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Shawn How

My daughter Cathleen's nightly violin playing session

May 10, 2010 at 11:46 PM

Recently I have been recording my daughter during her nightly violin playing (notice I did not use the word "practice" haha) so that she can analyze her own performance from the video.

For example, she can see from her own video that her elbow is not close to her body, and her bowing is not straight (it's going in an arc which is wrong). Using video makes it easier for me to explain why I need her to correct her posture.

How about you? Do you use any "technology" (regardless of whether it is hi-tech or low-tech) to help you teach your child or student how to play violin? hahaha

Any comments or sharing of tips and info would be greatly appreciated.



Posted on May 11, 2010 at 12:26 AM

Loved it! And she is dancing while playing, that is, she is loving it too! Congrats!!!

From William Wolcott
Posted on May 11, 2010 at 9:04 PM

 Technology is a huge part of my teaching/playing. I use a zoom q3 to record my students in the studio as well as Pro Tools and Quicktime Pro. Oh, and I use the Amazing Slow Downer as well.

Quicktime Pro is great as it plays videos at half speed with no pitch change. Amazing Slow Downer is great because it does the same with any sound file - and very clear audio to boot! 

And the Q3 is wonderful. Great audio quality to go along with the video. 

All of this technology will NOT make one play more in tune, though! lol  


What I'm saying is that these things are tools which can be of great assistance, but they are not a substitute for hard work... slow, careful practice and one's ear in the present moment. It's all how it's used. Best to you and your daughter! :)



From Roland Bailey
Posted on May 11, 2010 at 10:02 PM

She is very good!  I would like to record myself and am looking for recommendations for a camera.  Any suggestions?

From Charles Cook
Posted on May 11, 2010 at 11:12 PM

 just grab onto the nut of the bow while she bows on a open string.You can  keep the bow straight for her  with this technique.Do  ten stokes with you holding the bow,then ten stokes off.,repeat :ll  ...etc. In a very short period of time she will be using her wrist in her playing.Low tech ,but it works



From Dion Ackermann
Posted on May 11, 2010 at 11:48 PM

 She is absolutely gorgeous and the right attitude is shining through. Don't worry about  the high elbow, what is good enough for Heifetz should be good enough for her!  

From Dave Snow
Posted on May 12, 2010 at 12:04 AM

That was a real treat to watch. I wish her all the sucess in world at becoming a blues rock violinist. she should be a dynamite player with classical training. I hope you can get her some improv lessons down the road a ways.

From al ku
Posted on May 12, 2010 at 12:11 PM

haha, i swear we still have the same size, same model violin hanging on the wall:)

the clip is indeed precious as your daughter.  not sure what you are referring to about the "elbow"...looks good to my eyes but then i am not a teacher:)  in fact, i feel that when kids tuck their elbows too close to the body, it inhibits a natural flow of the limb that is helpful to make the bow float naturally...

we use video playback a lot in violin and in golf.  basically, what we feel is often not real and playback allows a more careful and realistic reexamination.

From Royce Faina
Posted on May 12, 2010 at 2:40 PM


From Pauline Lerner
Posted on May 12, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Your daughter is really cute and talented.  How old is she, and how long has she been playing?

Charles, thanks for your advice on correcting the movement of the bow in an arc.  That's a common problem, and I'll try your advice on some of my students.  I have found that some other things that work are (1) playing with your back against the wall and your right elbow pinned to the wall, (2) learning to move the bow only from the elbow down except to change strings (this is a variant of #1). and (2) the bow-right or bow-guide.  It's diffficult to learn to move the bow straight because you really can't see it move due to parallax.  You have to learn by feel.  That's why I think that your method should be very good.

Another low tech helper is playing along with the Suzuki CD.  This is very good for intonation.


From stephen kelley
Posted on May 15, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Compare to Yehudi Menuhin's yogic rocking motion, no differance.


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