Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bow Hold 2: Relax Your Fingers, Dude!

So, after you are done with relaxing your wrists as you do your bowing, you must now center your attention to your fingers.

Yes, your fingers.

If you look closely at all violinists, may they be part of an amazing orchestra, quartet, or being a superb soloist, you will notice that their fingers often dance as they play - especially during complicated bow strokes that can make you dizzy.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bow Hold 1: Relax Your Wrist, Dude!

You have to be an artist in multitasking when you play the violin. You have to concentrate on your hand grip, where your fingers must press, your intonation, your tone production, and your posture while making sure that your bow stays on your ring tone and maintains a straight bowing motion.

The first thing my previous teacher concentrated on while I was having my lessons then in a multipurpose hall in the University of the Philippines (no, it was not an official U. P. course) was my bowing. My bow will go on an angle and skid over the strings like a threadbare tire on wet asphalt. And the main issue why I can't keep my bowing straight is because of my wrist. Yes, my wrist.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Holding The Violin Series 1: Keeping the Grip

I have been struggling for weeks and weeks with my left hand because I am so afraid of doing the infamous death grip that violin teachers are constantly warning their students about.  Beth was able to point out my fear that has lead to my over-compensation in gripping the violin when she watched my Twinkle Twinkle variation video.  I was holding the neck of the violin by placing my thumb almost beneath the neck, and my pointing finger was in no contact whatsoever with the violin.

If you are struggling with the violin grip as I am, then watch this video bellow by Allison on how one should think and go about their violin grip

Monday, August 20, 2012

Practicing Slowly Part II: Make Your Piece Unidentifiable

I saw a post from my fellow member in our Yahoo Groups community, and it really got me thinking. His post said:
If a passerby can identify what song you are practicing, then you are practicing it wrong.
Ironic, isn't it? How come you are practicing something wrong when every single note from every single bar and stanza can be fully understood? You should be told that you are doing an awesome job in your violin practice because everyone knows what song you're trying to play right?



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Twinkle Twinkle Variation C, D, & E Suzuki Book 1

After finishing my makeshift camera mount, I finally had a break to take on my violin practice. I haven't been "playing" as in playing.  I was concentrating on my notes and intonation, plus doing some exercises to help my arm get familiar with the different notes in the Twinkle Twinkle variations.

No, I am not looking at a music sheet or a mirror (as I used to) when I recorded this practice.  If you see me constantly glancing at a certain point every now and then, I was checking on my tuner to see if I was on the note or not.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Recording Your Practice Series I: Camera Mount

So, since my lessons in are online and Beth is in Austin, Texas, the only way for me to get feedback on my violin playing is through recording my practice at home with the use of a camera.  I had an awesome Sony Cybershot digital camera that I got as a graduation gift from my sisters and mom, but I dropped it in my last practice last year :(.  Thankfully enough, I got a Samsung DVD camcorder that records in both SD cards and mini DVDs, but I had to find out a way how to prop it to get an awesome camera angle.

And after weeks and weeks of thinking, this was what I came up with.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

So Many Things To Do, So Little Time

I'm a writer and I write when I work, and I write when I don't work. It's in my blood and I can't shake it off.

However, right now work and a lot of personal responsibilities are getting to me... I have more than 5 drafts prepared for this website as well as my ever lengthening list of what to practice and when to practice, and how to practice - not to mention a McGyver idea on how to prop up a camera for an awesome camera angle that a fellow member has shared with us all.

Please stay tuned as I will upload a featured interview soon of possibly two awesome online violin professors.

See you around!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ViolinLab With ProfessorV

Two of the most amazing violin teachers have come together in Austin, Texas for ViolinLab's workshop and masterclass. Todd Ehle, known in YouTube as ProfessorV is one of the guest instructors in the workshop and Beth has graciously shared her interview and chat with this truly amazing teacher.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Twinkle Twinkle Variation C Part I

So, 1st Twinkle Twinkle done and I'm now off to my second variation, which is the third variation in the Suzuki Book 1.  Beth recommends skipping Variation B for later and, although I trust her, I was a bit confused at first. After hearing the notes and watching her tutorial on Variation B in, I fully understood why.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

YouTube Channels For Beginning Violinists

YouTube has come a long way since its started. And now, more and more people are tuning in to YouTube not just for movies and series, but for how-tos and tutorials as well.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Using A Shoulder Rest

One of the most difficult things I have to get over with in playing the violin is that painful dig the wooden instrument gives me when I put at the crook of my neck.  It digs to my collarbone and my then-instructor told me that the skin was starting to get raw.  Either I use a towel, or I use a violin shoulder rest.

My shoulder rest is just a simple, inexpensive black thing that I bought for just P500 (about $12 USD) in a local music store (which I will not promote because the manager is just so snotty).  And I will not

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Benefits of Listening to A Music Piece

I loved the violin since I was little, and know instinctively that I should know my notes if I am to play my violin someday.  Granted that I have the inherent "ability," so to speak, to play a tune better if I know what on earth I am playing,  I wanted to get that habit out of me so I can learn how to read notes.  However, I can't seem to visualize notes better than when I hear them in my head.  And I think Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was aware that there are individuals out there like me who will only play better if they are familiar with the music that they are playing when he made his violin program.

And for that, I would like to earnestly say Thank You to Dr. Suzuki for coming up with such concept.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Second Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Variation A

Been practicing my intonation for days, and finally got to record my practice. I'm not at all happy with the video quality as it's sketchy and everything. However, it did give me a few points on how I'm going about my pathetic attempts with the violin.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Practicing Slowly

When you buy your original Suzuki Book, you are also given a CD to listen to and play along. But as a beginner, you are always told to practice slowly. And one way to practice slowly is to play your piece one bar at a time, as well as playing the piece slightly slower than the real beat. The former is easier to do than the latter since CD players don't give you the freedom of slowing down the accompaniment.

One of the things I like about is that the members there are willing to help each other out, and that means recommending sheet music, apps, and programs that can really be useful in your progress as a violin player. A member shared this really awesome program that can help you slow down or speed up the beat of any song you wish to play, which is Speedshifter by ABRSM.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Going Back to Violin

Finally, after several months of not being able to hold the violin, I am now back to practicing to my heart's content.  I also have Beth of for taking me back after several months of being unable to go back to the site.

Needless to say, I'm finding it difficult to go back to playing the fiddle. I'm a beginner, and stopping and going back again would mean I am starting from square one. Yes, square one, even though I know the notes of all the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star variations as well as Lightly Row in Suzuki. So, what are my present hurdles?