How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Hello all,

I started the fiddle last September, so I’m still quite the neophyte and frankly not so splendidly good yet. This question is a bit premature, but how long ought one to have a teacher? It seems like you could have one for years and years—like my classical friends—but as I’ll probably be going to college soon, that worries me. I don’t want to give up playing just because my life is taken over by Plato and Aristotle! At what point can you get by on your own?

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

A question that’s impossible to answer, except by saying, whenever you’re ready. 🙂

Don’t forget that once you have the basics down and can work on your own, an occasional visit to a teacher can be valuable. You don’t have to commit yourself to regular lessons - find a teacher who’ll be happy for you to show up, get something to work on, and go away and work on it for 3 months or whatever, and come back when you’re ready for more input.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"I don’t want to give up playing just because my life is taken over by Plato and Aristotle!"

There’s no need to give up playing just because you don’t have a fiddle teacher. It might slow your progress a little, but it might not; it might offer you a valuable opportunity to reflect philosophically on your playing and discover your musical psyche. As Stiamh says, you don’t necessarily have to have weekly lessons to benefit form a teacher; regular feedback on your playing is good, of course, but receiving an occasional small pearl of wisdom can be more effective that being ‘burdened’ with new information every week.

You don’t say where you’re going to college (and, assuming it’s in the US, it wouldn’t mean much to me anyway), but it might be worth seeking out traditional musicians when you get there, either among the student populace or elsewhere. You might find opportunities to listen to or join in with sessions and, if you can find the time between lectures, essay writing and partying, there might even be someone able and willing to give you a few lessons.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Is your teacher teaching you anything apart from new tunes? Are you learning anything you couldn’t learn from books, the internet and CDs? If the answer is no, your teacher isn’t teaching you anything. If the answer is yes, you may find paying for lessons worth the money, or you may not. It is up to you to decide; but you don’t need a teacher to hold your hand once you’ve been shown what to do. Certainly not ‘for years and years’.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

dont bother with a teacher, waste of time and money.

watch a cpl of youtube vids for how to hold the fiddle and away you go!

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

There speaks the voice of wisdom and experience……….

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I did Banjo lessons and I got to the stage where I knew the most important technical stuff and I was only really getting a new tune every week.The instructor said he couldn’t teach me anymore .I am 3 or 4 times the musician now though even at that. Don’t expect to learn everything from a teacher .They get you started on the right road but I think you should know when you are good enough to stop lessons.
Its really about the practice you put in at home is how you progress. You should try learning by ear as soon as possible also .Its far easier once you get the hang of it and really is the best way of learning tunes quickly.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"dont bother with a teacher, waste of time and money."

Depends who the teacher is.

"watch a cpl of youtube vids for how to hold the fiddle and away you go!"

Depends which "Youtube" videos you watch.

In both instances, if you’re learning, how do you know who’s "right" and who’s "wrong" ?

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

id say the most ive learnt is from recording myself and playing it back.

Kenny to answer your quesiton you can simply apply the scientific method.

Record a video of oneself playing, then do a compare and contrast between oneself and one of your favourite players.

This is my master formula for riches an wealth after my many years of hard a gruelling practice in the field.

The problem with teachers is you are constantly battling with their ego if you dont do it exactly their way. Hence why it a waste of time and money.

The scientific method is the best method to get to the truth of anything music is no different.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Rosamund

My personal experience is that you can stop taking lessons when you have complete assurance and confidence in your basic technique and learnability(your personal learning curve, how efficiently you learn on your own).

If you don’t need to be reminded or corrected on your technique and posture, that’s one indicator. Another indicator is if your teacher has been reduced to a simple critic and musical resource rather than an actual instructor. What I mean, is someone that gives you music to learn on your own rather than teaching it to you themselves. Really good teachers can bring you from a novice level to a mastery level. Others can only bring you from novice to intermediate. They can only teach you what they know.

For an instrument like fiddle, I feel that teachers are important. If I had gotten to take lessons from several months instead of only a few weeks, I know for sure it would’ve made a huge difference on how i’m playing now 3 years in. I admit I do have a pretty high learning curve, but it’s limited to my ear skills. A teacher would’ve helped me tremendously with my physical technique, which is much more important than how fast I can learn notes.

There’s confidence in knowing that you’re doing something right, and a skilled teacher can give you that confidence by sharing how they got their skills. When you have that confidence, you’ve earned your wings.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Fundamentally disagree with you Arthur especially your last statement - music does not have much to do with science, but everyone has to find their own path. I honestly wish you the best of luck in yours, but don’t think I can help you.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

@Arthur, if teachers are a "waste of time" because all you need to do is "watch a cpl of youtube vids for how to hold the fiddle and away you go", then why do you constantly post loads and loads of clips asking for advice on your playing? Aren’t you able to sort these things out with your "scientific method"? Granted, the time you’re wasting here is not your own at least… 😏

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

seb, it’s called "supporting evidence" for the scientific method 🙂

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"The problem with teachers is you are constantly battling with their ego if you dont do it exactly their way. Hence why it a waste of time and money."

That’s a terrible excuse for why not to use a teacher. Given, there’s a reason why they teach things the way they do.

If you’re a novice, you should have no problem with anyone else’s ego but your own. You can learn from anyone that’s better than you.

I remember one time when I was a teenager, one of the younger kids played a much more difficult piece than I did at a piano recital(I think I was near twice her age at the time). I asked her what was her practice method and she said, "I just practice until I can play it right." Not the most fascinating piece of advice, but definitely something I could use. If I had let my ego get in the way, I would’ve missed out on a very simple and applicable principle in learning music. To never give up but to practice until you’ve mastered it. Reading between the lines, that’s what the little girl shared with me.

