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  • #14262 Reply

    Gayle Maurer

    Hi everyone. I have been playing violin since January. I posted another video a month or so ago and enjoyed getting your feedback. I have tried to focus on those things you mentioned. For one thing I was holding my violin way too high so have adjusted that. It is now pretty much parallel to the floor but at an angle sideways. See if this looks better. I also bought a nice bow which I think helped my sound quality. I still have a few squeaks and scratches (and a few out of tune notes) but am working on relaxing still more. I notice when I get tired and frustrated, there are more squeaks so take a break. After that, my sound quality is better. I am learning without the benefit of a teacher so any advice you can give me will be appreciated. Thanks!

    #14265 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    Oh! Gayle! This is very well done! The violin position looks good and the sound is greatly improved. You must be so pleased!!

    I would suggest just continue looking at your bow as much as you can. Don’t worry about looking and smiling at the camera. When you look away from the bow, it tends to wander. When the bow wanders from the ‘sweet spot’, the tone suffers. (It’s still pretty good, even then!)

    To be more specific, look at your new bow, turning the bow hair side up toward you, noting how wide the width is of the bow hair. That ‘width’ is the space within which you are allowed to play on the string once you have placed the bow on the string. Often we assume we are allowed to play anywhere between bridge and the beginning of the fingerboard. That is a wide open space for the bow to freely play, but no. Place the bow about 1/2 an inch from the bridge and then from frog to tip and all points between, on any string, the bow must remain in that most narrow realm to keep a steady, optimum tone.

    I notice your bow tends to wander when you eyes look up at the camera and when you cross to the E string in section 2, where you play E3. Are the E string notes more challenging? If so, take the E string notes out of the music and make them a ‘unit’ to practice repeatedly, playing by memory so you can look at the bow.

    Here are some units I would suggest you practice to improve this song. In all examples, one bow per note.

    Control the bow during the crossings. Start DOWN bow, then practice starting it UP bow.
    A0, A0, E0, E0 :||
    A0, E0, E0, A0 :||
    E0, A0, A0, E0 :||

    Now involve the 2nd finger. Start DOWN bow, then practice starting it UP bow.
    A0, A2, E0, E0 :||
    E0, A2, A0, A0 :||

    Practice the E string segment:
    A3, A3, E1, E1 | E3, E3, E1, E1 :|| Hold down E1 while playing E3s

    Reduce to a more difficult sequence, more closely matching the rhythm of the song: (Still holding E1 while playing E3)
    A3, A3, E1, E3 | E1, E0 :||

    Control the bow placement during all units.

    Finally, as a side note, since I can’t see your bow thumb, I will ask you to please begin checking the bow grip, especially the thumb, which should stay rounded at all times. Here is a pic of a good bow grip.
    Violin Bow grip

    Notice all fingers are rounded, including the thumb and pinkie. The knuckles are flat and out of sight. The two middle fingers hug the bow, while the index finger is backed up a little. The middle finger and thumb are opposite one another. All fingers are equally spaced about a pinkie’s width apart. The tip of the thumb is tilted so that the nail looks toward the tip. This causes the thumb to touch the stick more on the inner side of the thumb tip. Here is another angle:

    Violin Bow Grip

    Notice the thumb might touch the bow hair just a bit above (or below) the nail. Once you begin to work with proper finger placement on the bow, you will have improved tone and more flexible bow arm motions that will allow you to refine use of the bow closer to the frog. I will help you all I can!

    #14273 Reply


    Wow Great Job!!

    #14319 Reply

    Gayle Maurer

    Thanks so much! I will practice your suggestions. I do find the E string a bit of a problem. It tends to be screechy and/or wispy. Also, I will concentrate more on watching the bow and NOT on looking pleasant for the camera! I do find memorizing the music helps a lot. Every time I look up at the music, my bow will wander as well. Thanks for the specific suggestions!

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