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April 2015 - What are we working on.
projects, songs, techniques.
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coolpinkone
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May 11, 2015 - 3:07 pm
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@Georganne 

Here is a version I found on Pinterest.  

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/.....966702625/

It is similar to mine...   I can't find the one I had originally printed... it was an arrangement and was 11 pages.. I cut and taped it to make two sheets. LOL....

That version is pretty similar...I might have to try it, My version has no accidentals at the end.   

This should work out well for you.. but I will see if I can find that arrangement I found before. 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Georganne
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Thanks.  I'll give it a try. 

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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For me, I have a running list of songs that I'm always working on. Even though I know the notes, I always try to run through certain songs on certain days..

Some of my ongoing project fiddle tunes are: "Sally Goodin" "Uncle Pen" "Methodist Preacher" "Jenny Lynn" "Boston Boy" <---tricky, key of C, lot's of string crossings.... and a few others..

I also work on "Kick-off's" ( beginnings ) and "breaks" ( solos ) to certain vocal songs by ear trying to mix in double stops with scales. Generally in first and 2nd position mainly in the keys of "B" "Eflat" "E" and "Bflat" <---interesting key for nice double stop work "A" "C" and "D" and also "F" just the standard Bluegrass stuff.

What I've done lately is play the scales and phrases first with no metronome over some "violin drones" in the background to get them ( and my ear ) tuned up. Then I work on them either with a backing track of a full ensemble in the background ( always using headphones ) or just straight metronome with subdivide beats. I'm really working on intonation, dialing it in, slowly getting it better, not close, but as right on as I can. I've been suprised, I mean, I have a good ear, but Violin intonation takes some practice and getting used too to REALLY get it spot on.

I've also started practicing the Mark O'Conner "wrist/finger" excercises for bowing arm. I do this for 5 minutes as a warm up every day before I play anything. Just 5 minutes. Surprisingly, like you would working out, you can feel that the wrist and tendons are worked out pretty good afterwords, like a good set of push-ups kinda. I haven't quite achieved the fully flexible wrist/fingers yet....I mean it's getting there but I want to be so fluid, limber and flexible to have cleaner, more precise bowing. I'm leaning more towards a "Russian" style bow grip these days, pretty much exclusively for some months now.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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coolpinkone
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May 14, 2015 - 1:40 pm
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@EricBluegrassFiddle  - What an awesome and structured practice you have.

In working on the "House" project and some personal projects.. I have ended up playing a  lot.  But that is playing.  Now that doesn't mean I don't practice and "replay" bad notes or bows.  I just haven't been focused on my techniques.

I have done a little fourth finger fitness, and a bit of double stop practice. 

🙂

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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May 14, 2015 - 4:04 pm
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coolpinkone said
@EricBluegrassFiddle  - What an awesome and structured practice you have.

In working on the "House" project and some personal projects.. I have ended up playing a  lot.  But that is playing.  Now that doesn't mean I don't practice and "replay" bad notes or bows.  I just haven't been focused on my techniques.

I have done a little fourth finger fitness, and a bit of double stop practice. 

🙂

I play G scales alot in first position which causes you to have to reach with pinky on the E string, and other excercises. I have to be careful as I don't "overreach" given I have long, thin fingers. I actually find it trickier in 3rd position using the pinky. It's tighter in those positions and the hand and fingers have to fall in just the right place. Playing over drones in those positions helps too. I think Fiddlerman has Violin drones under "learning tools" on this site.

I couple of the fiddle tunes I practice "Katy Hill" and "Methodist Preacher" both use the G scale on the E string in first position. It's a good workout for it.... Also alot of scales on all the strings...

I practice generally 1 hour a day during the week and on weekend, 2 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the evening, sometimes more just depends. It's become a habit for me now so I stick to it.

Thnis Mark OConner excercise I've overlooked but not anymore......Just 5 minutes a day as a warm up....I can feel the wrist getting worked out...

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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coolpinkone
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May 14, 2015 - 5:08 pm
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@EricBluegrassFiddle .. I am about the same with you on practice.  Everyday about an hour.. usually a bit more.  (There is usually one day a week where I don't get that in because of a work and social function.. so it ends up just being 15 minutes)

On Fridays and Sundays I get 2-3 hours.  (Fridays I get to play Electric if I want..woo hooo) 

I finished a successful 35 day challenge recently.  I didn't start a new one.. but I think I will.  This time with scale work with the metronome.  🙂  (so I say.. so I say)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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May 15, 2015 - 10:57 am
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coolpinkone said
@EricBluegrassFiddle .. I am about the same with you on practice.  Everyday about an hour.. usually a bit more.  (There is usually one day a week where I don't get that in because of a work and social function.. so it ends up just being 15 minutes)

On Fridays and Sundays I get 2-3 hours.  (Fridays I get to play Electric if I want..woo hooo) 

I finished a successful 35 day challenge recently.  I didn't start a new one.. but I think I will.  This time with scale work with the metronome.  🙂  (so I say.. so I say)

That's cool...I've never done one of those challenges...

