June 11, 2012 at 4:38 PMEven though I have one now I might as well be studying alone. My violin teacher is the type of person to just repeat a technique ('No. Make it more of a brushed spiccato') without actually explaining how to play it better. Honestly, I don't really care how she teaches.I'm only taking private lessons because my school orchestra teacher practically made me when she told me that no one can be in advanced orchestra (Chamber) unless they take private lessons.
During my year and a half of violin study I've had to find out many things on my own because I didn't get a private teacher until a few months ago.I actually prefer studying alone (unless I get a better teacher)because of how seriously I take violin practice,performance,and music in general.
One of the first discoveries about violin that I made was,believe it or not,the ability to vibrate harmonics and open strings. I had been playing for only a few weeks when I had a conversation with my orchestra teacher,Mrs.Provenza at the time,about harmonics. She showed me the harmonic on the E string that's about in the middle of the string and when I ran to her later with my 'discovery', she gave me a look that was filled with surprise,joy,and too much coffee.
(On to more important things)
One of the most important violin 'discoveries' I've made would have to be the benefits of not practicing everyday.
Playing the violin,like many instruments,is an ongoing process that can take anywhere from a few years to a lifetime,depending on what the violinist wants to accomplish.Great skill isn't acquired over night! No matter what your plan is with violin, I think everyone could give this a try.
Violin practice to me is kind of like exercise. I work hard on tough passages in the pieces that I'm learning,play tons of scales, and do many self made exercises outside of practice that help finger strength and flexibility. I play violin just about everyday, but every now ad then something feels 'off'. Sometimes I lose inspiration caused from realizing that where I want to be,skill level and study, is NO WHERE in sight. After a few months of playing violin I actually quit for a week during the summer because of my negative thoughts. I'm not sure why...but after a few days of quitting I woke up early one morning with a burning determination in my heart that overthrew the negative thoughts and lead me to where I am now.
Since then I've experimented with breaks of different (and much shorter)lengths of beaks from playing/practicing. I noticed that taking a day break after a 5-6 days of intense practice that focused strictly on building technique and fixing rough passages caused my violin playing to improve dramatically. I felt stronger,faster,and most important of all,more accurate. It seems that by allowing my muscles and mind to rest longer than a typical 8 hour night resulted in all around improvement. My day break also gave me time to be inspired by my favorite violinists by watching their performance on youtube. I'm not sure if anyone else have tried this but if you haven't it's certainly worth a try.
As for me,I continue to practice this way because it works for me. In the end, nothing is more important that what works best for you. I learned that from reading an interview with Hilary Hahn. She is my daily inspiration and I guess you could say my violin 'idol'. I'm thinking about starting a blog series in this style so feedback is always welcome.
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