Going tapeless

February 26, 2011 at 07:45 PM ·

When I decided to learn to play the violin last summer, the first thing I did was tape my finger board.  My 4th grade teacher did this when I briefly attempted to learn all those many years ago and the book I was following suggested it.  After a few months, I minimized the tape so that it was just a few dots here and there.  The tape was also blue and dirty so not easily seen. 

One song I am trying to learn is Ashokan Farewell.  I've been playing it for months, tied to reading the sheet music.  I decided it was time to quit fooling around and commit it to memory.   So I stepped away from the book and tried to play while looking at my fingers.  That screwed me up as I had never looked at my fingers while playing.  So I looked at my bow instead.  That worked. Then I had the epiphany that if I wasn't looking at my fingers, why did I still have tape?  So I removed it.  The funny thing was, for the first two tries I couldn't play the song,  That happened on several songs that I then played.  It's not that I couldn't find my finger positions, it's that the tune just went WOOSH! right out of my head.  Then I closed my eyes and it all came back again.  Just shows me how visual I really am.  Looking at the tape was the same as looking at the sheet music.  I didn't need it for finger placement, but in a way, it showed me what note came next.  I just thought it was interesting.....

Replies (41)

February 26, 2011 at 08:17 PM ·

I don't want to start a war, but I have to say I would personally like to string up any teacher who put tape on the fingerboard.

Playing the fiddle is a 100% AURAL activity, and there is rarely any need to look at anything, apart from the music, of course.

Teachers who advocate visual methods of learning such as using tape on the fingerboard should be put into solitary confinement and banned from ever teaching again.

Ear training is the only route to playing an instrument where you have to make all the other notes apart from the four open strings.

Take any person from the street who has no musical training and sit them at the piano. Show them where middle C is, and then ask them to play it. No problem.

Ask the same person to pitch that same note on the fiddle, and see what happens. (Or even sing it).

February 26, 2011 at 08:52 PM ·

 "... there is rarely any need to look at anything, apart from the music, of course."

And the conductor.

Heh-heh-heh.

February 26, 2011 at 08:52 PM ·

Congrats on going tapeless.

I don't want to start a war, either; so, as usual, I'll just relate what worked for me.

As a kid, I came to violin from an elementary piano background.  From the first lessons, I understood that, instead of dealing with black and white keys, I would have to deal with half steps and whole steps on a continuous fingerboard.  My teachers emphasized listening ahead mentally for the next pitches.

I never used tapes; in fact, it never occurred to me to use them, and my first teacher didn't even bring up the subject.

I will echo what Peter said -- except that, with me, playing the instrument isn't 100% aural, though it comes near this point.  The tactile and visual skills come into play, but they are ancillary.  See thread from 10-6-2010: Playing in tune: mechanical or auditory?

In rapid passages, where there isn't time to listen ahead to each succeeding note, the sense of touch and interval spacing comes in.  Still, the ear has to guide you and help you identify what's off pitch in a run.

As previously discussed on the board, when strings drift out of tune, we have to make little finger adjustments to compensate -- often without being conscious of it.  Tapes might well gum up the process.

February 26, 2011 at 09:08 PM ·

Hi, I never used tapes and am fairly against them.

Though as some told me in the past:  it's the only way they can do something with a bunch of students in a public school where they have too many to look after.  In that case, it's tapes or...no violin 

But as for private teaching...  that's another story!

Though it's fine to study the violin's fingerboard anatomy with paper charts or any device as long as it is not something "on the finger board".

When I started violin, I made myself finger charts of each position and also one of the global finger board on paper.

It's so easy and it works so well to visualise things.  You just have to take a peice of paper, draw four lines (which represent the four strings)  and then, you put vertical bars crossing these 4 lines (just as if it was guitar frets).  After, you decide if each space between the vertical bars represent a tone or a semi-tone.  And then, you place the notes as little dots on the drawn strings.  You use the vertical lines as frets and you will see a very clear visual pattern: where each note locates itself compared to others. 

After you memorise these charts and just pick up your violin with the charts in mind.  But it's your ear who will decide where you put your fingers since the image is in your head haha...

 

Anyway, I loved that method and I saved much time. Though I haven't seen charts often?  Most serious teachers I spoke with are fairly against tapes. 

But, again, I do understand than they have no choice to use it for huge classrooms or things like that. 

