Self-taught

Edited: March 22, 2021, 3:21 PM · Hi,
I have been playing the violin for 6 months now. In the beginning I had a teacher, but now I am self-taught due to pandemic situation(lockdown). So far I have learned staccato, legato, vibrato, 1.-3. position, C, G, A major and a minor scales, Rieding Violin concerto in B minor and also Kreutzer etude no.2. Do you have any suggestions what other techniques and pieces I should start learning to improve my violin playing? I take it seriously, so I use to practice 3-4 hours a day.
Thank you so much

Replies (31)

March 22, 2021, 6:59 AM · Add a title to your post! I couldn't even access it without inspect element.
March 22, 2021, 3:21 PM · I've given it a title
March 22, 2021, 3:37 PM · Greetings?
try the following:
1) Buy a copy of the Simon Fischer Scale Manual.
2) Read Robert Gerle’s Art of Violiin Techniaue. (The title may be wrong but he only wrote one book)
3) Study -every- video by Julia Bushkova on youtube over and over again.
4) Study as many vidoes as necessary of Daniel Kurganov over and over and over.
5) Check out my recent blog on Dounis.
6) You don’t need to do Kreutzer yet. Schradieck and sevcik opus 1 are useful. Beware youtube tutorials on sevcik. Lots of rubbish there.
7) Download the Ysaye scales from IMSLP and practice the first two pages according to the explanation given by Kurganov on his youtube videos.

You sound amazingly talented but I am pretty sure you are going way too fast. When starting the violin the most important thing is to not make mistakes because undoing them is seriously a headache and can turn you off the instrument somewhere down the road. Of course you want to practice a lot. This may sound odd but you will get better results from practicing in a max imum of around twenty five minute blocks and taking long rests in between.
Feel free to post a video if you need help on anything,
Cheers,
Buri

March 22, 2021, 3:43 PM · PS Do one hour less practice and spend that time listening to recordings of great violinsts. Try to memorize not only the melodies but also the sounds they make. They creation of this sound bank is a fundamental part of learning the violin. It is as important as practice right from the start.
Cheers
Buri
Edited: March 22, 2021, 4:21 PM · I would suggest maybe uploading an audio recording? That is, in response to Mr. Duarte.

Edit: A teacher (or other musicians) could have very different standards than you have for yourself. Sending an audio recording would more accurately help us gauge what your playing is like.

March 22, 2021, 3:53 PM · Due to the pandemic, you should be able to take online lessons via Zoom. Many excellent teachers all over the place.
March 22, 2021, 4:28 PM · I don't know what Rieding B minor sounds like, but you could maybe look at Dancla's Air varies?
Edited: March 22, 2021, 4:48 PM · I second Buri's notion of filling our aural memory with beautiful sounds, so we don't only hear ourselves..

And Mike is right, Dancla's Airs Variés are attractive and musical

March 22, 2021, 4:53 PM · Mike is right, the Dancla are beautiful. If I had to hazard a guess (always a waste of time) I would say they are a notch too difficult at this point.
Cheers,
Buri
March 22, 2021, 5:55 PM · I take lessons via Zoom with my violin teacher twice a week. I practice my repertoire, scales and etudes for hours each day until I think it sounds fairly good. Then when I play for my teacher he immediately finds all the many weaknesses and flaws. He is instantly able to provide constructive feedback and solutions. I’m convinced learning occurs at a much higher level when you have professional instruction - even if it’s remote.
March 22, 2021, 6:00 PM · Greetings,
yes John. It’s what so many of us have been stressing over and over again for more years than I can remember. An intelligent, motivated adult beginner can assemble materials, analyse videos and the like and get to sound well but learning the violin is actually a very systematic process in which a good teacher of necessity makes decisions about what is needed next to create a solid foundation as well as a critical ear. A beginner does not have the abilities yet, but through the medium of a teacher should acquire them so that they can gradually become independent learners, formulating their own path. It is worth remembering that Perlman always went back to his teacher, DeLay whenever he returned from a concert tour to get advice about the state of his technique and so on.
It is unfortunate if someone is deadly serious about learning but has no access to any kind of teaching.
Cheers,
Buri
March 22, 2021, 6:21 PM · I too endorse Dancla Airs Varies. Dancla Twelve Easy Fantasias for Violin and Piano, Op.86 are a way to just relax into some easy, lovely music.
March 22, 2021, 7:28 PM · Congratulations on your progress so far. You must know, however, that nobody can really evaluate that progress without watching you and hearing you, because it's one thing to play an A major scale and quite another to play it properly.

I suspect also that the Dancla pieces are too advanced for now. For pieces, I recommend Suzuki Book 2 and Barbara Barber's "Solos for Young Violinists" Book 1 (just the first half of the book for now). For studies I recommend the 60 studies in first position by Wohlfahrt (Pine edition).

I second Buri's recommendation of the videos by Julia Bushkova. Among his suggestions I would start there.

