2 month newbie - Stiff wrist for bowing

November 3, 2011 at 03:21 PM · I have started violin for 2 months. I found that I have a stiff right hand especially at the wrist section when I need to curve it for up/down bow.

I have a problem with that. Is there any exercise or technique to improve my bowing technique and loosen up my wrist.

Replies (33)

November 3, 2011 at 04:23 PM · Hi again!

The angle of your wrist is important. If you pretend you had a watch on your right arm, and you angle your arm to see what time it is - it allows for more wrist movement. Another way to put it is turn your hand in like you are turning a door knob.

Smiles! Diane

November 3, 2011 at 04:26 PM · Yes, play open strings slowly. You can also play notes in first position but use your full bow and remember to keep your hand relaxed as well as with the full wrist motion.

You should work it out with your teacher.

Also, be sure not to raise your bow off the string when at the frog. Playing open strings also helps with your tone, but remember to keep the weight of your hand on the strings. Just putting pressure on with your index finger won't cut it.

And... don't raise your shoulder. There's lost of things you need to look out for. If you want to, make a video so that I (and anybody else) can help you further.

November 3, 2011 at 05:34 PM · hello belated welcome.

v.com will make you avoid many pitfalls based on my personal experience and before you know it, you will be able to give advice, even unwarranted, unsolicited and unqualified.

here is my golden rule: when someone complains of stiff wrist on the bow hand, don't listen and waste time and effort on the wrist. he is really asking about how to hold the bow more correctly.

if you do not have a teacher, review some videos on how to hold the bow properly. it takes time to get comfortable and until the hold is comfortable and confident, the wrist will tighten, like a reflex.

November 3, 2011 at 05:36 PM · My bow hold was fine, but my bowing wasn't. That is what my experience told me. I worked on my bowing and the wrist got better.

November 3, 2011 at 09:57 PM · and give yourself time to learn to soften the whole bow arm. It is a new thing you are learning, and while it looks simple, it takes a while to get the relaxation in the wrist and still be able to control the bow. Even little kids like Al's daughter, who started so young, has gradually evolved to have the wrist movement we all seek. You should watch some of her early vids and compare to later ones to see that change - even for a talented child with good skills, it wasn't something that happened overnight.

November 3, 2011 at 10:24 PM · well thanks sharelle for thinking better of her, and in a way that is related to the point i was making.

in the beginning (i don't think my kid really received hard core serious instruction then or now so she may not be that good a model for illustration), holding the bow correctly is not that easy for most people, especially very young kids who need to learn to balance the weight with the tiny hand and especially for adult beginners who have in their mind a way to deal with the situation of holding something which may not be what the violin teacher has in mind:)

let's back up a little first and ask this question:

can someone have a "fine" bow hold but with a persistent tight wrist?

for the most part, the answer is no. you see, from anatomical and physiological point of view (like it or not, that is how we function, that is, structure first, function follows), finger motion is controlled by muscles in the forearm...through a pulley like system in the wrist. so, the wrist is like the bystander who gets involved unwillingly.

for instance, lets try something: make a tight fist, as tight as you can, and at the same time, loosen your wrist and shake it like you are playing the water at the edge of a swimming pool. clumsy, right? you bet. tight finger, tight wrist.

now try something else. tighten your wrist first, really tight, chances are you have not done that before, an isolated tightening of the wrist. then, try to move your fingers like a pianist. clumsy, right? tight wrist, tight finger.

in my opinion, with beginners, holding the bow is not that intuitive and natural (did anyone here find chopsticks easy to use the very first time? ) so the instinct is to squeeze the fingers a little tighter, which leads to tightening of the wrist. with instruction, time and understanding, the fingers in the bow hand become more supple and the wrist will naturally become less guarded.

ps. some beginner bows are crudely made in terms of balance which adds to the challenge to a beginner player.

November 4, 2011 at 12:04 AM · Greetings,

I agree with al. I think there is just a slight misunderstanding of what he menat perhaps. It is not the bow hold perse (you can hold it just about any way you please really;) ) but rather the degree of tension whihc one holds it. If one does tyhe bowing motinon without holdiong a bow the hand will flop natuirally backwards and forwards and one should learn to recpognize this feeling and the range of movement involved. if one waves the arm around and the wrist doesn`t move this is more likely a symptom of serious illness...

