I need to have the proper feel before it is bowed.

Keeping my fingers crossed I am not lost tomorrow. I think if I can do it tomorrow, I should be fine continuing without the strips. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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bocaholly
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January 19, 2019 - 10:08 pm
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Good move, Cid! From everything you've said in other posts, you are quite demanding of the sound quality you produce and you listen to a lot of music. Doesn't sound like you're the type to just muscle through with poor intonation for the sake of it.

I can relate to what you describe... so preoccupied with hitting that tape that it hindered my listening. I had those tapes for 8 months! Took them off in the summer (after 4 months of learning) because they had melted crooked. I showed up at my lesson, hit a few really off notes at the outset and my teacher had a conniption fit. Back on went the tapes. I was not a happy camper. I think she just didn't want to sit through the process I needed to go through to switch from looking to listening. 

Since the tape thing wasn't a battle I wanted to fight with my teacher, I swallowed the renewed tapes from +/- month 4 - 6 and then started showing up at lessons with one less tape each week or two. I just kept the 3rd finger tape as I started sliding into 3rd position. At least that made sense to me. 

Then things got funny. For what ever zany reason, my teacher decided that she had to introduce 5th position (although 3rd is far from under my belt.) I went home and added a tape where the 1st finger lands in 5th position. Another conniption fit ensued at the following lesson. "No tapes in positions!" Off came both remaining tapes and that's when I started to learn to really listen. 

Full disclosure 🙂 ... I still have a tiny dot of blue painter's masking tape around where the 3rd finger lands in 1st position (between the D and A string.) That's my little security blanket for the time being.

Cid, if you're enjoying transitioning to no tapes, stick to your guns! Give it some time and hope you have a plesant surprise in the morning!

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Fiddlerman
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January 19, 2019 - 10:45 pm
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cid said
So, I got tired of the finger strips (car pinstripes) on Rudoulf’s neck. I removed them tonight.

Bravo!!!

Congratulations. Hopefully you will not feel that you need them.

"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 19, 2019 - 11:17 pm
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@fiddlerdan @bocaholly   Thanks. If my instructor wants to put them on if I mess up at the beginning of the lesson Tuesday, I am just going to explain my issue and my thinking, and let her know that I won’t be able to learn where to put my fingers without the tapes if the tapes are on it. I have been playing a lot the last few days, so maybe I will not need as much warm up to hit the right notes when we start. Maybe, just maybe I will almost be on target.

Maybe the music store owner will let me warm up to orient myself in one of the empty studios before my lesson. We get along great with the owners. I have a joke for him every week. 

Thanks again for the encouragement.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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January 19, 2019 - 11:22 pm
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My guess is that your instructor will be happy that you did it.

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

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wtw
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Sure, congrats !
I don't think there is a general rule about how long one should or should not keep finger tapes. The sooner you are able to do without, the better, I'd say. I wouldn't worry too much, you have a good musical ear, you need to trust yourself : trust your ears and the feel of it.

Maybe try playing very simple things (children songs, …) from memory, even looking away, not relying on your eyes at all ?

If you don't land spot on (which will happen of course), it's not that bad, maybe think of it this way : the game now is to listen to the sound you're producing, compare to the note you're hearing in your head, and correct your finger placement as quickly as possible – even infinitesimally. Sounds fun ? 🙂

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cid
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January 20, 2019 - 2:36 pm
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I have been playing “Lullaby”, “Twinkle”, and “Lightly Row” all day. I have been changing out the strings used, so I am fingering all the strings. We did Lightly Row in our last lesson, and my instructor played accompaniment music with it, so I have soent kore time in that one, again using the A and E strings as written, but also D and A, and G and D strings.

It has been going pretty well. I miss a bit, but not by much. When I question it, I turn on my Daddario instant tuner and see if I am close or have lost it completely. I have been pretty close, in most cases. Once in a while I lose it. Part of that could be from being at it too long. When I put it away and come back, I am much better. 

Thanks for all of the encouragement.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Mark
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January 20, 2019 - 9:04 pm
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Cid,

Grats on removing tapes,

try playing with a drone tone, it really helps me tighten up on intonation.

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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bocaholly
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January 21, 2019 - 7:59 am
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Congrats, Cid! I like the description of how you're approaching this. 