I’m proud to say that taking the time to learn from others and each other, we’ve both become virtuosos with our specialty instruments.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I have taught myself guitar, banjo, mandolin, melodeon/button accordion- all to decent standard where I have been confident to perform in public, had compliments on my playing and done the odd paid gig. A couple of years ago I fulfilled a long held ambition and started learning the fiddle. This is an instrument you need some help with! A very humbling experience all round…

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Completely agree with Jerone. Additionally, it depends on how fast you learn and what kind of teacher you have. There are teachers who can help you with technique, and you need that with fiddle. You need to be able to get a good tone and play clean notes. There are also teachers who can help you with Irish music specifically, and they are more rare, because it’s hard to teach, especially bowing.

There are people who pick this up without much instruction at all. If you’re one of those people, that’s great, and you won’t need to worry about lessons. If you find that you’re working on your own and you’re not improving over a long period of time, however, say, 6 months, then you probably need some help. Someone suggested checking in with a teacher every once in a while, and I think that’s a good idea. You’re new at the instrument and it’s really easy to pick up poor habits—-it’s good to have someone watching for that who can correct you.

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An important point about face-to-face teaching for learning the all-important basics of holding the fiddle and bow, including posture and relaxation, is that no two learners are physically or psychologically alike. A good teacher will adjust their teaching accordingly. So why are the basics important? It is to be able to play music efficiently and under control, and to protect against long-term physical disabilities and even injuries - sad stories about which abound on the internet..

It is a very rare beginner who can identify their mistakes, and what causes them, and even rarer to be able provide their own viable solutions. This is where a good teacher comes in — to correct poor playing habits that may have been acquired previously, and to make sure that undesirable new ones don’t start.

A good teacher will also give the feedback that most beginners are not yet ready to do for themselves, which is, the ability to truely hear themselves in real time - this will include basic rhythm, intonation and an acceptable tone. Incidentally, in my view, intonation and tonal quality in trad fiddle do not need to be quite as finely controlled as in classical violin playing — which is not getting at either style of playing. It certainly is not an excuse to ignore intonation or tone; but neither should one or the other be so out of kilter that it is going to detract from the music and be a distraction to a listener. Those last two sentences may result in some interesting comments 🙂

Be wary of trying to learn technique from the internet. There are no two players with identical techniques, so how is a beginner to know which is right - perhaps both may be or both may be wrong, but the beginner won’t know why and is yet in no position to make a good assessment. A personal "favorite" player may not be a good example to a beginner because qualities that make that player a "favorite" may blind the eye to details of his technique.

There are not many good violin teachers on YouTube, but one of the best that comes to mind is Todd Ehle.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

A person I know went to a violin teacher for lessons, and said of him "He helped me to find my own sound". I think that he was the type of teacher that you need.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I think Arthur has had bad experiences with bad teachers.

Gam said it better. Once you know what to do, you don’t need a teacher.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

@Bernie - ‘bad experiences with bad teachers’ - may be a very unfair comment on the teachers involved. Arthur’s own attitudes with regards learning are surely part of whatever experience resulted,

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I’ve been playing violin for almost 40 years and fiddle for 15. I still take the occasional lesson. You’re never so good you can’t learn something from someone better than you. If there’s no-one nearby, a lot of musicians offer lessons via Skype.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"I think Arthur has had bad experiences with bad teachers."

My guess is that it’s the other way ‘round.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Teacher’s may be, a great thing at first esp, if its the
same music as you are playing ie/ Traditional Irish etc,
I would’nt know for I’ve never had one just got tip’s etc…
And, just went around Fleadh’s and listened, and Watched,
Player’s like this below, ( Yes Watched being even more important I Think. )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUPwtoNu63M


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD1eqDIQvz8


But If I had a teacher I would have liked it to have been This Guy -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDrjWcRzUR0

jim,,,
Ps.
Now there on the Internet for Free, No need to go away down to
Rosscommon, Leitrim, or Louth : )

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

well you guys say that you are being teachers on here but i think its very differnet i think thats conflating what i say. sure i learn alot from yall no doubt.

but its more of a free flow of information on a forum in my mind rather than student teacher dynamic. plus i dont have to pay 25 pound an hour! 🙂

if lessons were free im sure id have alot better view of getting lessons, but they arent so i dont.

i just feel its extortionate for what you get out of them. Like how paying 50 for a session with a councillor is extortion imo for something that is unquantifiable as to how much you got out of it. Both are pretty much the same deal imo.

Therapy is alot worse than getting fiddle lessons tho, probably better going to the brothel, youd enjoy it more and that is definitely quantifiable.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

@fiddlebliss:
"You’re never so good you can’t learn something from someone better than you."

And of course there’s someone who’s better than the teacher (and the teacher’s teacher and so on). However, it’s important to know what you need to learn/improve, what the teacher is willing to share (not necessarily the same thing), and the price of the lesson.

The fact that teachers have different ideas about what is "correct" does indeed make it more difficult to choose the right one. Open posture vs. closed, bow pressure from the bow alone or by force etc.

@Creadur:
"There’s no need to give up playing just because you don’t have a fiddle teacher. It might slow your progress a little, but it might not; it might offer you a valuable opportunity to reflect philosophically on your playing and discover your musical psyche."

A long break shows who are practicing on their own and who are not. I’ve seen it happen in various musical contexts, in language classes and in martial arts.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

How do you mean "a long break shows etc" Jeff?

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Well, some people think that going to classes is "enough", and never practice on their own. They can have classes once a week, once every two weeks, once per month etc.

Practice isn’t done during the lesson, but rather between lessons. Nobody reaches any decent level of competence by just going to classes. I’ve played music with people who never touched their instrument between practice sessions, let alone thought about music. The longer between the sessions, it really showed who were practicing on their own and who were not. We once had a break for half a year. Guess what - when we started again, some hadn’t lost anything, some played better (they had practiced on their own), and some were back on square one.