Lots of putting the bow down and shaking the writs is always helpful though.

Cheers,

Buri

incidentally, get a lawyer to help you with the writs...

November 4, 2011 at 12:11 AM · if you say so, sensei!

one tell tale sign that i have noticed with my kid and many other beginners is the prominent protrusion of the knuckles of the bow hand from,,,,tension:) the white knuckle sign if you will.

normally, our knuckles come out just a bit (look at your hand as the arm dangles and hand is freely swinging abut the thigh). that is how good players maintain the curvature of the bow hand in motion, elastic and good transmitter of power.

(easier said than done)

November 4, 2011 at 12:29 AM · It is a great help in acquiring bowing control (once the bow hold has been sorted out) to think of the bowing arm from the shoulder to the hand as being like a very flexible rope – a ship's hawser, for instance.

My cello teacher in my youth introduced me to the concept of the bowing arm being like a hawser (I lived in a sea-faring city, so I understood the simile), and my violin teacher today teaches the same fundamental concept. If your bowing arm is sufficiently relaxed when you've got the bow on the string, and someone were to suddenly take the bow away, then your arm should flop down towards the floor.

November 4, 2011 at 10:24 AM · Thank you for all the feedbacks and guidance. I think I know where the problem lies. I have put too much tension on my fingers while I'm holding the bow, which I didn't realize.

Thank you Al for pointing that out.

Question: I have another problem which is stiff shoulder too. After hrs of playing, now I feel that my right shoulder at the back is aching :(

How can I attain a more relaxed state when bowing.

November 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM · well, allow me to stick my neck out again.

first of all, it is tough to see what you are doing not seeing you playing:)

as some have posted already, there is this sense and feeling of letting your bow arm resting or be supported by the violin and as one has pointed out, let the bow arm "fall" into the string. so there is a bit of mental preparation/acceptance to take care of before you can try it out physically this letting go sensation.

the other thing that ties into the earlier discussion is that if your hand/wrist is tighter than they are supposed to be, then your shoulder region is lifting some "dead weight", putting stress on the rotator cuff. after a while, muscle fatigue can make you feel the shoulder region is "tight". one may think that a healthy person's shoulder region should be quite strong. for the most part, yes, but if you put the shoulder to the test in certain angles--like violin bowing--you are not really using the big bulky muscles like the deltoid, the arm muscles, etc, but relatively weaker muscles of the rotator cuff and those around the shoulder blade. it is easy to overload them when the shoulder is put into a mechanically disadvantaged position.

but overall, i think people have this self preservation instinct, that when they do something wrong mechanically or biomechanically speaking, the body often knows how to adapt to a more efficient way. it may take longer for some than others to make this turn around. what often interferes with this adaption is a wrong mental picture --either acquired or intrinsic--which overrides the body's own affinity for a more efficient way. in addn, often, the body signals for a rest, the studious violinist decides to ignore the request...

i think the most efficient way, if you do not have a teacher yet, is to ask a good violinist to look at you briefly in person in action and set you on the right course. what you think is correct may not be the real correct from a different, professional perspective, thus the saying, what you feel may not be real.

have fun!

November 5, 2011 at 03:13 AM · Hi Al & fellow Violinist,

Thank you for giving me your honest feedback. Really appreciate :)

I have uploaded a video of myself playing. Pls take note, this is my 2nd month in playing. Hence, pardon me for the bad music..hahah

As shared, I am experiencing stiff wrist and shoulder; as a result I am having ache/sore on my right back shoulder now.

Link: http://youtu.be/Yh1EgRtKszw

Thank you for your guidance again :)

November 5, 2011 at 06:41 AM · Your pinky should be relaxed and curved and sitting on top of the frog. If you watch your hand, you will see that your right pinky is straight-extended which means tension.

Wondering if that straight pinky means your thumb is not bent? Are you bending the right thumb?

Soften the right hand. Keep a natural curve in all fingers. Bent thumb at the frog.

