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DIY Violin Learning Aids
Topic Rating: 4.5 Topic Rating: 4.5 Topic Rating: 4.5 Topic Rating: 4.5 Topic Rating: 4.5 Topic Rating: 4.5 (2 votes) 
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RockingLR33
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January 20, 2015 - 11:19 pm
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It was really intersting reading everyone's comments about growing into the violin and with finger tapes and just ear. I still consider myself a complete newbie at the violin and i've only really been taking it seriously the last 6 months, though i've had a voilin for 2 years now. I know when i was starting out i seriously wanted finger tapes. it was so easy to get frustrated and just put the violin away. I think something like the fretless finger guide thats the clingwrap one would be so nice because you don't get used to feeling the tapes if that makes any sort of sense.

I know i denied my impulse to put anything on and i can say i am eternailly grateful i didn't. i knew i'd get to comfortable useing the tapes(sometimes i still rely to much on a tuner) and not want to take them off so i didn't even try to put them on, especially getting great feedback from here. My ear is finally getting to the point where i know when my violin is out of tune and when i hit bad notes. Granted its only in first position and i know as i start learning shifting i'll probably be cursing it all over again :D

But like others have stated do what is best for you! or try it out with no tapes and if its just to frustrating that you put the violin away and don't want to play, put tapes or the finger guides on. so long as you enjoy it it doesn't matter! :D

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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NoStringsAttached
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January 21, 2015 - 7:58 am
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DanielB!

Thank you for the explanation on marking the bow! I saw the children learning thru the Suzuki method all had bow marks, and even google wouldn't tell me why. Interesting part of the picture.

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coolpinkone
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January 21, 2015 - 12:46 pm
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@Fiddlerman 

This is how teachers survive. They need to teach and get paid doing it. They should be grateful for you Toni. The ones who turned you down should go and ........ nevermind ;)

Thanks Pierre.. but it was part of the path that led me to Fiddlerman.com where you have become of my favorite teachers of all time.  And I sincerely thank you for accepting me and all of us newbies, teaching, and helping us.    

I was recently really flattered my former teacher sent me an invitation to participate in a big orchestra project for all levels.  And she even offered to help me, and said I was welcome to take lessons any time.  That made me feel really good.  I am at a place where I might resume lessons.

I am a bit scattered in my lessons, and progress and what I need to focus on, where I should be...  anyway.. ramble.... :)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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January 21, 2015 - 5:05 pm
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Fiddlerman said

This is how teachers survive. They need to teach and get paid doing it. They should be grateful for you Toni. The ones who turned you down should go and ........ nevermind ;)

At least in some areas, there are considerably more people interested in lessons than there are teachers.  So it tends to be a "sellers' market" more than a "buyers' market".

I've heard a few reasons why some teachers avoid adult students.  Other than the point of us being more likely to research and ask questions about things like bow hold, instead of just quietly doing whatever the teacher says, some of them actually don't see much point in teaching adults.

Adult beginners, as often comes up when people come on here and ask if it is "too late" for them to learn violin, are not nearly as likely to go in to symphony/orchestra careers.  So they are not usually being prepped to try to get in to a good conservatory or music college, and in most cases it will be assumed that they are not going to be preparing for the exams for the different "levels".  That idea is less attractive to some teachers than thinking of themselves as helping to educate the potential virtuosos of the next generation.

To a degree, that is understandable.  Modern society places more importance on education for young folks.  Adult learners tend not to get much encouragement unless what they decide to learn happens to be directly related to their employment.  Also you have the consideration that a small child is in many cases (with some notable exceptions) not taking violin entirely as a matter of their own choice.  At the very least, instrumental music may be a class on their school schedule that they need to keep up passing grades for, as opposed to adult learners who may simply decide to drop lessons somewhere in the first couple years because they aren't so interested anymore.

With adult students, a teacher also won't usually be able to rely on the student's parents to be part of the support structure to encourage the student and make sure they actually put in their practice time.

I'm not saying it is right.. Personally I don't agree with it.  But those are some of the reasons I've heard why some teachers will take child students in preference over older learners.  Or in more extreme cases, decide that teaching adults is just "not in their job description".

"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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coolpinkone
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January 21, 2015 - 6:02 pm
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@DanielB 

The one teacher that turned me down. Said, "no adult beginner."  I inquired why and she said, "adult beginner quit."  