March 22, 2021, 7:46 PM · Yes. Wohlfart. Very nice! (Except when sheep do it)
Cheers,
Buri
March 22, 2021, 8:52 PM · It takes a lot of voles to compete with one sheep.
March 22, 2021, 9:32 PM · One of the most important things a teacher does is watch one's technique and form. I had several flaws in my form because of some elementary positioning things I had forgotten and I ended up with a serious hand injury. It turned out the form flaws were easy to fix except that I had burned them in with assiduous practice.
Edited: March 22, 2021, 9:38 PM · Greetings,
exactly Ann. Thanks you for offering that. An example which I have found some professionals also don’t know about (!) is how to place the jaw on the jaw (chin rest). That is, in order not to create tension in the spine and therefore through the the whole system, one has to learn to do this in -two- steps. Turn the head on a horizontal plane and -then- drop. Failure to do this results in a slight kink in the upper vertebrae. I suppose it is possible that there are self taught beginner violinists who are aware of this issue, but honestly speaking I have yet to come across one.
Warmest regards,
Buri
March 23, 2021, 3:16 PM · There is this Sevcik (I think) study where there's a trill one line, note one-line thing. Very good for developing finger strength and independence. It will help you if you ever have double-stop runs.
March 23, 2021, 3:41 PM · Stephen, There is a week one Suzuki exercise for that I remember. Now I go through some gyrations to get my double chin positioned. I need to invent a fat sling for violinists.
March 23, 2021, 5:05 PM · Mike,
if I ever have double stop runs I make sure to have a pile of good books in the powder room.
Cheers,
Buri
March 23, 2021, 6:13 PM · It's better than having kinky vertebrae.
March 23, 2021, 9:05 PM · you’ve been binge watching Jurassic Park again haven’t you?
March 24, 2021, 8:39 AM · I am a highly motivated adult returner. ....started playing again after over 50 years. (!)
I have had a lot of bad luck with lessons, not of my making and wonder what advice anyone can give me please . Does violin teaching by zoom work ?

March 24, 2021, 9:10 AM · Robyn, I have heard from many people that it does work though not as efficiently as in person lessons.
Edited: March 24, 2021, 9:54 AM · I know people whose major source of income for years has been from giving lessons. They seem to have continued successfully using ZOOM during the pandemic.

I think taking lessons by ZOOM is worth a try. I know there are things that cannot be done as effectively with ZOOM but other than those most things can - including playing duets with your teacher one-on-one (as long as you count really well!).

Personally I was self-taught from age 13 onward after an 18 month break. However I had 7 years of lessons from competent professional violinists before I quit so I think I restarted with good habits (other than having quit). (I like to think that if they had been competent teachers as well I would have become better myself - but I can't blame them.) I was CM of my HS orchestra for my last 3 years and continued to improve for at least the next 30 years, the last 20 of which I was CM of my local community orchestra (which doesn't say much for any of the other violinists there).

AND - I sought and took good advice and coaching wherever I could find it.

March 24, 2021, 10:31 AM · "I have had a lot of bad luck with lessons, not of my making." What were the problems? You do need to find a teacher who can work with you on your pace and with your violin-playing goals in mind. But you also need to be willing to do the same kinds of things that kids do when they learn the violin -- playing simple pieces at the start, working on studies to improve technical aspects, etc.
March 24, 2021, 11:33 AM · Always the peanut gallery asks for a recording. I don't believe that Amália Foxová was asking for an evaluation, merely advice on next pieces.

And of course some good advice offered: a teacher is always a better idea.

But still, I seldom see on this forum that positive things happen when people present recordings of themselves here.

Edited: March 25, 2021, 9:22 PM · A part of learning violin is accepting criticism. I ONLY suggested a recording to possibly address the concern David Duarte pointed out: ""I have learned" is very relative.". No one is forcing the op to send one either, nor is it a priority. Without a teacher (or someone else critiquing you), it's harder to progress and "learn" a piece at a high standard. Just curious, what happens when people present recordings here? Do their flaws get pointed out, leading to increased defensiveness and aggression against any critique? I've read a couple of past posts here (most vividly one about Wieniawski 2) and that seems to be the most common route. It's also easier to suggest pieces to someone you've heard play (especially for beginners). Beginners also might not know that they don't play a piece correctly, so the OP could be at a lower level than what they suggest (harkening back to "I have learned is very relative"). but... we will conveniently ignore anything that does not fit into your argument and proceed to use ad hominem. That is the strategy of the peanut gallery ;).

March 24, 2021, 3:39 PM · Michael,
your comment about the ‘peanut gallery’ was offensive. I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment on whether the result of posting a zoom was good or bad. I can see that it might happen if a mixture of competent and clueless teachers all throw in their 2 cents it could be confusing. This is one of the characteristics of the Internet age.
However, after nearly twenty years observing and contributing on this site I can tell you that it is full of teachers who are only concerned with helping people be the best they possibly can on the violin and are willing to offer knowledge they not only struggled for , but also paid a lot of money for.
So, if you don’ t mind, in keeping with the ethos of this serious and generally compassionate site, would you mind not being rude to people who genuinely want to help?
Cheers,
Buri
March 29, 2021, 11:37 AM · Some post videos asking for help, others expect praise....


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