Todd Ehle has a video series on bow hold at Youtube.

Bow Hold

November 5, 2011 at 12:27 PM · hello yong xin, concur with tess's recommendation. there are many youtube videos on that. you may want to go over a bunch of them, saying more or less the same thing in different ways, to see which way clicks with you more...

here is another one: http://www.youtube.com/user/1stfiddlerman#p/u/79/a_7-DpsTcE4

you may want to put down your violin when you work on the bow hold, say, in front of your sofa or bed, in case it slips out. you may need to learn the feeling of holding something just before it slips out:)

i am curious,,,when you play this piece, without recording it, do you fix your intonation problems whenever you make them, or do you just go through the entire piece? i am curious to know at your stage if you actually hear intonation errors?

ps, 2 thumbs up for having the courage and the spirit of putting up a video for us. thank you.

November 6, 2011 at 02:49 PM · Tess: Thank you for the link. I've checked out Todd's video, it is very helpful. Yes, my right thumb is bent. The reason that my pinky is straight is to support the bow from tilting. Hence, the pinky acts as a counter weight to the top of the bow.

Qns: Does the pinky act as support, as a counter weight to the bow from tilting?

Al,Thank you for the insightful feedback as usual and Thank you for taking the time to comment. At least, I have to put in effort to help you guys to diagnose and correct my mistake so that I can play better :)

I know that my song is out of tune. However, as I just got started in Violin, my focus was to get the fingering right and bowing tone is okay (no squeaking sound); as long as the tune/melody is there and that is fine.

However, after I had recorded, I found that certain note is seriously out of tune. I know I need to correct that. But as a newbie, there are just too many areas I need to correct and I don't know where to start and prioritize. I need to focus on bowing, fingering, posture and etc....

Qns: As a newbie, what do you think is most important to correct?

PS: I've just bought a Yamaha recorder to record my practice.

November 7, 2011 at 01:09 AM · hello yong xin,

since i am not a teacher but a parent that has accompanied my kid in her study, you have to take whatever i say with buckets of salt:)

1. the straight pinkie must go:) regardless of whatever reason you have. you must learn to counterbalance with a curved pinkie. until the pinkie is curved, you are not really balancing it. as you curve the pinkie, you are making adjustment on the balance act, which is done throughout bowing. the only time that the pinkie comes to close to being straight, BUT NEVER COMPLETELY STRAIGHT, is when your bowing is near the frog in an up bow. spend some time watching a variety of people on youtube and you will see that is done consistently, that is, curved pinkie.

in the video i linked, pierre (the guy with the hat) demonstrated bow hold while holding the bow with the other hand. i think this is an important moment and you may want to try it. that is, put down your violin, hold the bow in the middle of the stick with your left hand so the bow floats in the air. now try to get your bow hold onto the bow with your right hand.

since there is no need to balance the bow (because left hand is holding it), your bow hand should be quite relaxed and your pinkie should be curved. (if you find it difficult to curve the pinkie, then you may have other issues with the hold, such as not holding the bow correctly, but that is another topic altogether and tough to speculate further without seeing up close)

now, go in front of a bed or sofa for safety. gently release the hold on the bow by your left hand, a little bit at a time and feel the pressure pushing up from the bow into your pinkie.

now re-hold the bow again with your left hand, so that the pinkie gets a break. relax it.

now repeat this again, by letting go a bit with your left hand, and feeling the pressure into the right pinkie.

and repeat this many times.

why bother with this?

because if you jump into holding the bow out of the blue, the protective instinct in you will bring out the straight pinkie, in a rigid way to do the job of so called counterbalance. everyday you pick up the bow from that moment on, it is the same old thing.

by doing what i have suggested, you can learn to undo this habit. sort of like a desensitizing process for your curved pinkie to take hold in your hand and in your mind.

2. recording and listening carefully what you have done is possibly the most important thing you can do to get better faster.

3. also i saw a mirror there. use it often.

November 8, 2011 at 09:07 AM · Al: Thank you for the advice. As of today, I managed to curved the pinky by closing in the pinky with the rest of the fingers. However, the pinky will start to straighten again when I play a difficult or new piece. Need to keep in check :)

I'm also working on my intonation now. This is really not easy for beginners, especially when there is no markings on the violin, unlike the guitar.

