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My teachers tip of the week
advice to help me improve (and maybe you)
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (12 votes) 
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Tyberius
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January 12, 2013 - 1:40 pm
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med...meds?..meds... hmmm. OH, that little brown plastic thing that rattles with the plastic skin on it. I thought it was a new percussion instrument. I already had "wipeout" partially learned on it.smile

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Mad_Wed
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January 12, 2013 - 4:31 pm
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Wahahahaha! XD

roflroflroflroflroflol

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Picklefish
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January 21, 2013 - 9:40 am
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I thought I would give an updated post since I am still self teaching for now. I have been keeping a violin practice journal. I do mine on a legal pad, very informal basically just a list of what I do on the left, notes and goals added to the right as they form in my thoughts. Oddly enough, this semi disorganized system seems to keep me organized and on track. lol. I also have added an estimated amount of time to practice each item on the list. This system of time budgeting is absolutely essential and the more I do it the more fine tuned the time seems to get. I did not invent this, but it works. Consequently, I seem to be doing more budgeting of all things in my personal life. I actually seem more organized, on time, happy. Go figure. So thats my tip, Keep a journal and budget your time to make the most use of it. Use the journal to focus in on what you need to improve on so your practices arent so random. Then, in a week, month, year  look back and see how far youve come in your journey.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Picklefish
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January 30, 2013 - 10:37 pm
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Another week is past and time for another tip. Still self teaching and I am holding my own and still improving. No replacement for a teacher as I need the motivation to stay focused and there is still stuff I just dont know. Id rather be taught right than stumble over things and maybe miss something. So as I am sitting here going over the music for this upcoming concert I thought Id share with you how I am planning and preparing. The music for the Florida Baptist Orchestra concert friday night is printed and I am going over it. Fortunately some of it we already play at my local church. That really saves my bacon for the most part since the rest of it will be basically sight read. Ive had it for two weeks and have played through it some but not enough time to really say I've got it. So how do you prepare to play music you aren't that familiar with?

Fortunately for me I am comfortable with the variety of keys used, sometimes changing mid song. Of the 12 possible keys, the music at my church contains 6 of them and I read music well enough to adapt if an extra sharp or flat is thrown my way.

Here's what I do....I grab my pencil and green (pickle colored) highlighter. Since this music is my own copy and not belonging to any music library, I make notes, highlight things to remind me and pencil in any thing that I think could help.

Things I highlight are locations of Coda, The S in D.S. etc. I also seem to have a problem with multiple endings with repeats in them. the kind where sometimes you return to measure 8 but others they want you to go to measure 28. Those kinds of things can be really confusing. I pencil in sharps or flats on notes or hand shifting that helps etc. I am not that good above first posistion so it takes planning and cheating to get me there. lol.

So how does this help you the beginner who is probably not experiencing this level of difficulty? Well friend, highlight the tricky parts and difficult phrases. write the fingerings or alphabeticals above unfamiliar notes. In short dont treat your music as if you will return it to the library of congress. Its yours, let it help you. Help you to help you. Show me the.....markings?! (Jerry Maguire reference) Pfish.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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coolpinkone
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February 1, 2013 - 1:05 pm
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Love the JM reference *Help you to help you*

I use highlighter to help me with songs.  I am working on note reading still and I too need to advance.

I might need to contact my teacher and at least try to go twice a month...I don't like to miss or learn things that I have to undo later.

Good Post Rob.  Keep up the good work and thanks!

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Picklefish
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February 13, 2013 - 12:50 pm
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read a forum post on best practices for practicing and liked my reply so much though I would post it here, lol.

The best way to practice using sheet music (cause thats what I do) In my opinon;

1.find or figure out the key the tune is in and practice that scale to learn the fingerings.

2. look at all the different kinds of note patterns and practice those rythyms on open strings as bowing exercise

3. learn all the notes without any fancy bowings just sawstrokes (up and downs alternating)

4. Add slurs in first and then ornamentation

5. practice everything super slow using as much bow as possible trying to keep the rythym of the song just in slow motion. I use the whole, half, quarter bow lengths as a measure instead of counting. Its easier when going slow.

6. Listen to the recording of the tune all the time ad nauseum

7. play with a youtube vid of the version of the tune you like and try to keep up

8. play with others when you can, Juan and I skype jam several times a week, its fun.