February 26, 2011 at 09:22 PM ·

Peter, if you don't want to start a war, why do you immediately follow this sentiment with wishes to string up those who disagree with you?  Them's fightin' words!  I, too, despise finger tapes, but I also remember the Violinist.com Civil War of 2005, which began with a dispute over this topic.  Many otherwise well-intentioned violinists lost their lives that spring.  It's only because I kept civil that I lived to tell about it...

February 26, 2011 at 09:28 PM ·

I agree Peter.  Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a violin teacher these days.

February 26, 2011 at 09:34 PM ·

 To start off complete beginners I use a little blob of white-out (the stuff that's used to correct printed errors). It wears off quite quickly, about the time that the geography of the violin is becoming familiar. I think it's OK as a rough guide, and in any case I've never seen (or heard) anyone try and position their fingers exactly to it to the point that it overrides the ear. 

February 26, 2011 at 09:55 PM ·

Peter said:  "Take any person from the street who has no musical training and sit them at the piano. Show them where middle C is, and then ask them to play it. No problem.
Ask the same person to pitch that same note on the fiddle, and see what happens. (Or even sing it)."

Yes, you SHOWED them where middle C is.  I had no one to show me.  I do not have an instructer.  I would LOVE to have one but can not afford one.  So I am trying to learn where to place my fingers, what a C sounds like vs a C#, where the notes are on my violin, how to read sheet music, how to bow straight and then how to put all of this stuff together so that I can make a sound that doesn't sound too horrible.  The tape showed me where to put my fingers.  I also have a chart, just like Ann-Marie suggested, to show me where my notes are.  I referance it daily.  Whe I am learning a song, I am looking at the music, not my fingers.  When I HEAR something is off, I look at my fingers in relation to the tape and adjust if needed.  If it still sounds wrong, I'll get my tuner.  I have no one else to listen for me so I use the tools that I have.  Last night I took the tape off because I realized that I didn't need that "tool" anymore.  I've gone beyond that.  I can now recognise (for the most part)  when a note is off.

What I found funny about taking the tape off is that I had a major brain fart when paying a song.  I knew where to place my fingers, I just didn't know in what sequence.  It felt like someone had just taken away my sheetmusic, not my tape.  What was also funny about that is that I don't even really look at my fingers when playing so I don't know why I had this little brain spasm.  It was just very odd.

With all that said, I did leave one little speck of tape where my fourth finger goes on the E string.  I have a hard time reaching that far and I don't want to learn that note wrong so I want to make sure i am landing that note correctly until I learn what it sounds like.

February 26, 2011 at 10:47 PM ·

In general, I agree with Peter that we should use our ears and not our eyes to learn proper intonation.  That said, I have to admit that I am guilty of using my eyes on occasion to find certain notes.  I also know of pro musicians that do the same.  One note that is particularly easy to see is the E, one octave above open E.  On many violins, that note lies exactly at the intersection of where the body of the instrument intersects the fingerboard.  What I mean is, if you put your finger on that note, and look at where your finger is, you will find that on many fiddles it looks like that is the exact spot where the wood crosses the neck.  That can be a handy reference point when playing high passages for getting your left hand in the right place.

February 26, 2011 at 10:52 PM ·

Susan

My attempt at making the point about the piano obviously failed and it is my fault you misunderstood. Or maybe you didn't, I'm not sure.

What I was trying to say is that on a piano all the notes are there, anyone can play them. (Of course to perform properly is a different story).

On the fiddle we have to conjure these notes out of the thin air, or rather, what I was trying to say, is that we have to hear them and find them on the fingerboard. So it is aural, not visual. On the piano you can see the notes, and there is no way of playing them out of tune, if the piano has been tuned correctly. (OK, let's not get into subtle differences about pianos being out of tune, we all know about tuning temperament etc).

On the violin fingerboard, we cannot play to a mark, because we may need to play and adjust our intonation as we play. It was Heifetz who said, "I don't play in tune more than anyone else, I just correct it quicker."

And strings and temperature all subtly change exactly where a note is. So those tapes are out from one hour after they are placed there. And they encourage people to look and not listen. It's a visual world. But it should be an aural world, for string players and singers, as well as wind and brass players. Only fixed pitch instrumentalists can get away with looking!!