November 8, 2011 at 10:26 AM · It's rather paradoxical. First, you must strengthen certain muscles to enable your hand to hold the bow in such a way that the thumb and pinky can stay curled, which requires exercises. Then, you must learn to set the bow on the string and relax those muscles so that they can become shock absorbers and artists of articulation (to be studied further on). Please spend a little time each day working on these concepts without the left hand. The left hand robs your mind of attention, and then focused concentration becomes more difficult to achieve.

After you are able to keep the pinky curved, try this simple exercise: hold your bow out with the stick parallel to the ceiling. Keeping the hand and arm still, use the pinky as leverage to push the tip of the bow up, like two kids on a teeter-totter (pinky, bow tip). Keep the rest of the hand calm, and let all the joints follow the movement of the bow. The thumb remains curved for this exercise. If you're doing it right, the movement of the bow is initiated by the pinky, and the sole focus is on counterbalance between the tip of the bow and the pinky. This should develop a strong and flexible pinky, which will aid you in your shock absorbtion and general control of the bow.

After this exercise, set your bow on the string (with your beautiful bow hold) and wait a while. After about a minute, your hand will sort out which muscles have to actually be working to hold this position, and the other muscles will relax. Then, envision that the bow is moving on its own will in a straight line, and your hand is simply following, like a reluctant dog being dragged on a leash. Observe whether your right shoulder is shrugging as you go, and drop the tension out of those muscles, as well. Keep your arm on the same plane as the bow.

Hope this helps! The number one thing at this point in your development is the curved pinky.

November 8, 2011 at 11:47 AM · hello yong xin,

i like what emily said "you must learn to set the bow on the string and relax those muscles so that they can become shock absorbers and artists of articulation"

when fingers are curved and relaxed, they can function like a spring. a straight pinkie is not just a straight pinkie; it also means other fingers' motion is limited along with restriction put on by the straight pinkie.

i think it is good that you get to address this issue 2 months into playing because many others have to revisit this problem way down the line when they realize the handicap it brings.

i am sure teachers can tell you a lot more subtle things, but to me, with a good bow hold, your bow transition, particularly from up to down bow, feels and sounds very differently. this is something you also need to explore...

don't get too eager so you may be frustrated more easily. you are doing the right thing in the right direction; it may some time to truly feel the difference.

have fun!

ps. i just asked my kid to go over something for your consideration. essentially eventually you should be able to do this on command (but you don't need to go this extreme in real playing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi354PSLXb8

November 8, 2011 at 01:07 PM · Hi Al, Emily & fellow Violinist,

Since the last comment on my straight pinky. I had been working hard over the weekend to correct that.

I have loaded another video. This round, I'm playing Ode Joy :)

I hope I have improved and would like to improve/correct on other parts.

Link: http://youtu.be/NbfBNT3-RcM

PS: Last week was a Public holiday. Hence, I do not have lesson. But many thanks to all whom had commented. They are valuable lessons to me ")

Thank you.

November 8, 2011 at 01:19 PM · awesome! i mean, it definitely is on the right track and keep on letting the bow hand to wrap around the bow in a supple way.

if you review this tape, on some level, i see that your bowing is not "straight" (now we want to be straight:)

because of the tightness in the hand/wrist/limb, your bowing seems a bit "circular". anatomically, your arm's length is indeed the radius of a circle so that your bowing has a circular basis, but as a violinist, you want to break away from that tendency.

enter your relaxed hand/wrist/limb so that your appendage becomes more elastic. as you down bow toward the tip, your relaxed arm and hand pushes the bow away from you, or in front of you, whatever perspective is easier for you. if you check in the mirror, the bowing will be straighter. similarly, when you come into the frog in an up bow, your relaxed wrist and hand--here the curved pinkie is so very important-- will push the tip of the bow again away from you, instead of behind your left ear.

what i wrote may not be easy to understand, so use your mirror to guide your motion and consult your teacher. also keep an eye on the bow to see if it is parallel to the bridge at the 2 ends of the bow.

what you do later with your bowing direction when you become more proficient is another thing, another topic. for now, go through the copy book and try to keep the bowing longer and straighter, which is easier to do if your entire bow limb is softer and more supple. to put it another way, if your bow arm/hand is relaxed, you may bow NATURALLY straight without much effort or attention.

ps,,also double check your tuning of the open strings carefully with a tuning fork or tuner. sounds a bit low.

