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Tyrone Wilkins

My Violin Life/ Having an 'off' day.+ other issues

June 19, 2012 at 5:39 PM

When I woke up this morning I was very excited to start practicing my violin until.....

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing goes right for you during practice? Well I'm having one of those days. I can't get comfortable with my bow grip and my intonation is a little off.(because of my struggle with bow grip) My vibrato feels weak,my shifting is bad basically...EVERYTHING IS OFF!My rage is over powering my urge to practice. Who's to blame?... my cheap violin and bow. I was going to save this for later but I can't hold this in any longer.

My 'violin shaped object' is a $100 SV 130 and my bow might as well be a tree branch with rosin on it. My mom bought it for me last fall and I was a late beginner then so I didn't notice any flaws,but now that I'm on an intermediate level I can't take it anymore. My teacher keeps nagging me about getting a better violin as if I'm not aware of my OWN needs. I mean... She can't be serious! I'm 15 years old......I'm not sitting on hundreds of dollars for a new violin/bow. My mom is no help because she thinks all violins are the same. My dad is aware of everything but is in no hurry at all.He wouldn't even take me to the violin shop to look at more bows. I'm not sure if you have noticed or not but I'm pretty much on my own.(as usual)

I tried selling brownies and candy at my school to save money but I spent all my savings on my sister's new cellphone so I dropped back to zero. It's summer now and I have about $30 to my name.The violin I want is $800.(1998 copy of a 1713 strad)I have no job so I'm forced to put up with what I have until a miracle happens. I struggle to have productive practice sessions because I spend more time and effort on getting a good clear sound than actually studying my materials. I'm not asking for advice because I know there's nothing I can do. I'll just try my best to move forward...OH GREAT. I have a chair placement audition AND a violin competition audition for my school. This is gonna be embarrassing :D

Sorry for the rant/depressing post. I had to get that off my chest.I feel so stuck I don't know what to do. :\

From Christian Lesniak
Posted on June 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM
That's a bummer. I remember at 15, how long it would have taken me to scrounge up 800 dollars. Sometimes we get so caught up in certain very specific issues, that they become distractions. In my opinion, there are things that a weak instrument can teach you. By that, I mean that learning to get a good sound out of a difficult instrument or bow is good to learn. Of course, you may find that your playing makes more sense on a better instrument, but as long as your focus is on ease, and you are aware of what you have to do to produce the best sound you can, you can still make progress.

Another thing, is that these moments of turmoil, where nothing in your playing seems to make sense, are actually good for your playing. The more information you seek and the more you experiment, the better your progress will be. However, progress is not always going to be a straight line. Sometimes, I search out many sources on a subject, and feel kind of burnt out and confused, like I can't make sense of the information. After a little while, it seeps into my playing and starts to make sense, but often in the meantime, it feels like I've destroyed my technique. These things pass.

From Barry Nelson
Posted on June 21, 2012 at 2:44 AM
Im an adult beginner (48 years old) and Im currently playing on a Cremona SV-115 . It does ok for folk tunes . Im now working on Vivaldi's Concerto in A minor, and I am also saving to move up but with a family,bills ,etc it will be a while for me too.
Maybe you could pick up a few odd jobs (mowing & other yard chores,baby sitting,etc.) Not to sound harsh, but you might as well get used to the idea that if you want something you have to work to get it, rather its a difficult piece or a new violin.

Good luck to you.

From nietha handastya
Posted on June 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM
Hi. I do know how it feels :) I myself, play a VSO as well. a Skylark (china made). And i realize that every time my mood is not good, my playing sounds like a crap. As if someone inside my head yelling and tell me to stop. Happen every single time. I think music is very related to one's mood as well. I'm saving up for a real violin too, a $500 or something worth around it. But I'm an orphan and in Indonesia it's not very easy to make money unless you get yourself a full time job. So, cheer up! :D you can gather those $800.
From Annette Brower
Posted on June 21, 2012 at 11:25 AM
My solution to all my teenage students with money issues...busking! Seriously, around here, it's a money magnet.
From Carlo Ballara
Posted on June 21, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Annette makes a great comment about busking. As a stop gap solution, have you tried putting better strings on your violin?

Cheers Carlo

From elise stanley
Posted on June 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Summer holidays are here - there must be somewhere you can get a job! The sense of satisfaction of getting your own violin will be enormous.

Also, when you have a few $$ scout around on Craig's list and look around - you may find a bargain but before that befriend a knowledgeable expert that you can go to for buying advice, blowing a summers work on a lemon would be worse than anything!

From elise stanley
Posted on June 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM
BTW I got through every summer holiday from age 13 till when I went to college busking (though on a guitar).

It would be even more effective if you put up a sign saying what you intend to do with teh money. Many people resent giving money to what they may see as a begger - however, give them a good reason - particularly one where you are trying to improve yourself - and they then take pride in their donation.

Good luck!!

From Tyrone Wilkins
Posted on June 21, 2012 at 7:33 PM
Thank you all very much. You all make very points. YES I just put new strings on my violin last month. (D'Addario Pro arte)It feels and sounds MUCH better. Even with these my violin teacher is still so negative '' should've gotten dominants'' I'M NOT RICH! Busking sounds like a REALLY good idea but where would I do that? I think you need a license to do that here in Louisiana but I'll check the laws. I'll most likely do a lot of romantic,italian style A minor improv on my guitar. I live walking distance from a walmart but there's someone who begs by the parking lot. Any places suggestions? I live close gas stations and fast food joints so I think I'll be in parking lots for the rest of the summer. Other than that,thanks.You guys are awesome. I've been thinking. I blog about what's happening to me but if anyone has any topic suggestions for my next blog I'm all ears!
From PM Rolf
Posted on June 22, 2012 at 1:19 AM
Subway station

From Annette Brower
Posted on June 22, 2012 at 1:35 AM
I'm not suggesting you break the law but my students have never applied for a license and have never had a problem. A couple of them play, with permission, at a farmer's market. Others frequent various street corners in "old town" where there is a lot of foot traffic, antique shops, cafes, etc. They make anywhere from $20-$60/hour. It doesn't have to be fancy. One girl often plays through Suzuki literature starting at book 1....a profitable way to get in your review work:-).
From Tyrone Wilkins
Posted on June 22, 2012 at 3:31 AM
Really? Wow. I've been doing some searching and I don't think you need a license. I think I'm gonna play a lot of simple Bach pieces from Suzuki and some singer/songwriter stuff on my guitar.Good thing I don't have stage fright :D. What other pieces could I play on my violin?
From Tyrone Wilkins
Posted on June 22, 2012 at 3:40 AM
@PM I would definitely try that but....we don't have subways in my city :\

From Annette Brower
Posted on June 22, 2012 at 4:31 AM
Believe it or not, one particular student starts at O Come Little Children and plays straight through most of Suzuki book 4....memorized. She also has several fiddle pieces in her rep. I've been out to drop cash in her case several times and she was playing Suzuki book 1 and 2, raking in the cash, smiling all the way to the bank. Some people ask what she is spending the money on. For a while her parents were paying for violin lessons but wouldn't/couldn't also pay for horse back riding lessons so she was out there earning the money herself. One fan, after finding out the riding lessons were $35, gave her $35. A symphony player stopped his car to give her $20. Play whatever you want and have fun.

From Tyrone Wilkins
Posted on June 23, 2012 at 12:23 AM
WOW THAT'S AWESOME. I'm definitely gonna start that soon. I hope the people here are that generous!

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