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Karen Allendoerfer

The da-doo da-doo's

June 12, 2007 at 1:57 PM

Okay, well, the honeymoon is over. It lasted 2 days. My daughter still wants to play her violin, Lucy, but the attitude is back. She doesn't like to repeat things. If she plays it once, as far as she's concerned, she's done with it until tomorrow. Especially if "it" is a scale.

Also, she seems to have some trouble coordinating her right and left hand. She moves the bow before she takes her finger off the string, so when she descends an A-major scale, it sounds like 3, 3-2 (slurred), 2-1 (slurred), 1-A (slurred). Doo, da-doo, da-doo, da-doo. She laughs when I point it out but has basically no desire to correct it. Adventures in Violinland is still going well. She's still doing its pizzicato exercises, and doesn't have any problem with the da-doo's there.

Also, her Suzuki teacher taught her a weird bow hold last year. She holds the bow with her thumb on the bottom of the frog rather than in the niche where I was taught to hold it (and where everybody else that I've seen play holds it). Is that bow hold typically done in Suzuki or elsewhere for beginners with small hands? I don't think holding the bow that way is related to the other issue, but nonetheless I think it's probably time to change her to a regular bow hold--no? The "Meet the Bow" book in "Adventures . . ." is coming up next and that could be a good time. But I can already imagine the balking: "No, I like it this way! I won't do it." It'll probably take a teacher or someone other than me to get her to listen.

I got my performance date for the Belmont Farmers' Market: July 5th at 4 p.m. (unless it rains--I'm not taking my new viola out in the rain).

I have about 30 minutes of "programming" for it: 1 fiddle tune, Hook Sonatina, the first 3 movements of the 1st Bach cello suite. Then 4 more fiddle tunes and ending with a nice arrangement of Shenandoah from "Solos for the Viola Player." I thought that fiddle and folk songs were appropriate for a Farmers' Market.

I'm a little concerned about the Bach--after all, unaccompanied Bach didn't seem to do much for Joshua Bell in a subway station--but I've been working the hardest on it, it's the biggest challenge I've taken on so far on viola, I love the music, and the Courante (3rd movement) is a lively dance that I think will provide a nice bridge into the fiddling that comes next. Besides, it's hard to find viola solos that don't need accompaniment. The Sonatina and Shenandoah both have a piano part, but I think in those cases the viola part stands well enough on its own.

And it's also hard to arrange a program in an order that makes sense. I've switched it around several times already and probably will again.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 2:52 PM
You have an advantage over Bell in that the Belmont Farmers' Market is likely not to be full of people trying to go somewhere quickly. I am sure you will be able to get a better reception there with your solo Bach even though he may be a better musician. Have fun and good luck! BTW, I used to live in Belmont; where is the Farmers' Market located?
From Karin Lin
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 8:46 PM
When I started violin (at age 4) I was taught to put my thumb on the pearlized part of the frog (forget what that's called) instead of in that "niche", and I understand that's pretty common...maybe it creates more rotational stability or something. The important thing is to BEND the thumb, wherever you put it. In my experience, those who oppose teaching that way do so because it encourages playing with a straight thumb, which is bad.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 9:18 PM
I don't oppose teaching that way, but her hands are pretty big now and I'm just wondering when she can move up to the other hold. She will be starting the school program in the fall and I can discuss it with her teacher then, I guess. Since I'd never seen it anywhere else, I had been concerned that her teacher might have started talking about "bad habits." So it's good to know that it's relatively common.
From Karin Lin
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 10:27 PM
I think I moved to the normal bow hold when I was around eight. It was sort of a big deal, getting to hold the bow like a "big person". It's still not clear to me why little kids can't start with the normal hold, though. Maybe some teachers here can explain.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 10:46 PM
Tom, The Farmers Market has a nice website: Belmont Farmers Market. It's located in Belmont Center in the big parking lot behind the main shopping area where Macy's (formerly Filene's) is. I'm still not on the calendar but the coordinator is out of town currently and hasn't updated the site :(
From Tom Holzman
Posted on June 13, 2007 at 12:22 AM
Karen - thanks for the website. I know just where the market is. We used to live two blocks away on Claflin St.

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