9. Practice in short times with breaks in between. one bit for bowings, take a break, then intonation and scales, then another break. Its amazing how much faster you can improve by practicing smarter not longer.

http://timtopham.com/2011/06/0…..-musician/

thats all there is too it! ha ha, I wish it was that easy to stay disciplined and on a schedule but I am more random and chaotic than that. It is a goal and I have it printed and posted where I can see it to help remind me. There are other tricks for improving certain skills but I might rival Daniel in post length if I tryed to include them now. Peace- pfish

For practicing and learning by ear some of the above tips apply. Although I dont do it regularly because its difficulty for me is very  frustrating. I want to play bluegrass so bad I cant stand it, but it will come. I wish I could help more with that but I am not there yet. lol.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Picklefish
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February 24, 2013 - 2:45 pm
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I am still not going back to my teacher just yet, So the past week my focus has been on several things;

1. Vibrato

2. Bowing exercises for tone and bow movement

3. Group project tunes Ash Grove and Angelina Baker

4. all the old material Ive been playing in the past to see if I play it better, sound better or what if anything has improved

5. Bow hold- my hand leans pretty far forward to the point that the first two fingers seem to be the only ones touching the bow.

6. Playing faster but still sounding good, so runs and triplets work right.

 

What are you focusing on? (Share.....)

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Picklefish
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February 25, 2013 - 4:09 pm
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From Strings Magazine

The Dorothy DeLay Five-Hour Violin Diet

Anne Akiko Meyers starts the day with scales and arpeggios

By Anne Akiko Meyers posted April 2013 Ratings

 

 
Photo: Anthony Parmelee

What do you feel you need to do on a daily basis to maintain your skill level?

Every day, I start my practice sessions with scales. I must do this before starting anything else. Like warming up an engine or stretching before working out, the circle of fifths is my warm-up lap. 

While some people concentrate on playing thirds, sixths, tenths, or other double stops, I make up all sorts of bow patterns with my scales and have my bow arm really do the bulk of the warm up . . . spiccato, staccato, ricochet, up-bow staccato, down-bow staccato, slurs—you name it. I am feeling all the shifting, trying to move my left hand as smoothly as possible.

Do you still use études and/or study guides? If so, which ones?

I used to warm up with études, particularly those by Kreutzer and Schradieck. I love the first two pages of Schradieck—it builds up strength with each finger on every string. Sometimes, I like to play Kreutzer No. 13, because I have so many memories of practicing it when I was growing up. It feels like grandmother’s chicken soup for the soul. Later, I worked on the Paganini 24 Caprices with Dorothy DeLay—I don’t have really fond memories of them.

Was there a particular teacher who was instrumental in developing your practice regimen?

Ms. DeLay had a practice schedule in which she recommended starting out with scales and arpeggios by [Leopold] Auer, working on concerto repertoire, solo Bach, and Paganini Caprices, plus recital repertoire. It was the Dorothy DeLay five-hour violin diet.

How do you know when you need to brush up on fundamentals?

Today, when I feel the need for a “tune up,” I usually reach for Bach. Try to practice a movement of one of the Sonatas or Partitas—it’s pure therapy for your brain and fingers. I also like to sight read—I find this wakes up one’s senses, like a good espresso. I tell students that when they practice their scales, be present and aware of the intervals between the notes. This is key and pretty much the foundation to all else. I always say my day has not begun till I make the bed, brush my teeth, kiss my babies, and play my scales!

*This article appeared in

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Picklefish
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March 21, 2013 - 8:24 pm
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So its been three weeks since the last "tip". Maybe I should rename it teachers tip of the month. lol. I still dont have a regular teacher but Im friends with a guy who is quite good. He is becoming like a mentor to me. So his advice for me was that my wrist isnt moving enough. I have heard this before from other people and he said I will never get to fiddler level without it being loose and flexible. He is also a proponent of thumb under the frog, so Im giving that a shot too. He says its overall better for fiddlin and since hes really good Im doing everything he says.

Tip 1. look in the mirror after you have memorized the song to make sure your bowing is right and wrist is a wobllin.

Tip 2. give thumb under the frog a try and see if it improves your playin...can it hurt? If it dont work switch back.

Pfish.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Tyberius
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March 21, 2013 - 9:12 pm
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PF start naming it using roman numeral convention. like say, for your 8th, 9th, 10tn and 11th lesson tips call the

PF Violin Instructor's Tip Number VIII

PF Violin Instructor's Tip Number IX

PF Violin Instructor's Tip Number X

PF Violin Instructor's Tip Number XI

By the time you run out of Roman Script Numerals, I think you'll have mastered the violin ;)   (just don't use Roman Numeral FOUR as on a clock, it's wrong usually)

Good tip, by the way, as usual, thanks for sharing that, my friend.

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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March 21, 2013 - 11:44 pm
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Tried the thumb under the frog. Not a real comfortable hole, at least to me, and the bow tries to wobble between the finger's. Then my finger's kept sliding up the stick and my thumb being under the bow hair, so in order to conquer that problem, I had to place my pinky behind the frog, which made the grip a bit better, but I think i'll stay with the old traditional grip.

It was worth a try anyway.  Thank's, Rob.

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Picklefish
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April 8, 2013 - 1:46 pm
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After 4 months of being my own substitue teacher I am finally back with my real instructor. He lives an hour from me via motorized bicycle, a very vibrating bumpy hour! lol.

Today we discussed my vibrato efforts and he shared with me his technique which I will place a vid of in my vibrato thread~!

We also discused how to increase my speed and accuracy with the left hand and how to improve my tone with the right hand especially with 16th notes. I am so excited to work on the things he told me to and its not earth shattering old news. In fact its stuff I already knew to do and just wasnt..You all know that substitute teachers let the class color all period while they sleep anyways right?!

There is just something about the way this guy plays thats inspiring me to improve though. so gimme a min to record and upload the newest real teachers tip of the week!

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Picklefish
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April 8, 2013 - 2:21 pm
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"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Freq
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April 8, 2013 - 4:08 pm
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Hey. Thanks for posting this. It is very helpful for me as well :) I'm really impressed sheet-reading skills. It sounded very correct.

Practice don't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

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ratvn
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April 8, 2013 - 5:33 pm
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Hi Pfish,

Thank you for posting this. It's great as many of us here don't have private instructor.

I'm amazed by your sight reading skill. I can't do that, doesn't matter how many more years. So I give you Props! and Kudos for that.

Happy for you that you get good tips and instructions now.

Good job.

thumbs-up

 

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Picklefish
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April 8, 2013 - 6:38 pm
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Thanks you guys, hopefully it will help lots of beginners since I feel that I make the same kind of errors everyone else does. well, most everyone! lol. If it helps anyone thats made it worth it.

It also chronicles my improvement too, so thats good for me! Fiddle On!

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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StoneDog
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April 8, 2013 - 10:09 pm
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ratvn said
Thank you for posting this. It's great as many of us here don't have private instructor.

Yeah I agree with you ratvn> I don't have a private instructor and this is really helpful to me also. pfish does a really GREAT job of relating what he has learned from his teacher and that is SWEETness to me > one who is trying to learn. >>>> pfish> ROCKS!!!!

 

 

 

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Fiddlerman
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April 9, 2013 - 8:03 am
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Keep up the great work Robert :-)

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

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Picklefish
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well gang, I missed my lesson last week. Now that my bike is up and running again and I finally have lots of power I made it to this weeks lesson.

When last we saw our hero he was tasked with learning "Hunters Chorus" by Weber. This is the 3rd song in Suzuki book 2. I was to learn to play it in 3rd position. Success! Not as hard as I thought it was gonna be really. So now this week I continue to build on that success and have some shifting points to do between 1 and 3rd position during the tune. Also I am working on the dynamic changes throught the piece to make it more interesting.

So then we moved to song 4 "Long, Long Ago" by Bayly with variation, no problem for me now. Even my bowings on the variation were good, so again I am tasked with making it better as a review piece.

So then we moved to song 5, "Waltz", by Brahms. This is a slurr and tempo puzzle that I am going to really enjoy working out. It also has some dynamics and tempo adjustment for effect that makes it fun.

I found out last night that I can play every thing in book 2 rudimentaryily. lol, just cause I can hammer it out doesnt mean its played right, smoothly or interestingly at all. But I am getting better and I suspect possibly another month or so and I will be on to book 3. Since I already own this book I may begin to work in it independantly beginning in May.

I am excited because I am at the point in my learning where I feel I have enough control over what I am doing to pay attention to the areas that make the sound, "violinny". My teacher likes the playability and sound of the Zyex strings and Ive gotten used to them so I guess I will be sticking with em. (Pierre was right.....again!) lol.

the tip?   Dont wait until you are 3 years into your learning to get a grasp on dynamics! start working on it now!

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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StoneDog
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April 22, 2013 - 4:18 pm
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I just got a set of the Zyex strings today > putting them on tonight. Hopefully the break-in period won't be too long.

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