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What do you think about when you play?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Jim Dunleavy
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August 22, 2015 - 10:09 am
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Ewerton said

I'm just starting on violin, but here's a tip from 10 years of guitar playing: The best thing to think about when you're playing is nothing, if you leave your mind free, you'll be able to play a lot better. It's just not going to happen if you keep thinking about a million things. 

I'll second that, but it's not easy to think of nothing, especially if you're performing. Having a fall-back 'subject' to think about is useful - in band they used to tell us to concentrate on the note on the page if getting nervous when performing.

EDIT: of course that doesn't work if you're playing from memory!

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Fiddlerman
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August 22, 2015 - 1:25 pm
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I like to focus on making beautiful music. I focus mostly on listening and not much on playing. I then hope that the work, and practice that went into preparing for the performance takes over. Sometimes focusing on dynamics, phrasing, and beautiful music is a bit like doing what Ewerton says since you are not focusing on technique.
Also, everyone is different. I had a teacher that was very successful but required a tremendous amount of work to achieve his success. Whenever he had a concert (concertmaster of soloist) he worked like crazy compared to anyone I know. He needed to focus on technique to make his performances work. I believe most big performers do not focus on technique.

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

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AnnyJ
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August 22, 2015 - 4:06 pm
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I'm really just thinking about the song I'm playing, what it sounds like, since that is the only way I can get the rhythm of it halfway decent. And I literally have to keep thinking 'loose, loose, loose' because I have a way of being super stiff and tense, as my family would be glad to attest to, lol

 

@fulfillingsoul  I have used a tuner myself (sorry if I go against the grain of everyone else here) but, if I don't know what a correct note sounds like, how am I supposed to learn it? Especially the fact I'm all on my own with this.

I have purposely put it on the nut of the violin so I wouldn't be able to see it when I'm looking at the sheet music, I strictly only used it for scales. It's helped me a great deal and I can say now, that I recognize it by ear most times when I hit the right spot (you'll start being aware of that nice ring the correct pitch has to it)

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

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fulfillingsoul
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August 23, 2015 - 8:26 pm
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@AnnyJ You can also consider using free InsTuner App on your Ipad/Iphone. It is a tuner and also produces drone tone of notes to learn how they sound like. A favourite of mine.

@fulfillingsoul  I have used a tuner myself (sorry if I go against the grain of everyone else here) but, if I don't know what a correct note sounds like, how am I supposed to learn it? Especially the fact I'm all on my own with this.

I have purposely put it on the nut of the violin so I wouldn't be able to see it when I'm looking at the sheet music, I strictly only used it for scales. It's helped me a great deal and I can say now, that I recognize it by ear most times when I hit the right spot (you'll start being aware of that nice ring the correct pitch has to it)

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

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damfino
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August 23, 2015 - 8:48 pm
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Nothing wrong with using a tuner if that's what works for you 🙂 I just know for myself I need to get rid of crutches, so I don't begin to rely on them. What I do if I'm second guessing my current finger positions (bear in mind I'm still only playing in first position) is check my notes with the other strings. Walk up to the 3d finger and check with the string above, or to the 4th finger, and check with the string below. Then I know if I have my fingers where they belong. 

To keep myself on topic... What I thought about today while playing was "yay! I did it!" Because my pinky finger was finally curving nicely and not hurting, lol. Oh... And also thinking about how sick I am of hearing myself play Ode to Joy, lol.

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AnnyJ
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August 25, 2015 - 3:11 pm
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@fulfillingsoul  thank you, although I'm pretty much low-tech here, I don't own any smartphones or tablets, lol 

@damfino I hope my post didn't come of as angry, I apologize if it did, because that wasn't at all what the tone was supposed to besmile, I was just sharing personal experience (or lack thereof, ).laugh .

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

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damfino
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August 25, 2015 - 3:15 pm
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No, you didn't sound angry at all 🙂 Don't worry about it 🙂 

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coolpinkone
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August 25, 2015 - 4:12 pm
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@AnnyJ   - I often use a tuner for the first 10 - 20 minutes of practice or the first notes of any tune or scale.   I do try to "hear the correct notes and well as hear the incorrect notes"  I play the scale a few times to see if I think it is right, then I double check to see if what I hear is correct. 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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kylesito
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August 26, 2015 - 12:55 pm
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Wow - I'm impressed by how many think of intonation, tone, pitch, etc.  I guess that's the academic answer! I took the question to be much more philosophical...

 

I imagine myself playing a song the song like I imagine I want it to be heard.  I play a lot of Civil War tunes because of a love for history I have.  So when I'm playing them I'm thinking about sitting around a fire with my civil war buddies playing off tunes they would know.  Or if I'm playing something more classical I imagine myself on stage playing to a room full of people.  And if it's just a fun tune then I imagine my family and friends around me at a holiday or something.  

 

Maybe I should stop dreaming less and focus on the mechanics more 🙂

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Jim Dunleavy
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August 26, 2015 - 1:17 pm
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kylesito said ...........Maybe I should stop dreaming less and focus on the mechanics more 🙂

Actually, I think that's the exact opposite of what you should do unless you're practising a specific technical aspect of playing or learning a new piece! wink

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