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I've been advised that I should sticker the notes as a beginner. So far I haven't done that and it kind of feels like 'cheating' if I added stickers. I'm relying on my ear for intonation and doing an occasional check as I play with a tuner app, to see if I'm in key. It feels like I'll develop my ear better this way, although I guess the stickers would give me less trial and error while learning...
Any opinions on the topic?
First welcome to the forum. I think you will find a lot of debate on this issue!
I am a newb as well, and I have not used the stickers at all. I think you are right that you will learn intonation better without the stickers. I'm pretty sure that the sticker concept is actually MUCH younger than the fine music that we all enjoy. I could be wrong, but I don't think J. S. Bach had any idea that stickers would ever exist when he was writing some of my favorite string pieces (not that I will be playing any of those anytime soon).
I should say though, that my second violin (a used one) came to me with stickers on it. I removed them, but I can still see their ghosts on the finger board, and I think that that has actually helped me a little bit when I DO feel like I need something to reference.
The sticker concept is nothing more than a guide though, they definitely are not perfect. Moving your finger just a millimeter to one side or another of the "sticker" will still dramatically change the note you are playing, so again, they are only a reference point, and are certainly not going to give you perfect intonation anyway.
Bottom line, it's up to you! Do what you think you can, and DON'T be afraid to develop your ears!!!!!! Again, I'm just a newb, but I don't use them (I just don't want them seen in any videos, like I'm some kind of child or something (it may be slightly immature for that being part of my reasoning, don't tell anyone)). Just play, if you are using a tuner every now and then to check your self, good for you. If you already have some musical background like I did and already have a concept of what a note is, you'll be fine. I think I'm doing okay, but that may just be my narcissism kicking in again.
Just the two cents of a newb. I think many will be quite polarized on this subject however.
There is no failure, only results.
I don't think you'll need stickers on your fingerboard. You're not trying to learn to play the violin with stickers---you're trying to learn to play the violin.
IMO the way to train your ear and fingers at the same time is to try to play the note, listen and feel where your hand and fingers are, and then look at your tuner. If you didn't get a green light, look away from the tuner and try again.
Another thing is to play notes rather than songs. By that I mean to get every note right. Then the song will take care of itself. The main thing I'm thinking in this context is that it's bad to rush through the tune without taking care of the details. I mean don't be satisfied with just getting through the tune so that it's recognizable without hitting any notes completely wrong. Make each note great and the whole tune is likely to come out great.
IMO extreme attention to intonation is the most natural path to ear-playing ability and vibrato.
Thanks everyone for the feedback. I really appreciate it. Stickerless it is! I'll keep checking the tuner instead.
Can I just say that stickers are highly beneficial if you want to learn the finger patterns first and by ear second. There is nothing wrong with it but it definately illustrates the proper finger patterns much more effectively. I am a sticker user. Now the stickers do not take the place of learning what the in tune note sounds like. And since they are repositionable, they sometimes slide. But, they can be useful. Just sayin.
"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.
My teacher uses small strips of tape. I want to take them off, even if I experience a bit of a set back, but she insists I leave them on for now. But yea, it's embarrassing.
Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.
Yeah I'm not going to lie. I put little pieces of scotch tape where the notes would be. It jacked me up when I had to learn flats and sharps today. I've only been playing a week but this weekend I'm going to take them off. I do agree it's better to play by ear. I feel that with the tape on when I'm trying to play a note I tend to look at finger positioning on the finger board rather than bowing technique and I tend to sound like crap/play string I'm not supposed to. I'm going to take the tape off so I can focus more on where the bow contacts the strings and then use fiddler man videos to help me memorize finger placements by ear. One string at a time so I can memorize it. Overall be safe and I hope your learning goes well!
I used white tape strips when I first started > it was helpful getting the mind to finger thing coordinated. I did that for about a month. I felt it was helpful. I probably wouldn't of but seemed a lot of people and vids suggested it and it did help to get started. If you know your basic scale or scales and know how they should sound, you will find the correct points of contact.
At my first lesson when I played a bit of music [I had had the violin for a few weeks] and teach saw me trying to find the correct note moving my fingers up and down the string she said - no need for tapes.
Learning by making mistakes!!!
Violinist start date - May 2013
Fiddler start date - May 2014
FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius. BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.
All this sliding has caused my stickers to fall off. I'm gonna leave em off for now since I don't plan on not sliding any time soon. I also have the fingerings pretty consistently close now so I can adjust based on tone anyways. Look, I am playing without my crutches!!! woo hoo!
"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.
A couple other ways to train your ear:
Be ready to hear sympathetic vibrations when you hit a note correctly. For example, when you finger any G, D, A, or E in first position, and you hit the note precisely, you can hear an open string vibrate. You'll need decent strings if you want to get much out of this technique.
Play along with perfectly-tuned recordings of scales or arpeggios or tunes. If you can't find any such, you can make them yourself using MuseScore.
Good advice all. I'm sticking with no stickers, as I'm three weeks in now
@Soldier It sounds like you're making really fast progress!
Yah I hear you. Pulled my scotch tape off today and it was a pretty ok adjustment. I ended up starting the book over from the beginning and played all the lessons until I got back to where I was. It took about 2-3 hours with breaks in between but it's ok. I think what I need is the official Hasbro Operation violin that gives me a nice shock and awful buzzing sound when I hit the wrong note. That'll help me learn lol.
I think there tends to be far more debate over the matter of stickers/tape than the matter actually merits.
First off, tape or stickers aren't going to be high enough to act like the frets on a mandolin or guitar or whatever, so they won't actually help anyone play better. The intonation is still going to be you, your fingers and ears.
Secondly, you aren't going to be watching your fingers all time anyway. If you play from written score, you'll be looking at the score. If you play by ear, your eyes will wander around the room some, maybe check the contact point of the bow and the strings.. If you walk around or move around at all when playing, you use your eyes for that, so it's not like your eyes will be always on your fingers.
Other than the possible "security blanket" effect of having them, I don't think they make anyone play any better OR worse.
The only drawback I can really think of is that they usually leave some sticky stuff that you need to clean off when you eventually take them off, as KindaScratchy mentioned. That doesn't actually hurt anything.
I put tapes on my first violin (electric) because I was hunting the net for advice for beginners and some sites (not this one, I hadn't found Fiddlerman.com yet) said to. I think they may have helped slightly for that first few days, since I was more used to fretted instruments like guitar. But after a few days I was ignoring them anyway. It doesn't really take that much practice to get the general idea of where each finger goes and to adjust to get it to sound right. I didn't bother with them on either of the violins (acoustic) that I've had since then.
They did have one plus side, which was that they seemed to scandalize some folks, so I left them on my electric until they wore off. But that mild bit of entertainment value was probably the only real advantage they had. LOL
Personally I don't think they're worth the bother. But if you have a teacher who requires them, you're in the situation of either finding another teacher, or trusting the judgement of that professional you are paying for guidance. Hiring a teacher and then not following their advice is basically throwing your money away. It wastes both your time.
When playing/practising, I don't think it is good to rely too much on visual helps like tapes/stickers, or digital tuners, for that matter. You ear and intonation will improve quicker the more you rely on them and the more you practice and listen to music. Your ear and your fingers both will get better with practice over time, even if they maybe aren't so great at first. It is a learning process. Trust in your own ability to learn, and focus on the sound.
"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
I approached my first violin the way I did my first bicycle. No training wheels.
There where 'accidents' with both but I can handle them well enough now. I still have the mistakes on the fiddle
I must say that the accidents on the bicycle hurt more than the ones on the violin
Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of ..... What was I saying????