I persisted a bit, I told her I had been studying on my own for four months... and she replied,  "Besides, I busy."  

So anyway.. that was fine with me.  

Small world though... My music professor in college knows her.  Giggle.. towards the end of the semester I was chatting with him about being turned down. He asked who. I told him.  He knows her well and was actually performing with her at the school in the near future.   And he happened to live across the street from the teacher that DID accept me.   :)

So if I ever get good enough and get a solid four years under my belt, when I take the "hard" Music theory at school, I will also be eligible to be in the string ensemble... giggle.. I will run into her in that case...

Will I mention it to her?  um.. no, but it will be a kinda fun thing... if ya know what I mean. 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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risk
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January 21, 2015 - 6:20 pm
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Haha, I just ranted because of that pink. Makes me tempted to practice 8 hrs a day and get hired by a symphony so I can go to "that" teacher and feed it to him.

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DanielB
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January 21, 2015 - 8:26 pm
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risk said
Haha, I just ranted because of that pink. Makes me tempted to practice 8 hrs a day and get hired by a symphony so I can go to "that" teacher and feed it to him.

I think that "vengeance" of that sort is an excellent motivator.  It can be a very positive thing, so long as you are doing it mostly for yourself and not strictly to "show them" how wrong they were.

If it makes it more fun to open the case and get started, even just some days.. It is useful enough to have.  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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RedViolin
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January 22, 2015 - 8:26 pm
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Thanks for the reply, @coolpinkone. I'm sure I wouldn't have asked either!

@DanielB thank you SO much for your detailed explanation about the markings on the bow. I found it really helpful. You're right that I'm not quite "adult" size! I am short and reasonably petite with small hands, but my arms are reasonably long, which is why I did eventually get this full size. Until recently I had been using the 3/4 bow that was left over from my old acoustic (that I never used... embarassed) but have started using the new 4/4 size one. After reading your post, I did a little experiment and noticed that I quickly run out of bow with the 3/4 bow, but on the 4/4 I was able to identify a bit that I can't reach easily without messing up my posture. I'll hold on to the 3/4 as an emergency backup, but this has confirmed to me that the size of the bow does make a difference, and I will know better what to concentrate on in my bowing now, thank you!! (@NoStringsAttached, I also tried Google to find out about bow markings to no avail, so found DanielB's explanation incredibly useful!)

"growing into the violin" - I like how you phrase that, @RockingLR33!

Really interesting discussion about the attractiveness of teaching adult students to a teacher as well :)

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NoStringsAttached
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January 22, 2015 - 8:48 pm
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RedViolin, try moving your violin by a few degrees left or right. Your natural body mechanics should quickly identify the best position for maximum bow reach. I'm just a newb, but the same principles are used in sports all the time. At any rate, I would be interested to know if a slightly altered position would allow the 4/4 bow to win out?

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RedViolin
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February 18, 2015 - 4:18 am
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Sorry for the late response @NoStringsAttached! I was away for a while (unable to take my violin with mecry) and have only just been able to pick up the instrument again and try this out. Much to my surprise, I have found that rather than sounding worse, I think my playing (if you can call it such at this stage!) sounds a little better (more confident?) and I'm now able to use the entire length of the bow. Thanks for the advice :)

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Jerusha77
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February 18, 2015 - 9:15 am
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My violin teacher is against using any marking for notes. So I learned with out them. Though I can see if someone does not have any sort of private teacher, why they would use the tape. It is a really frustrating thing to learn! My aid was my former piano. If you picture the piano notes and how far apart they are like F# is farther from E than neutral F. That is how my teacher told me to picture it and it helped. 

I am not against tape. Specially if someone is self taught. If I were self taught without tape I would of quit! (probably) Make sure your using your ear more than your eyes. You need a sharp ear for violin!

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RedViolin
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March 8, 2015 - 8:30 am
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Hehe, @Jerusha77 yes, I think I would have quit too!

In an update though, not only have I stopped using the pinky nest since I got back, but today, after a week of the 35 day challenge, I've removed 2 of the finger tapes (the 3rd and 4th fingers since those are pretty easy to figure out once you can visualise or place the first two). I definitely found them useful at first though, but after a couple of months (with a massive intermission due to my trip away), I feel like I 'know' what those notes should sound like/where my fingers should be a bit now.

