How have you improved?
I've been thinking about the ways that I have and haven't improved over the six years since I picked up the violin again.
In what ways have you improved over the last few years? Are they associated with concrete milestones? What hasn't gotten better, but you wish had?
I wish I just had the discipline to consistently practice more than a couple of hours a month.
I've improved in that I can actually use a metronome (back in my junior high days, I was adamant to never use one.) Schoenberg fixed that pretty quickly in my sophomore year of HS, though.
Hmm, it's hard to say what "last few years" means, so I'll go with the same six-year window that Lydia is thinking about.
I started playing the violin 3 years ago, so obviously everything has been an improvement. At the same time, I took the piano up again, after a 6 year hiatus. And by playing the piano I’ve discovered how the violin has made me improve. My intonation has definitely improved. I’d sometimes like to play a sharper/flatter note at the piano. And I play it in a much more expressive and delicate way. The violín gives you control over the full extent of a note. That’s not possible in the same way at piano playing. But I see that unconsciously I’m trying something of the sort.
I had a natural narrow finger vibrato with no variation. I made a decision to tackle vibrato from the base up and it was the hardest thing I've tried to do since picking the violin up in the first place. I envy those out there who say it just developed unnoticed so far back they can't remember. As an adult learner, it was two years of building muscle and mind memory and required a re-looking at posture, left hand shape and asking how and when to use it; as for some music it's frowned upon.
A few years ago I think I finally developed a supple left hand and a good left hand position on the violin. I think I now should work more on the right hand, for instance, a rather slow spiccato in a really nice and solid non-rushed German style is something I still don't really have.
Does anyone else here track progress on video / audio recordings?
I enjoyed your recent YouTube.
I'm glad you started this thread Lydia!
I can finally relax my right arm enough to do fast string crossings, like in bariolage.
I know ive improved .. tone, intonation, vibrato. No longer afraid of passages in thirds even though its still a challenge.
I record my practice sessions about once a week.
I went through a brief period of frequently recording an "end state" at the end of practice sessions, but decided it wasn't sufficiently helpful. But I have kept a steady record of performances.
I have terrible performance nerves as well and I hate it.
I sort of 'track' my progress in the sense that I'll stumble across a recording from 3 years ago and think "wow, what a mess! glad I don't sound like that anymore!"
Congratulations Lydia! You play better than me but If I may make just a small comment on your playing: sometimes you need to take more musical time, put more quality within the phrase. Often it feels like you are too much already thinking ahead about what you're going to have to do next, so that you "forget" to put quality in what you are playing at that very instant... This can make the performance sound a bit technical.
Being the perfectionist I am, I still can't gather the necessary courage to record my violin playing, nor to perform in front of anyone who is not a close relative/close friend. Time and practice should solve it...
I enjoyed your Franck. That's one of my favorite pieces in the whole literature.
Nice playing! Lydia. Thanks for sharing it.
My sound, intonation, ease and control have all gotten better. I think that my bowing is more consistently straight for detache than it used to be. I didn't notice for a long time. But I've still got old bad habits like not using my wrist for quick string changes.
What my teacher taught me is that mordents and trills will sound out clearer by feeding each one a little wee burst of bow.
Paul, very interesting comments! It's taken me a while to have the time to read your post and cross-reference the recordings.
I had formal training for 12 years in my youth, now I play for some 6 years constantly. Here are my findings: