Re: Two teachers...? 22-Oct-98 My son is currently taking from two teachers -- with the knowledge and approval of both. I think
that under many circumstances it could be very difficult. However, in our situation it is working.
There is a primary teacher in this situation and the other teacher is operating in a fairly specific
area. I think it is good sometimes to have classes with a different teacher just for fresh input. In this
situation, the second teacher (who is a master teacher) is telling my son things in a different way
and we are seeing progress.
Our primary teacher usually brings in other teachers a couple of times a year for her more
advanced students so that they get a fresh viewpoint and she also gets a fresh viewpoint.
Sometimes someone else seeing a student you have been working with spots something you have
been too close to see or can help you gain a new perspective.
A two-teacher situation should never be undertaken without the advise and consent of the primary
teacher, however, and without organizing the parameters of the situation. It can lead to confusion,
misunderstandings and in some cases, escalate to hard feelings. We are very fortunate, but it is not
a scenario which would work for everyone.
vioin hickey or carcinoma-Oct-98 Does any one's kickey have a little lump beneath the skin? I have heard something about violin
hickey turning to tumour. I suspect my hickey has turned into a tumour. Or is it just a hardened skin?
Any response would be appreciated!! Samantha
Re: violin hickey or carcinoma 30-Oct-98 The first thing to do is ask a doctor, not a message board.
If it turns out not to be a tumour (the most likely scenario but check it out anyway), you should get
your chin rest checked as well as experimenting with different ways of holding the violin. Although
most violin and viola players get "hickeys" at some stage, they are, as some youngsters seem to
think, a sign that you're finally a real violinist. They are actually a sign that you have a chin rest that
doesn't suit you and/or are holding your instrument incorrectly.
Also, Ken's advice about the soft cloth is good. Lee
Re: vioin hickey or carcinoma 30-Oct-98 Samantha, I have seen your posts on this board and on the maestronet one.
You sound scared.
I want to tell you that I have the hard lump or bump in my neck. I have been playing the violin for ,
well, many years. I was at the doctors just last week and he checked out my neck for other
reasons and it is fine. I had to stop playing the violin for about 6 months a few years back because
I got tendonitis in my elbow,, too much gardening and Bach all at once..plus a little tennis thrown
in. The lump got soft during that time and almost disappeared.
Also one of the doctors in my office said he used to have it but it left after about a year of not playing.
I think you will feel better if you go see your family doctor and have him tell you what his opinion is.
So anyway, now I have a converse chinrest cover. I got it from Young Musicians catalog. It cost
$9.00 and it is a soft suede with a foam lining. It is washable. I like it very much. I have been
attaching it on the leg of my Kun and then bring it up over the chinrest. The first one I got was brown but this second one was black.
My bump has gotten softer and is almost not there, but is there a little... I play the violin a lot.
Young Musicians is on line http://www.ymonline.com/ym_prod_index.html. I will look them up and add them as a link on my violin resources page.
They will send you a free catalog if you email them. I hope you feel better.
If you are a young person, I suggest you talk to your Mother about this. Sheila
Re: vioin hickey or carcinoma 30-Oct-98
I also get those little hard lumps underneath the skin of my hickey. In my case, they're deep zits
that don't work out because of the callous over them. My doctor perscribed topical antibiotics for
acne on my face- I also use them on my hickey. They are Retisol A cream (tretinoin) and Dalacin
T (clindamycin). Since I've started useing them, the hard callous part has pretty much dissapered,
and if a zit comes underneath, I can ususally squeeze it (gently!) and it dissapers. I used to wonder
about cancer in mine, too. Don't panic- its probably not. But I agree- see your doctor. Daisy
Re: you guys are right, it is not a carcinoma 30-Oct-98
Thank you all for the advices. You guys are right, it is not a carcinoma! I went to see my doctor
today. And he told me that it is a lymph node, enlarged because it is trying to heal my violin kickey!
I am so relieved. And I will go get the clothes or the chin rest cover! Samantha
Re: vioin hickey or carcinoma -AND WE ON THE BOARD LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!
