what did you learn today, part III

June 11, 2017, 5:24 PM · I could swear there was a "what did you learn part II" thread, but I can't find it.

Anyway, here's what I learned today: lately I've been listening to some non-classical music I used to like a lot. One song in particular stuck in my head, and while warming up before practice, I found myself trying to play (by ear) the opening phrase on the viola. Surprise, surprise - the notes were easy enough to get, but it sounded nothing like singing! It was so unmusical. The phrasing was all wrong. I couldn't figure out the right bow speed or how much to use, and vibrato - forget it.

Wow, what an eye-opener. I know that a stringed instrument isn't mechanically like a human voice, but there is definitely a singing quality to viola, and I am missing the boat. What can I do?

Replies (10)

June 11, 2017, 5:57 PM · It was deleted, but not by me.
Edited: June 11, 2017, 6:17 PM · Why would they delete a whole thread?

Karen I am going to hazard a guess that the answer to your question is in your right hand. Also try transposing to a more viola friendly key.

Edited: June 11, 2017, 6:33 PM · I have no clue, and a thread I created (bowing: weight vs. pressure) was deleted also. Why?
June 12, 2017, 12:40 AM · Send an e-mail to Laurie. I don't remember anything unpleasant appearing in those threads.
Edited: June 12, 2017, 1:31 AM · I tried "what did you learn today" in th v.com searchbox and the threads 1 & 2 are accessible, but archived. I notice that the "previous discussions" link has disappeared in the new layout. Perhaps there is a new limit on the number of current threads.
June 12, 2017, 4:49 AM · Paul, I am absolute positive that the answer is in my right hand. And the brain. Somewhere :-)
Edited: June 12, 2017, 6:01 PM · Karen, a fellow violist! <3

Are you normally able to achieve a singing quality on your Viola? You said it yourself, the phrasing is all wrong... You are trying to play a new piece of music for the first time, by ear at that. It's likely that you just need to practice it more - maybe find a score and see what articulations and dynamics are written down that you might be missing.
Today, I learned the first two pages for Laura Rossi's Battle of the Somme soundtrack. Love Viola. All about those tied whole notes! I do not like playing those weird triplet patterns, some interesting rhythmic stuff going on in the part.

June 20, 2017, 8:45 PM · I learned today that having clean strings is important because rosin buildup makes the strings more susceptable to making weird noises. When I was practicing today, I was constantly making awful noises due to bad bowing but my sound was much cleaner after thoroughly cleaning the rosin off the strings.
June 22, 2017, 7:34 AM · I have learned how to strengthen my left pinky so that I can do a proper vibrato with it one day.

I learned that I can sight-read at a faster tempo than I realized.

I learned that I am still wanting to crouch/hunch forward when I get really serious while playing, and that my bow hold gets sloppy when I am not confident in what I am playing.

I also learned that what I thought was regression (or stagnation/plateau) with the piece that I've been working on is the opposite: progress. So the frustration that I've been feeling (with this piece) is self-imposed and needless.

I'm reminded every day that I practice (and even moreso with my lessons) just how much I love this instrument and am thrilled that I am no longer mourning its absence in my life. As I get a teensy bit better with each practice session/lesson, I feel more joy. So every day I learn/re-learn just how important this instrument is for my life.

Ella: that's a lesson that I learned a couple of weeks ago after switching rosins! What a difference it makes!

Edited: July 10, 2017, 2:05 AM · I had to dig a bit for this thread - I'm excited!

The whole 'practice with a drone' thing has never done anything for me. I know the intervals, I can hear the intervals, I can sing the intervals, just not in this context while I'm focusing on everything at once.

It finally just clicked today - boom! It all makes sense, the grass is greener.

It was really a eureka moment that should have happened ages and ages ago (well, years). I really never understood why I wasn't getting anything out of it. I still don't - something was just not lined up right in my brain I guess. It was literally just this context.

So glad that wall is down! Next challenge!

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Metzler Violin Shop
Metzler Violin Shop

Yamaha YEV Series Violin
Yamaha YEV Series Violin

Dimitri Musafia
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Gliga Violins
Gliga Violins

Corilon Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop