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The Weekend Vote

V.com weekend vote: Have you participated in graded music exams in your area (as either a teacher or a student)?

March 26, 2015 23:15

Many students find motivation in taking graded repertory exams, though these are not as commonplace in the United States as they are elsewhere.

Music Exams

Here is a list of some of the most common music exams, and where they take place:

There are other music exams, and some are more localized. I welcome your additions to this list!

Have you participated in a music examination program (or more than one)? Are they motivating for you or for your students? Are they a waste of time that interferes with other learning? Please share your thoughts on the subject!

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10 replies

V.com weekend vote: When you play, are you right- or left-hand dominant?

March 13, 2015 12:38

When you play, are you right- or left-hand dominant? Or can you truly say you feel it all in both?


Guess whose hands?

Obviously, both hands are important in violin playing. But as far as the way we sense things, I have a theory that most people tend to be left-hand or right-hand-dominant in the way they think about producing sound and effect. Some really feel it on the left, in the vibrato, in the feel of fingers against string, in the quest for dead-center pitch and the way it makes the violin vibrate through the arm. Some feel it on the right, with the hair against string, motion of hands and arm, feeling of the way various bow strokes speak and connect with the instrument.

Of course, one can't be always dominant on once side. We can shift the thinking, depending on the music, the problems presented, etc. And sometimes we realize we're focusing on the wrong side; for example, something that seems like a left-hand problem is actually a bowing problem, and vice-versa.

In analyzing your own playing, is your default focus more on the violin hand, or the bow hand? Or truly (not just ideally) are you able to keep consciousness equally on both, with neither dominant?

18 replies

V.com weekend vote: How frequently do you get an "ear worm"?

March 6, 2015 11:27

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? Or maybe a symphony?

I suspect it's a common occurrence in musicians -- or call it a common ailment. When someone says, "I've got this music stuck in my head," often the next thing they say is, "...and it's driving me crazy!"

Such a phenomenon is called an ear worm (which comes from German "ohrwurm"). It's been the subject of short stories, Seinfeld episodes and even blamed semi-seriously for causing madness. I'd also venture to say that the "earworm" also helps most children learn their alphabets and can have other beneficial effects.

I have one going pretty much all the time, and sometimes several. When I wake up, nearly every morning my brain treats me to music I used to listen to early in the mornings as a toddler, with my grandmother. It's completely unconscious and I find it quite incredible that this would come to me; I often don't notice it until I find myself humming it, and then I shake my head. How? Why? I've stopped fighting it and simply decided it's her way of saying hello!

How often do you get an "earworm"? Do you have any recurring ones? What are they?

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15 replies

Previous entries: February 2015

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