Too many methods (or techniques)
Had a teacher two years ago who taught the methods of Kato Havas on ergonomics of playing the fiddle. She eventually got irritated at me that I wasn't retaining all this detailed information before I was even taught any music.
I just had a teacher in Suzuki. She taught the Russian bow hold. I moved and am not seeing that teacher now.
Saw another teacher today, and though she said she could work with the Russian bow hold, she was trying to change what I was doing (perhaps I was doing the hold wrong).
Also, my previous teacher was teaching me to keep all my fingers down below whatever top finger I was playing (top being 4 or 3 or whatever). My teacher today said that was old school and I don't need to be doing that.
I'm not particularly wanting to keep getting pulled back and forth like this. I know, find a teacher and stick with them, but, work intervened with that.
I know this is a chaotic post in itself, but any feedback on these issues?
I always laughed at people who play with other artists' "methods". Glamian "method", Menuhin "method", Heifetz "method", et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Silliness! All of these virtuosos developed their own technique based on what was comfortable for them and what gave them the best sound.
No, a good teacher does not leave the student to figure things out at home.
The previous teacher is the first one I've had teach me the Russian bow hold. A couple of earlier teachers did not. However, the Russian bow hold did seem to have an immediate effect on my tone.
The previous teacher pointed me to violinmasterclass.com for the bow hold (site seems to be having problems right now). It says the "Sassmannshaus Tradition of Violin Playing".
For a teacher to go with some previous teacher's bow hold is something that works for a master class or a summer camp. David -- may I respectfully suggest that if you have managed an improvement in tone generation with the Russian hold, you could probably adapt more easily to the Franco-Belgian than you could before, because the core principles of tone generation are universal.
"I always laughed at people who play with other artists' "methods". Glamian "method""
I agree with Cotton there are many ways to play. Teachers will teach what they've learned, and there are good teachers with different approaches. Personally I wouldn't worry so much about the particular method. I don't believe you will necessarily play better with this bow hold or that, but with a given teacher you may have to adapt to what they can teach.
I don't think that this is a violin thing. It happens also in sports, martial arts and many practices. Different ways of holding the racket, different basic stances...
Any opinions on the Strictly Strings books? Just talked to another teacher today, and she uses this and supplements with Suzuki if someone is "clever". With no CD, I will be FORCED not to rely on playing by ear.
Isn't Strictly Strings intended for class instruction of younger students?
No idea. Here is a description from the Alfred Music website:
It is in any case a good thing for a beginner to stay with the same teacher for at least a few years and avoid having to relearn stuff in the early stages.
David, where are you located?
Reasons for leaving teachers:
Ah ok, I was trying to remember if you were the one asking about lessons near me.
I have to confess I have no idea what a method is.
A "method" is usually a series of books which contain pieces inside that gradually increase in difficulty.
So it's a doctor gradus ad parnassum. That's interesting. In the UK we have examining boards that set exams increasing in difficulty. I gather there is no such thing in the USA. Does that mean methods are mainly an American thing, in lieu of a "system" like the British one (or, if you prefer, just another name for the British system)?
David, I've been playing for 30 something years and I don't think I've had as many teachers as you. I'm also unclear about your conception of technique as being separate from repertoire and what you mean by 'decoding songs.' Most method books use songs or pieces that teach new techniques while getting progressively more difficult. The Suzuki Twinkle Variations help you learn to coordinate your left hand/right hands more quickly with each variation. You can't learn all the techniques first, then pick up a concerto. Moreover, you have to get a certain amount of fluency playing and reading notes before you can even work on more advanced technical skills.
I used the term "method" loosely, though different methods were in the mix here. I also used "method" to talk about different bow holds, different approaches to ergonomics, etc. Technique was probably the proper term for most of what I was talking about. In a non-violin discussion, the terms would be more interchangeable.
I have to admit I'm waiting for a copy of Galamian's Principles to arrive in the post.
When I add it up I realize that my violin lessons lasted only about 7 years, from ages 4.5 to 7.5. In that time I only studied 1st and 3rd position. So I actually learned the remaining 80% (or so) of the fingerboard on my own under the necessity of a lifetime of orchestral and chamber music playing. I had 27 months of cello lessons as a teen that carried me over the entire fingerboard and a couple of concertos. So I never thought of myself as self-taught even though I was given my last lesson 67 years ago. I was under the watchful eye and ear of professional conductors and coaches for most of the next 60 years.
Good luck David in finding the right solution.
I think once I get through a few Suzuki books, or O'Connor, or whatever, I can start branching out.
Curiously, precisely yesterday the Telegraph online published a new piece discussing O'Connor's hatred of Suzuki and belief that he was a fraud who lied about his past. But I didn't mention it here, as I'm aware it's old news.
The only reason I can think of for the Telegraph to resurrect O'Connor's old canard is that yesterday was the 120th anniversary of Suzuki's birth. How disrespectful.
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