What I’m saying is that the OP (Rosamund) doesn’t have to take lessons in order to practice what she has learned.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

This is pretty much my point^ on why teachers are given too much credit. it YOU who does the practice not them. So you put in all the work and they get all the credit :P when youd probably have gotten to the same place without their help.

i know- you gotta practice the right things but still i think youll figure it out yourself thru trial and error.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Kind of like faith healing in that respect.

It would be interesting to see a long range study of two groups one who practiced with teachers and practiced x amount per day and another who practiced without and x amount a day - same amount of practice.

ofc that would be hard to study cos it would be hard to keep things controlled. Maybe you could find generalities through data of self taught ppl vs ones who had a teacher.

I dont doubt tho that regular tuition on top of your own practice would help but i think what im saying is the amount it would help isnt worht the 10s of thousands of pounds it would cost for those regular lessons over the years.

Its making the best with what you have imo. and i dont have alot of money, plus im rather anti social, but im good with technology so i just record alot and use forums etc.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

[Once you know what to do, you don’t need a teacher.]

That’s the catch-22. You won’t know what to do, unless you do have a teacher. You certainly won’t if you’ve only been playing for a number of months.

[*"I think Arthur has had bad experiences with bad teachers."
My guess is that it’s the other way ‘round.*]

Well, to be fair, Arthur’s had at least one teacher who couldn’t teach the basics, another who wouldn’t commit to regular lessons, and yet another who held the bow 1/3 way up the stick. So although he’s stubborn, obstinate, etc, and a great waster of peoples’ time sometimes, he’s not entirely to blame 🙂

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"i know- you gotta practice the right things but still i think youll figure it out yourself thru trial and error."

Like learning to drive? I suppose you would get there through trial and error eventually……….

I paid for some lessons for my children so they were taught what to do by someone who knew what was required to pass the driving test. I took them out to practise what they had been taught. They might have learned just by practising, but they would have taken much longer, and probably not have been as skillful. But that’s another debate, whether passing your driving test is the same as being a good driver.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Time for a sporting analogy, I think. (It’s the friendlier version of Godwin’s Law - it’ll turn up eventually! 😉 )

Andy Murray is in the top 5 of the world’s tennis players; yet he still needs a coach. In music, as in other things, there is no-one who has nothing left to learn and who wouldn’t benefit from the right sort of coaching.

I say stick with it as long as you can. 🙂

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Hitler never took fiddle lessons. Do you want to end up like Hitler?

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Why did Adolf Hitler never play the violin?

Because he was a dull fiddler.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I had to mention it, didn’t I? 😏

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Whoop, I didn’t expect so many answers (and so much controversy! 🙂 ). So let’s see if I have this straight:
1. Practice, whether or not you have a teacher.
2. A teacher is good for telling you technical things like how to hold the bow, etc. Once it comes to the point of your teacher mostly teaching you new tunes w/o technical instruction, you’re good on your own. Right now, I’m still being taught such technicalities, and I think it’s best if I continue learning how to do things neatly since my ear and muscles aren’t trained perfectly yet. My teacher also is an Irish fiddler, so that is good.
3. Youtube is both a blessing from heaven and a garbage heap.
4. Those who do not take lessons will become like unto Hitler.

Anything else? Thanks so much for the plenitude of advice!

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

The great violinist Heifetz once said,
"If I don’t practice for one day, I notice it. If I don’t practice for two days my orchestra and conductor notice. If I don’t practice for three days the audience will notice. And if I don’t practice for four days the critics might notice."

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

From my first getting behind the wheel of a car to passing my driver’s test took ten days. I haven’t used a driving instructor since (at least, not for a car) but I never stopped learning.
World-class athletes may indeed require a coach; but I dare say (I’m not a big fan of sport) it’s more for psychological guiance than the sport at which they excel. If you’re number five in the world, who has anything meaningful to show you?
I have learned several instruments over the years, but only ever had one instructor — for the very first instrument. He taught me how to play, but also — more importantly — how to learn. Everything he taught me came with an explanation as to why, and he never simply repeated, as is often heard these days, ‘It is very important that…’ or, ‘You must…’ because that is what the teacher himself or herself was taught.
You must be ever vigilant, and ultra-critical; never complacent and always questioning.
As has been mentioned earlier, one of the best ways to learn is to record yourself — video if possible, but audio will do. As with photographs, the selfie is unforgiving and truthful. Above all, enjoy what you are doing. Never treat learning as a chore to be got through so that you can begin to play — you will never stop learning, and most likely never be satisfied. Such is life. Enjoy it while you can.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"This is pretty much my point^ on why teachers are given too much credit. it YOU who does the practice not them. So you put in all the work and they get all the credit :P when youd probably have gotten to the same place without their help."

That has not been true for me at all. Not one person ever, has ever said to me ever, "You’re really talented, you must’ve had amazing teachers." Matter of fact, because of the misconception that i’m self-taught cause I play by ear, my teachers don’t get much credit at all without me volunterring the info that I took private and public lessons.

Truth is, over a course of weeks, months, and years, that things that are taught accumulate in an abundance of applicable methods and concepts. If I took diligent notes over the years from all of my music classes, i’d have an encyclopedia of information, likely most of which things that would’ve taken me forever to learn on my own.

Teachers raise the learning curve.

As for teachers being extortioners, if your education cost you an arm and a leg, and you made your only living by teaching, wouldn’t you charge to support your family?

It’s no secret that teachers aren’t rich Arthur. Our educational lifestyle is expensive, financially and timely. Free lessons are a most generous gift. Giving hours on hours to a student who could give up the music at the drop of a hat. Not to mention all those books you have to buy for them. Yea, no, not extortion.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Rosamund

"3. Youtube is both a blessing from heaven and a garbage heap.
4. Those who do not take lessons will become like unto Hitler. "

3. Youtube is great, if you know how to discern fact from opinion, fiction, and myth lol. People can be so arrogant in their own knowledge, they could try to pass on something as absolute fact, when it’s only their opinion. The downside is, opinions can be wrong, and myths can be spread as truth by multiple sources.

