May I Help You Find Something?

Even after two-plus years of being on WordPress, I am still learning what this blog will do. For example, the other day I was pausing over the “new post” button and my eyes wandered to the lower right corner of the screen. Something about arguments caught my attention. Little did I realize that there was a gold mine of posts sitting there as a present from my prospective readers in the form of search terms. Who knew? (Thanks, guys. And gals.)

Statistically, anything involving DIY is a popular search term. Yes, I know the economy is close to being in the tank right now, but if you have a webcam and an internet connection, there is no such thing as a teacher shortage. If you are unemployed but desperately want lessons (any instrument, not just violin), do you have something to barter? Would a different payment schedule help? DIY can work for piano, guitar, drums, etc.  Doesn’t work nearly as well for violin or other orchestral strings, winds or brass.

[And now a word from our sponsor: I offer live webcam lessons. Please visit my official website at www dot violinnovation dot com.]

Another really popular search involves posture issues. I wonder if this is related somehow to the DIY searches. Violin DIYers often have posture issues, which create technical issues, which create repertoire delays, ad nauseum. Which is why you need a teacher.

Motivation and scheduling also tally quite a significant number. Glad I’m already finished with the series on motivation, because frankly I’m not motivated to do another right now. Heh.

Some of the search terms were pretty serious, and I’ll answer some of them in the next post. But since we’ve been soooooo Serious and Academic around here lately, I thought I’d share a few of the lighter, IMHO more humorous search terms, along with my answers.

1. “Useless violin facts”.  Although you have landed in the domain of The Queen of Useless Violin Facts, why would you need any? If you are a violinist, you already know that ALL violin facts are important. However, trivia is much more fun and will impress untold numbers of your colleagues and/or fellow students at cocktail parties and swanky dinners. They will crowd around you like a pack of wild dogs finding meat mesmerized and begging for more when you tell them how Jean-Marie Leclair was murdered on his doorstep and the suspects include his wife and his wife’s lover. Or how Rameau died of gangrene from bashing himself in the foot with his conducting baton. Yessir, you too can be the life of the partay.

2.  “What are you gonna do ?? schedule”.  Like Cops? Whatcha gonna do, whatch gonna do when they come for you? I know what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go have a cookie. No, I’m not. What was the question? Oh, yeah. If you meant “how do I make a schedule?”, that is much easier to answer: just like you make any other schedule. Decide what you’re gonna do, write it down, and check it off as you do it. Don’t put too many things on the list or your brain will fry before you get to the end. Most intermediate level students will need to do scales, some kind of technical exercise (or a review piece that incorporates a specific technical skill), current repertoire, previewing of new material, orchestra or other ensemble music (possibly for multiple ensembles), and listening or sight-reading. There is no law that says you have to do it all in one session or in a set amount of time. Try small bits, like 5-10 minutes on each task, then assess where you are when you finish the list. It’s better to do less and do it well than to do too much sloppily.

3. “Can’t see if I’m bowing in a straight line.” Actually, your bow does not move in a perfectly straight line. It has a very slight arc to it, even when it looks like it’s parallel to the bridge. The easiest way to see your bow is to watch yourself in a mirror. Second easiest is to video record yourself and watch the recording. The mirror offers more immediate feedback though.

4.  “Removing a bass bar from a violin safely”. The bass bar is not a user serviceable part. You don’t want to go there. Please (pleasepleaseplease) take your violin to a luthier.

Have you ever been asked a really strange violin question? What was it? Do you have a different take on these answers? Oh, and if you have a strange question, please feel free to leave it, anonymously or not, in the comments. I promise I won’t make fun of you.

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2 Responses to May I Help You Find Something?

  1. Anonymous says:

    What’s a bass bar and why would someone want to remove it from their violin??

  2. Sorry. I should have defined it. The bass bar is a thin strip of wood on the inside of the violin. It is glued to the top, where it runs nearly the entire length of the fingerboard under the G string. If you look in the top of the left f-hole you should be able to see the corner of it. It stops right before the f-hole. It reinforces the top and adds some extra wood to help concentrate and distribute the vibrations from the bass side of the violin.

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