November 9, 2011 at 11:25 AM · Al, great tht im on the right track. Now, i need to mainain. thanks for the insight again.

Yes, I notice that my Bowing at times would slip towards closer to the bridge and the sound will start to sound soft and queaky. I believe it is due to my wrist not arching as it should as I up and down bow.

I need to keep practicing to gain confidence and move my wrist more. For now this is the one thing I will focus on before I move on to tackle other areas :)

November 9, 2011 at 11:56 AM · hello yong xin, i admire people like you who can find the time and energy to start on something this challenging, so whatever we can do to help just a teeny weeny bit brings us a lot of satisfaction.

keep in mind that there are many ways to approach a single problem and each person is very unique, so eventually it is up to the individual to tailor make the most fitting solution.

often i share with my kids when i help them with golf (another very difficult and often frustrating pursuit) that we are on a little boat and navigate on open water with all kinds of challenges. even when our direction is correct, we need to constantly make adjustments in order to stay on the course. constantly pay attention to changes around you, constantly pay attention to information of interest so that you not only gain more knowledge but in the process become wiser (how to apply to you).

for instance, you currently think about moving your wrist certain way in order to reach certain goal. keep an eye on it because with time, that thought itself may need readjustment. there is a fine line between under-doing it and over-doing it.

wish you an interesting journey:)

November 10, 2011 at 12:26 PM · Hi Al,

It has been a pleasure to meet you here. Thank you for all the advice. Despite not being a teacher, you are able to give me advice that my teacher didn't. (Wonder if I should change a teacher?)

My hobby is actually photography, you can visit my website (www.flickr.com/alpha_lunas). I have been photographing for 4 yrs now. Everytime, I constantly challenge myself to take better picture.

As an artist, we always want a breakthrough from what where we are. I think it is the artist in me. So music is something I would love to pursue before I grow too old. I'm 29 by the way. Also, I think that my photography level has reached a level that I doubt I can do any better unless a master is able to guide me. Hence, i decided to stop photog for awhile and try music which is my second love.

Yes, I will take note and will not over do it. Now, I can feel that my bowing is much smoother.

Looking forward to show my teacher my improvement, since last week was a holiday there was no lesson :)

November 10, 2011 at 12:55 PM · hello yong xin,,,

with my experience with my kid, while watching the lessons and sitting in her practices, i have noticed that facing each teacher are hundreds of problems per student, at any given time:) so, often the teacher has to pick and choose which ones to attack first and adjust accordingly based on the student's progress and the teacher's own experience. it is probably fair to say that every new student is a new book, so it takes quite a bit from the teacher to really know or anticipate what is truly going on with a student at a particular time. i don't think a teacher can be 100% at the same frequency as the student all the time, but a better one should be flexible enough to gauge response and plot new course, and be audacious enough to teach each person differently based on the many factors presented by the person, such as interest level, learning speed, learning style, physicality, talent level, sensitivity to critique, time table, etc, etc. i think it may be premature to judge your teacher at this junction and i will feel terrible if you make a haste decision on that.:(

more often than not, during class the teacher will make a point to my kid and my kid does not seem to get it immediately, so the send home message is to: think it over, figure it out at home and then practice it (in the interest of time). now, i perfectly understand the point made by the teacher (being older and probably paying more attention than my kid since the tuition comes out of pocket?:) usually on the way home, it does not take much effort for me to translate, or say it in another way, the teacher's intention and my kid will get it in a flash. i tend to joke a lot and say things in outlandish fashion with kids, so they usually let down their guard when i speak their tongue...others may rightfully consider that is indeed a sign of my immaturity, haha.

so on one hand, i have absolutely no idea the direction of her study, but very often, i can help her to clarify the teacher's teaching. i am the self appointed teaching assistant of my castle:). if you don't have one, on some level, v.com may be the surrogate. through a discussion, eventually you will probably have a better understanding of a point made by your teacher which remains to be confusing on your own. yet, no one here can and should replace your teacher.

if i have to choose, i would choose bowing skills as more important than intonation at your level. to me, that is where the money is right now and most beginners bluff through it and then have to revisit again and again later. your concern is timely and keep at it!