4. I wouldn’t say that. Some people do have natural ability(which is very obviously a mystery to us given a recent discussion of the phenomenon.) But even those people need some source of information, even if that source is simply a demonstration.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Rosamund, You did a good job distilling the key points out of the advice you were offered. But don’t think you generated any controversy—it started long before you arrived! 😉
Good luck and enjoy your musical journey!

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"2. A teacher is good for telling you technical things like how to hold the bow, etc. Once it comes to the point of your teacher mostly teaching you new tunes w/o technical instruction, you’re good on your own."

Or you may have just learned all that that particular teacher had to show you. Don’t neglect workshops and one off lessons with other fiddlers, and don’t be surprised if the the advice often contradicts the advice of others.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

— and don’t be shy about asking *anybody* to show you how they do something. Most musicians will be only too pleased to pass on what they have learned, discerned or discovered over the years, provided you show an interest and are willing to learn with an open mind. Not all teachers have to be paid, and a few words at the right time by the right person can stick with you for the rest of your life.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

How long is a piece of string?
The answer to your question will vary depending on different individual needs.

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What strikes me here is that inappropriate analogies are being drawn with other fields of human activity.

Learning to play traditional music is not like learning to drive a car. If you want to drive on the road you have to pass a test, you have to conform to a highly specific standard, you have to comply with an extensive set of regulations, and if you don’t you are likely to wreck the car, to kill or injure someone, to be prosecuted.

It’s not like learning to be an elite tennis player. It’s not a competition.

It’s not like learning to be a classical musician. If you want to do that you have to conform to a highly specific standard, you have to perform specific actions in a specific way.

These distinctions are extremely significant.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

It is still necessary to perform in a way that will not lead to muscular damage or cause RST or carpel unnel syndrome, This is important with the fiddle. however you are right it is not like sport it should not be a competition

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Jerone speaking of teachers not being rich thats very funny you should say that because jsut last night i was bored and decided to do some maths of how much money a teacher would modestly make a year….

Taking the standard fee of £25 a lesson as has been the case with my previous teachers and factoring in 6 lessons a day (so still only 6 hours work per day vs 8 hours for the common rabble) thats 150 quid PER DAY!!!! Say they doa normal 5 day week; a teacher could get 335k per year, so in a couple of years they’d be a millionaire, so dont give me ‘the poor tortured artist’ gibe!

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

AG: You may need to save your money for math lessons.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I didn’t compare learning to drive with playing music. I just pointed out that it can be quicker to learn with some lessons.

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Most teachers work from home too so no overheads for workspace, all they need is their fiddle and an air of confidence.

I bet i could make a quick buck by blagging it, just memorise what old cranitch says in his books and reel it off then make some excuse for why i cant show them myself :P

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Six lessons a day, six hours work. Obviously no preparation is needed to give lessons, no ensuring that what you teach is appropriate for the person paying you. And no, I don’t teach.

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lol guess i missed a decimal place somehwere, but its still easy money nonetheless

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Like all teaching, if it’s so easy, why aren’t the critics teaching………..

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Easy money? Have you ever actually tried to teach someone something? You realize that teaching six hours per day means that you have to gather 30 students in the first place, right? And that they can never miss a class? Students drop out of classes constantly, so it’s not enough to gather 30 students; you continuously need to bring in new students. Then you need to keep track of what each person knows and needs to work on and develop lesson plans for all of them. Factor in two weeks of vacation a year and you’ve got a full-time job that pays £37,500. If that seems like a lot to you, then I can’t help but suspect that you’re living off the largess of others. £37,500 pays the bills and keeps food on the table, but that’s about it.

Looking over the discussions you’ve started, I see that the vast majority of them are asking other people to do the job a teacher would do, and to do it for free. Nice to see how little you value other people’s time, energy, and advice.

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[*It is still necessary to perform in a way that will not lead to muscular damage or cause RST or carpel unnel syndrome, This is important with the fiddle. however you are right it is not like sport it should not be a competition*]

I agree, in that you need to develop good form - posture, left hand, bowing - all the usual stuff. Irish trad fiddle is no different. These are basic requirements.

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"I just pointed out that it can be quicker to learn [to drive] with some lessons."

It can be quicker to learn how to pass the driving test with some lessons. Ask me how I know.

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"Taking the standard fee of £25 a lesson as has been the case with my previous teachers and factoring in 6 lessons a day (so still only 6 hours work per day vs 8 hours for the common rabble) thats 150 quid PER DAY!!!! Say they doa normal 5 day week; a teacher could get 335k per year, so in a couple of years they’d be a millionaire, so dont give me ‘the poor tortured artist’ gibe!"

150 * 5 * 52 = £39,000 pre-tax.

I guess by "year," you mean "446 weeks."

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Okay, so given that you can improve on your own, how do you do this? How do you learn ornamentation, technique, etc? Is it through books, listening, certain YouTube tutorials, loads of practice? And what if you train yourself into Bad Habits?

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Hotsauce and Teagan made my points. AG, can you count dude?

Aside from that, don’t forget about the 2 months of summer when most students drop music classes cause of vacations. So you can subtract 8 more weeks from your hotsauces’s equation which will bring it down from $37,500 to $31,500. Many teachers work a 2nd job.

Hopefully this free math lesson will open your eyes to your delusions. They aren’t getting rich off you.

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"Okay, so given that you can improve on your own, how do you do this? How do you learn ornamentation, technique, etc? Is it through books, listening, certain YouTube tutorials, loads of practice? And what if you train yourself into Bad Habits?"

Rosamund, I promise i’m not being a smart-alec when I say this, but it really is this simple. To improve on your own you simply practice what you’ve learned on your own. You don’t have to be told when to practice or how much. You know what to practice so you don’t have to be watched or guided.

