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Mina Wants Me to Give Up the Violin - Paradox, Humor, and Change

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April 16th, 2006


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05:50 pm - Mina Wants Me to Give Up the Violin
Hello! Since I'm getting pretty serious about music from now on I'm going to tag all my music related posts and put them behind a cut because I'm very thoughtful and I don't want to bore people who aren't interested in my progress! I doubt anyone but Eva is really interested anyway.


Some days my practice sessions just go really badly. Today I was feeling enthusiastic and yet once I got started nothing felt right! I was getting really frustrated and about ready to just give up for the day when it occurred to me that I should probably tune my violin. To be fair, it wasn't off by much at all but it was just that teeny tiny bit that threw me off.

...And to think, I kept casting exasperated glances at my poor left hand.

I just realized something. I bought my first violin on February 18. I think my first lesson was on the tuesday after that, though I can't be sure, which would have been the 21st. Is that possible? Have I only been playing for a little under 2 months? Wow. It feels like so much longer. I don't feel as bad now about being such a shitty violinist. I'm still a newborn!

Haha, I really have no concept of time...

I'll leave you with an amusing story and a picture to illustrate. The other day I was practicing and Mina was on my bed trying to sleep. Usually she just ignores me when I'm practicing, but I was being especially enthusiastic(loud) and random(being an ass) and at one point she gave me the look of death and then pulled her paws over her face. I almost fell over laughing and had to take a short break to regain my composure.


That's all for now!

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Song of the Wind, Me
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(15 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kodrana
Date:April 17th, 2006 12:04 am (UTC)
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Kitty looks of death and hatred are still so cute, that is a great picture.

Bust out in gleeful fits of violin madness!
[User Picture]
From:commonanomaly
Date:April 17th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
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I swear, she's trying to murder me with cuteness...

Sometimes I leave out the gleeful part and just go for fits of violin madness! Good times. For the most part. ;)
[User Picture]
From:maddogallen
Date:April 17th, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)
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Go you! I've been horrendously lazy practicing my violin, I haven't picked it up in a couple of wweeks :( Aww mina is so cute, I've got a photo of diablo doing that somewhere.
[User Picture]
From:commonanomaly
Date:April 17th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
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How long have you been playing? You should pick it up again, it probably misses you!

I swear, cats are such little whores for cameras. They twist themselves into the most ridiculous positions as if begging to be photographed!
[User Picture]
From:maddogallen
Date:April 18th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC)
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I started playing when I was 5 and played until I was 16 and then last year splashed out on a silent violin tostart playing again, but I have been awesomely lazy about playing and I feel guilty as my violin doesn't have a name yet.
[User Picture]
From:commonanomaly
Date:April 18th, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
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You must've got pretty good at it over the years. How long did it take you to really learn? How long before you could really play songs? How long did it take before you could consistently bow cleanly and with good tone?

Sorry to bombard you with questions, I'm just trying to figure out what kind of expectations I should have so I'm not overly hard on myself. Plus I'm just excited to talk to someone else who is into the violin! Yay for us!
[User Picture]
From:maddogallen
Date:April 19th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC)
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By the time I quit I was assisting in group lessons for primary school (5-10) kids, so I guess that means I was doing alright, apparently there were issues with my bow hold (i was sloppy but had also started to develop a playing style of my own).

How long? Good question! The way I was originally taught was a bit weird so it meant that I didn't take grades for quite some time. If you mean start learning complex songs, it was about 3 years, but that was because I would work more on technique and I was young so I was more interested in climbing trees and fighting with my brother. It all depends on how much you practice and what you practice. I always believe that the way to quick learning on anything is mastering scales, it gives you confidence of where the notes are which helps with quick hand changes. I used to have a variety of scale warm ups I would do at the beginning and end of each practice that would concentrate on rhythm heavily (I used to practice for about 2 hours a day). It's the same with bowing as well, it's all a matter of practice and how you personally get on with it. You have to remember that bowing relies partly on your overall posture, you're not relaxed enough then you sound jerky and wooden, too relaxed and it can seem inappropriate to the piece. Remember that you're conveying emotion through sound, I always think about what the piece is meant to be about, how it makes me feel and how well it conveys it's message and then I work around that, like if the piece calls for it to be con affetto (with feeling) then I'll ham it up slightly to really make it stand out. Musicians (especially string) all have their own little quirks of playing, and you'll discover those as you go. Don't expect too much of yourself, your teacher will advise you of how you are doing and that will help you gauge your progress. As long as you enjoy it to start with, then that is the main thing.

I'm not absolutely great at giving advice and I hope I answered your questions a bit, it's been quite a while since I played properly (8-ish years) so I know how to play, but whether I can still remains to be seen! I do love playing though, it's so rewarding bein able to do even the simple songs. I don't know that many violinists, most of the people I know are guitarists or bassists.

Sorry for rambling, it's 2am and I'm a little tired :)
[User Picture]
From:commonanomaly
Date:April 19th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)
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My teacher says my bow hold is beautiful, but I'm having trouble with my right wrist! He says it needs to be kinda arched up, like my fingers are hanging down, but I bow more awkwardly that way and my hand and arm cramps up more than when I keep my wrist straighter!

Yeah, I definitely want to work on technique before I force complicated songs on myself, and I'd be curious to know what kind of scale warm ups you did. Right now I'm trying to get myself to practice for only one hour a day so I don't feel so pressured and so my body can adjust to all this new activity. I've resolved that I'll stick to one hour until the end of July(when my next set of lessons ends) and then if I'm doing ok I'll start practicing for 2 hours a day. What do you think? I don't get off work until 5:30 and I don't get home 'til 6:30, so it's tricky for me to get a lot of practicing in.

