I know there have been many discussions about finger tapes in the past and there were some heated debates about the merits of using them. So please forgive me for another finger-tape topic, and let's not start about whether or not one should use finger tapes at all, please.
Here are my questions - Did you start with finger tapes on your violin? If so, how long did you have them? Was it difficult at first to play on a "naked" fingerboard? How long did it take before you overcome it?
When my first teacher put finger tapes on my violin, I was apprehensive about it. I always thought that I have a good ear... So when I down-sized to a 7/8 about 3 months into my learning, I tried to play without them at first. I thought I was doing OK until I was playing Gossec Gavotte with a 5-year-old -- I hadn't played it for a while, and I was out-of-tune, so I put tapes back on myself...
I decided not to put finger tapes on when I was doing my last round of violin hunting 1.5 months ago, which was 10 months into my violin learning. My teacher said that it should not be a big deal if one is ready to play without the finger tapes, so I guess I was not ready - I was struggling with intonation for weeks. The struggle was also partly because I was switching between a 7/8 and a 3/4 on trial and using borrowed violins while my own violin was modified. My teacher asked whether I'd like to put the tapes back on after the first week, and I said no - I was determined to take the "training wheels" off for good. I sort of settled the 2nd week after I got my own violin back. However, even now, there are days that I struggle with intonation, which was never much of a problem when I had tapes on... I guess I was relying more on the visual references and the fingers feeling the tapes rather than using my ears.
Now I'm back into another round of violin search, and this time trying to decide between a 1/2 and a 3/4. I'm amazed that I haven't struggled with intonation as much as the first time. I'm not sure whether it's because my ear has developed, or my muscle memory has improved (so my brain knows how to adjust to the spatial differences between two sizes), or something else altogether.
Please share your experience and insight. Thanks!
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