As for how to learn ornaments and techniques, books and videos do help. But there are only so many things to learn. When you learn about all the things you can do, you spend most of your time working on making them better, doing them cleaner, and with less thought involved. Eventually you’ll reach a level of mastery where these things won’t have to be a part of your practice because they are now second nature and naturally in your playing.(Like ABC’s. There’s only 26 letters. You just spend your entire youth learning how to use them. Eventually you don’t have to practice the alphabet anymore).

There are also resources. Places(like here) where you know you can get good information in a timely manner. Don’t be afraid to go to your local library and ask if there are any books on the subject you’re looking for.

As for bad habits, that’s what critics and teachers are for. My single piece of advice for you. When you find a very very valuable piece of information, write it down and don’t forget it. Remember it everytime you practice. Sometimes someone will tell you something or show you something that you know you’ve always wanted know but didn’t know how to get the answers. Or you know something will help you that you never even thought of. Those are the moments, and you will love them 🙂

I hope all this helps! Good luck and keep at it!

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

One of the commonest problems you see in fiddle/violin playing is unwanted bow bounce on the string, either during a bow stroke or at the start of a note. Just watching your favorite fiddler/violinist on YouTube playing without the slightest hint of bow bounce is unlikely to help you much in overcoming your own dreaded bounce because you won’t be seeing what causes it, and the cause is not all that obvious visually. This is a typical situation where a teacher (or other skilled player) watching you will see what’s going wrong, explain it to you, and show you how to overcome it.

Another common problem is the notorious "death grip" in the left hand, which amongst other things causes tiredness, slows the fingers, makes finger-bow coordination far more difficult than it should ever be, and can cause muscle/tendon problems in the long run. This is another example of where a good teacher is needed, one who understands the anatomy of the hand and arm, and how the hand and finger shapes vary from person to person, and works out an effective solution suited to the individual.

I had those problems (and others) in the past, and they were only put right because I went to a good personal teacher for help. It was well worth it.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Not sure where you’re going for college, but a college town could be a great place to find a fiddle mentor, or at least a group of folks to play tunes with. Both of those are great for learning. If you get out and play fiddle half as much as most college students play video games, you’ll be a fabulous fiddler and loving it in no time!

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"I had those problems (and others) in the past, and they were only put right because I went to a good personal teacher for help."
With respect, Trevor, blanket statements like this do not help. Your particular teacher obviously helped you, but there are other ways to ‘put right’ problems.
When I started learning the fiddle I looked at as much information as I could find — which, incidentally, is far more than your average professional teacher would have had access to even twenty years ago — and worked out what I needed to know. A lot of the ‘advice’ is contradictory, or given without explanation. Some of it is patently false, or, at best, overstated. Some of it makes good sense and is obvious; but some of it only makes sense after it has been explained, and saves a lot of time and effort if you take note of it.
For every teacher who says, ‘You shouldn’t do that,’ you can find one who says, ‘You should do that.’
Blindly accepting the word of someone, no matter how qualified that person is, leads you straight to mediocrity.
Always question, always seek reasons, and choose what you know works for you.
A good teacher can save you a lot of grief, and shorten the learning process. A bad one can ruin your enjoyment of music forever.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"Jerone speaking of teachers not being rich thats very funny you should say that because jsut last night i was bored and decided to do some maths of how much money a teacher would modestly make a year….

Taking the standard fee of £25 a lesson as has been the case with my previous teachers and factoring in 6 lessons a day (so still only 6 hours work per day vs 8 hours for the common rabble) thats 150 quid PER DAY!!!! Say they doa normal 5 day week; a teacher could get 335k per year, so in a couple of years they’d be a millionaire, so dont give me ‘the poor tortured artist’ gibe!"
A lesson from most teachers point of view does not just consist of time spent during lesson, it consists of planning a lesson, so you can double the time spent straight away, you are also assuming the teacher has that amount of pupils, in the present economic climate for most of us this is not the case, a good teacher has built up experience and skill over years, something that it is hard to evaluate financially and something you do not appear to be taking into account with your stats

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"And what if you train yourself into Bad Habits?"

With your lively and enquiring mind you can answer this yourself. What do you think would be the likely consequences?

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"And what if you train yourself into Bad Habits?" A lively and inquiring mind would pose that as a rhetorical question, and it produced some interesting responses. What is your own view Bernie ?

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

If that’s the case, John, then why on earth is the world not crawling with those millionaire music teachers? If it were all that easy, surely someone would have thought of it by now.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"Taking the standard fee of £25 a lesson as has been the case with my previous teachers and factoring in 6 lessons a day (so still only 6 hours work per day vs 8 hours for the common rabble) thats 150 quid PER DAY!!!! Say they doa normal 5 day week; a teacher could get 335k per year, so in a couple of years they’d be a millionaire, so dont give me ‘the poor tortured artist’ gibe!"

Wait, what?

25*6=150
150*5=750
750*50=37500

Minus taxes, expenses, travel…

As for 335k a year, I’d love to earn £6500 a week.

(I realise this point has already been made)

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

My view is, I don’t mind having some "bad habits", I’ve had some of them for several decades and nobody has been hurt in any way, I don’t think anybody else has noticed or would care if they did. I’m not aiming for perfection, not trying to pass any exams, I’m not in competition with anybody. If I feel that some activity is causing physical wear and tear, my response is to vigorously exercise and strengthen the affected parts. I can play the fiddle for as long as I want now, without getting noticeably fatigued or uncomfortable.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I think one could argue that any habit can be bad if it makes it hard to do something different by choice or conceals options for doing something different - even if it allows good things to proceed without thought. So a knowledgeable observer might be useful.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

@John Townsend: It wasn’t you that was responsible for publishing erroneous data on the iron content of spinach, was it?