Any tips for Kreutzer #11? 10-Nov-98
I also used to have problems shifting down. Usually its because you see the shift in the music and
start to think "Oh no, a backwards shift" and then the arm tenses up.
The last thing you should think before shifting either way is RELAX. This prevents the arm tensing
up and eventually it becomes second nature and you do it without even thinking.
As to shifting backwards, remember to relax but also I was taught you should have a slight
sensation of lifting your hand up whilst moving the arm back. It won't nessassarily be a visible lift
but if you visualise it whilst shifting it tends to help your hand sticking on the neck whilst shifting backwards.
Good luck. Darren
Re: Re: Any tips for Kreutzer #11? 11-Nov-98Another way of imaging lifting the hand "up" when shifting down is to think of opening the hand
"back" -- dropping the index finger "back" and keeping the hand loosely "open" without tension,
feeling space on the inside of the hand. This is hard to put in words, but lifting then hand up might
translate for some people into some tension. If you put your hand in violin playing position (without
your violin) and then just drop it back (so that the back of the hand drops towards the floor), see
how the natural position of the hand feels. This is "opening" back. I have been experimenting with
some young children using an "egg" shaker and having them do this exercise, using the egg shaker
as the neck of the violin. This promotes the open, relaxed shape of the hand and should help in
both shifting and vibrato. mary
Re: Any tips for Kreutzer #11? 10-Nov-98
In general shifting either up or down is done with the 1st (current or original) finger to the new
position, then add or remove fingers to get the new note. At the same time either stop the bowing
(motion) and or release any pressure of the bow on the string ... to eliminate the "slurpy sound" of
the shift! After the shift is completed and new finger is down (pressing or stopping the string)
restart the bow motion and or applying bow pressure again. This will take a little time to get used
to ... but will in the long run be very effective. Hope this helps. Alan Robertson
Re: SOUND 21-Sep-98 I think that the best violins have good resonance, good projection, and a full sound under the ear-
at least. Some may sound a little edgy, but it can't be too edgy as it would get painful to the ear or
hard to play.
I find that Maggini models (good models, of course) have a nice bold sound- and seem to fit some
of the needs of modern orchestras. However, this may not be necessary as the projection of the
instrument is one of the more vital factors to the "big orchestra" sound. Some Old Italians sound
relatively thin and quiet under the ear, but fill a room/concert hall very well (Greg, care to share :-)
But normally, a well-projecting violin seems to sound bigger and fuller under the ear.
When a young orchestra plays, the players normally have student instruments- not very wonderful
in most cases- and those who play well and have good instruments stand out in the sound of the
orchestra. The sound, in effect, seems thinner and not as big with the contrast in the projection of
the one or two really good instruments. Daniel Medina
Re: SOUND 21-Sep-98
I feel a violin should possess a rich tone with a good deal of "substance". Also, it should have good
enough projection to carry the player's sound to the back row of the concert/recital hall.
Also, some quirks of the sound underneath the ear may not carry past 10 feet...something perhaps
to pay attention to...Soloist tone is individualistic. You can have a sweet Francescatti sound or a darkish Heifetz sound.
Nevertheless the sound must have *substance* behind it.
Orchestral sound is a wholly different matter.
The ablity to blend in is important.
If the player stands out from the rest of the section, the player will soon be out of a job. :)con_ritmo
Re: Re: SOUND 21-Sep-98
How about smooth, like butter, even up and down and across all strings. I like there to be a core
sound rather than a hollow sound -- It's hard to put into words. Refined, not harsh. mary
Re: SOUND 21-Sep-98
I agree with Daniel, Mary, and Con-Ritmo.
A good violin should be flexible enough from
sweet to strong to soft to powerful with a
palette of different tone colors painted by
the performer. Importantly, it should respond
well even at ppp and carry to the very ends
of the hall. The same violin played by any
two different people will sound different
from each other. The voice of the violin is
a very personal thing, so that a violin that
one person likes is not so much appreciated by another. G Gregory
Re: Stage Fright-28-Jan-99-You are doing the right thing by grabbing every chance to perform. I would suggest that you try to
perform in front of a very supportive audience -- for example, your family or perhaps your teacher
could arrange studio recitals for just students -- no outsiders.