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cid
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bocaholly said
Congrats, Cid! I like the description of how you're approaching this.   

Thanks, Boca. I will write something up when I am using my iPad. I am using my iPhone right now. I save my iPad battery strength in case my daughter Facetimes me with my two little granddaughters. I us it in the afternoon. I have to write it up in my notes and copy paste to here because original typing and editing is really strange here. It is like another forum I go to once in a while for machine knitting. Probably same platform. 

A simplified answer is using “feel”. Not exact yet, because I am still working on it, but so far it is as good as the strips, for me. I did start a more systematic approach late yesterday evening and will write something up. To me, this makes sense, which could mean a major flaw! 😂😂😂😁

First lesson since I removed them is tomorrow. Will let you know what happens.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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January 21, 2019 - 11:40 am
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I'm sure your lesson will be great and your teacher will be happy.

"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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bocaholly said
I like the description of how you're approaching this.   

Hi, Bocalholly. Ok, I am finished with busy work; put my second Grafitti Quilt top together, started the crockpot, practiced my violin, did a load of wash. Now I can explain my reasoning and plan for going fingerboard tapeless. 

I have been using either auto pinstripes or little dots in strategic places since my second lesson in September. The evening of January 19, I was playing my violin and realized what I have been doing. I have not been paying attention to where I am placing my fingers in relation to the string and sound desired. I was also not taking note of how the stretch is, say from E to F# or G on the D string. I was just looking straight down the fingerboard to the tapes. I was not looking at where my music would be. All the music I was playing was memorized in some form or method. Some music was from my cello book and I just mimicked the the strings and fingering. Others, I heard and figured it out, others were downloaded PDF’s or books.

The pieces from the cello book were easy because I already knew the notes, so no initial looking at music was necessary, as were those I was just able to figure out. I did not have to look at sheets of music, or a book. I could just look down the fingerboard, like aiming an arrow.

For PDF’s or books, it was a different story. I put the PDF’s and books on my music stand. I could not look at the PDF or book, and look down the fingerboard at the placement tapes very easily, no matter how I positioned my music stand. I ended out playing a few notes, stopping to look at the music, play those notes, etc, etc. This went on until I memorized the pieces. My goal is to have the pieces memorized, but not because it interferes with intonation. Memorizing the songs is good, but not for the reason I was doing it.

January 19, I had enough. I decided that I was not getting better. I was not progressing on my quest to hit the right notes on my fingerboard, so why is that? I thought about it and went through what I was doing and thinking by playing “Danny Boy” very slowly, then I did the easier, “Lightly Row” with the same process. I was not learning where the notes were, I was learning where the tapes were. I decided to remove them.

My plan is to learn proper placement by noting certain things that go on.

1. You pick up your violin. Almost every time I pick it up, I am holding it the same way. My left hand appears to be holding it in the same spot. Well, I am paying attention to how I have to adjust it after putting it under my jaw so my hand and fingers will be in the proper place.

2. Exactly where is my left hand so the fingers are lined up properly for first position? I need to pay attention to how that feels at the wrist, the palm of my hand (the inside curve) at the elbow. All parts that are making this position possible. How does it feel? How does it feel at the neck side where the thumb is? Let that register in my memory. That is how I want my left elbow, arm, fingers, thumb to feel to start. 

3. I needed a tuner for this part, and still do when I start out. I will talk about my recommendation for that at the end. Starting with any string. I started with the D string because it is the easiest for me. Using my index finger, find the E. Use the tuner to make sure you stay on that spot for this exercise. You need to pay attention with the proper fingering.

Bow the string. Bow it slowly. Pay attention, again, to how the left hand feels, how the finger feels. Try to get a sense from how far it is from the nut. Slowly whole bow. Pay attention to how the bow feels (keeping in mind, we are not fine tuning our bowing right now). Mostly, pay attention to the sound of the violin and the vibration. Pay attention to sound. Pay attention to the ring. Pay attention to how the violin vibrates and how it feels when you are spot on. 