November 10, 2011 at 07:28 PM · I haven't read all the responses but make sure to stretch your wrists before and after playing

November 14, 2011 at 04:49 AM · Hi Al: Yes, you are right, I shouldn't make hasty decision. Given that 2 months of lesson is only equivalent to 8 sessions. I believe my teacher is also trying to get to know me better as I try to understand my teacher.

Having a surrogate teacher on V.com is simply Great! I must say, my bowing is much smoother and I am more confident in bowing long bow.Yes, I will continue to work on bowing :)

Jonathan Frohnen Thank you for the reminder.

November 14, 2011 at 12:23 PM · cool.

i will add 2 cents.

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlkxrGGNg10. perlman is a master of bowing fingers:) and in this clip you can easily appreciate his heavy emphasis on the total fluidity of his right hand and fingers. not saying that others need to copy that--chances are if they do, they cannot make a good sound--but you may want to exaggerate like that in practice where you try to learn to let the fingers take total control of bowing, supported by other parts of the body, that is, fingers supported by wrist, wrist supported by forearm/elbow which is then supported by the shoulder region which is supported by the upper body, etc. most beginners do the opposite way, by relying heavily on the shoulder region and fight an uphill battle for years.

for instance, if i ask you to sweep a broom in the air back and forth like a figure of 8, i am sure you can do it pretty well, may be a little stiff in the beginning and soon you will find a more efficient way to swing it. but if i then ask you to drop the broom and pick up a thick rope of similar length and repeat the exercise, you will realize you have to swing it differently, that is, the rope and the broom will have different properties and thus you react differently to them. you will realize it is very difficult to swing the rope from your shoulders--looks and feels dumb:) the easiest way is to swing the rope like how perlman moves his bow. i think a good visual is to consider your bow as a thick rope instead of a stick and move it accordingly, with no jerky motions or sharp corners... isn't bow hair closer to a rope than to a stick? :)

as you have noted, confidence will come out of practice and hopefully correct practice. intuitively when you are doing something right, you know it: you feel it and you hear it.

2. as you progress you will like most folks look around to upgrade your instrument and chances are you will seek out a better violin. as many would tell you, a better bow is actually more important. light or heavier is a personal preference, but a good bow should be balanced and feels lighter and in better control in your hand. it will help you in learning better tech faster than any instruction:) you may want to go to violin shops and hold their better bows and try the bows of better violinists. so with improving tech and a better bow, you will feel a quantum jump in your confidence and ability. many people go straight into judging people's violin quality per se, but many others, say i, tend to look at the overall situation and appreciate a person's ability to MANAGE the sound in consideration of the violin quality and bow quality. skills over what money can buy:) but if you have to buy, look at bows first.

disclosure: i never read any violin teaching books, because i am observing and bs-ing from the outside in. what i have said is purely my opinion based on my understanding or misunderstanding:) i am speaking from the audience perspective, party of one.

November 17, 2011 at 12:35 PM · AlThanks for sharing..wow, his bowing fingers is so flexible..as if it is dancing with the music. I'm certainly under sure when I can reach this stage. But I will take effort to take baby steps to reach there.

You know what, I had upgraded by Violin from a $150 violin to a $1000 :) It is a handmade China violin.

The $100 violin is just incomparable to this handmade violin. As the $100 sounded kiddish while the $1000 sounded solid, warm and powerful. And it is even lighter. The moment I hold it, I know that I want this...without 2nd thought I paid for it :)

Here I want to share my 3 video with my new Violin and a piece by Mozart known as Sonata for Piano.