15 minutes is better than nothing althougth I'd personally try to stretch it to at least 30. For me it takes the better part of 10 minutes just to warm up and if I try to squeeze in a really short practice, I'll try to rush stuff to fast. I've noticed with Violin practice, you have to take your time and be focused and methodical. I suppose that as I get better and more consistent, I'll be able to warm up and play well in shorter time than before..

Ever notice that right before you seem to have a breakthrough on something you go through a brief phase where it seems like nothings working, can't seem to move forward...and then all of the "sudden" bang you hit a little improvement on something?

I wonder why that is? Something to do with our brains or something?

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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coolpinkone
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May 16, 2015 - 4:30 pm
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@EricBluegrassFiddle  Yes... I have that feeling when I am working on something..usually sound or the flow of a song..and I play it a bazillion times and I start to almost loose heart..and yep.. then the hard work pays off... or sometimes putting that song in time out for a few days.... Punish it. LOL.  Just Kidding.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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May 17, 2015 - 1:36 am
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EricBluegrassFiddle said

...For me it takes the better part of 10 minutes just to warm up and if I try to squeeze in a really short practice, I'll try to rush stuff to fast. I've noticed with Violin practice, you have to take your time and be focused and methodical. I suppose that as I get better and more consistent, I'll be able to warm up and play well in shorter time than before..

Personally, I think about 10 min is a good amount of time to warm up.  Even on instruments I've played considerably longer than violin, I take about that long. 

For violin, my usual "warm-up" is 5 min of open string bowing and then I run a very simple exercise I do with just one octave of a scale in a range that is "of interest" (meaning the scale a piece I will be working on is from, and picking the octave to be an octave I will be using heavily for that bit), up and down at a moderately fast tempo and playing the root and octave as a "doublestop" 4 times at top and bottom over and over for 5 minutes, to give the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders enough work to start to feel warm as circulation gets going well to the muscles and joints.

Then if I play something simple, I probably won't be too disappointed.  If I dig into more scales and bowing exercises, they tend to go better than if I hadn't warmed up.  I have found that doing something simple to warm up for the first 10 minutes (coincidentally) of practice or before playing seems to be pretty critical as a success factor, at least for me personally.  I don't know as trying to actually shorten the warm-up time would actually be "progress" or of benefit.  Professional athletes don't do their sport without warming up, and won't usually cut it short beyond a certain point. 

A while back, I ran across an interview with Ginger Baker (an old rock drummer that some of you might be old enough to remember) and that guy has been playing amazingly for decades.  Or at least he had at the time of the interview, I don't know how he's doing at present.  When asked about practice and warmup, he showed how he starts with a fairly simple fast snare beat, and keeps it going for... 10 minutes.  Then if there's time he'll move more into complex patterns and etc, but if he had to, he could go straight into a recording session or performance if he has at least that 10 minutes. 

With violin, I recall a vid where Itzhak Perlman was talking to a class and one of the students asked if he would please play a little something for them.. He said "But.. but.. I haven't warmed up yet!" He and they laughed, but I am not so sure he was joking so much as making a point.

Just saying Eric, I think you are on the right track with that 10 min of warm-up.  Shortening it may not be a goal you really want to try for.   If I only had 15 min to practice on a given day, I would still spend about 10 min warming up, because experience tells me that I'll be happier with how the remaining 5 min will go if I do than I might be if I just played or went into more difficult things for the whole 15 min instead.

Life gives us what it gives us on any particular day, and sometimes 15 min may be all we get.  If it is all we have and we do it, it still beats the snot out of "nothing".  When we get more.. Ooooo.  GOOD day.  LOL

"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

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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May 18, 2015 - 9:11 am
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DanielB said

EricBluegrassFiddle said

...For me it takes the better part of 10 minutes just to warm up and if I try to squeeze in a really short practice, I'll try to rush stuff to fast. I've noticed with Violin practice, you have to take your time and be focused and methodical. I suppose that as I get better and more consistent, I'll be able to warm up and play well in shorter time than before..

Personally, I think about 10 min is a good amount of time to warm up.  Even on instruments I've played considerably longer than violin, I take about that long. 

For violin, my usual "warm-up" is 5 min of open string bowing and then I run a very simple exercise I do with just one octave of a scale in a range that is "of interest" (meaning the scale a piece I will be working on is from, and picking the octave to be an octave I will be using heavily for that bit), up and down at a moderately fast tempo and playing the root and octave as a "doublestop" 4 times at top and bottom over and over for 5 minutes, to give the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders enough work to start to feel warm as circulation gets going well to the muscles and joints.

Then if I play something simple, I probably won't be too disappointed.  If I dig into more scales and bowing exercises, they tend to go better than if I hadn't warmed up.  I have found that doing something simple to warm up for the first 10 minutes (coincidentally) of practice or before playing seems to be pretty critical as a success factor, at least for me personally.  I don't know as trying to actually shorten the warm-up time would actually be "progress" or of benefit.  Professional athletes don't do their sport without warming up, and won't usually cut it short beyond a certain point. 

A while back, I ran across an interview with Ginger Baker (an old rock drummer that some of you might be old enough to remember) and that guy has been playing amazingly for decades.  Or at least he had at the time of the interview, I don't know how he's doing at present.  When asked about practice and warmup, he showed how he starts with a fairly simple fast snare beat, and keeps it going for... 10 minutes.  Then if there's time he'll move more into complex patterns and etc, but if he had to, he could go straight into a recording session or performance if he has at least that 10 minutes. 

With violin, I recall a vid where Itzhak Perlman was talking to a class and one of the students asked if he would please play a little something for them.. He said "But.. but.. I haven't warmed up yet!" He and they laughed, but I am not so sure he was joking so much as making a point.

Just saying Eric, I think you are on the right track with that 10 min of warm-up.  Shortening it may not be a goal you really want to try for.   If I only had 15 min to practice on a given day, I would still spend about 10 min warming up, because experience tells me that I'll be happier with how the remaining 5 min will go if I do than I might be if I just played or went into more difficult things for the whole 15 min instead.

Life gives us what it gives us on any particular day, and sometimes 15 min may be all we get.  If it is all we have and we do it, it still beats the snot out of "nothing".  When we get more.. Ooooo.  GOOD day.  LOL

Yeah, honestly, the longer I stick to a good solid warm up, the better a practice I have and "successful" like you mentioned..... 

I also discovered...it's a good idea to "tune" LOL the fiddle before each practice. But, I get lazy sometimes and even though it might be a hair sharp or flat, 1 or 2 strings...I let it slide. I shouldn't though, because then I'll start to practice and I'll go "Why did everything sound so weird?"  "What's up with the B scale, sounds funky?"...then it's like the light bulb goes off "OHHH" yup...shoulda tuned up" then I'll tune up and it's liker "WOWWWW" what was I missing" hahhahaa!!!

 

I can get lazy sometimes....I just wanna grab it and go. But alas Fiddle is such a high maintenance instrument, so fickle LOL...

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Jim Dunleavy
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I'm currently working on improving my bowing - in particular using my wrist and elbow more and shoulder less. It's gradually getting there and now I realise it's easier when you do it the right way!

I think I'm going to post a critique video soon to see if I actually am doing it right. crossedfingers

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Fiddlerman
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May 18, 2015 - 3:01 pm
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Jim Dunleavy said
I'm currently working on improving my bowing - in particular using my wrist and elbow more and shoulder less. It's gradually getting there and now I realise it's easier when you do it the right way!

I think I'm going to post a critique video soon to see if I actually am doing it right. crossedfingers

We look forward to seeing that video. 🙂

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

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mischa91
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I'm working on vibrato exercises (wrist &below) in 4th position, trying to tell my thumb not to grip.  

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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Jim Dunleavy said
I'm currently working on improving my bowing - in particular using my wrist and elbow more and shoulder less. It's gradually getting there and now I realise it's easier when you do it the right way!

I think I'm going to post a critique video soon to see if I actually am doing it right. crossedfingers

That's some good stuff to be working on....it's easier said than learned. I spent the better part of the first year of learning Violin on this....and I'm still hammering away at it. I'm looser than I was when I first started but I still haven't quite achieved the looseness and flexibility that I want quite yet.

In my opinion the bowing is like 80% of the whole enchalada LOL

 

It's not just elbow and wrist though....it's also the fingers. The fingers need to flex and loosen up as well....it's the mechanics of the whole thing from the elbow on down to the wrist and then also loose fingers....all working together.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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