Technique that seems hard but easy

June 23, 2020, 10:19 PM · What was a technique that you thought was difficult but when you tried it you found out that it was actually easy?

For me it's left hand pizz.

Replies (12)

June 23, 2020, 10:29 PM · I can't remember that far back for myself, but my students are frequently surprised at how learnable false harmonics are.
June 23, 2020, 10:46 PM · For me, false harmonics and ricochet bowing.

I don't find LH pizz easy at all, but then I'm playing viola with hands that barely reach an octave on the piano.

June 24, 2020, 12:10 AM · I think the most difficult technique is an advanced and artistic bow arm, both singing and articulate. It is the first real and most evident challenge for beginners, and is often the major difference between an intermediate piece played by an advanced violinist vs an intermediate player just learning the work.

LH pizz seeme tough only because it is not often practiced, as it is seldom used. It is not that hard, though some players/fingers manage to sound more impressive than others. The hardest LH pizz are those mixed with bowed passages, as then the brain is multitasking so much, but intelligent practice overcomes all. I do admit those are genuinely more work than a "simple" run of LH pizz.

Tenths are not that hard for people with decently long fingers. Works like octaves, but with third intervals. So they sound hard, but once your brain "gets them", they are not that scary. (I like them a lot, for better or worse.)

I think double harmonics are genuinely difficult because they are risky, and require good practice to learn well. They have their own technical idiom, and *may* be tough on players with very short fingers. One of the Sevcik double stop books has a great section on them-Op. 1 Vol. 4?

Staccato is quite easy and second nature for many, but annoyingly difficult for a few.

(Be wary of arrogance, however. Work on diminishing your weaknesses, rather than perpetually basking on your strengths. We can all become better violonists and artists.)

June 24, 2020, 12:28 AM · for me as a kid it was vibrato. I just started using wrist vibrato and it just worked. I didn't have to practice it. My teacher was really surprised. As an adult I learned also arm vibrato. That and all the other things did not came by itself (at all) unfortunately :)
Edited: June 24, 2020, 8:49 AM · Everything on violin is hard. A better question would be what seemed easy and turned out to be ridiculous.

For me it was the sustained trill in caprice #6. I played with it on-and-off for years before I actually used it for my auditions!

June 24, 2020, 9:28 AM · I've been told how easy ricochet is, but I struggled with it for months and still don't have it "right".

Apparently, I'm not really good at trusting my bow, and overthink my right hand way too much... adult learner problems.

June 24, 2020, 10:14 AM · If you don't have a decent bow for ricochet or spiccato, it isn't going to work no matter how much you try. Whenever I demonstrate Schumann Scherzo for students, I have to remember to get my good bow out (I usually teach with carbon fiber) because I cannot make it sound good with any other bow.
June 24, 2020, 2:11 PM · Mary Ellen, I agree about the bow. I have a student who had a fantastic ricochet stroke on violin. She switched to viola and when she tried a piece with ricochet she absolutely could not get it to work. We figured out that her viola bow just wouldn’t do it. She got a better bow and it was back instantly.
June 24, 2020, 2:56 PM · In my case, i don't know but i think all my teachers neglected the ricochet and sautillĂ© because i was never taught it off and i don't know how to do it, maybe it's my bow but spicatto and staccatto (both upbow and downbow) are quite easy. Also it's weird how I got to Bruch 1 level
June 24, 2020, 3:00 PM · Also, Tenths for me are easier to tune than thirds.
June 24, 2020, 3:52 PM · From my little one, another vote for artificial harmonics as being easier than it looks.

On the list of harder than it seems is having a good posture.

Playing thirds in tune was as hard as she expected it to be but that's coming along.

June 27, 2020, 9:34 AM · Mary Ellen - hmmm... I can do spiccato with my bow just fine, and my teacher demonstrated ricochet to me with my bow/violin so I know it can be done with my bow. (That tells you how long I've been working on this infuriating stroke - in-person lessons were still a thing!) And by not right I mean my bow hand keeps lapsing to it's old hold, I'm not doing the assigned number of bounces within each up and down bow (what I am doing is consistent, just not the assigned number of bounces). It's annoying.


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