Drama at its finest form 🌾
Loving the new @purcosmetics
“Midnight Masquerade” palette for this fall season ⛅️ SWIPE FOR A CLOSE UP 👀
~ And this concludes my 2018 zodiac collection. That you to EVERYONE involved. Took 6 months to finish but we did it. It seems I jump from one series to the next, which is a good thing bc I try my best to keep up with content. I went from my fairytale collection, straight into the zodiac signs, and now... for what we all know I am best at...*drum roll please* HALLOWEEN🎃 tomorrow will be the start of a new series, the Queen of Halloween is back, and better than ever ghouls and gals! I have some announcements I’ll be listing in tomorrow’s caption so pls read up and turn on post notifications! Until then...🕷
Nor does it have a age limit ☝🏾
Enjoy this new pictorial! Other ones are coming your way i dont know how soon tho! Tell me what you wanna see next☺️
Leery but not discouraged, although, Spug may disagree.
THE PRACTICE INSIDER
OVERCOMING PREJUDICES — Classical music fosters an elitist following of deep-embedded prejudices, mantras, maxims, and value systems. Many of these become so ingrained that to merely question them can completely shred your credibility in the eyes of the musical occult.
Intonation is practically the quest for the Holy Grail with string players. Those who've got it don't really know how they got there only to preach practicing your scales. Those without it practice their scales and remain both frustrated and determined to dig in their heels. As someone with a deep musical background prior to coming into learning the violin, I've done so on individual views of my own many would feel fly in the face of skilled classical training.
The ear is actually extremely adaptable. The well-tempered, 12-tone chromatic scale of Western music is human invention. We as musicians train our ears to hear it. But just as we work to train ourselves to accurately hear it, we can train ourselves to inaccurately hear it. The more a player plays a scale degree inaccurately, the more their inner ear trains itself to hear the incorrect note as correct. With a fretless stringed instrument, it is also easy for left hand weaknesses to embed themselves in the ear as learned tuning and deficient intervalic relationships.
My solution is to comb through my intervals and scale degrees (do, re, mi, etc.) with an electric keyboard. You can feed deep-rooted prejudices by scoffing all you like at how feeble it sounds to use assistance, but with focused study, I have found that, in doing so, you can isolate the exact deficiencies in your intonation built into your inner hearing along with left hand inaccuracies. As frustrating as this correctional process can be at times, I am extremely pleased with the results all the way from the beginning of my study to now. The decision's yours.
Even on their worst days, my beloved Larsen's Il Cannone strings are truly spectacular. On the 24th, I'm ordering a new set, a full set of medium tension strings. But I simply could not continue to abide the Vision G, D, and A with Obligato E that came with my new instrument. The D string majorly lacked character, and the A string was quite sharp, a combination that gave a nasty timbre shift between strings.
The Visions and gold-plated, Obligato E were selected to provide brightness to what was thought to be a dark-sounding instrument. But all it did was bottleneck the overtones from fully coming through. This instrument jumped out at me for having a much fuller set of overtones than the others in the shop, which is likely why it was perceived as dark. But now that it's mine, not being compared to other violins, I'm starting to hear the needs of the instrument itself.
Switching them out for my old set of Il Cannone from my old violin with soloist G and E strings with medium D and A was a huge improvement. The D and A in particularly are so much more full of life. I do think brighter or higher tension strings bottleneck my instrument's sound. The higher-tension G and E work, but I do think medium will be way better on those as well. I can't wait to hear what a fresh, new set of medium-tension Il Cannone strings will sound like (especially after the 3ish-week break-in period)! This line of strings has become a huge obsession of mine, and I love the concept behind the sound. I feel like @larsenstrings
's vision for them truly achieves something special.
FOCUS — Lack of attention to detail is the path to mediocrity. On the flip side, my voice instructor who is one of the world's top pedagogues always says that if you can manage 80%, the rest will take care of itself. But how do you quantify 80% in music? It's still extremely subjective, but all I can say is to listen. Constantly. To professionals, to students… Social media is a wealth of both raw and staged musical footage. Use your resources, and build a solid frame of reference.
In grade school, there was a one player in band who was younger than me. He was probably one of the most talented musicians we ever produced in my small town. But did we produce his skills? Was he born with it? Neither. He listened. Constantly. This was before YouTube became as big as it is now. He obtained a massive box of CD's and tapes and such and spent countless hours with them, if I remember correctly.
I've spent around 3 1/2 months with this set of exercises on and off. It's been a journey. While I've focused on other things as well, these have been the real elephant in the room. They are brutal in their demands of sliding individual fingers up and down the string while mostly maintaining the frame of the hand. Accuracy is a beast, and I am still vehemently opposed to stickers.
But there came a point where it simply started to click, and I would have never reached that point without FOCUS: long-term, exacting focus. It's crucial to have the right technical concepts as well, but it's also so easy to try to move on to something different and more “advanced” much sooner than you're truly ready. I feel these exercises have paved the way for me to more-accurately approach chromatics in material I work on moving forward.
THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? — Student violinists at different points must choose whether to focus on bowing or the left hand (fingerings and pitch). Quite a few teachers, artists, students, and observers consider bowing to be the primary difficulty and more important than the left hand in order to get a jumpstart on artistry.
I generally disagree, and my studies hinge on that. Intonation and left hand technique are by far the most complex. At the end of the day, any passage of music can be simplified to note-by-note bowing to work on intonation and left hand speed. Bowing can easily be applied second.
With music as a gestalt, however, bowing is also a crucial component. Thus-far, my focus being on securing the left hand has kept bowing on the back burner. In the last few days, I have finally been working bowing studies into my practice program. A mirror is proving crucial, which I have setup in an ideal spot in my practice space.
My biggest goals coming in have included bowing in precisely one spot on the string and not “swimming” or relocating out of carelessness, keeping perpendicular to the string, relieving shoulder and arm tension while improving my posture form, and keeping my chosen bow hold consistent.
One of my greatest surprises and challenges has actually been introduced by Ševčík in double stopping. It is my first real work with double stopping, which proves difficult not just with the left hand (down the road), but also with the bow arm. It's extremely difficult at first to sustain two pitches at once and requires a lot of stability in the bow.
Enjoy viewing my first steps at isolating my bowing…
SCALES — There is almost no instrument that scales are considered more vital for than a stringed instrument. And with the violin being the smallest stringed instrument, with therefore the intervals being closest together, that makes it all the more crucial. With a piano, at least the keys will always visually be in the same place and with set tuning.
With the fretless nature of the violin, however, a player's abilities are often gauged by their ability to play scales. Scales are the roadmap of the location of each note on each string. In addition to multi-string scales, one-string scales are also crucial to learn the precise locations of notes on each individual string. In Carl Flesch's method, Flesch includes single-string scales FIRST. This fits my own approach to learning the violin, considering single-string playing and shifting prerequisite to string crossing.
I have included a standard three-octave, all-strings scale as a fifth video. C Major is an excellent scale to start with, because it begins in second position which is not too high to start with but outside the typical first position “default.” Enjoy! I hope you find watching my beginner experiences valuable, as I start to tackle this crucial cornerstone of violin technique… . . . Videos from Ševčík's bowing method coming soon, a new study I have been just beginning…
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!
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!
Happy Easter weekend . . .
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…
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!
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!
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! 🤣🎻
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.
Onwards to the breach!!!!