You might try deep breathing exercises or yoga exercises.
Also, when you perform, make sure that you are thoroughly prepared. In other words, know the
piece backwards, forwards and in your sleep -- at least at first -- so that you are very confident
about what you are playing.
You might try playing with your eyes closed some of the time.
You might also try playing in front of family members and have them jump around and try to
distract you while you are playing.
These are all tricks which I have used and seen used in the past. I do think that having absolute
confidence in the piece you are performing is perhaps one of the key elements to success, though,
when you are starting out as a performer. In other words, don't perform your latest piece, instead
pick one that is well-seasoned which you have had for a while.
Hope this helps. Mary
Re: Stage fright 21-Sep-98
Hi. I have some sort of stage fright. I don't like talking in front of people, but I can play for any one. I
am more nervous when playing for people that I know, but I've played for about 200 people at
summer workshops several times, out of which I knew maybe eight people, and it doesn't bother me.
Some of Mary's ideas are valid but I wouldn't play with your eyes closed, you could get dizzy and
drop your violin, that would be bad.
Taking every chance to preform is good, but make sure that you're preforming pieces that you know.
The only thing that you can really do is just relax.
Good Luck, Ben
Re: Stage fright 28-Jan-99
Its weird, I am more nervous waiting to get on
stage than when I'm playing. When I start playing I usually forget about the audience because I'm
putting full concentration into the music.
If you're playing with a pianist or any sorta accomp., just think, "hey he/she is in the same position
as I am. Why should I be nervous?" Pretend that u're talking to him/her within a crowd. For me, I
usually get one of my friends to accompany me, so its more "comfortable" to accompany me, G'luck, Sisqo
Re: Stage fright 28-Jan-99
I think one of the most frightening things is knowing that people are sitting there focussing attention
on you and what you are doing and this makes you all the more aware yourself of what you are
doing. If we can get away from that awareness of our own actions we can often play more
confidently. I think many people find they play better when no one else is around. Sometimes I
think it helps to play in situations where other people are not focusing on you but doing something
else. For example, you could try something like playing to your family while they're washing up the
dishes (as long as you don't get in trouble for not helping!) or if you have an understanding famiy,
perhaps you could try playing in the next room while they listen, just till you get more used to
having people listen to you. I agree that it really helps to know your pieces well. Hope this helps
some. Good luck. Lenny
Re: Stage fright 29-Jan-99
You are getting some great hints here!
Another useful technique once you have done all this practising and are confident, is to do some
very slow bowing across open strings before you perform. Ok sounds easy. But I think it works. I
mean insanely slow! If you can get that to sound good then your confidence should at least come
up a bit.Good luck! LP
Re: Stage Friday, 29-Jan-99
I only get nervous in front of small groups. Especially groups of people I know. At church every other weekend, I play
(in an ensemble) in front of a group up to 13,000 people. They expect me to play, so I know what to do. I should be
more nervous there because we have 4 cameras that feed into big screens for people in the back to see. Those
cameras actually help me build my confidence... "If I look like I play good, then I must sound good...?" :-)
But when I perform a solo in front of a small group (about 20), I don't know why, but it's much harder. One major
thing to concentrate on is breathing. When we get nervous, we stop breathing so we can be more alert to do other
things. I try to breath as much as I can when I play (not so much to hyperventilate and pass out). Daniel
Re: Double Stops!
Wednesday, 08-Mar-2000 03:37:01
initially practice double stops piano.this will help prevent your lh fingers from pressing down into the string.
changing the bow weight distribution between the strings (generally emphasizing the lower note) can
also affect how the pitch appears to the audience.
another thing to think about is double-stop intonation.intonation for a double-stop is different than for a normal single note.
for example, if one was playing an open A and a F# (on the E string) together...
the F# on the double stop would be tuned *lower* than a normal F# if it was played by itself.
here's a rule:
any double stop which isn't a perfect interval ...octave or a fifth (or fourth)...has a primary and a secondary note.
the secondary note must be tuned *towards* the primary note. in the above example, the open A was the primary note...thus the F# had to be played a bit
flatter...so you can tune *towards* the primary A. on the other hand, if you were playing a
C# (on the A)...and an open E...the C# would have to be tuned *higher* (than normal) towards the open E.
how does one figure out which is the primary and the secondary note? it has to do with which scale you are currently in. if you are in A-Major...then A (tonic)would be a
primary note...as would E (dominant). D would be important because it is the subdominant.
Everythign else falls in line as secondaries...etc.etc. If you have two "primary" notes...then tune
towards the lower one. And if you have an open string to deal with...well you are not left with much
choice but to tune towards the open string.
Therefore, if you were playing a sustained D string with lots of notes on the A string...all those notes
on the A string would be tuned flat towards the D string. hope this message isn't too confusing!!! con_ritmo
Re: Double Stops! Tuesday, 07-Mar-2000 04:39:33
I was scared to death of double stops for the longest time because I hadn't been taught to execute
them properly. And I remember Kreutzer #37; it made me miserable! I recommend the Melodious
Double-Stops books (2 volumes) by Josephine Trott. They're much more interesting than the
books by Sevcik, Whistler, Schradieck, etc.
A few things that have helped me:
Always tune up the lower-fingered note first.
Think of how your fingers line up across the strings. For example, is your second finger moving
straight across from one string to the next? Is your third finger going to be a half step or a whole
step away from your second finger?
Practice consecutive double stops in slurs.
When shifting in double stops, try "blind fingering." This is when you finger both notes, but only bow
on one of them. For example, in a passage of octaves, you would leave both first AND fourth
finger down, but practice the entire passage playing only the first finger. Then go back and do the
same thing playing only the fourth finger.
Scales in double-stops. See the Carl Flesch or any other scale system, or make up your own.
I'm sure others will offer better ideas, but I hope this helps. Mary
Re: Double Stops! Tuesday, 07-Mar-2000 20:41:46
I haven't got anywhere near Kreutzer #37 (and I've stopped playing for a while, although I'm not
exactly quitting), but I can say a few things about double-stopping:
1) Yes, it is possibly one of the most difficult left-hand techniques. (There are also a few issues with
the right hand on some types of passages, but let's forget about that for now.) The main problem is
that you're forced to have two or more fingers down at the same time, which means:
a) more frequent shifting
b) more finger stretching
The shifting is made trickier because sometimes the interval distance increase or decreases just after
a shift. The finger strectching is worse in double-stops because having one finger down limits your
ability to stretch a finger (hence the out-of-tune 2-4 fingering double stops).
Some may even find a slight problem with vibrato. If the two notes are not vibrated with the same
"size" vibrato, the result might not sound quite in tone. Also you'll likely find your vibrato slightly
faster and narrower simply because you have more fingers down (this can also mean your vibrato
isn't quite as relax as it should be.)
2) Practicing double-stops. On the violin, the most common intervals are the 3rd, the 6th, the
octave, and the 10th. The 10th should be left alone until mastery of everything else. The octave
should be treated with extra care, because it is extremely sensitive to intonation, and because both
types of fingering are tricky (the 1-4 shift 1-4 shift... fingering and the 1-3 2-4 shift 1-3 2-4 shift...
fingering; and variations).
Trodd's "Melodious Double Stops" is a good way to introduce beginners to double-stopping, and
believe me, it does have pieces that are trickier than meets the eye (finger stretching is even worse
when the two fingers are on different strings!!!). But for serious double-stopping work, etudes like
those from Kreutzer, as well as double-stop scales, are paramount.
When practicing double stops, you must start off slow and listen very carefully for intonation.
Practice one or two measures over and over again until the intonation is set straight and the finger
stretching no longer feels uncomfortable. And don't do slurred double stops until you can do them
separate bows. Also, you should start off doing something like this:
A -> A + C, B -> B + D, ...
and C -> A + C, D -> B + D, ...
In other words, practice first playing the lower note, then slur into the double stop with the upper
note added in, and do that for each note. And also practice first playing the upper note, then slur
into the double stop with the lower note added in, and do that for each note. This helps with
adjusting intonation and fingering. Gradually make the single "starter" notes shorter and shorter until
you can actually hit the double stop right on, accurately, without the help of the starter notes.
It'll be a slow, laborious, and yes, rather torturous process at times. Try to be patient.
Playing scales in double stops also help with getting familiar with how the intervals shorten/lengthen
in major and minor scales. For example, in a major scale, a 6th double stop would be like (starting
from a tonic upper note):
here minor and major refers to the type of 6th interval (the minor 6th is 8 half-steps part, as in E-C;
the major 9 apart, as in F-D). These patterns are worthwhile to remember and get used to.
I don't recommend practicing the lower notes and upper notes separately, because you'll find that
your fingers feel different (often more restricted, more stretched) when you're double-stopping, and
you can only get used to that by having both fingers down as often as possible. Good luck!
SLURRED STRING CROSSINGS
Re: slurred three string crossings 08-Mar-2000 03:19:04
The upper arm/fore arm/wrist/hand/bow all should form one unit. In this unit, the upper arm is the leader...it directs all motion.
Having one of the lower units flail around outside the general line will compromise the sound...as angles and weight distribution will change...so keep the wrist straight and level.
Also keep the upper arm/elbow high (but the shoulder dropped) enough so that you can get a good "directly above the string" approach.
Next, remember that the arm has different levels for each string...high for the g/lower for the e.
Therefore, lead (anticipate) with the upper arm through the different string levels and have the fore arm et. al follow in suit...loosely...but keeping with the general line. Remember to keep on pulling horizontally as the upper arm is moving up and down vertically
through the levels...
The faster string crossings, the less the upper arm will move through the different string levels...instead it will focus between "mid points"...as if one was playing chords.
In such cases, the fore arm will move between the strings...with the upper arm being held "above
the string" so that good weight distribution is still being fed through the whole unit. con_ritmo
Re: Re: slurred three string crossings
Wednesday, 08-Mar-2000 03:22:41
also emphasize the beginning of each rhythmic grouping (or slurred grouping, whichever is musically appropriate)...
this will help synchronize your actions and help them become more fluid.
Re: Re: slurred three string crossings Monday, 06-Mar-2000 12:54:05
I agree. Think of your right shoulder as a hinge or ball joint, and try to keep your forearm always
parallel to the floor. A good exercise could be done WITHOUT the violin or bow. Standing up,
hold your right arm straight out to the side, then bend your elbow in 90 degrees, keeping your
upper arm out to the side. (If only I could just draw a picture!)Then pretend your arm is like a "cat
door" with the hinge opening and closing from the top. Slowly drop the whole thing: elbow and
hand at the same rate, so you create an arc, and then bring it back up to the same height. Do this
many times, at different speeds, then get your violin & bow and try to recreate the same feeling.
Where I see most of my students getting into trouble is when the forearm tries to lead, and also
when the motion jerks from string to string. Changing the speed of the arc is smoother than trying to
control the time at which you arrive at each string individually. RS
ok, my upbow staccato isn't breathtakingly spectacular...but it is good enough, loose enough, and fast enough to get the job done.
there are many types of upbow staccatos...there is the normal "loose" kind...the stiff kind...and the off-the-bow "flying" kind.
basically we're dealing with the normal "loose" kind.
set the weight with your arm. this weight is constant and never varies. the bow stick should remain down...it shouldn't be jumping up and down.
from there...the magic is in the wrist. do clockwise motions with your hand, so that the third finger is doing the work...use the first finger as the pivot point with the third doing the motion. combine that
with smooth arm movement and you're set.
one way of practicing (besides going slow->fast) is to repeat a note 4 times with the upbow stacatto. then move to 3 times...then 2 then 1...
