There's a big smile on my face right now, all thanks to one of my solo piano heroes, michele mclaughlin. i'm delighted and honoured that michele has included my piano piece 'sleeping beauty' on her popular playlist of peaceful solo piano music. please take a moment to enjoy this beautiful collection of songs, featuring some of michele's finest compositions along with pieces by talented piano artists such as brian crain, gary girouard, david nevue, jennifer thomas and many, many more! 😊
Well, after about 2 weeks studying these exercises, i'm finally ready to move forward to first finger, fifth position. developing these exercises has seen installing my new whittner, center-mounted chin rest and later my new dov-music, harp-style tailpiece! i am loving both! i used my condenser mic for this, and it got a much better, acoustical sound.
it also saw me get on an ocd spell with my bow hair. i was getting a lot of benign squeaks, and my bow wasn't responding as immediately as it should have been. i had noticed some bow hairs would slacken faster than others, and others would slacked way-more-slowly. about 15 clipped hairs later, i had a clear tone. no one tells you to clip bad hairs that haven't broken yet…
anyway… my approach in not learning the entire first position first is paying huge dividends. i am excited about the progress of my bowing, progress in my tuning accuracy, progress in changing strings with the first finger on the string being changed from without chirps, progress in thumb posture, and progress in sliding without gripping or leaving the thumb behind.
One of the most difficult things with playing the violin is down-shifting, especially when you're going from a position over or close to being over the body of the violin to a position away from the body.
i've worked a lot so far on other exercises from this series, as well, but the first is by-far the most difficult. nothing is better for getting those upper positions on lower strings more and more in-tune! upper strings are much easier. it's the lower strings you have to really focus on the most, because they take a lot more stretching to reach them!
and yes, i'm not doing full bow strokes as written! i've decided i might as well get used to splitting them up, when i'm practicing under-tempo! 🤣🎻
I promise i haven't forgotten everyone! i know the point of sharing practice videos is to share your development, but there is still a certain personal standard i think we all possess in what shouldn't quite yet see the light of day!
what these exercises begin to allow me as a student to start hacking away at is what i'm finding to be the genesis of playing the violin. the first finger accompanied by the thumb is where every position starts, and first, third, and fifth are the major positions on the violin. everything else starts to fill in the gaps from here.
precision in position location is crucial in tuning. technical areas such as knuckle position, rotating the hand around the fingerboard to the lower strings, sliding silently but accurately up the string, and accurately judging where a position begins when going to that position cold (without a slide) are all keys to the many locks on the door of precise tuning on the violin.
by adding fingers more slowly than in other methods, i am at much more liberty to focus daily on these keys that will make learning the violin a joy and not a frustration. it is indeed often frustrating even in my limited focus to get tuning exactly right, but it is universes easier than if i were dealing with the fine coordinations of using more fingers than i am ready for in my playing.
i may possibly make one more video very (hopefully) soon from this exercise series i've been working diligently on, but i will mostly be working toward adding a second set of exercises covering these three major positions with the first finger very soon. i am hoping for just one more set of exercises on this before adding the second finger!
This is probably my favorite exercise from this set! the g string is an extremely important string for a soloist, and my instrument in general tends to lack in power on the g string. when i buy new strings, i plan to get the larsen il cannone strings. the a and d will be medium, but the g and e will both be soloist grade. soloist is brighter and more powerful!
this exercise has really allowed me to spend a great deal of care improving my ear to tuning on the lowest string and develop the hand coordination necessary to reach around that far. i look forward to more exercises that continue this process!
The internet is truly an amazing thing. even though i live in rural oklahoma and can currently only get decent internet via satellite and cellular (that's supposed to be about to change), not only am i able to purchase quality violin parts such as chin rests from the east coast, and not only am i able to order materials such as strings and rosin handmade in europe, online media has taught me so much so quickly in learning violin.
i'm sure to some people, using a pencil on the string grooves in the bridge and nut is a no-brainer. the same is probably true for using the tube that comes on your e string to keep the string from cutting into the bridge.
but to many people, this is not conventional wisdom. people deal with broken violin strings very regularly, whereas these things supposedly eliminate breaks almost entirely. did you also know to lift your strings (minus the e, which does not need it in using the tube) gently and slightly up off the bridge, individually, after tuning? this allows the string tension to equally distribute itself on either side of the bridge, another important factor to keep strings from breaking. i'm glad to now know these things before buying the larsen il cannone strings in a month or two as i plan to do… youtube is a marvelous thing…
My students-my proudest.im teaching since turned 16.from this time i met a lot of different people and made from them musicians.i remember everyone,every lesson,every progress and every failures.when i found today this song, all memories with my student @artyrvissart come up.you have been one of my students when i couldn’t understand how someone can be talented as you and some lessons i couldn’t understand why you need me is teacher😊you have been one of my talented adult student who loves music more then anyone. and i hope you continue doing still. thank you for one of best memories about this song- i never mind you will play it- but you did it. regards from #abudhabi
Oh how i long and look forward to learning the études of schradieck, kreutzer, ševčík, gaviniès, rode, and the paganini caprices…apart from repertoire.
but isolating the fundamental positions first is crucial, alongside developing a growing, theoretical understanding of playing and the violin in general. i only very recently realized players keep their hands completely and totally still, when they move their fingers to play a fingering pattern. only the fingers move, nothing else. i have also been discovering the importance of proper finger arch in accuracy and repeatability of finger placement.
but more than anything else, correctly landing in a position is extremely difficult. until you can accurately land on the main positions with the thumb and first finger, repeatable each time, how can you even justify adding a second finger, even in first position? once i do indeed begin and manage to add the second finger through the three main positions, i plan to fill in the second and fourth positions. chromatics will come later, with the sixth and seventh positions to follow.
it's a truly long process, but learning something intelligently is crucial. i find myself more and more fascinated with detailed work on tuning and accuracy, and i am increasingly grateful to myself for not overcomplicating the process prematurely. the new larsen strings and rosin are fantastic upgrades to my studies, as well! the strings are astonishingly responsive, and the rosin leaves minimal dust!
I'm glad i saved sharing this progress for after the new shoulder rest arrived! reaching the lower strings and playing left-hand pizzicato are both far easier, when the instrument is tilted closer to a 45° angle than my old shoulder rest allowed for. it sat closer to a 20-30° angle.
enjoy! i plan on now beginning to implement the second finger in first position with new exercises!