4. Release your finger. Repeat this process a couple times, with the tuner on as your guide. Now, turn the tuner off. Release the string and then touch it where you think the E or whatever index finger note you are using is. Slow bow it. Pay attention to everything mentioned above. Is it correct? Test it. Carefully, without moving the finger on the string, turn the tuner on and slow bow. How close were you? Are you a little flat, a little sharp? Turn the tuner off. Repeat, but make the slight adjustment. If you think you have it right, carefully turn the tuner on again. If you got it right, bravo! Now undo the finger position and do it again. LOL

If you did not think you were right the first time, start it over, and when you think you have it right, turn the tuner on. Do NOT turn the tuner on until you think you have it right, you want to check yourself, you do not want the tuner to tell if you where to place your finger, just as a check.

Repeat this on each string, with index finger only, or you can move on to step 5 and continue with the string you started with. However is easier for you. Basically, you can do the index finger on all strings before moving on to the middle finger, or you can just do the index finger first position on one string and move on to the middle finger on that same string, etc.  Step 5 explains the middle finger, so continue there when ready based on the route you want to take.

5. Moving on to the middle finger. Assuming you have a pretty good idea where to place the index finger, realizing you may need the tuner to start with, and you still may miss the mark periodically, but in general know what to listen and feel for, we will add the middle finger note. I am still working on D string. I am skipping F and will be fingering F#, it is used more than F in the beginner songs,

Turn the tuner on and verify you have the index finger on its proper spot. If you need to, warm up with the index finger exercises for that string first, after you are comfortable to start you can add the middle finger. Place your middle finger where you think the right spot is for the B if using the G string, or F# if using the D string, C# if using the A string, G# if using the E string (hope I got those right). Make sure you are starting with the middle finger in the proper place. Listen to how everything feels and sounds as doing whole slow bows, just like you did for the index finger. This time you add one more thing to pay attention to. Pay attention to the stretch from the properly placed index finger and the middle finger as it is on the string in the correct place. This is important. Pay attention to that stretch. That will be a great gauge as you are playing. Do this slow bowing with the tuner on until you think you are aware of the sound, the violin feel, the bow, and most importantly, the stretch from the index finger to the middle finger. 

Now turn the tuner off. Repeat the exercise that was done in step 4. Add the index finger with this exercise by switching from index finger placement, middle finger placement, and open string. Mix it up. If you get confused and lost, start again with the tuner to get the proper placement with the index finger. Turn the tuner off and start from scratch with the middle finger. Use the tuner only as compass to show the direction. Use as little as possible. Try tweaking with just moving the finger a teeny tiny bit before falling back on the tuner, but if you need to find out use it. You don’t want to get the feel of the fingering in the wrong places, you don’t want the wrong aounds to register in your mind. 

This is repeated for each finger on each string. The question asked is, “should I add the little finger?” I do. Why? Because for me, if I am learning this, and being told to constantly do an open D, open A and open E, and then later being told to use my little finger for the D on the G, for the A on the D, for the E on the A, it is not going to happen easily. My little finger has not been used from square one, it has not been exercised, it is now weak and I have progressed to the point where I am  doing aongs with this introduction. That is a wall for me. Let me explain.

About a month ago I had to have a discussion with my instructor because she was moving too fast. I, eventually, tried one of the songs again. I looked at the fingering. In some areas the E was played with the 4th finger on A. I saw the pattern. If there was no note on the E string after the E, it was played with the 4th finger on A. That was alternate fingering noted on the music My instructor had not pointed that out when we started that song. We just used the E string throughout. I know me, changing that later, or adding that E with the 4th finger on A option later will play games with my ability to do it. On my own, I have been using my 4th finger instead of open strings, where it makes sense. So, if you want, add the fourth finger to these exercises. It, apparently, is used in first position. Why let your little finger have a free pass and then bring it into the mix? My mind does not work that way, not sure about yours.

Now, I mentioned a tuner. I use the D’addario NS Micro Violin and Viola Tuner I purchased at Fiddlershop. 

https://fiddlershop.com/produc.....iola-tuner

It is great. It gives instant read of the note, which is why it works so great for my attemlt at going without auto pinstriping on my violin fingerboard.

I know this is long, but I wanted to be thorough. I am still doing this and still working on it. I was able to play pretty well, intonation-wise, today. It takes me a while to get orientated to not have to get orientated with my tuner. I still need it to start. I can always tell when I am spot on because the note rings and my violin vibrates. It is beautiful. I felt the vibration a little when using the tapes, but was not paying as much attention to this cue and the ringing cue. I love it. This will not happen overnight. It will take a while.