February 26, 2011 at 11:04 PM ·

"In general, I agree with Peter that we should use our ears and not our eyes to learn proper intonation.  That said, I have to admit that I am guilty of using my eyes on occasion to find certain notes.  I also know of pro musicians that do the same.  One note that is particularly easy to see is the E, one octave above open E.  On many violins, that note lies exactly at the intersection of where the body of the instrument intersects the fingerboard.  What I mean is, if you put your finger on that note, and look at where your finger is, you will find that on many fiddles it looks like that is the exact spot where the wood crosses the neck.  That can be a handy reference point when playing high passages for getting your left hand in the right place."

Smiley

Yes, everyone does it occasionally I agree, but it gets dangerous if you rely on it. The situation with finding the E one octave up on the E string may be more easily solved by using the harmonic, even if its only for a split second, but I suppose some would call that cheating. The problem with the visual is that if you have to play an E flat or an F then its more of a problem.

Try this as its an interesting experiment. Think of a note high up - say a top G one octave up on the E string - or any note, say an A it doesn't matter. Put you finger there and see if you hit it. (From way down in first position). Then, and only then, get the note in your ear (from a tuner or the piano say) and then try again. Its more likely you will hit it in tune if you have that note firmly establsihed in your ear. The finger magically just goes there. No need for a tape! (Unless you want to record it ...) (On tape!)

February 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM ·

 A friend of mine who used to be an Associated Board examiner told me about an examination session in Northern Ireland. The examinee was a small boy taking his grade 1 piano. The little piece he played was a disaster, as was everything else. The lad apparently had no idea of where the keys were and the result was, shall we say, unexpectedly modal, if not atonal.

The examiner (not my friend) called the teacher in and said he really could not give the child a pass, and explained why. The teacher went over to the piano, looked at it and said that the lock was in the wrong place. Seeing the examiner's raised eyebrows she explained that she taught her beginners to find middle C by counting so many keys from the lock ... on her studio piano. 

My friend's opinion was that it was the teacher who should have been failed, and not the pupil.

The technique described by Peter in the final paragraph of his last post is exactly that used by one or two of my conductors when they've tried to get the first violins to hit a high B or D in the dusty part of the E string. To the surprise of the players it invariably worked.   

February 27, 2011 at 12:26 AM ·

If one has a big tape problem, they should try wound gut strings (just for a few months if they don't like gut).

Gut strings are always slightly changing in pitch because they are less stable than synthetic.   So one has to have a good ear because the fingers are not always at the same exact place.

The great master of the past (gut string era) were forced to use their ears...  

Well, I know they didn't teach much typical kids but just to laugh...  can you imagine Heifetzh or Oistrakh giving a lesson to a kid:  "come here, I will tape your violin"   : )  

   

February 27, 2011 at 01:04 AM ·

Yes Peter, I did misunderstand.  I get your point now.

Then you said: "On the violin fingerboard, we cannot play to a mark, because we may need to play and adjust our intonation as we play."

I never assumed the mark was 100% accurate.  A little wiggle of the finger can make a big difference and I also understood that strings can change things.  The tape helped me train my fingers to the correct area but it is still up to my ear to make sure I have it just right.  I never assumed the tape was an end all.  The first song I tried to play that had a C# on the G was very hard for me to get at first.  I had to stretch my finger without loosing my positioning.  The mark told me how far to stretch but not exactly where to land.  My ear tells me that.  Now, several months later, I can hit that note without any problems.  

February 27, 2011 at 01:13 AM ·

"Try this as its an interesting experiment. Think of a note high up - say a top G one octave up on the E string - or any note, say an A it doesn't matter. Put you finger there and see if you hit it. (From way down in first position). Then, and only then, get the note in your ear (from a tuner or the piano say) and then try again. Its more likely you will hit it in tune if you have that note firmly establsihed in your ear. The finger magically just goes there. No need for a tape! (Unless you want to record it ...) (On tape!)"

Peter, I find this phenomenon so fascinatingly true!  There's this part of the mind that connects with the fingerboard in the exact same fashion that it connects with the voice, and when you can hear the note in your head and go to that note by instinct, it is incredibly accurate.  When I don't know exactly what the note is supposed to sound like before I play it, I can hardly find it at all, especially up in the higher positions.  A lot of time, when practicing orchestral passages, it helps to memorize the measure(s) of a tricky phrase and play it away from the music as though I'm singing it, not reading it.  Then, a lot of the accidentals and key signature issues magically disappear.  I'm simply hearing intervals in my head and going to them with my fingers.

That's why I believe that cultivating this skill from the start is so important.