…and be very careful when filling out your tax return, or you could end up with a tax bill amounting to 3 times your annual income.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

DrSilverSpear and Creadur, John didn’t make the, "Jerone speaking of teachers not being rich…" comment, Arthur did. John just forgot to add a space between his paragraph and Arthurs’ two paragraph quote.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

David50, I really wouldn’t want an outside observer monitoring my progress and finding fault. It just doesn’t fit in with my approach to music, I’m not a professional, not a student, not a performer, I just please myself.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

The idea of settling for less than the very best player you can possibly be is strange to me. Not to say it is "bad". but now I am very curious how prevalent this mentality is among traditional players.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

@timmy!
Why should other traditional players be different from yourself? Having a strange idea does not warrant the amount of research necessary to satisfy your curiosity.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Thanks, Jerone. I didn’t read through the comments as thoroughly as I should have before posting.

So, @Arthur: Spinach & tax returns

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

timmy!, I think everybody IS the very best player they can be, given each person’s individual talent, available time, and interest. That’s why there’s a range of bad, okay, and good players.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Yes, I suppose if you’re perfectly happy with the way you play and have no desire to improve then a teacher would not be necessary. But then what is your argument? that you don’t need a teacher to play well, or that you shouldn’t care about playing well?

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

That was directed at Bernie29…

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Timmy,

I note with interest that you wrote this, about 10 years ago:

‘I play ITM on the fiddle. I have been playing for around 3.5 years. I have definitely come a long way, to where I would say that I am a decent but utterly unremarkable player. So what I am wondering — and I know this is sort of vague and open-ended — is this: how do I move beyond the level of playing I am at? What things should I be paying attention to? What are some common obstacles that need to be overcome to move from "blandly competent" to "impressive" (or even "amazing")?’

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Throughout your musical career, you will always be at the level you are at. If you are unhappy with the level you are at, then you will spend your entire musical career being unhappy!

I believe thinking of that kind is very prevalent among musicians (and sportspeople, and artists, etc etc), but I don’t believe it’s very helpful, and it’s not the only way to look at things.

Personally, I think it’s ok to be happy about being a "decent" player! Very few of us are destined to be "impressive" or "amazing". And traditional music in particular is "folk" music, in the best sense of the word: it belongs to people generally, and not to a tiny elite.

Once you’re a decent player, you are there. If you can only play five tunes but you can play them "decently", be happy about that.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

[*"And what if you train yourself into Bad Habits?"*]

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, I think. Whatever the ‘bad habit’, it often goes un-noticed by the player, and remains unchecked. Some people are quite gifted, pick up things quickly, are astute at recognizing their intonation and tone, and self-correcting when necessary. Other are … most definitely not so - and do need a teacher / experienced player / mentor to point these things out. When that doesn’t happen things usually either stay the same, or get progressively worse.

There’s mixed feeling on this site about the relative importance of tone and intonation, but that’s another debate which has been had here, and on a few other forums too.

Someone here recently advised me ‘not to get too hung up on the instrument’, so that should give you an idea 🙂

Oh yeah, on the subject of teaching / earnings, has no-one yet twigged that Arthur is not being serious, but simply engaging in some benign trolling? 🙂

…just noticed timmy!’s post before I hit ‘send’, so some of this has a certain relevance to it.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

My line in irony must be too subtle then.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

im English so maybe you yankees dont get my dry humor :P

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Sorry if I offended you gam.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

You didn’t, timmy.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Oh, yeah, I see John was quoting Arthur (paragraph spaces and quotation marks make these things clearer).

As I once said to someone else who complained that Americans don’t understand irony or dry humor — it isn’t that Americans don’t understand irony; it’s just that you’re not funny. 🙂

I am also a blandly competent player. Far from impressive or amazing. I can live with that. What do you need to move beyond blandly competent? Probably the drive to do so, to always be working on stuff, wondering what you can improve, and perhaps it helps to have learned to play as a kid rather than an adult.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Suppose Junior Crehan’s luachrachan (=leprachaun) came down your chimney and offered to transmogrify your blandly competent playing. Would you choose to be impressive or amazing? I wouldn’t. Those adjectives don’t describe the musicians who I admire and would want to emulate. Joe Ryan, Bobby Casey, Junior himself, Dennis Murphy, James Kelly: you would say that their playing is lovely, beautiful, evocative. My favourite living fiddler has been described as "not the most technically accomplished player". But as the author of that phrase goes on to say, "technical prowess has rather little to do with good traditional music".

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Uh, yeah, if someone could zap me and turn me into an amazing player, I would most assuredly take it. Didn’t a guy in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" sell his soul to the devil in order to become a brilliant guitarist? There must be a catch.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

" Didn’t a guy in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" sell his soul to the devil in order to become a brilliant guitarist? "

That was "Oh Brother" relating the "Crossroads" legend. Told as being Robert Johnson, but apparently Tommy Johnson.

http://www.luckymojo.com/crossroads.html

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Charlie Daniels did that, then Mark O’Connor came along and made him wish he hadn’t 🙂

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

[*technical prowess has rather little to do with good traditional music".*]

Bernie, for once I agree with you. Although having it can do no harm.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Some people here seem to be making the common mistake of confounding technique with speed and acrobatics. Technique is the ability to execute the music on the instrument. And in this sense of the word Junior Crehan and Bobby Casey were technical masters. Even in classical violin playing, the technique of Arthur Grumiaux or Nathan Milstein elagantly and expressively phrasing multiple lines in a Bach partita is a much higher level of technique, and much more demanding, than that of the latest young lion blasting through a Pagannini caprice. Crehan, Casey, Murphy et. al. were able to seamlessly incorporate constant variation into their playing without ever losing the lift or the spirit of the tune. Much harder to do than just playing fast. Johnny Doherty could do the same, but what many people seem to notice is the faster tempos at which he did it. A pity.
Speaking of Pagannini, he too was thought to be in league with the devil, a century before either of the brothers Johnson.(Yes I know they weren’t brothers.) So much so that when he died the Church wouldn’t allow him a Christan burial for over thirty five years.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

[*Even in classical violin playing, the technique of Arthur Grumiaux or Nathan Milstein elagantly and expressively phrasing multiple lines in a Bach partita is a much higher level of technique, and much more demanding, than that of the latest young lion blasting through a Pagannini caprice. *]

Not really the core subject here on a site devote to the playing of Irish tradition music,, but all the same, I don’t agree with that statement. Mainly on the grounds that there is a huge difference in technical ability required between playing the most difficult Bach partitia, and the simplest of Paganini’s 24 Caprices.

