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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Being patient when learning to play

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DougBrock - Posted - 03/17/2021:  07:13:24

At the age of 60, I think PATIENCE is the number one thing I’ve had to develop in learning to play the violin.

Most instruments have been very easy for me. I’m a piano player since age 7 and am a good reader, so that part of learning is never a problem. I’ve been playing guitar since 14, so fingers and strings are pretty comfortable together. I can usually pick up a stringed instrument and be decent at it within weeks, if not days. I was playing mandolin with a local group within a month of picking up the mandolin. Banjo, both Scruggs and clawhammer, were pretty easy to learn. Then came the violin.

I think my expectations of quick results have hurt me some with the violin. I had dabbled with a violin about ten years ago, then I jumped into it more seriously in December, working through the basic fingering and bowing guidance, and then started working on fiddle tunes. Unfortunately, good finger/bow coordination and intonation hadn’t had time to develop!

This week I slowed down and focused on bow coordination and intonation. I practiced listening for the natural resonances within the violin. I read a LOT about equal vs just temperament, lol. And I played and I listened. I know intonation will be a challenge forever, but I’m making progress and am loving the sounds of the violin.

My wife and I have recently stopped using the microwave to cook most things. We did some comparisons of food cooked in the microwave versus food cooked on the stove top or in the oven. We were startled at the taste difference! I don’t know what chemical differences there are, but our taste buds definitely can tell the difference. Yes, sometimes you need fast, but sometimes you sacrifice some of the goodness by being in a hurry.

I stopped trying to play the violin the first time because I just didn’t have enough time in the day to devote regular time to the violin. I have the time now and am in it for the long haul. Unexpectedly, the violin is helping me learn patience. :)

Snafu - Posted - 03/17/2021:  08:31:08

Hi Doug,

I came from classical guitar and other than knowing how to read standard notation nothing really transferred over as you have discovered. A fiddle it it’s own beast. Going slow is what I have found to be important.

As for microwave cooking, I spent 30 years in the flavor industry and we made millions developing the cooked food flavors for the food companies to pretreat microwave ready food so it has the taste of stove, grilled or oven cooked meals. There is a necessary chemical reaction to develop those tastes that does not occur in the microwave to any appreciable extent, as you found out. Good for reheated food and warming soup but not for real cooking.

farmerjones - Posted - 03/17/2021:  14:10:07

For 20 years and 18,000 hours playing fiddle I managed to steer clear of pianos. Rumor was, they were always of tune, and murder on one's intonation. Then I found a digital stage piano. Those puppies are never out of tune. So started my affair with piano. All I can say about fiddles is they're are much more like an extension of one's body. While fretted instruments are more like tools to me.
One now departed member here compared fiddle to learning to pet a cat. I really couldn't argue.

DougBrock - Posted - 03/17/2021:  14:40:10


Originally posted by farmerjones

For 20 years and 18,000 hours playing fiddle I managed to steer clear of pianos. Rumor was, they were always of tune, and murder on one's intonation. Then I found a digital stage piano. Those puppies are never out of tune. So started my affair with piano.

I grew up in the Philippines without air conditioning, so with the heat and humidity, our pianos never sounded great. I know digital pianos do have shortcomings when compared to good well-cared for acoustic pianos, but I love playing a relatively inexpensive digital piano.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 03/17/2021:  17:55:33

What can I say? I just prefer acoustic pianos over electric ones. Just as every acoustic fiddle has a personality, every acoustic piano has its own special personality.

Acoustic pianos produce a complexity of tone that electric ones can't seem to deliver. I truly enjoy that an acoustic piano is often more than a hair tonally inconsistent as you go up and down the scale. I dig how individual notes might sound slightly out of phase due to the fact the pitches of the two or three strings a hammer might strike are often slightly out of tune with each other.

I like the way an acoustic piano responds when you vary the way you strike a key. It responds to a range of finger strokes. Dynamics are near infinite.

In any case, I might be even more picky about pianos than I am about fiddles.

ChickenMan - Posted - 03/18/2021:  06:14:41

I too find fretted instruments to be a cinch, because you only have to be so accurate.
The fiddle doesn't give a millimeter of leeway. And even IF you get your fingers to fall where they should, the bow is in no way a pick/plectrum and requires its own set of disciplines.

Embrace the noise, give in to the temptation to pick it up rather than do chores and let the fiddle take over.

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