February 27, 2011 at 03:33 AM ·

For women, it is better to play tapeless than topless -- although some men may prefer the latter :-)

February 27, 2011 at 07:52 AM ·

I have never played with tape, so I can't say what that is like. My first violin had marks where tape had been in the past; a couple times, I used it for reference, but felt like I was 'cheating'.

I am more interested in what works than in an idealized process, and I realize that not all students are the same. That said, I think the most important thing I learned was how to hear the sound, not to see where I needed to put my fingers to make the sound. Not everybody may need the same thing, but I needed to train my ears more than I needed to train my fingers.

February 27, 2011 at 02:36 PM ·

My tuner does not give out a sound and purchasing something at the moment is out.  Is there a website that offers scales in an audio form so that I could try what Peter suggested? 

February 27, 2011 at 03:04 PM ·

Wow!  I just tried Peter's idea and was surprised I could do it.  I tried several notes and nailed every one -- didn't know I could do that.  Instead of using a piano, I just played a note in first position, then heard the note in my head one octave higher, put my finger there and was able to hit the note every time.  So for example, play the 3rd finger A on the E string in first position.  Hear the note one octave higher, and put your finger there. 

This must be a developed skill from playing those notes many times.  I would imagine, a beginner that does not have much experience playing up there would not be able to do it -- not sure.

February 27, 2011 at 03:46 PM ·

Susan, I have a tuner that doesn't use batteries, is 100% reliable and apparently lasts for ever. It's a tuning fork.

There probably are audio pages on the web that play scales for you to play along with, but I'll wager they are all in equal temperament tuning (aka piano tuning). ET is the last thing you want in your ears when you're developing your feel for good intonation when playing the violin.

February 27, 2011 at 03:53 PM ·

Smiley

Well, a beginner could do it if they had ear training first and had a bit of help with finding their way around the fingerboard, but I agree it might be a lot to expect. But players of only a year or two's experience could well benefit and do it with practise.

By the way, I do play topless sometimes, especially when I'm trying to get that "Night on a bare Mountain" sound. But I would find topless lady fiddlers too distracting especially playing Bach ... Air on a ...

Better stop before I get into trouble from all the georgeous ladies on this messageboard!!

February 27, 2011 at 04:11 PM ·

Smiley said:  "This must be a developed skill from playing those notes many times.  I would imagine, a beginner that does not have much experience playing up there would not be able to do it -- not sure:

Nope, if you tell me to imagine what an A sounds like, I don't have a clue.  If you played an A for me, I could not tell you what it is.  If I heard and A and then was told to play it on my violin, I could find it pretty quick.  It may take a "nope, not that one" a couple of times but I would most likely be within a step each way.  I have a chart telling me which note is which on my finger board but I still can not identify all of them quickly.  I'm working on it though.

February 27, 2011 at 06:00 PM ·

Susan

This will all fall into place fairly quickly the more you range over the fingerboard, so keep at it. It's not rocket science, though it might get near to that at times! As you become more familiar you will wonder what the problem was.

February 27, 2011 at 07:27 PM ·

 > Playing the fiddle is a 100% AURAL activity

That's not quite correct. It's a aural, tactile, *and* visual one.

The speed of light being the fastest here, violinists look at their left hands to assist in organizing fingering patterns of whole and half steps, as well as planning the point of contact on the string with the bow.

Our sense of touch is next, establishing "touch points" or what some might call "muscle memory" for shifting, placement, arm weight, etc.

Finally, the average speed of sound in air, as fast as it is, is the slowest for our senses to register. What we can do with it though, is react/respond to the sound...

So if we can see and feel what we are doing *before* it becomes sound, we have a much greater chance of creating the sound that we want as we build up a repertory of these physical experiences through practice.

It's far more efficient to *see* how far away a whole step is, *feel* the proper distance, then *hear* that the note is correct having used all three senses than waiting until the pitch actually begins and having to adjust after the fact!

February 27, 2011 at 08:10 PM ·

Try telling Heifetz that!!

At the distance we look - 20 inches at the most - and listen from - 10 inches at the most - the relative speed of light and sound are inconsequential. If we were talking of 20 feet or more it might have some relevance, but even then not much.

And the feeling bit (although I agree about muscle memory) is not so important as various things make it unrelaible, such as perspiration, temperature, fitness, tiredness, and general chemistry.

So personally I would think the aural bit is the most useful. (And blind players seem to do allright).