In this piece, I applied slur. It is not perfect but it is my Best effort yet :)

Enjoy: http://youtu.be/l2Cugo0vNJU

November 17, 2011 at 01:00 PM · i like this violin more, assuming this one is the newer acquisition. more open and robust, possibly better tone. yup, as your playing and listening ability improves, you will invariably seek out better sounding instruments because your ears can start hearing the differences.

i think the shape of your bow hand is better but still need to work on more effectively and properly apply limb weight into the string. still not relaxed enough,,,can you hear the quivering sound on your down bow? i remember i used to tell my kid to give the violin string a deep massage:) for now, try to play everything with full bow, all the way to the tip and all the way to the frog. let it all out!

i would suggest you do more simple scales, nothing fancy, just going up from g string to e string first position, note after note, slowly and really listen. this is a good juncture to appreciate how to proactively seek out better intonation. as you play each note, don't just listen but ask the question, is this note truly in tune... for instance, every time you land a finger on a spot, listen to it, then move it slightly lower, listen, even lower, listen, then repeat it going up...you see, among 5- 10 spots you have explored only one spot is truly correct. as a violin player, this process cannot be skipped and must be taken seriously if not obsessively:) i think you need to aim or reach a stage where you simply cannot stand imperfect intonation and that is when fun begins:)

until then, it is like taking pictures with a camera with a dirty lens...

do you have a metronome? i suggest you use it ALL THE TIME. i regret i did not do that with my kid from the very beginning. i think using it very early on as a habit may help to build a better sense of inner tempo.

keep up your good work!

here is a clip for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFtDfNxC1pc&feature=related

December 5, 2011 at 03:37 PM · Hi Al,

Thank you for your advice again..yes, I have been jumping on things a bit too quick...after reading your comment. I feel that it is time to go through simple exercise and be good in it before moving on to more fanciful stuff. I agree. And I will work had on that.

Yes, I have a metronome. But I feel a lot of pressure when I play with that..hahah..lots of stress...I don't like too but I think I have to :)

By the way, here is another video of me playing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBCnPsMkzGU&feature=g-upl

Did a little vibrato at the end...which I'm really proud of after 3 months of intense finger exercise when watching TV...on train and many other places...

December 5, 2011 at 04:19 PM · haha, good effort again.

i am going to continue to nag you about intonation, like the way i do to my kid, because to me, that is something most violinists do not pay enough attention to (thus unknowingly make audience twinge body parts:). so please continue taping yourself and listen carefully. and slow down!

metronome unfortunately is a must. my kid also hates it and both of you hate it for the same reason...because you want to do it your way:) sorry, not good enough of an excuse!

your vibrato looks decent and sounds decent, keep at it and relax and see if you can slow down the rocking to control it at will. from quivering to something more delicious:) yours sound better than mine for sure!

so, in summary, slow down so that you can hear yourself better. if that is tough to do, either the slowing down part or the listening part, record yourself and play back many times.

the difference between you and my kid is that i expect you to follow instruction better, so don't get me started:)

" ???,?????" from your clip, translated as : one min of playing took so much work and effort"

how true! but play it at 2 mins tempo is even better! :)

December 24, 2011 at 06:35 AM · Hi Al,

Merry X'mas :)

Yes, I know intonation is another key basic element that all new violinist should take note when they first started...before things get out of hand as we progress..Please feel free to highlight to me if anything is wrong.

Yes, this Christmas break, I will spend more time with the metronome. It is going to be my good friend.

Thank you for the compliment on my vibrato. Get helpful tips from Todd Ehle via youtube. And I keep practicing while I'm watching TV and other activities that doesn't require my fingers. You can check out his violin...I'm sure you know about it. I remembered you shared his link to me on your previous post. You can do it :)

Yes, I can follow instructions..no worries, keep them coming...I'm here to learn not to be praised :)

Yes you are correct, you got the meaning. That is actually in Chinese characters.

Lastly, this is my 1st attempt on Christmas songs which I had just recorded a moment ago. I hope you will enjoy it..:)

And I will also like to thank everyone in Violinist.com a blessed Christmas. THANK YOU for sharing your know-how and tips with me. I greatly appreciate. And I look forward to share my personal experience in the coming years as I journey with my Violin...God Bless!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alpha_lunas/6562864415/in/photostream

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