Hopefully I'll be able to do away with the last remaining tapes sometime too!violin-1267

I'm now looking into a way to make some sort of hook for my bow so that I don't have to look around for somewhere to rest it when putting it down, that isn't the case.

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Fiddlerman
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March 9, 2015 - 10:16 am
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Straight music wire works well. Use a wire bender or bender jig to make 2 perfect 90 degree bends, leave an edge wide enough to fit the scroll, pass shrink wrap over the scroll part to make a soft surface for the inside of the scroll and stick the other two ends through a piece of wood or cabinet and bend the end. You could use epoxy in the hole as well.
You can find stiff music wire at almost any hobby shop. :)

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

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RedViolin
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March 9, 2015 - 6:37 pm
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Thank you @Fiddlerman ! I had been looking around all sorts of hooks and clips and hadn't even thought of wire! I'll try this out (...when I get my music stand! I had hoped my parents might be able to find the one I had as a kid in their garage, but alas, it looks like I'll have to get a new one)

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RedViolin
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April 8, 2015 - 9:17 pm
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Some more DIY violin learning aids...

While most of my experiments to date have focused on bow grip (I did find a few more tips on this here: http://www.musicforyoungviolin.....lpers.html) and finger placement, recently I've been concentrating more on how to bow straight.

First up, I found this product: http://www.bowzo.co.uk/ which I am pretty sure I saw a DIY tutorial for online, but can't find it anymore! In any case, I made my own version of it using a handy household item... :P

DIYBozo.JPG

It seems to work quite well in terms of making me realise when my bowing is getting off track, but is obviously not something I want to be too reliant on or use all the time! So I just use it occasionally when playing scales or practicing open string bowing.

A less obtrustive solution was suggested by this teacher: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pini.....55c837.jpg which I am now trying:

Line.JPG

It's basically just a thick piece of tape (I used address label edges again - seems to come off nicely without damaging the fingerboard) to provide a visual guide to aim to be parallel to.

As for the rest of my tapes (for the notes), well, I have taken off the third finger tape as I don't need it, and as you can see, the others are wearing away over time. So I think I'll just let them fade/fall off, and not replace them!

Fading.JPG

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Daniel_Shaped_Object
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April 9, 2015 - 4:44 pm
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RedViolin said

 First up, I found this product: http://www.bowzo.co.uk/ which I am pretty sure I saw a DIY tutorial for online, but can't find it anymore! In any case, I made my own version of it using a handy household item... :P

DIYBozo.JPG

It seems to work quite well in terms of making me realise when my bowing is getting off track, but is obviously not something I want to be too reliant on or use all the time! So I just use it occasionally when playing scales or practicing open string bowing.

RedViolin, you crack me up!  This made me laugh.  I actually own a "Bow-Right"  which is a kind of wire thingy that does the job but isn't super convenient to use. I also hate the way my bow scrapes against the wires; it makes me worry that I might be damaging my bow. It also tends to slide around a bit too easily for my liking.  

I've improved a lot in many areas, but bowing straight is *still* quite a challenge for me.  Maybe I'll give your idea a try. If I can stop laughing while I'm playing. :-)

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ElisaDalViolin
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April 9, 2015 - 5:17 pm
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You also could put a half of a straw in the f-hole if it bothers having such a big thing in your view.

@Daniel_Shaped_Object  If you are worried about damaging your bow, wrap around the wires a bit of those cotton discs that are used for removing make-up. This may prevent some ugly scratches on your bow :smile

 
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RedViolin
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April 9, 2015 - 6:34 pm
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Hehe, glad I made you laugh @Daniel_Shaped_Object!

@ElisaDalViolin, I wish I could use the straws method, I think that would be a lot less obtrusive (I did find that the"household item" obstructed my view) but unfortunately my electric violin doesn't have a full body and hence = no f holes :(

Here's a good example of the straws (fig 2), along with some other DIY learning aids (including egg cartons this time! Not toilet rolls in sight!)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pini.....57f4e8.jpg

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ElisaDalViolin
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April 11, 2015 - 3:56 pm
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Ah I'm sorry, I didn't notice it! But thank you for sharing the image. I didn't know about the egg cartons idea. I love to discover the wide variety and creativity of these learning aids smile

 
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RedViolin
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Not at all @ElisaDalViolin! I actually thought, when posting the pictures, that I should explain why my violin has big chunks carved out of it but forgot to! tongue

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