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Old 05-07-2017, 05:08 PM   #16
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The Romanian dances by Bartok.

Humoresque by Dvorak. There's an awesome video of Itzhak Perlman playing it along with Yoyo Ma. A lot of people think that the catchy first segment is the difficult part to play- and I suppose it IS more of a challenge, technically, but playing the tragic second segment is a real test of musicality and expression.
You mean the Humoresque transcribed by Wilhelmj right
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:09 PM   #17
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Ah, you must be referring to this!



Just curious, is the conductor in this video Seiji Ozawa?

When I first heard it, the first thing that came to mind was "Living with Lydia"

But yes, its really a stirring piece. It must have taken nothing less than a musical prodigy to be able to seamlessly marry the the heartwarming, homely first half with the rather, as you have so aptly put it, tragic second half.

What is the most complex piece that you have played?

Ps: I have always wanted to master the violin, piano and flute since young
Yes it is!

I'd been playing for a few years when Living with Lydia debuted, and I immediately recognised the bit Billy B Ong was playing; suits his character pretty well!

Most complex- anything Shostakovich. That man was insane. A genius, but insane.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:10 PM   #18
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Ah, you must be referring to this!



Just curious, is the conductor in this video Seiji Ozawa?

When I first heard it, the first thing that came to mind was "Living with Lydia"

But yes, its really a stirring piece. It must have taken nothing less than a musical prodigy to be able to seamlessly marry the the heartwarming, homely first half with the rather, as you have so aptly put it, tragic second half.

What is the most complex piece that you have played?

Ps: I have always wanted to master the violin, piano and flute since young
Yes it is Ozawa
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:11 PM   #19
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Contrary to what a lot of kiasu parents think, there's NO NEEED AT ALL to get an expensive violin for a beginner. Main reason being practicality- no point dropping a few grand on an instrument your child may lose interest in within a year, and will definitely outgrow in a year.

(Yes, you can expect to be changing violins almost every year as your child grows taller)

The other reason is an.. acoustical one. The cheaper violins tend to be gentler masters. They're a lot more forgiving, sound wise. They provide a greater margin of error, and so long as the child has the basics nailed, he won't sound discouragingly bad.

Costlier violins are harsher taskmistresses. My good violin- the one I use for examinations and performances, not the everyday practice Cristoforis- costs 6000, which is actually on the lower end of the price range for premium violins. She's unsubtle, demanding, and she (yes, she's female) has a very, very finely-tuned ******** meter. Being even a hair off WILL result in the piece immediately falling flat. There's a reason why I don't drill exponents on that violin- it's not a violin to make mistakes on, because every slightest misstep will be amplified a thousandfold.

My teacher uses a violin that costs 25,000 dollars. I have been allowed to handle it exactly once. And believe me, the last time I sounded so horrible was when I was 6 and attending my first lesson. It is allergic to any and all mistakes. If your pressure is even a hair too little, or too much, it will let you- and everyone else- know about it. If I sounded so bad every time I played, I'd have quit within a month.

There's no reason at all to get your child an expensive violin when he's just starting out. A budget of 200-300 is more than sufficient to get a basic violin that you're able to perform all the fundamentals on. No teacher in his right mind will tell you otherwise. You upgrade the violin's quality only when the child is able to tame it, not before- no matter how much money you have to burn.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:13 PM   #20
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they say play violin, eardrum will get damage
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:15 PM   #21
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they say play violin, eardrum will get damage
Not exactly wrong, there's a joke out there that beginners practice til their fingers bleed, and everyone else's ears bleed along with that.

That said, the violin's sound reaches full projection about 20 feet away from the violinist. Standing next to a violinist will probably drive you nuts, however skilled he is. The distance is taken into consideration in the design of most modern opera houses or concert halls.

As for your own ears.. yes, I have used earplugs from time to time to muffle the sound.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:16 PM   #22
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Not exactly wrong, there's a joke out there that beginners practice til their fingers bleed, and everyone else's ears bleed along with that.

That said, the violin's sound reaches full projection about 20 feet away from the violinist. Standing next to a violinist will probably drive you nuts, however skilled he is. The distance is taken into consideration in the design of most modern opera houses or concert halls.

