More thanks from an old beginner

January 21, 2020, 12:28 AM · I must give thanks again (I did a bit of thanking in a post: Old Man Give Thanks) and especially to the editor. Somehow, by providence or karma or random luck, for several months now it seems that there has been a specific bit of help from this website exactly when I have hit a snag in learning. I was worried about pain in my arm and behold several articles appeared about posture. I could go on, but the one that just nailed it was the editor’s video tutorial on the left hand.

From the start I have dreaded going to third position because I knew that would test my ability to hold my violin properly. However, learning on my own, I suspected that I had problems, but searching online and in my books, gave me no help. It was also frustrating because of the confusing and sometimes contradictory advice and instruction. Then, it happened, I got to a piece I really enjoy and the score is so well done and easy for me to play (Rondeau by J.J. Mouret from Wanda Sobieska, of freegigmusic.com), and there is a spot where I need to go to third position.

Just then the good providence happened and Laurie Niles put out her instructional video. I am an elementary school teacher and I can spot a master teacher when I see one. There is no excess verbiage, just the carefully thought out message for each element of the instruction that is needed. The demonstration with the violin is done at just the right speed and angle to make sure the student can see it and follow along. Of course there is the underlying absolute expertise that must come from years of thinking of how to explain such a complex task (Sorry if I embarrassed you Ms Niles). Considering all the bad instruction she must see on the internet such as on YouTube, I cannot help but think that she needed to put this video out, as a way to counteract such bad information.

I must also thank again Princeton Violins. I’ve been in some violin shops; some are not too friendly - more of a get in line and wait, hurry and buy, type of experience. However, the ads give this wonderful impression of old world shops full of kindness, support and expertise. Princeton Violins (Jarek), who is on the opposite coast from me has a true old world up shop; he showed me this via Skype. I bought a bow, wanting one that I could grow into, and of course had trouble using it. Jarek got back to me, checked out my bow via Skype, and tactfully showed me why I was confused about using it.:) Its nice finding technology that gives me such personal service.

I must also again give thanks to Dr. Deverich and her wonderful ViolinOnline website. I became obsessed with learning her version of the prelude from the 1st Bach Cello Suites (https://www.violinonline.com/unit2_7.html). It is beyond my ability, but it is Bach, and so I have been working measure by measure on it. I use it for scales of sorts, I use it for intonation (very slowly - repeating a measure many times), and I struggle with it. I have gotten to the point where I actually played it to my relatives during the holidays. Although this was a disaster (imagine my older sister, deciding to wipe the sweat of my brow as I played!). Nonetheless, I am so proud to be playing it.

Again, thank you all again for your musicality

Daniel Delgado

Replies (3)

January 21, 2020, 2:05 AM · many thanks for your testimony, all the best on your violin journey and keep us posted!
January 23, 2020, 7:48 AM · I love the prelude from the 1st Bach Cello Suites and I can see why one could be obsessed with learning it! :-)

Good for you on learning a new instrument as an adult!!

( You don't have a teacher? Have you thought about at least taking "online" lessons? I do feel it's invaluable to set up proper positions early because it avoids injury in the future...and, holding your violin properly not only enables shifting, it will enable you to learn vibrato more easily, etc)

January 24, 2020, 9:53 AM · Hi Jean, Hi Harriet,

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. It really lifted my spirits. I have thought of lessons, and that may be the best way for me. I really had a hard time coming up with what I _think_ is the best way, but I do need a reality check!

Thanks again for the kind words.

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