I enjoyed reading the comments above. i believe it was Szeryng who said that a good stacatto comes from a good martele...
and it was Galamian who sometimes had students raise their second fingers to help promote the proper clockwise motion. con_ritmo
Re: Kreutzer #4 - up bow staccato Sunday, 27-Feb-2000 11:46:41
There's a lot of this bowing in Wieniawski's 2nd (as I'm sure you all know...). When I learned Wieniawski's 2nd, I tried to do the bowing while taking my 2nd finger (the middle finger...) off of
the bow. If you do this, you can really feel the 3rd finger at work (many people neglect the 3rd finger). Good luck. email@example.com
1st finger Sunday, 27-Feb-2000 18:05:14
when I did Kreutzer #4, my teacher told me to do like a little "click" with my first finger and then relax it while I'm still puling the bow. So it's kinda like 'quarter click (relax) click (relax) click (relax)
click (relax) half.' so you put pressure on with your 1st finger and release pressure release. Does that make any sense?
THUMB during vibrato and shifting
Re: Re: Re: using the thumb during vibrato and shifting Sunday, 27-Feb-2000 14:00:50
You can still play the violin without your thumb. it's not comfortable, but you can do it
if it's supported right by your chin and shoulder. When I saw Mr. Ruggiero Ricci play in the upper
positions on the E-String, he didn't even have his thumb anywhere on the violin! His finger did all
the vibrato while his thumb just was pulled away from the violin.
When I started, my teacher strictly wanted me to bend my elbow more in. I mean, man, it was
SOOOOOOOOOO uncomfortable and it hurts. But what she made me do was to play the violin
without any part of the hand touching the violin - just your fingers playing. The ONLY way to do
that is to have your elbow bent in towards you more and it hurts cause you're not used to it at first.
But after doing that for like a week, you get used to it and when you put back the thumb, the thumb
just relaxes there and it isn't gripping. It's cause your elbow is bent in more now and your fingers
are arched more and it's relaxed more. plus you get more reach with the bent elbow now. That
really helped me on vibrato when I was learning cause my fingers were so relaxed and the extra
reach I had on my fingers didnt' cause me to have the "counter-tension" with the thumb or anything.
But when I do vibrato, the thumb is just lightly toughing the neck. But it doesn't have to be tightly
touching the neck of the violin. Your thumb can still lightly support the violin while it's relaxed. It's a
hard thing to describe, but you can do it - you just need to keep experimenting and practicing.
Vibrato doesn't come in just a few days. Takes months and stuff to feel good.
And I doubt so much that the gap between the string and fingerboard is the problem. You'd have to
have a pretty bad setup of a violin with a low bridge and a high nut or something. that guy
Re: using the thumb during vibrato and shifting Saturday, 04-Mar-2000 23:24:22
just to reaffirm what everybody seems to be saying here...
well, I guess one has to analyze how they (in no particular order):
2. produce vibrato
3. hold their thumb
1. basically, when shifting, the thumb and the hand moves as one unit...nothing gets left behind...
2. will disregard the vibrato portion for now...
3. some people hold their thumb vertically along the left side of the neck...others hold it horizontally
underneath the neck...and others fall inbetween. each style has its own inherent advantages and disadvantages...
the vertical thumb for me frees up the hand for vibrato...but reach becomes comprimised.
the horizontal thumb for me is a tad unnatural...but reach is optimized. so I'll dance between the two styles depending on what I need.
now then...one should take special care not to use the thumb as a backboard to support finger pressure.
if anything the thumb should be loose loose loose...and the fingers should be loose loose loose. don't so much think of "pressing" the strings down...just use natural finger weight to stop the string vibrations...
using the thumb as a backboard promotes finger pounding/tension...and slows down the hand
considerably...locking it up from shifting and vibrato.
anyways, keep the thumb loose, keep the fingers loose, and keep the whole unit together (thumbs
and fingers) when shifting! :)
other then that...i forget which violinist it was that stated to the effect...
"just forget about the thumb...if one allows it to go on its own accord, it should assume the proper position...naturally..." con_ritmo