As for your own ears.. yes, I have used earplugs from time to time to muffle the sound.
Its not funny.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:18 PM   #23
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Here to support cori's thread +1
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:19 PM   #24
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Its not funny.
What's the difference between a viola and a violin?

The viola burns longer.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:19 PM   #25
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Here to support cori's thread +1
Charmed, Bear!
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:23 PM   #26
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There are a lot of teachers who advise against learning the violin too early. Many of them recommend learning piano first, and starting on the violin only after a certain level of aural ability is developed. I tend to agree with that.

It has to do with the differences between the piano and the violin. With the former, there's a concrete division between one key and the next. The middle C is physically separated from the D beside it, which is in turn a key separate from its neighbouring E. There is no degree of overlap or ambiguity.

It doesn't matter how you play the middle C- as hard as possible, as gently as possible, with the tip of your nail, with the side of your finger, with a specialised chopstick- you WILL get the note as long as you hit the key. Period.

The violin has no such concessions. It is a far less forgiving instrument. Unlike the guitar, it is fretless. We use stickers to help children remember which finger goes where, but a lot of it- as far as 90%- is a test of hearing. If you're even a millimetre off, or if your nails are too long (yes this happens a lot), you're not going to be perfectly in tune. And the only way you'll know if you're in tune or not is by sharpening your aural skills.

A requirement I have for all my students is that they must be able to sing the first note of every piece they play. If you can hear it in your head, you can reproduce the sound. And if for some reason you can't, you'll at least know that you don't sound right and that adjustment is needed.

I also require all students to be able to sing or hum the note of each open string- G, D, A, and E. If something gets lost along the way, they'll always have that note to go back to. There's a reason why I make you play the open strings over and over and over and over amen. It's not for shits and giggles. It's so you internalise the damn note and know exactly how it sounds.

I let my older one mess around with the violin now but he won't be starting serious lessons until he's at least 4 or 5. My own mother only started me on violin after I'd been playing the piano for close to 3 years and had developed a sense of pitch. It does help. Really.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:24 PM   #27
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Before opening this thread I guessed is TS open liao.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:25 PM   #28
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This one is for parents.

1. I do not have anything against your child. If I am not sending your child for the exam this year, it's because he's not ready yet, not because of any personal vendetta on my part. I'm not about to let you waste a few hundreds on an exam that he's almost certain to bomb, and no teacher worth his salt will either. It's a waste of money for you, a matter of integrity on my part, and incredibly demoralising for the child.

2. Please understand that our school encourages individuality and expression- and emphasises, above all else, a love for music. Grades are secondary. There are kids who play here for ten years and never go for a single graded exam. That's fine too.

3. This is not a performance school. If you want your child to go through ABRSM grades 1-8 in 4 years, go to NAFA. One grade a year is the average here.

4. Please don't live vicariously through your child. Your child is not a mini you, and you don't get a second chance to live your life through him. He is a unique individual with his own choices and preferences, and if he would rather play the cello, that's fine. Please support him in that.

5. I see your child only once a week, for forty five minutes. Please don't expect me to work miracles in that time. You see your child every day. Please help to make sure he practices- it doesn't have to be much- 20 minutes a day of SERIOUS playing is more than enough, at low levels.

5a. Please, however, do not go all Tiger Mom on your kid and beat the love of music out of him.

6. Please do not compare your child to anyone else's. Everyone's musical journey is different. I know Lang Lang could play perfect scales at two. He also had a father who threatened to throw him off a building if he didn't play well enough. What's your point?

7. Please understand that if I DO send your child for an examination, I am not guaranteeing anything. I can't, and I'd be wary of any teacher who promises you a distinction right off the bat. Plenty of things can happen on examination day. I will do my best to circumvent all issues in the run up to the exams, however.

8. It's great to be pro-active and I'm willing to discuss things, but please don't correct me at every turn by telling me that "Oh, Google says this and this instead!". Get Google to teach you if that's the case.

9. Please be realistic with your expectations. It can take six months to a full year for a child to be able to play a simple song with a measure of fluency and competence. Your child is not dysfunctional. Your child is not slow. Your child is not impaired. The violin is a difficult instrument. Please don't be mad if I ask your child to repeat the same exercises over and over. Everything about the violin is a sequential process, and we can't go further if the basics aren't there.

