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  • #3012 Reply


    I would like some feedback on this video, most specifically regarding vibrato. This is the song that I learned vibrato on, because I insisted that I be able to play it with vibrato when I performed it at church. I have that video, but I had lost my voice when I sang and played at the same time so it’s not good. I’m sure i’ve picked up bad habits playing by myself. I can teach myself a language, but I have a hard time teaching myself a musical instrument. If you notice any bad habits i’ve picked up, please tell me and I will do my best to break myself of them.

    #3034 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

    Thanks for your post SeaSongJac! There are certainly a lot of things you are doing wonderfully, and for self-teaching yourself you have done great! You actually have a very nice vibrato, that many people would love to have. It would be nice to know how long you have been playing for!

    There are many things I will mention regarding technique towards the bottom of this response, but keep in mind I’m thinking you’ll be able to fix all of them relatively quickly. With your ability to do vibrato so well, I’m confident you are going to be able to make these changes which will positively affect your playing. You obviously have a lot of hand flexibility.

    Intonation 9/10 – I didn’t notice a lot of out of tune notes. Great job! I did notice one thing that could be setup better in your left-hand, which I’ll cover below.

    Rhythm 9/10 – You seem to have a very good sense of rhythm, great job! My guess is you have played another instrument before and this is not your first rodeo.

    Articulation 8/10 – I don’t know the song you played, but I think overall you were doing a good job using the whole bow and doing slurs. Because of your technique in the right hand, I think you would have trouble doing some more advanced articulations, so hopefully you will take some of my tips and run with them below!

    Style 10/10 – Outstanding! I really love your vibrato and think you could be a really good testimony to others out there trying to develop it. There really isn’t anything wrong with it, other than you might be pressing down too hard on the fingerboard with each note. I think though you are aiming your finger right on the edge of the string, which is making your vibrato really sing. Great job!

    Technique Tips – You really are doing well for being self-taught. I think though it is going to be vital for you to work on some drills that are going to really help your playing. It is impossible to have great technique without having a good teacher so hopefully some of the videos I’ll suggest will get you on the right track. Your pinkie being way high in the air is restricting your ability to use the index and eventually will restrict your ability to get a good balance at the frog. I suggest watching my beginner lessons, and make sure you follow the proper bow hold in lesson 2. Also make sure you watch lesson 9 which will show you how to apply proper guide with the index finger. My last suggestion would be for you to take advantage of some of the drills I have put together over the years. Here are some of the best ones:

    The Quarter Drill
    Arm Extension Drills
    The Index Drill
    The Pinkie Drill (really good one for you to do)
    The Wall Index Drill (one of my best drills that helps students tremendously)

    Overall I think you have a ton of potential so I hope this is not overwhelming. I think anybody that self-teaches themselves has to go through the basics again at some point with an organized system. I don’t think you have habits you won’t be able to break, but I think the pinkie being way up in the air is hurting you in the right hand, and your thumb should be even with your index finger in the left hand. This will help you when you eventually start shifting, and will also make your vibrato more consistent.

    Overall Grade – B+

    #3109 Reply


    Thank you for your encouraging words. It makes me want to practice and play more and become better. When I did this video, I hadn’t played that song for at least two months, and hadn’t touched my violin for about 3 weeks. It seems that I only practice and play when I have an event to get ready for. I’ve been playing for about two years probably, give or take some. I was forced to take piano lessons, which for the most part I resisted, regretably, because now if I had listened and practiced more, I would be so much better than mediocre. To me, the violin is an incredibly uncomfortable instrument that eats into the shoulder (have improved that with a better shoulder rest) and can make the arm and wrist ache (sometimes I can’t tell if that’s due to practice or to arthritis, which thankfully hasn’t affected my hands) My biggest problem in playing is incredibly sweaty hands, which is the reason I have to press harder so as not to loose my grip and slide around on the finger board which is visibly wet after playing, no mater how cold I keep the room.
    It took about two weeks of solid practice to get the vibrato down. I had to do some pretty intense visualization and modeling it in my head before taking it to the violin. I’ve also been trying recently to hold the bow the right way and to play straight notes instead of sliding all over. That bow feels awkward, and weird and I always want to hold it in a fist. When I hold something with the ends of my fingers, by virtue of how the pinky is connected to the rest of the hand, it automatically shoots way into the air and looks comical. Trying to keep the pinky on the left hand bent the right way is also almost impossible, or at least I haven’t figured out a way to do it. I can concentrate with all my effort, but it doesn’t bend. I feel powerless to make it bend the right way. I actually had to stop piano for a few months because my pinky was over practiced at once, being the weakest finger. I did tons of Hannon drills which I detested. I’m going to try your drills, and when I get back from summer vacation, sign up for one of your classes. It’s as good a teacher as I can find where i am.

    #3115 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

    The biggest thing is that you are not guiding the bow properly. Right now you are using bigger muscles which is making it difficult to keep the pinkie relaxed. It seems to me that you are using a lot of thumb and the tips of the fingers, instead of the front of the hand (index finger). It takes practice, and the drills will definitely help. Try to remember the violin is holding the bow for you, and it doesn’t take extra effort to keep it in your hands because of the stability. Easier said than done!

    Also I highly recommend you get involved in some of the webinar classes. We talk a lot of technique in these classes and I’m sure they would be beneficial for you. I would recommend the 3-12 month experience class tomorrow night.

    #3118 Reply


    hello. u play really nicely for a person being self taught. wow. your vibrato is so good! i did notice the pinky too tho. bad habit. i’m sure michael’s drills will be able to help. =)

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