How long did it take you to learn staccato?

Edited: August 30, 2018, 9:38 AM · Staccato is eating my lunch. What's a reasonable expectation for getting this done?

I've made progress on getting the initial bite then playing the tone. It's stopping with the ending bite that has me now.

Replies (15)

August 30, 2018, 9:55 AM · I was taught staccato as a cellist in my early 'teens, but I don't remember now how long it took me to learn the technique. Five decades later, when I took up the violin on retirement, staccato came easily, as did long slow bows, so some skills, but only a few, and certainly far from all, successfully transferred from one instrument to the other with hardly any problem. I do wonder though if the long bow skill and the staccato skill are somehow related.
August 30, 2018, 10:16 AM ·
August 30, 2018, 12:12 PM · Practise staccato for fifteen minutes every day, and, if you're like I was, you should have a bangin' staccato stroke in just over a year.
August 30, 2018, 1:14 PM · I start by lifting the bow at the end of the stroke, and end up just nearly lifting it.
We shouldn't confuse the end of the stroke with the beginning of the next one.
Staccato should sparkle, not "bang"!
August 30, 2018, 4:11 PM · Depends on how good your projection is.
August 30, 2018, 5:41 PM · Well, start by working on projection, then..
Light, swift, intense mouvements will permit a decent staccato in less than a year.
August 30, 2018, 6:34 PM · It depends on the tempo. I find it only modestly challenging at modest tempo but the tempo you hear from good virtuosos is challenging.

I think you'll have to slow it down until it works, then patiently speed it up.

BTW I find that those sort of skills can "ripen" if left alone. Forget staccato for a while. Thentry again and you may just surprise yourself. No guarantee but it has worked for me in a series of situations.

August 30, 2018, 6:46 PM · A good bow will make learning staccato much easier.
Edited: August 30, 2018, 10:08 PM · @ Albrecht, I know well the "ripening" aspect, but I've got a teacher whom I'm driven not to hear disappointment from.

And I've been looking for a reason to buy a new bow. What should I look for?

August 30, 2018, 7:07 PM · Adrian, explain projection to me. I know what it means in the "volume" sense, maybe. Are you saying something else?
Edited: August 31, 2018, 5:29 AM · I use "projection" as the ability to be heard at a distance, less dependent on volume than on timbre. Singers who can be heard over a full orchestra (albeit playing mp) have a formant either side of 3kHz, shared by e.g. oboes, but not by brass instruments. Near to the listener, the tone of this "singer's formant" sounds harsh.

In choral work I tell singers that when singing piano the consonants should stay forte.
On the violin, rapid left finger-falls and bowing nearer the bridge with good release after the biting attack will "project", even when playing softly.

August 31, 2018, 12:56 PM · My tone is terrible but my projection is great.
August 31, 2018, 1:55 PM · Actually mastering, not very long. Finding the human bones needed for the ritual to summon David Oistrakh from the dead and take control of my arm took forever as I didn't know about Skulls Unlimited at the time.

In all seriousness, how are you working on it now? What etudes, part of the bow, etc.

September 1, 2018, 10:29 PM · Doing Suzuki, the Perpetual Motion tune from book 1, and the Allegro from the previous tune. It's coming, but not necessarily the control for the ending bite. I watched one video on Youtube by a Suzuki teacher, and that gave me the confidence I was progressing. Either that, or me and that teacher are out of luck.
September 2, 2018, 3:19 AM · I remember learning it as a child by doing Kreutzer etude no.4. It's a great etude for learning staccato.

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