10. If you want your child to love music, expose him to it. It's more than just playing in a stuffy studio. Go to musical events. Go to concerts. Listen to lots of music. Look up composers online. Playing is only one half of the equation, exposure does the rest.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:26 PM   #29
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I won't be moonlighting anymore once Uni starts, but till then- some words of advice for my students.

1. Please don't lie to me about practicing, or NOT practicing. Rosin never lies. If your strings are absolutely caked, there is NO WAY you've been playing three hours a day (I have a strict No-Rosining-by-yourself policy for my younger ones). I'm not going to kill you if you tell me the truth. That's illegal.

2. Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. There are students who practice a lot- see what I said in Point 1- but it doesn't mean much if you're making the same mistakes over and over.

3. I have a tendency to run at the mouth, so if you have doubts, STOP AND ASK ME. I won't eat you alive. I don't ask you if you have any questions for the sake of hearing my own voice either. Question away- I welcome any and all.

4. Please don't apologise for sounding awful. This is especially common among female students. The violin IS a difficult instrument to master. Unlike the piano, where you can walk out of your first lesson with a song under your belt, you'll be lucky to get pure notes on all four open strings after one violin class. It's OKAY. We've all been there. Don't worry if you sound like a dying cat. They have nine lives, and it gets better. I promise.

5. Don't scoff at exercises. There's a reason why you're doing them, and you'll keep doing them. For the record, I take lessons twice a week, three hours each time. We spend the entire first hour running through ALL the scales. Majors, minors, harmonics- you name it. Exercises and drills are here to stay. Accept it.

6. Please don't be discouraged if you don't seem to be progressing fast enough. Who's counting? Music is a lifetime thing.

7. Teacher doesn't always know best. If I say something that's really offensive or outright wrong, tell me. I'll apologise. I'm as human as you are. I've just been playing for a little longer than you, and that doesn't mean much.

8. If you hate me- again, not going to kill you if you say so. That's illegal.

9. If you really don't feel like playing today, that's fine. We can talk theory or music in general, or even look up famous musicians online and listen to them. I don't push.

10. Be gentle with yourself. The tenser you are, the worse you'll play. Relax. Enjoy. Dance if you must while playing. Sing along with your violin. I'm not here to drill you for exams and exams alone. I'm here to help cultivate a love of music in you. Believe me, your enjoyment is worth more than any number of high distinctions to me.

Cheers.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:29 PM   #30
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I'm no longer able to moonlight at the studio (taking the advanced dip is fine because I'm a student, no longer a teacher) because I'll be signing my sponsorship soon and that has a no moonlighting clause (technically, my old company had one too but they didn't care), but here are some parting tips I have for my students and their parents..

- Make sure all the strings have fine tuners as the pegs are very difficult for the child to fine tune. Heck, they're difficult for an adult to tune.

- If the strings go out of tune easily, rub a bit of chalk on the peg. It will help give a better grip, which results in less slippage.

- If the peg is too tight, rub it with the lead of a pencil. That should help smooth it out.

- Rosin can build up on the strings, affecting the sound. GENTLY remove the rosin with a cork. DO NOT WASH YOUR VIOLIN!! You'll be surprised at how many people do this!

- For new rosin cakes- scratch the surface with a pin. Scratch it, don't murder it.

- Related to above point. Two swipes on the rosin cake should do. If your violin looks as if it's been through a snowstorm, you're doing it wrong.

- Bow technique: STOP MASHING the strings. Pressing down as hard as possible seems to be a reflex for novices, but don't let it develop into a habit. Your arm should be as relaxed as possible. Imagine you're loose and floppy, like a rag doll. If you sound scratchy or screechy, chances are that you're pressing down too hard.

- Somewhat controversial but if you're Grade 5 and above- buy the best strings you can afford. You'll be surprised by the difference it makes. However, if your child is breaking strings every month, use the cheap strings and change to the best strings (Dominant gets my vote) about 2 months before the exam.

- DO NOT pull off broken bow hair, as intuitive as it is! You may loosen all the hair. Cut it off with scissors close to the bow.

- DON'T worry if your child sounds like he's killing cats in the beginning. They have nine lives, and it gets better. Hand to god, I swear it does. With time and training, it'll improve.
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