how much effort people put into refining their bow technique got me thinking about what it takes to get this whole business correct.This week a discussion about
Have you ever had to completely overhaul something about your playing?
In my many years of playing, I've had to overhaul aspects of my playing, both large and small. Somehow, even when it was a "small tweak," I still remember the major effort that went into changing an ingrained habit.
For example, when I was maybe 11 years old, my teacher started telling me that my left thumb was bent, grabbing the neck a bit, and I needed to change it. Yes, okay, will do. But it didn't happen. The next week, he told me again. In fact, the topic kept coming up, but I didn't understand the problem and just couldn't fix it. I did try, but it absolutely eluded me. One day he told me how to fix it, but he approached the solution in a new way: "You need to feel the neck of the violin on your thumb, right here," he said, showing me exactly where on my thumb. AHA! It made sense to me, and from that day on the problem was solved. This was a minor tweak, but it required a major revelation.
While in college, I also spent a month playing open strings, to overhaul my bow arm. Basically, I needed to reprogram the motion and mechanics of my arm and hands, and it actually took a great deal of concentrated effort to make the change. But it was exactly what I needed.
And there have been plenty more overhauls along the way!
It seems to me that, with so many "moving parts," the violinist inevitably comes to junctures where an overhaul is needed, whether it's how you hold the violin, whether you use a shoulder rest, how you move your bow, how you do your vibrato, how you place your fingers, how you shift...the list goes on and on!
What have you needed to overhaul, as you have grown as a violinist or violist? What was the experience like? Is there something you currently are looking to overhaul? Or have you never reached that point? Please participate in the vote and then tell us about your experience.
You might also like:
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.