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  • #14038 Reply

    Hi everyone,
    Here is my first etude. Would you give me some feedback? Thanks a billion!

    #14045 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    WOW! That was REALLY good! I’m especially impressed that you have memorized the etude! You also set the metronome and did not miss a beat. Bravo! Move to a new etude! I will have to get really picky to find something to improve in your playing today! You are being so hard on me! I have to watch the video twice to find something 😉

    OK, well by now, you know Ms. Dianne. (me) I will always find SOMETHING you can work to improve. One thing today for each hand. None of today’s suggestions have anything to do with the piece, just technique, which is already very, very good.

    Left Hand
    1. Sometimes the C natural to B natural is a little ‘pitchy’, a little flat. By just a hairs width. If you could imagine the note B natural having physical dimension, like a hair under the microscope. It looks something like this:


    The note has a top side, a bottom side, and a width in the middle of top and bottom. Your choice in this piece should be to play the B natural on the top side of the pitch. Does this make sense? If you play on the bottom side, it may still be B natural, but it sounds a little flat. Especially when you have to play the pair of notes repeatedly within succession.

    OH, I said one thing, but it will be two things, for left hand. It would be very useful to practice this unit, taken out of the beginning of the piece:

    ||: A0, A1, A2, A3 | A4, A4, A4, A4 :|| Fine tune the 4th finger and make it stay rounded. You may need to pull the left elbow under the violin a little more, allowing the thumb to drop so it is fully under the fingerboard. We repeat the A4 to listen and adjust the pitch. Next:

    ||: A0, A1, A2, A3 | A4, A3, A4, A3 :|| Watch the 4th finger. Make it stay rounded. Keep the elbow under the violin. Isolate the exercise further:

    ||: A3, A4, A3, A4 :|| Pinkie push ups. Keep pinkie rounded. Repeat 10 or more times. A variation of this:

    ||: A2, A4, A2, A4 :|| Hold A2 while playing A4. Keep pinkie rounded. Repeat 10 or more times. Make sure you play C natural not C #.

    So the purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the pinkie of the left hand and make a very slight adjustment to the thumb and elbow position in order to help the pinkie start out closer to the fingerboard.

    Right Hand (bow arm)
    What I am concerned about here is the variation in the tone. The bow grip is good and the bow arm seems to function very well. But the sound sometimes is ‘edgy’ and the notes don’t speak readily especially on D and G. Make sure the contact point (where the bow touches the string) is staying in the right place. Not too close to the bridge and not too close to the fingerboard. This may just be caused by the violin itself, or the strings, or the bow or too much or too little rosin. So I don’t have a definitive answer yet, but see if you can hear it, too and we can talk more about it, if it’s a regular thing.

    Oops! Two things for right hand, as well! This actually does have to do with the piece. In the measures where you have string crossings, say more than two, where you have to go from E to D to G and back etc. Take away the fingerings and practice the open string bowing. Let’s make sure the sound is good without the fingerings and that the bow placement is correct during the string crossings at all points of the bow.

    As a supplement to your etude book, I would recommend that you get Sevcik School of Violin Techniques, Op. 1. Part 1. You can work from the beginning of that book for left hand finger work, but for bowing, I would recommend starting and memorizing #11 (shown below) and practice the various bowings after memorizing. We can talk about what the bow arm should do during string crossings in another post. Thank you for sharing!

    Sevcik School of Violin Techniques, Opus 1, Part 1, No. 11

    #14062 Reply

    Thank you very much, Ms.Dianne. I have some questions and my own feedback.
    1/ My pinkie is still very weak, specifically it’s the 2nd joint, and it tends to bend like this (picture 1) I’m practising the exercise #3 in this blog: . I wonder if I continue to use it, will it form a bad habit?
    2/ I think the reason why B natural sounds flat is I don’t use index to press when transition from down bow to up bow. I notice it at the slow speed, but it hasn’t become a muscle memory, so when I speed up, I forget it.
    3/ The sound is sometimes ‘edgy’ on D and G string, I think that 2 reasons are rosin is not enough and my speed of bow isn’t even.
    4/ string crossings form E to D to G: I honestly confess that I haven’t separated and practised it much enough. Before your feedback about leaving fingers in a group, I left fingers individually. Therefore, I applied that new technique and did not spend enough time to separate that part and harness it.
    5/ I have found Sevcik School of Violin Techniques, Op. 1. Part 1. Can you check to confirm it is right?
    6/ What is the name of #11 etude? I found 5 etude books from a blog in this site. Wohlfahrt, Kayser, Mazas, Sitt, Kreutzer. And I decided to practice the easiest etude within my current level.
    I am sorry about not introducing myself in more detail. I started on May, 2014 with a teacher for 2 months. After that, I returned to my hometown to take care of my grandmother. Then I suffered a sickness, so I remained almost unchanged for 1 year. I actually pick up the violin again and seriously learned on October, 2015. And I knew this website, I decided to follow the instructions to form a solid foundation. I work on drills, scales, etudes, Suzuki book.
    I’m 20 years old now and I was drawn to classical music. I used to listen a lot at home, however I never imagine me play an instrument, especially the violin. Because there is no teacher in my hometown and even no one violin ever appearing here. I know it is a long, challenging journey to my dream: playing famous pieces of music by Paganini, Vivaldi, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart,..v..v… Besides, playing an instrument requires a natural aptitude. It doesn’t depend only on hard trying. I can’t self-assess whether I have that natural talent or not. Maybe, I can’t be a violinist who can perform for every one in large orchestra. I will become a great violin player to myself and share my interest to my family and friends.
    I share my story so that you can evaluate my level. Can you show me which specific next etude I need to work on?
    Thank again for your dedication. I will follow all your instructions.

