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messy showdown - beginner violin vs: beginner piano
Now I know why my violin teacher was extremely unhappy when I told her I was starting to learn to play piano.
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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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December 30, 2018 - 11:50 am
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My 65th b-day present to myself was a piano thinking that it would be much easier to get a grasp of some theory (intervals, chords...) in support of my violin learning. My violin teacher was disapproving ... more like horrified! I didn't get it at all. 

Well, now I get her skepticism ... I have 8 months of violin learning under my belt and it's extremely sloppy and tentative... improving but messy, very messy. I've had the piano for 3 weeks (2 weeks of lessons) and, warts and all, it sounds much less cringe-worthy... almost cute. No, I'm not going to drop learning to play violin but I'm now guessing that's what my teacher was worried about.

Here's short back-to-back example of what I mean. OK, I might have been able to produce a slightly cleaner version of Hunter's Chorus if I had tried 20 recordings (1:20 is about my score for getting through any piece 'properly') but this humbling video certainly makes my point. 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n1dr.....z.mp4?dl=0

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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December 30, 2018 - 11:56 am
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I'm with you! I see a lot of harmonica players online asking about circle of fifths and other theory-related things, and my answer is always the same. Buy a keyboard!

Andrew

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bocaholly
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December 30, 2018 - 12:06 pm
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@Gordon Shumway 

You play the harmonica too! Sounds like you play more instruments than languages you speak... and that's a few from what I've gathered 🙂

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DennisS
Long Valley, NJ/Hobe Sound, FL
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December 30, 2018 - 12:10 pm
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I did the same thing a couple of years ago - got a electronic keyboard so that I could "work out" melodies from sheet music.  Once I "got" the tune in my head, it was easier  to play it on the violin.  After a while though, I found that it wasn't necessary.  Learning piano will definitely help with theory, though.

Actually, you sound good on both fronts, especially with only 8 months on the violin.  See this video, which illustrates the point about violin vs. piano very well

Love those guys!

If I don't have time for a short post, I'll write a long post - (adapted from Mark Twain)

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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December 30, 2018 - 12:20 pm
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roflol

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Gordon Shumway
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December 30, 2018 - 12:35 pm
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bocaholly said
@Gordon Shumway 

You play the harmonica too! Sounds like you play more instruments than languages you speak... and that's a few from what I've gathered 🙂  

I read them, I don't speak them, there's a big difference!

No, I did a little blues harp 10 years ago, but I'm not a willing harp player. At the uke club they've got me playing all the harp and horn bits (on the same harp) in Van Morrison's Bright Side of the Road, but I don't enjoy it - it's too demanding, and when you go wrong, recovery is too difficult. And there'a fiddle part in it too! I don't want to be practising harp when I could be practising the fiddle! I'd rather just do Western Swing numbers on the fiddle and leave the harps at home. Although we do have a couple of simpler harp numbers that I enjoy, such as Glendale Train and How Sweet it is (to be loved by you).

Andrew

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Shane "Chicken" Wang
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December 30, 2018 - 2:22 pm
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@bocaholly you getting really good, move over Elton, Holly is coming to town.

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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December 30, 2018 - 2:33 pm
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That's us... me and my bud, Elton

aQAAAPZAADAcW1tb2QAAAAAAAAGEAAAoC4AAAAA0OXuAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA=

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 30, 2018 - 3:06 pm
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LOL !

Yup, I guess it's all about "how you come in to playing the fiddle" (or any fretless instrument).  If violin is your first excursion into playing music, there's a hell of a lot going on. 

It all comes down to individual differences I guess - when I was but a lad of 7 or so, my old man brought me home a piano accordion !   I had never asked for, or suggested I wanted one - he had seen me tapping my feet and whistling to various traditional Scottish dance band tunes on the radio (we're talking around 1959/60 or so) - and must have thought I'd like the instrument !

I had SO much fun with it, and figured out (from library books, no inter-webby-thing back then of course) how scales worked, how chords were formed, learned basic stuff about "modes" and how there's really no huge difference between major, minor, or any other modal scale really...   

But then, a few years later we were in the 60's, and the radio was full of this rock, pop and guitar things 🙂   So I got a cheap guitar...  🙂 and so the story continues...

Anyway - I think the point I'm trying to make is that although never actually committed to intentionally studying music, over all these years, sure I've messed with probably half a dozen, or more, instruments - and truly - to my mind - the fretless are the most difficult to really master - especially the ones with bows!  (Fretless bass is super fun !!!  At least you don;t need a bow !  hahaha)

Your video and associated text in the post is very telling @bocaholly - it is indeed and thanks for sharing that - although I sure hope it doesn't sow the seeds of self-doubt in some beginners.....!

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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samropin
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December 30, 2018 - 3:22 pm
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I started with both violin and piano recently and am very happy with my progress on piano, but am struggling with violin.  I’m going to keep going for a little longer with violin, but don’t like the way I sound.  

I prefer the mellow sound of the piano, wide tonal range, and ability to play chords and counterpoint.  Also, with violins, the buying process is confusing (the same violins and bows from China are sold under various names, and it’s not really clear what you get for the next increment in price).  

On the other hand, for piano, it’s just about getting a used Yamaha or Casio keyboard off Craigslist.  Also, sheet music books for piano are readily available, and MuseScore makes it easy too.  Piano sounds complete on its own, but solo violin doesn’t really sound good to me.  

Sorry to rant, but yes, I basically agree with you, about piano being easier to learn.  I’m  hanging on trying to learn violin, but feel discouraged and came here looking for help, but after reading your post, I’m thinking that I may be wasting my time with violin.  I’m waiting until I complete my first 364-days to decide.  By then, however, I may be a pro (well, not really) on piano.

I decided to learn piano because Alison Sparrow teaches both instruments on YouTube (the online piano and violin tutor) from the U.K.  I like Alison’s teaching style, but thought I’d supplement with Fiddlerman, because the Violin Noobie on YouTube said she learned here all by herself.

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bocaholly
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December 30, 2018 - 4:21 pm
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@samropin 
Of course we're not wasting our time learning the violin!

I posted that crummy Hunter's Chorus rendition of mine to make what seems to be an obvious point to you and others (one instrument makes it MUCH harder to produce a pleasing sound than the other.)

Also posted it to get over myself. I just looked back at the first videos I posted 4 months ago. Truth is, I don't see the leaps and bounds I would have liked to, sigh.violin-student
Conclusion: I'm going to have to do something that's very uncharacteristic of me ... be patient and keep working at it mindfully.

Sam... stick around. This is a good place to blow off some steam and reinforce your initial motivation. And if you ever post a video, you can count of receiving positive, constructive and encouraging feedback. 

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