After Hours Violin Training?
What are some things I can do to become a better violinist when it's too late to practice? Meaning what are some exercises, physical or mental, or anything else you can think of that I can do when practicing would just be too loud?
Listen to as much music as possible, preferably with the score.
Relatef question, being a night owl, with similar concerns, when is it too late to practice?
I would say after about 8/9 pm
With a circular saw, saw horses, and some simple hand tools you can make yourself an insulated practice booth out of 2x4 studs, half-inch plywood, and fiberglass (batted) insulation.
I've managed to practice as late as 10pm without complaint from my neighbors (but I've always heavily muted my violin after 9/9:30pm). I live in an apartment building, but my neighbors are the floor below me (also creatives), and my other neighbors are in the next building (so presumably do not hear me as much - even through a shared building wall).
This really depends on your living situation and on your neighbors--and room mates.
Why not just ask the neighbors?
Ear training? Unless you have perfect pitch, you never really have enough ear training.
There are many exercises to improve the flexibility of the joints. They are too difficult to describe here, read books by Kato Havas, Yehudi Menuhin and Herbert Whone. Here's one I invented years ago to practice while watching TV and not disturb anyone... Two pieces of dowel the length and diameter of the bow, one over your left shoulder holding in same position as the violin, the other in the bow-hold position to practice drawing the bow with the correct movements of fingers, wrist, elbow and shoulder.
My neighbors say it's fine going late, I keep asking them to make sure because I drift on by 10pm on the regular......but i also have a terrific practice mute. I bought it at the shop where i take lessons, the old dude who runs it suggested this OLDDD mute. It's metal and pretty heavy. It's probably like 6o years old. But it closes the sound up so it sounds like it's in a little box. Or the violin sounds like a baby doll version of itself, idk how to describe. It's a pleasant MUCH smaller sound. Actually I've played till midnight or whatever with this mute on. I usually put on the mute at 10pm.
At the moment I'm lucky -- although I live in an apartment and technically have quiet hours after 10pm, my neighbors in all directions don't mind me playing as late as midnight.
Russel, back to your original question - one practice technique that's extremely underestimated but nevertheless very effective (and not a new one at all) is mental practicing. No kidding, it works. I do it almost every day - on the train, the bus, or when I'm in bed and won't fall asleep. (Occasionaly also during especially boring lectures...)
1) Brass practice mute might buy you some more night-time practice time. Or a cheap "silent" electric violin.
I definitely agree with the score study suggestion. Not even necessarily what you're working on (though that's important), but also any piece that particularly intrigues you. I recently became aware of the vast wealth of scores in my school's music library, and I've been devouring chamber music since. Even if you don't have access to similar facilities, there are plenty of scores on IMSLP or even on YouTube videos.
No neighbors to worry about....my issue is having to listen to myself.
Record yourself during your daytime practice, and then review at night and come up with a targeted plan for the next day. Ditto on listening and score study. Harmonic analysis if that's a thing for you. Readrhythm app for developing sightreading rhythm chops. Shadow playing.
Thanks for all the suggestions. To be clear, I'm not looking to practice with the violin after 9pm as by that time I have already practiced my daily 1 to 2 hours and am usually too physically tired to do a second session. I'm just looking for mental and physical exercises to either strengthen playing muscles or just mentally prepare my mind for violin stuff.
For me, never past 9:00 without the practice mute.
It's tricky. My upstairs neighbours have DIY underfloor soundproofing, but I just can't know how good or bad it is. I only hear them when they sneeze. Otoh, they have their washing machine on regularly after 10pm. I could just go for it, but I also have self-consciousness to overcome.
I have played up to 10pm before without any complaints fromn the neighbours. I live in a ground floor flat, the only one in the block, so all my neighbours are upstairs and also the ground floor flat in the neighbouring block.