Do you think it is useful for daily's practicing scale ?

November 20, 2019, 11:01 AM · I am not a musician and know very little about violin. But I have a teenage son who is learning violin. It is very hard for me to help him for his violin practicing.

As a software engineer, implementing a software application is my strength. So I created this for him: http://violin.duolando.com. The idea is that I play same notes using my mobile phone while he is playing with his violin and listening carefully.

What do you think it? Is it useful for a violist's daily practicing?

Replies (7)

November 20, 2019, 1:11 PM · It is not too ideal, as the violinist's finger placement for pitch varies according to the scale being played. So the G# for the A scale shouldn't sound the same as Ab for the F minor scale.

No offense intended, and I hope your son does well.

Edited: November 20, 2019, 3:40 PM · Interesting web-site. It can give your son a reference tone. That being said, western scales are built on octaves that contain two four-note sequences. Major scales all have half-steps between the third and fourth and seventh and eight notes of the scale.

When the key is the same as the open string the half-step is accomplished by keeping the second and third fingers next to each other on the key/tonic open string and the next higher pitched string. In addition, to check being in tune, when playing the third finger should cause the adjacent lower pitched string to "ring" (sympathetic vibration).

The open strings are (lowest pitch to highest) G (one sharp) D (two sharps) A (three sharps) and E (four sharps).

The point of doing daily scale work is to build and fortify the neural network from brain to fingers so that when he sees the note on paper the finger will automatically drop on the correct position on the fingerboard. Most teachers us tapes or finger guides (I prefer the Fretless Finger Guides because I also use these to teach music theory) as the visual aid.

Frankly, the most important thing you can do is make sure that your son's violin is in tune before he start practice as well as teaching him to listen closely for the "ringing tones" that happen when the finger has hit the correct spot on the fingerboard.

November 20, 2019, 3:39 PM · Thank you very much for your comment! Duolando Violin has also a tuning function. For example, when G# shall be higher in A major, you can go to this note and choose from main menu at top right corner and then "Tune this scale". This will show a new window, where you can tune this note to be higher or lower. You can also share the tuned scale to others by selecting "Share my tuning" from menu. It's a simple link, which can be shared in Facebook, Twitter, email, and etc. A recipient can use the tuned scale simply by clicking this shared link.

The idea is that violin education is a three way collaboration between violin teacher, young violinist, and parent. Many parents are willing to help but they are not musicians and violin is not an easy instrument. With Duolando Violin, at school, violin teacher can select a scale, tune it if needed. At home, parent can work with kids on their own until next lesson.

Duolando Violin is indeed still in its early days. I am also a non-musician parent. So any further feedbacks and comments are walmly welcome!

November 20, 2019, 7:53 PM · " I am not a musician and know very little about violin. But I have a teenage son who is learning violin. It is very hard for me to help him for his violin practicing."

You said "teenage"... That you're able to do anything at all means that you're doing very well. I was able to help my son when he was younger, and did so in part by learning the instrument at the same time, but mostly by simply attending his practicing, and giving guidance on what to do next. The basics of practicing are simple to learn and easy to not do - to play parts in isolation, to try to improve by whatever means, and to repeat trying to improve. It's easy and tempting to not do those things, and to just play music, which is great in that that's the goal, but when just playing means just playing poorly or sloppily, ignoring all the flaws to go further, there's almost no point.

Keeping a steady tempo is something that's easy to go wrong, and simple for someone else to notice and help with - just by tapping for example - mostly just making the point that a good tempo is being strayed from and perhaps what tempo to play at -- almost always something slower, to fix the flaws before trying faster.

Intonation is also something which is much easier for a listener who's not playing to notice, and much of the problem is simply knowing what the target pitch is. While a custom app can help somewhat with that, so can a keyboard app, or even a real keyboard, or even a tuning app, or even someone humming the pitch. Note however that perfection in intonation is essentially unachievable and not a realistic goal, so what can be achieved is more like almost listenable to start, proceeding to maybe listenable, etc., and if the student is learning what the target pitch is in their 'head' and works towards hitting them, it's progress.

And just being there and listening and encouraging is a big help - for as long as it's tolerated.

November 20, 2019, 8:07 PM · Sorry to be "master of the obvious" here but your son's teacher should be showing him how to play scales in tune and how to practice them for improvement of intonation, tone, etc. The book "The Violin Lesson" by Simon Fischer would be a wonderful holiday gift for him.
November 20, 2019, 8:30 PM · "The book "The Violin Lesson" by Simon Fischer would be a wonderful holiday gift for him."

Is that you Simon?

November 20, 2019, 8:32 PM · I think a little bit of note matching might be OK, but it can be overdone. Learning to match an external sound is not the same as pre-hearing the right note "internally" before you play it.

Learning to judge and hear the intervals properly is what is needed. Playing the scales with a drone that sounds an important note in the same scale helps some people.


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