Don’t just take my word for it - ask any virtuoso violinist 🙂

Still, it’s good that Paganini was not molested during his lifetime by the Monster in the Mind followers, unlike other giants who were.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"there is a huge difference in technical ability required between playing the most difficult Bach partitia, and the simplest of Paganini’s 24 Caprices."
Yes-the Bach partitas are clearly more difficult.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Jim-you are doing exactly what I described-confounding technique with speed and acrobatics.Try playing two melodic lines simultaneously and shaping them independantly-crescendo on one while decrescendo on the other, for example. Much harder than playing a fast scale or arpeggio.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

In response to the original question, it’s really up to you, and depends what you want to do, and to what level. I’ve been playing fiddle for 25 years, and still jump at the chance for a master class, or a one-off lesson from a brilliant fiddler. There will always be someone better than you, and it’s up to you whether you take the opportunity to learn from them.

With regards to YouTube vs a real teacher - you might get there with YouTube, but with a good teacher you’ll get there faster, and have less problems to correct in the end.

I’m a fiddle teacher, and I have to say parts of this thread annoyed me a bit, as you get similar comments from people a lot. People wanting free lessons for various reasons, or telling you it’s not a proper job as it’s ‘fun’! Here’s all the expenses that I feel justify me charging what I do.
20 odd years of instrumental lessons
13 years at uni (8 years full-time)
Further teacher training courses (and they’re not cheap)
The cost of maintaining my instruments- rehairing, strings, repairs, tuning piano etc.
Instrument insurance
Public liability insurance
Petrol and car maintenance costs
Music books
Hours of lesson prep.
Accompanying students in exams, concerts, auditions.
And that’s all without the lesson that they’re paying for! So do I feel guilty about making enough money to feed my family and pay my mortgage? … Erm, no.

If anyone thinks that they could blag teaching a fiddle lesson, give it a go. It’s probably harder then you think. Rant over 🙂

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Rosamund, something to take to heart.

I was talking to one of my younger friends today, self-taught in 3 different instruments. Found out today that he developed carpel tunnel in both wrists, before the age of 16. Something that could’ve been prevented had he had a decent teacher

He’s a perfect example of why it’s necessary for beginners to have teachers, at least until they’re "technically independent". Carpel tunnel and arthritis are no joke.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is relatively common. In most cases it isn’t known why the nerve in question becomes compressed. Do you know why your friend developed it?

And what does arthritis have to do with anything? Do you imagine violin teachers can prevent arthritis?

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

[*Jim-you are doing exactly what I described-confounding technique with speed and acrobatics.Try playing two melodic lines simultaneously and shaping them independantly-crescendo on one while decrescendo on the other, for example. Much harder than playing a fast scale or arpeggio.*]

5string, (this is getting a little bit off-track, and I’m just as guilty for continuing it) . … I think it’s your definition of ‘technique’ which is different from mine. Obviously technique is essential, or our instruments would be silent 🙂

As to what requires more ‘technique’, Bach Sonatas or Paganini Caprices, I think the comparison question is a bit nebulous unless we narrow it down a bit. I own both set of music - Paganini has 24 Caprices, Bach has 6 Sonatas (/ Partitias - BWV 1001-1006) , comprised of 34 separate pieces.

Caprice #1 requires persistent finger stretches of a major 3rd, between 3rd and 4th finger, on adjacent strings. The bowing is almost exclusively springing arpeggios, at fast tempo, almost the whole way through. Speed and acrobatics? Yes, which requires a degree of solid and highly advanced technical ability.

Caprice #5 requires many finger stretches, a two-octave chromatic scale, and the whole piece to be played at a very rapid tempo, with no pauses (often played at 180 BPM and above). Again, a high degree of solid and advanced technical ability.

Caprice #6 - two independent melody lines which are required to be played simultaneously. Top line is a simple melody, bottom line is a chordal melody.

The rest of these Caprices abound in extremely complex technical manouevers, rapid octaves in the high positions, rapid runs in the frostbite area, and much, much more.

I’m not really seeing any of these in the Bach Sonatas - no, they’re not considered ‘easy’, but (although I don’t claim to play them perfectly), in essence I don’t have much difficulty with the gigue of No.4, or the Allegro in No.5. I can’t say that about a single Paganini Caprice.

Your reference to "elagantly and expressively phrasing multiple lines in a Bach partita" - which one are you talking about? I’d like to listen again. I have both the Grumiaux and the Heifetz recordings

My understanding of ‘technique’ would cover the ‘speed’ and ‘acrobatics’ which you referred to earlier, and would cover the techniques and points I mentioned earlier.

Itzak Perlman was being interviewed one time, and was asked if there was any piece of music that troubled him. He mentioned the Bach Sonatas / Partitias, and from what I can remember of his words, it was not their technical difficulty that bothered him, it was the need for the "power of expression" required (and my opinion would be that that element is not so important in many of the Paganini Caprices). Although he didn’t expand on that, I’m guessing that he wanted to be able to do them the same justice that his great predecessors did, like Grumiax, Heifetz and many others.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"And what does arthritis have to do with anything? Do you imagine violin teachers can prevent arthritis?"