I have another question. Whenever I have my 2nd or especially my 3rd finger down on the A string it always sounds kind of scratchy, kind of not clear and bright. It's at it's worst when I go from the E string to having my 3rd finger down on the A string, and I can't pinpoint what exactly it is I'm doing. I'll definitely ask my teacher about it next lesson, but I thought I'd see if you ever had any problems with that when you first started. But then again, you started when you were 5 so I guess you might not remember, but I thought I'd ask!

We should definitely start chatting! I'll try to be on messenger more on the weekends, since I'm so tired during the week. Thanks so much for your response! I need all the advice and encouragement I can get because this whole process can be so intimidating, especially since I'm 25 and have no background at all in music! :)

And I do hope you pick up the violin again. It's the most beautiful instrument ever created, in my opinion. :D
[User Picture]
From:maddogallen
Date:April 20th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
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Your wrist will strengthen up, it's just not used to sitting at weird angles for extended periods of time. I'd say the same about the A string issue, it's a matter of strengthening your fingers through practice, you may find you're leaning your fingers slightly when placing notes, but over time you tend to correct yourself.

Scale warm ups - imagine doing 3 short bow strokes on each note, or 2 long strokes, or slurring the whole scale, or doing short runs up and down but progressing higher each time (c d e, d e f, e f g, f g a, g a b c) like that sort of thing.

Chatting would be cool, I'm on most of the time in the evenings. Hey I think it's great that you are taking it up in the first place, it's all too easy to think "well I'm too old to start so why bother"

Unfortunately I'm fickle and always go back to my guitar when I start messing up on the violin, I do wish I'd never quit though.
[User Picture]
From:commonanomaly
Date:April 20th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC)
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Ah, ok. All that makes sense. I should stick to practicing twice a day for shorter periods of time rather than one longer session until my body gets used to all of this. With me it's all a matter of developing patience, though I hope Eva doesn't read this because she's always teasing me about that.

Thanks! I'm going to try all that out!

If I catch you on a weekday it'll probably be for a real quick chat since it's so late by the time I get home. I need to strike it rich somehow so I don't spend so much of my life working! Haha. I had that "I'm too old" attitude for a while, but then one day I thought to myself... "Fuck it. I'm doing it anyway."

It's funny, I've always been so drawn to the piano and I feel like it's "my instrument", if I have one. And even though I don't even know how to play yet, I find myself running to my digital piano whenever the violin starts to frustrate me and I figure out whatever song I'm trying to learn there. I really need to get some piano lessons!
[User Picture]
From:maddogallen
Date:April 21st, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
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Yeah it's a bit like exercise, same amount but split up is better than one big block, plus it helps you focus, you can tell what you're doing wrong/right with a fresh mind. Hehe, is it the frustration of hearing music and thinking "damn, I wish I could play that" that causes the impatience to kick in? that's what always gets me.

Cool, well I'm about most of the time anyway, I'm trying to discipline myself in an attempt to save money to go on holiday (which means staying in a lot), I've planned and almost got there a couple of times and it's always gone wrong. I understand about the work thing, I finished at about 6.30pm today and that's the earliest in 3 weeks, mostly I get out at about 7.30ish.

The guitar for me is a therapeutic thing, I can just sit and play and not really think about what I'm doing, just strum along to songs and chill. My new guitar is my baby but she hasn't got a name yet though, any suggestions?
[User Picture]
From:commonanomaly
Date:April 23rd, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that's exactly what makes me so impatient! I continuously torture myself by listening to Beethoven's violin sonatas. It's insanely beautiful music and I swear my hands start twitching every time I listen to it!

Where are you thinking of going for your holiday? I get vacation time after July, but I'll probably just end up going to visit my family, which isn't that exciting. I really want to go somewhere tropical one day.

I wonder if making music will ever be therapeutic for me in that way. I tend to lean more towards intensity. If only I could just kick back and relax sometimes! I'm crazy about names, so I'll give you a few suggestions.

I like the french name Sybille, pronounced See-beel. It's derived from the latin sibylla which means fortune-teller or a prophetess. The variation Sibella is pretty too.
Or Astraea, pronounced As-tree-ah, which is derived from the Greek astraios, or starry. In Greek mythology she was the goddess of justice and innocence and is supposed to have become the constellation Virgo.
Haha, I can never just pick a normal name!
[User Picture]
From:maddogallen
Date:April 24th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
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I get like that with the guitar and it frustrates the hell out of me when I can't do it.

Well I've been planning to go to America again for years, but something always goes wrong. Where I don't know, I want to see my family in north carolina, and want to go to san francisco because it's really arty and I want to go to new york and do all the touristy things and eat good food. I can't decide which though, I recon I can do two of those in a couple of weeks.

Once you get better and learn more, you'll be able to play for fun more and relax about it.

I like Astraea, that's a nice name, I'll have to see how my instruments feel about it :)
[User Picture]
From:madminx
Date:April 17th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, you're a dork. :p

Just remember, tuned or not, there will be bad days sometimes. It doesn't really mean anything, it's just how things are.

She hates the violin because she wants to BE the violin. This is just further proof! ;p

[User Picture]
From:commonanomaly
Date:April 17th, 2006 11:06 pm (UTC)
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I swear if it's just a tiny bit off, I got nuts. I kind of want to take the tapes off my violin just so I'll force myself to go by the sound alone since I seem to be so damn sensitive to it. But first I need to get used to my new violin; it feels different! EVERYTHING'S SO NEW, WHAT DO I DO? Hey look I'm a poet and I - nevermind.

Yeah yeah. It's just how your face is...

o_0

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