I wish I had just started this way. I think that the attention to all of this is not taught and students are moved on quickly at the beginnimg is because most students are kids and they do not have the attention span, are not aware of the the importance of noticing all of these cues, and do not understand that it will pay off in big dividends in the end, at least I hope it will. I still play some songs, I don’t just do these exercises. I do, however, use this process of thinking and payimg attention to cues as I am playing. I have noticed a tiny bit of progress, which is more than I did with tapes. I am noticing the relation of the ring finger to the middle, the stretches, can hear when I a, off more readily, etc.

I hope this helps and encourages people. I am not saying that if the tapes are beneficial to you, that it is wrong, this is just what I am finding beneficial to me at the moment.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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bocaholly
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January 21, 2019 - 5:59 pm
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Amazing report, Cid. I will try to take an example in the painstaking job you did and apply it to my own practice!

Thank you!

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cid
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You are welcome. It isn’t meant for strict following, but a good guide.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Mark
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Found this a while back, wrote out the notes on a ledger started using it fun exercise.

Mark

 

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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cid
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@Mark That is a great video. I usually skip hers because I am not a fan. Never saw that one. That explains those wonderful rings on some of the notes. I wasn’t very clear about that in my writeup, that the rings and vibrations are not as prominent on all strings. I think that is because, in my mind, when I feel I am spot on, I am feeling a vibration and hearing a slight ring, any note, any string. I have wondered why that G on D string, and the D on the A string, and the A on the E string really belt out the ring and vibration as opposed to the other strings when I am spot on. These three are more orominent that the others she mentions.

Am I imagining that slighter vibration and ring on the other notes I hit right? If I hit the F# on the D string I always can feel it, same as on the other strings I hit the mark with. Maybe I am transferring that to a feeling of vibration and ringing because it is so prominent on the other notes, and they register as spot on? 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Mark
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January 21, 2019 - 9:37 pm
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Cid, 

I'm not a musical theroy guru by any stretch of the imagination, every note has a harmonic series that is associated with that note, and if that series contains an G,D,A or E the the fiddle should excite that coresponding string and start that string vibrating not a strong as an G,D,A or E but I believe it will vibrate it.

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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mookje
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Great job to remove your fingering tapes 👍 

 Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain!!

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pchoppin
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This is awesome!!

I also removed my fingering tapes some months ago for the very reasons you cited.

There are some teachers who never use them, due to those same reasons you described.  My teacher asked if I wanted to try them and I did.  I played with tapes for about 5 months.  They eventually became a hindrance for me as well.

In my opinion, tapes can be helpful for beginners to help them build muscle memory and help to train their ear.  However, this should be very temporary.  A good teacher will know when the tapes have become a hindrance and will have the student remove them.

It is much easier now for me to play without tapes.  I am able to listen better and adjust my intonation faster.  In fact, I cannot imagine playing with tapes now, nor do I see how they would help me anymore.

Congratulations!  And keep working on intonation!  But don't worry, it is a life-long pursuit for perfect intonation for all of us!

- Pete -

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cid
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Some days I can start right in with the intonation being pretty good. Other days, it takes a while of hit and miss, as I am missing and hitting, I try to pay attention to where I was on the fingerboard and go from there. From then on, I am fine.

Another thing I noticed this morning, and this is odd. I noticed this morning that if I am having an issue with intonation, I go back and play, “Danny Boy” and it gets me on track. That I can understand, I am working very seriously on that. My father-in-law is very Irish. He is 96 and I would love to get it where I feel comfortable playing it for him, that and, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”. Long way to go. That is probably why it gets me back on track, I play it a lot, but, it does not use much on the E string, but it does help get me on track with that string. It also helps with the G string, and that string is not used at all. Isn’t that odd? I can understand the D and A string. 

I thought that has been the case, Danny Boy getting me on track, but did not really confirm it until this morning. I was having major issues and Danny Boy got me on track. Should probably use it as a warm up.

I think my instructor, somehow, heard my horrible playing this morning, wherever she was. violin-student I had a bad morning with my fiddle, at first. The music shop called about 11 am to let me know my instructor had to cancel this afternnoon’s lesson. 😂 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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