But deaf players have to become conductors ... (wink)

February 27, 2011 at 08:27 PM ·

It all depends on what one needs to get the job done as quickly as possible. I believe that tapes and transfers really help, through the 7th position. Finger stretches and shifts can be a challenge in the beginning so having a visual can really help. Once the "ear" knows where to go, I agree the visual cues are no longer required. I also think tapes can help cuing up fingers for double stops and chords, once again until the, "ear" gets it. I don't think it's any different than using a metronome for timing or you-tube or anything else that helps you learn to play. It works for some, doesn't for others.

February 27, 2011 at 08:46 PM ·

@Susan,

Here is an on-line scale

http://www.violinonline.com/oneoctavemajorscales.htm

I also have a 'ringtone' for A, D, & G. Not the most musical, but a computer tone I can use with my cell phone to tune if I need. I can't remember where I got them, but I looked online because of problems when browsing violins; If I am out browsing, and see a violin in an unexpected place like a garage sale, it is always an attractive nuisance to me....unless it is obviously a VSO. I am not at the place that I can tune without some kind of help.

February 27, 2011 at 09:22 PM ·

Here Suesan

 a G major scale

listen to the note first ,then play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRLKj6AU0qU

February 27, 2011 at 09:28 PM ·

Hi Peter, I agree aural might be the most imprtant but so does feeling and vision. 

Many of the greatest violinists have very good athletic abilities  (it's not a coincidence...)

- many great violinists excel in golf (I think Joshua Bell is pretty good at it?)

- Menuhin was able to stand on his head, fold in all kind of ways with his yoga

- Fridman told Heifetzh was one of these Tennis players and swimmers

- Repin played Tennis

etc etc...

And those who do not look in shape physically are still remarquably naturally flexible, strong and well coordonate to play at that level...  (I bet any money that if the not too in shape players would have a better and healthier lifestyle, they would have impressing athletics abilities too)

Good feeling, proprioception and coordination are such an important part of a violinist...  With no good  nervous systeme, a person could hear things wonderfully but will never be able to play them!

I'm very sorry to tell this because it breaks our pink glasses romantic vision of it but violin is not just about psychology, artistery, soul, heart and ears

One must have the correct mechanic!   If not, higher level of playing will never be acheive (except maybe very very few exceptions) 

So feel is very important...

 

February 27, 2011 at 10:40 PM ·

> Try telling Heifetz that!

We don't have to...we can see in many, many hours of archival footage that he is actively using his vision as part of his unerring accuracy. For example, in Paganini:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCqv5vm2iz4&feature=fvst

If he didn't need to look, why is he doing it? His eyes are shifting back and forth, from left hand to point of contact, and back again, wherever it is necessary.

 > At the distance we look [...] and listen from [...] the relative speed
> of light and sound are inconsequential. If we were talking of 20 feet
> or more it might have some relevance, but even then not much.

It isn't inconsequential, and the total distance here is irrelevant...it's about their function as a passage of time. If you can see a half step and can place it visually before you play it, you have a far greater chance of playing it in tune than if you wait until the sound begins to hear if it is out of tune. By the time the sound begins, the time to make adjustments due to visual and tactile feedback has already passed.

 > And the feeling bit (although I agree about muscle memory) is not
> so important as various things make it unrelaible, such as
> perspiration, temperature, fitness, tiredness, and general chemistry.

It isn't unreliable. The human mind and body has the amazing ability to *adapt* to perform what has been trained/practiced under stressful conditions. This is how a great violinist can pick up a cheap factory violin (as long as the setup is functional) and still sound pretty darned good.

February 27, 2011 at 11:34 PM ·

Roland - thank you!  I actually have the scales on a CD but this site also has a tuner - A, D, G, E.  I can practice trying to tune to these notes.  I wish it had more notes to offer but this will help tremendously.  It looks like a good site!

Charles - did you try to link a page?  A link did not show up on your post

February 27, 2011 at 11:39 PM ·

Peter - I have to ask: how did you learn fingering on the violin? What was the precise method that your teacher used?  Can you describe any difficulties that you had?

February 27, 2011 at 11:41 PM ·

Yes Ann I agree with you

Playing the violin isn't eye hand coordination, but proprioception ( some may say tactile or kinesthesia )hand coordination and auditory. Visual aids train the wrong senses for playing the violin well. A violinist will not get the "feel" if they rely on vision too much.