    #14063 Reply

    picture 1

    #14071 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    Hi dear,
    Practicing the exercise for 4th finger will not cause harm or bad habit. It is a good muscle strengthening exercise for pinkie. I did not see a (picture 1) but I think it is probably a pic of the collapsed pinkie on the fingerboard. This is a very common issue, I have it myself. It is a result of having a double jointed knuckle. It can be overcome. Violin Tutor Pro recently posted an article from on facebook about this. One thing I read was the main cause of the pinkie sitting straight instead of rounded is that the player drops the pinkie from the first knuckle (closest) to the palm. But there is another knuckle lower in the hand, and if you think of dropping the pinkie from that joint, keeping the hand turned toward the fingerboard and staying close as you can to the fingerboard, you will have a better chance of achieving a rounded pinkie.

    In answer to 2, 3, and 4. All good things, with time. You are aware and such a good student. You will work on all these things eventually.

    I will check the PDF, but I don’t want to click that link and lose my post until I read yours and answer all. I will check after and confirm.

    The Wohlfahrt (I always spell this wrong) that you are working on, do the next one in the book. Do them in order. I would be happy to listen to them all. If you have worked through that book let me know. I can select the next etude book. Meanwhile, Sevcik is heavily finger exercises at the beginning. Repeat the finger patters and play them in tune and fast. They are good for warm ups.

    There are also Schradieck technique books you will want to do. But Sevick first and then you will fly through Book 1.

    I hope to know your name some day, as I write her to you and often want to refer to you as something other than nguyenthienchan 🙂 But thank you for sharing your history with me. Your hope to play the greats is so beautiful and I want to tell you that you CAN be a very accomplished violinist. You have an excellent start. (and now, an excellent online teacher *smiles*) If it is true that some inherent talent is required to get there, I confirm, you have it. I personally believe that every person can learn and that talent is earned, not bestowed from a higher power. For every person, it takes time, hard work, and good training. Every great violinist you admire has suffered the self doubt and seriousness, the stress of practice over years and years to achieve their skills. No one wakes up one day and plays violin with mastery. We all take each step to reach the next goal.

    I am always here when you have questions. Remember this. It’s not what you play, but how you play it. 🙂 Talk soon. I will check PDF and post again.

    #14072 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    I have checked the PDF and it is indeed the correct book. Each measure in the beginning exercises is to be practices repeatedly and work to play as fast as possible. Let me know if you have any questions!

    #14104 Reply

    Hi Ms. Dianne,
    You can call me Chan. 🙂 Have you ever been to Vietnam? Where are you from?
    I’ve found this tutorial. I think I should continue on this piece to correct my mistakes at intermediate level (at 10:10) and then I will practice the variation on the top of the etude.

    etude 1
    I’m so happy to be your online student.

    #14105 Reply

    I posted the wrong video. Because I can’t edit nor delete. This new video maybe start at 10:10.

    #14118 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    Hi Chan! I am from America. I live on the eastern coast in a mountain, rural area in the state of West Virginia. I was raised in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, which is closer to the beach 😉 I have never been outside the United States. It’s so sweet of you to say you are happy to be my student. :):) <3<3

    So, watching the video, she says exactly what I said! Her demonstration is very good. I have seen her videos before and they are very detailed and accurate. So now you will try to play as she suggested for intermediates? Low in the bow with fluid fingers and wrist?

    I would like to see you try to get the string crossings bow strokes more like the all notes on a string bow strokes, still in the upper half. That’s why I suggested practicing the open strings on the string crossings. Then check the elbow function on the bow side.

    This is a great video! All her points are so valid. I wish I had her video recording equipment and I would make tutorials too. If you did all that she asked for this etude, however, you would play this etude for a long time!

    #14126 Reply

    Hi, Ms. Dianne. It’s lovely to know more about you. 🙂
    Of course, I focus on the detail you show me. I will use this video as a material to check my consistency of tone and cleanliness of bow stroke.
    I would love to watch your tutorials too. I know it will take for a long time, however, I think that the more I practice it, the easier the next etude is. If I don’t grasp the fundamentals firmly, I will encounter the same problem again and again. It is just an personal experience. Sometimes, I’m afraid to fall into perfectionism because I don’t know when it is acceptable and when I need to move on to learn a new etude or new piece of music. Will you give me some advice? I keep in mind that the balance between musical and technical, but I realize that the musical develops parallely with the technical.
    Anyway, as you always say: “Perfect practice makes perfect”.
    It is 6:15 am now, good morning from Vietnam. Have a nice day!

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Reply To: Etude Franz Wohlfahrt Op.45 no. 1 Book 1
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