“It Depends on How Much You Practice”

The first lesson was great – I met my teacher, and she is enthusiastic, professional, and supportive.  She suggested an electronic tuner, a device that didn’t exist when I learned how to tune the violin the first time around.  I’m currently using a sponge for a chin rest – I bought it at the violin shop knowing I’d need something but not knowing what my teacher would recommend.  Good choice – she’s going to bring me some rests from her studio to try before I buy one.

In thirty very fast minutes:

  • I learned that you hold/support the violin with your chin/jaw and your collarbone/chest area, not your left hand, which is there for pitch and not so much to support the instrument.
  • I learned that relaxation of the hands and arms is key to quality sound production.
  • I learned that I used too much rosin on the bow when I was a child (I used too much of everything when I was a child).
  • I learned Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on different strings than I had picked it out myself.
  • I learned two rhythmic variations of Twinkle – “Mississippi Hotdog” and “I Wanna Ride a Motorcycle.”

We are proceeding with the Suzuki method at first, which focuses on aural learning – playing by ear.  Teacher, not knowing I have a background in linguistics, provided a language analogy, “It’s like when learning a language, you start with speaking, then add reading and writing.”  She’s going to bring me some Suzuki materials next time.  I look forward to learning more about this method that I’ve long known about.  I also assured her I am in this to learn to read music and the whole ball of wax, which she understands and supports.

I don’t remember which of my newbie questions prompted Teacher to say, “It depends on how much you practice,” but it strikes me as the answer to pretty much anything about any instrument.  Practice is, of course, the first, second, and final nail in the coffin (hey – it’s Halloween) of many young musical lives, and I assume it’s true of older musical lives as well.  So now I’m off to twinkle those stars.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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