Monthly Archives: February 2016

Shifting into Third

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my progress on shifting positions.  I have continued to work with a book of exercises, so far on third position only, quite slowly.  The exercises are designed to help me learn to hear the notes up the fingerboard as I read the music.  I’m up to about […]

A Little Movement

I’ve been doing my best to practice vibrato every day, but it’s been very slow going, dare I say frustrating?  But both Monday and Tuesday during practice I admit that I was making some progress.  Tiny, itty-bitty amounts of progress.  The movement is welcome – I’ve needed a little clue that I’m not on a […]

Violins of Hope

During the holocaust, prisoners arriving at concentration camps brought along some of their possessions.  Musicians, naturally, brought instruments.  Last night I happened upon a news segment that detailed some of the experiences of prisoners and music.  One survivor arrived at the camp with her mother.  She was very young at the time, but she recalls […]

Blazing, and the Imagery of Shapes

As we worked through my new Bach Gavotte in my lesson yesterday I kept thinking, “Really, all of this!?”  We began with the piece last week, working up the first three lines slowly in that lesson.  Teacher told me, as she often does, that I could go further during the week on my own if […]

What Makes the Sound of Music?

Linguists have argued about the neurological bases of speech and music for a long time, with most evidence and argumentation coming from anthropology and evolution – all cultures produce music, all cultures have language – these adaptations must be good for something.  Noted neuroscientist and linguist Steven Pinker, for example, has called music “auditory cheesecake,” […]

Noticing the Bow

“The bow is the breath of the instrument,” Teacher said to me way back when we started our journey.  “Just like with your voice, the breath is all-important.”  I didn’t really understand that when I started playing the violin again.  So much goes into proper sound production on the instrument that isolating the parts wasn’t […]

Moving Right Along

Teacher has a non-Suzuki book of duets that has second violin parts for almost all of the Suzuki songs.  She couldn’t help but notice that I enjoyed our experience playing last time, so we kicked off yesterday’s lesson by playing two of them.  First up was the Martini Gavotte, the one I have written about […]

Teaching Creativity

The Sunday New York Times contained a popular article (it was in the popular list, anyway) entitled, “How to Raise a Creative Child.  Step One: Back Off.”  Regular readers will know that I’m interested in pedagogy – how to teach and how to motivate people to learn.  The column, by Adam Grant, is about learning […]