February 27, 2011 at 11:45 PM ·

I didn't do a copy and paste

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRLKj6AU0qU

February 28, 2011 at 01:06 AM ·

Many years ago I decided to learn to play cello.  The position of the instrument, finger patterns, etc... were completely foreign to me.  I put a few pencil marks on the edge of fingerboard to get oriented and help train my left hand to a much wider spacing.  By the time the marks wore off, I knew my way around the fingerboard quite well. 

Visual queues are OK IMHO when used as a tool in learning with moderation and a goal of weaning yourself from them.

February 28, 2011 at 02:04 PM ·

Part of the problem with finger placement for a beginner on the violin is, I believe, the acute perspective view of the fingerboard from the playing position, which makes it difficult for the beginner to see exactly the finger placement at the neck end of the fingerboard (1st-3rd positions). It is a little easier to see what is happening towards the bridge end of the finger board, but beginners, almost by definition, for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, don't usually play in that region. This problem with visual perception of the left hand fingers on the violin is a good reason why proprioception and listening hard should be cultivated from the earliest stages.

Playing the cello is different. In the neck positions the left hand is to the side and effectively out of the player's direct line of sight.  Seeing what the fingers are doing  needs a slight turn of the head. The higher positions are visually easier, because the player can glance down on the fingerboard, with few perspective problems.

My cello teacher Arthur Alexander, and Christopher Bunting (both now no longer with us) with whom I was privileged to have a one-off lesson, encouraged me to explore the whole length of the fingerboard, thereby gradually "picking up" where the notes were. Arthur Alexander put it on a more formal basis after a while by drilling me with my eyes closed to play on command a note anywhere on the fingerboard with a designated finger. Before each note I had to hang my left arm down by my side so that I wouldn't be able to use the cello neck as a reference. It took a few weeks, but this method worked well for developing proprioception. Are there violin teachers who teach proprioception like this and encourage pupils to explore the whole length of the fingerboard from an early stage?

 

 

February 28, 2011 at 04:08 PM ·

Charles, I agree with you!!

Elise

Re fingering etc

It was a long time ago and I had a lousy teacher for the first few weeks or months. Not his fault, he was a school teacher and a pianist, and played the viola a bit (badly).

I then went to another dodgy teacher or two (there a lot of dreadful teachers out there) and then I "studied" with a friend who was my age at the same school but was an accomplished player already playing big pieces. He's a very good teacher now, but I've no idea how good he was then!! (We are talking about the Dark Ages here!)

I eventually went to another teacher who was reccommended but not much good and I did my final exam in the Grade system. I carried on by myself for a couple of years and the phoned possibly the best teacher in Britain at the time and had lessons, eventally about a year later going to the Royal Academy of Musak here in London to study with him.

I've no idea how I learnt fingering, by observation I suppose, and by what was on the parts. I also learnt vibrato on my own, and everyone seems to like my vib so it can't be too bad.

I've changed things over the years but I've made the most changes to left hand and bowing in the last couple of years. I'm still learning and feel I'm really a beginner. It may all come right one day - just at about the time I'm gasping for my last breath.

I'm open to all ideas, but there are things I see now as definitely being wrong. I don't teach anymore and never did a lot, since I had to play in orchestras to make a living.

February 28, 2011 at 09:36 PM ·

"By the way, I do play topless sometimes, especially when I'm trying to get that "Night on a bare Mountain" sound."

@Peter, I found your latest video.  Nice hair :-)

www.youtube.com/watch

February 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM ·

I agree with Trevor...

On the violin, many (even pros) will look once in a while to their fingers.  (Yes, I've seen Heifetz, Oistrakh, Menuhin etc. do it.   Especially that they were the 'open" eyed generation with straigh heads.  Not like nowadays when many violinist lie down their head on the violin as if it was a pillow for the whole peice and close their eyes...  You obviously can't look at your fingers with the latter.)  

But my teacher told me that when beginners look at their fingers very much, they bend their neck and litterally stare at their left hand.   Thus it takes them away form the good violin posture which is to keep the head very straigh and not bending the neck. 

I would just recommand to be very careful.  If you occasionnally look at your fingers (which is ok imho and in that of way more qualified people than me), at least, do it with a straigh head and don't change your whole posture to do it ; ) 

 

February 28, 2011 at 10:41 PM ·

Smiley

I might try and do the Brahms next on my video but my wife thinks I should wear a bra and visit the dentist first ...

March 1, 2011 at 04:52 PM ·

Smiley - the topless video brought tears to my eyes.  OMGosh!

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin-Strings.com

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe