Please feel free to share. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”
Starting today, I've seeked "professional" help with a local violin teacher to assist with my left hand issues and in the first half hour she pointed out several things to help with hand position to overcome my little disability with mobility. My thumb is now almost underneath the neck and it has enabled me to use the fourth finger, although she had to put a "target stripe" on the 4th finger position on the fingerboard until I re-learn where it is without looking.
I also need to work more on the right wrist motion as she noticed I was using my whole arm rather than my wrist when bowing. My right wrist is very "thick" from the previous breaks and I'm going to need to do some exercises to loosen it up.
We also ran through the various Game Of Thrones parts. She had never seen it in 12/8 time. She showed me the original score and it is in 3/4. Still in C minor, though (which is giving me fits)
I did get a chuckle when I was leaving. Her next student looked to be about 10 years old and was a little shocked to see a "Grandpa" leaving a lesson!
Sort of a progress report............
Where six weeks ago, I could not practice for more than 15 minutes without various aches, I'm now up to almost two hours. Some mobility is coming back to my left hand, although I still don't have very good control of the third and fourth finger operating separate.
My intonation on D and G strings is terrible. Part 6 of the Game of Thrones has been my go-to practice piece for this, but I'm still at a loss as to the bad tone. Maybe I'll get brave and put up a video (?)
fiddlerman really deserves my thanks for suggesting some of the stretching exercises on my messed up left hand back in January when I decided to take this back up!
As I've mentioned before, I'm now seeking some "professional" help from a local violin teacher and I had my second 'lesson' from her tonight.
Our first, last week, was more directed toward getting the hold down again and swapping chinrests until I found one that was comfortable. She also critiqued my bowing. I've lost flexibility in my right wrist, so working that.
My task today was to work on the poor intonation I have on the D and G strings. She took my fiddle and played it herself. She LOVES the tone of my 100+ year old fiddle, but right away asked how old the strings were. Well, the E and A are new this year. The D and G are over 20 years old. Change them!
Another of my issues were consistent drones and double stops, which we worked on as well. I actually never thought a different bow could make a difference here, but it sure did! I tried her bow, which is considerably heavier and has a totally different balance point. while still not 'perfect' (on my part), it made a huge difference in consistency and tone. Not that I'll be buying a $1,000 bow, but I will be doing some bow shopping in the near future. She also pointed out that my 25 year old rosin really needs replacing!
Performance anxiety struck today..........And, I used to play in a band! So that she could watch my bowing, hold, tone, left hand, etc., I played Old Joe Clark with double stops at about 100 BPM and completely botched it! I play this when practicing at home at about 140 BPM on single strings and never miss a note! I even messed up You are My Sunshine, which is REALLY easy. Ugh! Seem to have lost my mojo.........
Sounds like you are making fantastic progress to me!! Congrats on the second lesson!
It's astonishing how much difference a bow will make not only in how the instrument sounds, but how it can be played. I accidentally grabbed a fiberglass bow not paying attention and when i played my heart stopped because i thought something was seriously wrong with my violin. It sounded terrible!!
Since you are shopping around for a bow, consider the fiddlerman carbon fiber bow. While i havent tried it myself ive seen numerous people on the boards here swear by them. The one standard opinion i see across the board is that for comparable dollars carbon fiber outperforms pernambucco bows everytime. Of course i havent seen any above $1k so its safe to say the old masters still retain their titles 🙂
Find the link to the fiddlerman bow here.
I have the Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow, and do like it, even though it seems "light" compared to my old bow that the bow bugs got hold of while in storage.
I think the combination of some new strings and "fresh" rosin might make a difference, too. That $1k bow was much heavier than the carbon fiber and the balance was farther forward by about 6". Really cool to play with it, but since I doubt I'll be playing at the Grand Ole Opry, I'm not buying one!
She also noticed that I sometimes wrap my pinky around the adjusting nut rather than keeping it on top. When I do this, I also stiffen my thumb out straight. Don't know where, or why, I started doing this......... So, while concentrating on the right hand, the left hand forgets what it is supposed to do..... Age may be a factor, here!
OK.......NEW strings tonight!
Also got brave and shot a video of before and after changing the strings. HUGE tone difference (At least to me............Not a high quality video camera, plus using the built-in mic)
Amazing the mistakes one can make when a camera is on! I guess I could have done multiple "takes", but what the hey...........
Also a little braver: I'll be posting it in the Critique Section tonight!