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Anne aMaudPowellFan
Play with (the other) Ray
I wonder if any of you are participating in the Play with Ray competition for amateur musicians. The task is to submit a video of the first movement of the Bach Double (Violin 1) and to write a short essay. The prize is a performance in LA with Ray Chen and members of the LA Philharmonic. Here is the announcement:

I have decided to stand by my dream of playing solo with orchestra and to participate. I am doing a series of practice sessions on YouTube at gong play with ray.

Beth has a wonderful tutorial on the second violin part, with many insights that are valid for both parts.

I would be happy about some company in this project. I feel that our voices of adult amateur musicians need to be heard more.

13 Responses
Posted: March 31, 2019

Bart Meijer
Telemann practice
Happy Easter, everyone.

I joined Violinlab the day before yesterday; that was because the vibrato video on Youtube really helps!
This is take 1 of my Telemann Siciliana practice. I would be grateful for feedback.
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6 Responses
Posted: April 21, 2019

Lesley McCubbin
Pepusch, who knew? My big revelation du jour. A friend who does the Royal Conservatory exams is working on this sonata for her June exam. It's drop-dead gorgeous (if like me you love Baroque music).

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7 Responses
Posted: April 19, 2019

Ave Maria- it was a month ago last time I practiced this piece

Short impromptu  practice...It was time to go to work.

Will practice again tomorrow when I get home after a 9 hr shift.

Good night and thank you.
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5 Responses
Posted: April 20, 2019

Reviewing Old Pieces
I started a review of Book 4, and do not like how I am playing the pieces, so I am going back through Book 4 again. In the 1st piece, I ran into an old problem of putting a 4th finger down on the A string 1st position, followed by a 3rd finger, and getting tension in the top of the hand. Can anyone give me help on this? It has to do with the hand setup, and the space btw the 4th and 3rd finger descending. If you have book 4, look at m.68 of the 1st piece. Maybe you can try it, and tell me what you do to make it comfortable, repeatable, and with good intonation, like an exercise.

6 Responses
Posted: April 13, 2019

Lesley McCubbin
why do you play
in 50 words or less!

me: because when I hit the right note and the whole violin vibrates -- well, there is simply nothing more magical in the whole world!

18 Responses
Posted: February 27, 2019

Timothy Smith
The Violin Compares To Life
I look at this instrument that reveals all flaws in my playing. There is nothing we can hide from it. I think in the beginning some might believe that they can play something that sounds good and that pretends to be done correctly fooling those around us. I have fooled myself like this in thinking I sounded better than I really do.
Everything comes out in the results. It isn't as if a teacher needs to look through layers of detail to find a problem. The violins reflects everything we do. EVERYTHING. It's almost a perfect translator of our movements and souls.
It's this naked kind of feeling I also get in viewing how maybe I am seen. How I might think I've gotten away with something when in reality I haven't. The violin constantly reminds me of this. Like life itself in many ways. Everything we do transmits to something else and in the same way every move we make on the violin shows what we are doing to make that happen. The ultimate transparency.
This is a sobering thought for someone like me who would many times like to cover up the things I am not happy with. The violin is a reminder to me that everything eventually comes to the top in one way or another.

10 Responses
Posted: April 16, 2019

Help With A Sung Piece
Working on bowings with this. The pitch not changing while words repeat represents a challenge for me to make it sound musical. If I can just get the hang of this in this piece, I hope it transfers to other pieces of like challenge in the hymnal. Vibrato work is next in this piece, & needs work. Integrating vibrato in pieces is still a challenge for me, because I tend to over press, as I concentrate on other things. But I hope these bowings work for this piece. If not, could you suggest bowings? All comments to improve this appreciated.
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6 Responses
Posted: April 16, 2019

Karen Grace
bow hold question

Dear Beth/seasoned violin teachers- thank you in advance.

I have a bow hold question. I teach the bow hold in a very specific way, instructing students to ensure that the index finger doesn't creep over the stick further than the 2nd knuckle. This is how I hold the bow and my understanding is that the hand doesn't sit properly if the index finger creeps over the stick any more than this. 

However one of my students seems to have real difficulty keeping the bow hold in this position- she gets it briefly but as she plays, her index finger always creeps over, and the thumb becomes almost straight (see bottom photo). I noticed the other day that her middle finger actually curves in the opposite direction to mine- you can see in the top photo that her middle finger curves in the opposite direction to her index finger (also true when fingers are straight) so I don't know if this is something to do with her bow hold struggles ... ? 

It also occured to me in that lesson that perhaps I am trying to straight-jacket her into how I hold the bow unnecessarily- perhaps her bow hold is right for her hand ?

So I suppose my question is: what are the variations in bow hold that are OK, and are there some things that I should just persist with ? If so, what are those un-negotiables ? I want to ensure that my students have a really strong foundation with their technique, in preperation for future more challenging bowing...

Thanks so much in advance for your help...


3 Responses
Posted: April 16, 2019

Lee Gordon Seebach
Hi Timothy,

My life isn't as complicated as it used to be, and training on my violin isn't a sacrifice.  I would describe it as an enjoyable, challenging pastime - an addition to my regular creative activities surrounding my profession: painting.  I have a lot of freedom and time to pursue my passions, and the violin is one of them.  I also pick the banjo and play guitar.  I set goals and when I achieve them it is very satisfying. But then I set new ones and continue along my merry way.  I don't expect to perform at Carnegie Hall on my violin but I do enjoy the process.  I would like to play with other musicians, however.  I live the full-time RV lifestyle so I may be able to travel and attend jams and festivals when I get good enough.  That's a huge part of being a musician for me, even as an amateur, and whenever I've performed on that level, it was scary but rewarding to share the music.  To me, the violin is the ultimate musical instrument and I'm so glad I finally am able to study it and enjoy it.  I even have a Gliga Maestro Vasile as of October and she's a prized possession!

Keep going,


10 Responses
Posted: April 11, 2019

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