V.com weekend vote: Do you record your violin lessons?

August 31, 2018, 10:20 PM · When a student takes a violin lesson, there is usually quite a lot of information for that student to take in.

First of all, what is the assignment for next week? How exactly should I practice this passage? Which notes was I playing wrong? How do I need to change my position?

How can anyone remember all that?

Actually it really depends on your way of learning. Some students have a very good memory for the live lesson, and that is all they really need to practice for the coming week. But for many of us, it helps to have a record of what happened, and that can be in the form of written notes in a notebook, written notes in the music, video, audio, or a combination thereof.


When it comes to your own practices, if you are a student, or used to be a student, how do you remember what happened at your lesson? Do you use written notes, or video, or a combination? What do you do with that, once you get home? If you are a teacher, how do you typically help your students to retain the information conveyed in each lesson? Is it different for every student, or do you have a system that works for most?

Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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September 1, 2018 at 04:34 AM · A cartoon by Philadelphia Orchestra's Jeff Curnow seems appropriate: https://www.instagram.com/p/BlaYwB3nI5J/

September 1, 2018 at 05:18 AM · It has been a long time since my last lesson. Back then my memory was good enough to get by without at written record. I haven't tested my memory in this way for decades and I don't know if I could still remember the way I did.

However, when I was a beginner my teacher gave me a "homework book". Into it she wrote the pieces I was supposed to work on for the next lesson and also general remarks and reminders like "arm underneath the violin" and such.

So there was a record but it was kept by the teacher for me. Not on option I could vote on here.

Later teachers just made a cross to the pieces I was supposed to practice and even later they did not write anything at all. It was all oral.

September 1, 2018 at 10:18 AM · As an adult student (picked up the violin again after a rather lengthy break) I do journal the lessons and sometimes also things in between lessons, like when I read an interesting article with ideas on interpretation or practice. Also sometimes my teacher encourages me to take short videos of instructions he gives. It's way more efficient then him explaining and me trying to write it down Afterwards.

September 1, 2018 at 01:47 PM · Written notes in the music. I was the practice geek type, eager to go over the notes as soon as I could after each lesson -- to see how I could apply what my teacher had written and what we'd discussed during the lesson.

As a kid beginner, I sometimes used the sheet music and notes as bedtime stories, leafing through the pages we hadn't yet covered -- curious to see what challenges lay ahead. This was especially true in learning the positions, which my first teacher felt I was ready to start after about 3 months of lessons. The teacher was right.

About audio recording: Never did it during lessons but did try some on my own later on to get a more objective idea of my progress and pinpoint what needed improvement.

September 1, 2018 at 08:26 PM · Thee is one option missing in the voting choices you gave: I record all my lessons by audio only, never by video. I refer to the record when I need to refresh my memory on the comments made by my teacher.

At home,, I record by audio or video to check my progress and decide what needs to be improved.

September 1, 2018 at 08:44 PM · Related idea: Would it be a useful idea for teachers to record lessons they give--not so much for the student but for their own "performance evaluation"?

September 1, 2018 at 10:41 PM · I only record portions with an audio recorder when it's absolutely necessary. This is usually when I have to memorize large amounts of details.

September 3, 2018 at 01:28 AM · When I give a lesson I write in the music and I write in a notebook. I work with a teacher on several things, including theory and composition, and we also use notes in the music and in a notebook. I don't video myself because I have never liked being videotaped, however some of the local school teachers and competition requirements are for video entries and video playing tests. This makes students less nervous or conscious of videoing.

September 3, 2018 at 09:46 AM · In the '50s and '60s my teacher, the late Winifred Copperwheat was the proud possessor of the creme de la creme advanced technology, a Grundig (Dad couldn't afford one like that - soon after, we bought an Elizabethan for something like £50 - around $460 in today's money - I can't remember whether it used valves or the early transistors). She probably recorded me once or twice, but it wasn't made a habit of. At home we certainly used the Elizabethan for that purpose (Dad didn't stop teaching me entirely when he had handed me over to Winifred). My bow change wasn't that good, but I'm sure the tape recorder exaggerated the effect.

September 3, 2018 at 06:21 PM · I use an audio recorder, and then listen after the listen and transcribe the comments into a notebook.

September 6, 2018 at 08:23 PM · Here's another (unvotable) vote for audio recording, followed by note-taking.

September 7, 2018 at 12:54 AM · Great topic. I record (only sound ) my lessons with my teacher. I had bought a Tascam and its more than paying off its worth. After each lesson I listen to the recording and I take notes. It's truly surprising how much I would have missed had it not been for the recorder. I would go to say it makes my lesson worth 1.5 times it's worth.

September 7, 2018 at 04:50 PM · A few added thoughts on this subject. As I posted above, I didn't do any lesson recording but did try some recordings on my own outside of lessons.

This blog goaded me to try recording again, after a long break from it. For the last 4 days, I've recorded about 45 minutes of each evening's practice session. My evening sessions typically run about 90 minutes.

I'm no longer a student with a teacher. But this arrangement is the next-best thing, for now, to having a teacher. In listening to playback, I find myself catching little details that a teacher might point out in a lesson:

"Execute the up-shift a little faster."

"When you finish the sustained low D, ease up on the vibrato. Remember the general rule: Don't oscillate above target pitch. If you do, it will be especially noticeable at the end of the note."

"Dig in more on those sul G tones. Don't waste any bow. You should get a full tone from the beginning of the stroke."

I plan to keep up the recording routine. The added discipline is already paying off.

September 7, 2018 at 08:38 PM · Recorded only a small handful in the early years, but not since.

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