It seems to me many musicians eventually develop one or the other. But since not ALL of the older musicians have one or the other, surely they’re both preventable. Not saying that a teacher could prevent arthritis, but surely good form could.

As for carpel tunnel being common, so are std’s. Doesn’t mean I want em’! No point in damaging your musical enjoyment and skill for something that could be prevented.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

So Dr Spear, what exactly would be the difference between where you are now, and "amazing"? Do you think I would be able to hear the difference if I was playing with you? Would I be thinking "it’s so much better playing with Dr Spear now that she is amazing"?

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I don’t know many musicians that had to stop playing because of arthritis — maybe the exercise keeps it at bay (trust me, I’m a docker).
But I have heard of ‘The Curse of the McCrimmons’ — and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody
http://www.dupuytren-online.info/images/Dupuytren_stage2c.JPG

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"Since not ALL of the older musicians have one or the other, surely they’re both preventable."

That simply doesn’t follow.

"Not saying that a teacher could prevent arthritis, but surely good form could."

Would you like to provide some evidence for that?

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"Would you like to provide some evidence for that?"

I won’t waste my time. But not every 16 year old boy has carpel tunnel so my point has been made.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Untill your better than your teacher …..and if you get a good teacher they will be forever learning and improving, so you will never catch up 🙂

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Yes, Bernie, I am sure you would, because I would sound like Paddy Keenan (or Seamus Ennis, or Cillian Vallely, Robbie Hannan, or… — insert your favourite piper here), and as you well know, I don’t sound like any of those people.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Jerone, what you are saying about carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis is illogical and unscientific. Doing some research would therefore not be a waste of your time. If you’re not willing or able to back up your advice with some evidence, I’d suggest you stay out of the medical field.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Dr Spear: do they all sound like each other?

I’m not just arguing for the sake of it here. There’s a point to what I’m saying, and I think you are missing it.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Are you bored or something Bernie?

Many of us here know that prolonged and extreme tension in the wrist causes nerve damage, specifically to the median nerve that is being compressed. People who over-exert their wrists are who suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome. That’s the point. Arthritis can also be caused by overexertion, but of the joints.

Given how much we musicians use our fingers, wrist, arms, and how extremely and consistently we use them, proper playing causes less stress on our muscles and joints. You seriously question that proper playing can prevent long term damage, and that uncomfortable, painful playing won’t hurt someone in the long run?

Maybe you’re the one who needs to do some research.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Please keep this discussion on track. Bernie, Jerone, if you’d like to keep your private discussion going, please send each other messages through your member profiles. Thanks.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Bernie, I should have phrased that better. 🙂 If I were as good as any of those guys, the people I play with in sessions would undoubtedly notice a difference, and I think my experience as part of the musical community would have been quite different. Are you arguing that it doesn’t matter how technically good (or not) you are, so long as you are as good as you want to be? I disagree. Good players or great players most assuredly have different experiences within the music and the musical community than mediocre and average players.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I know I’ve improved at fiddle after 8 months playing without a teacher because suddenly everyone at sessions has started telling me how to play. Initially I must have been so bad that they despaired, but now the whole world has become my teacher. Even people who have never tried to play the fiddle have views on how bows should be held and what "looks wrong". It would be difficult to sack all these teachers because I didn’t employ them in the first place.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"Your reference to "elagantly and expressively phrasing multiple lines in a Bach partita" - which one are you talking about? "
Jim, if you are seriously asking that queston, then you may have listened to those recordings but you haven’t heard any of the music. But since you ask, start with the obvious: the fugue from the G minor Sonata . Or more subtle, but almost equally contapuntally complex, the Loure from the E Major Partita. (By the way, Loure means bagpipes, and the piece is a wonderful evocation of piping on the fiddle.)
You also constantly confirm what I originally stated- that you believe that technique is only speed and acrobatics. It’s not.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

5-string - do you play any of the Bach solo violin sonatas on the violin? Or, do you just listen to them? I’m just wondering where you get your ideas of ‘technique’ from.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

Jim, 5string; you’re straying pretty far off-topic now. Probably best if you took your back-and-forth to private messages. Thanks.

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

I don’t play fiddle, but my brother does: I play whistle. From what i’ve seen, you probably don’t strictly need that many lessons on the whistle most of it is down to the musician’s application and practice and them listening to good musicians and trying to reverse-engineer what they do once they have the basics of ornamentation

Fiddle’s a far more difficult instrument to learn. There are far more variables to master and control, even before a player learns what ‘rules’ he can break

Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

"Crehan, Casey, Murphy et. al. were able to seamlessly incorporate constant variation into their playing without ever losing the lift or the spirit of the tune. "

This is a good point 5string. It’s difficult for me to explain my own position without overstating my case.

"Good players or great players most assuredly have different experiences within the music and the musical community than mediocre and average players."

"Experiences within the musical community" isn’t the aspect that interests me. I’m not at all sure that "good" players have any experiences that you don’t have Spear. When does that start? When do you start being "good" and having these new experiences. I think you are a good player now.

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Re: How long to have a teacher for the fiddle?

A few months ago I decided to bring to an end 7 years of violin lessons because I knew, and so did my teacher, that I had reached a stage where I was able to proceed on my own account and successfully monitor my own playing. I had also reached a technical level that I was looking for. Effectively that is what happens when someone’s "apprenticeship" in any craft or skill comes to an end and further learning, which should never end, is then in the realm of acquiring experience by doing (and active listening, if it’s music).

This does not of course exclude the occasional one-off lesson to check up on anything I might have missed; or if I wanted to learn a solo piece to a particularly high level, and then guidance on interpretation from someone more experienced would come into the picture as much as technique.

Someone was quoted earlier as practicing until she got it right, which is of course what we should all aim for. There is a further stage, though: the professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong, and that does take a lot of time.