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What are lessons like? [Jan. 2nd, 2013|11:11 am]


I'm signing up for violin lessons next week and I was wondering what the first few lessons are like. I'd like to think that I am better off than the average beginner as I can read music. I've played piano, flute and guitar. I also know music theory as I took music theory courses, and I know most of the fingering in first position. I also bought some books, like Violin Scales and Arpeggios in One, Two and Three Octaves based on Carl Flesch. I figure that learning the one octave scales and arpeggios will help me for now, until I learn more than just first position. I probably have ten different books, aimed for beginners I've also learned some stuff on my own. The Twinkle Twinkle variations from my Suzuki book, some of the violin part in Beethoven's 7th symphony (allegretto movement), Ode to Joy, etc. I'm working on Bach's Bourre BVW 996 currently.

I don't want to learn anything else for the time being. I'm afraid of picking up bad habits and then having to relearn everything. I'm really excited to start lessons though!

[User Picture]From: dinogrrl
2013-01-02 11:02 pm (UTC)
The first few lessons will probably be you and the teacher figuring out what you know already and where to go from there. You may not feel like much of anything gets accomplished for a while :p. I remember the last time I changed instructors, we basically started off with "okay, what concerto were you working on last with your old teacher?", I played it, the new teacher decided yes, I should continue working on that one but I also needed to do X, Y, and Z etudes and scales to address weak points, and we worked on those points for most of the lesson. Every teacher does things differently though! :}
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2013-01-02 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input. I'm sure I'll also do a bunch of bowing and finger exercises to make sure my bow hold is correct. At least I've only been playing for a month and a half. It's not like I've had that long to completely screw up my technique.
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[User Picture]From: clockworkblack
2013-01-03 01:01 am (UTC)
I know for my adult beginners, I usually spend the first lesson seeing 'where they're at' and assessing any major issues that may already need some help. (Even if you've only been playing a month or two, often times you've already gotten used to, for example, holding the bow terribly wrong.) I also come up with a plan on how to proceed based on what the student wishes to actually DO with their violin playing. Some adults want to learn classical music and go the traditional way- other adults have no interest in that sort of thing and want to play in a band, or play well by ear, etc. Either way, I almost always want to instill good technique and good reading skills, so I usually advise the student to buy certain etude or scale books. In my opinion the Flesch scales are very very hard to pick through for a beginner, so I usually back up and get a few basic scale/etude books that are on a simpler level. Once you've got one or two lessons down, you should probably expect to settle into a routine with your lessons and practice. : ) Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2013-01-03 04:46 am (UTC)
Carl Flesch's book scares me, as a beginning student. The scale and arpeggio book is a modified version of Carl's book.

I do want to pursue classical music and have good aural skills thanks to my music theory training. And thanks. I'll report back after a few lessons :)
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[User Picture]From: evil_winky
2013-01-04 07:29 pm (UTC)
When I take beginning students, I'm also assessing for what they know already. However, I don't even have them read music for the first few lessons. I like to focus on posture, bow holds, arm movement. When you talk about bad habits, that's where most of them are. I'm not clear on your level except that you are a beginner. You won't be using that Carl Flesch book anytime soon. I requires knowledge of 3rd position and higher and if you are a beginner, I am assuming that your knowledge of that is limited. I mights suggest some books that would help with technique:

Wohlfahrt-Foundation Studies for the Violin These are all first position etudes for beginners. They have fantastic applications for improving string changes, bow movement, and articulation. Highly recommend when your posture is solid.

Melodious Double Stops Again once your posture is good and you have a VERY firm foundation with 1st position, this book is a great exercise in multiple string articulations.

As for a beginning scale book, I would recommend the beginners version of Barbara Barber. It won't completely scare you like Flesch and a beginning book will still have arpeggios and such. Just...you know, appropriate for your level.

If you were my student, we would work on bow hold and posture for at least the first 3 or 4 lessons depending on what you looked like. Don't be discouraged if your teacher makes you do open strings or simple music to start. Holding your bow correctly and learning to plan in a relaxed way is ten times more important than hopping into music off the bat. You definitely won't regret it later.

Good luck!
-15 years of violin study
-4 years teaching experience.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2013-01-04 08:05 pm (UTC)
The arpeggio and scales in one and two three octaves is ok. I can do the one octave ones in first position, and there are arpeggios in first position as well. But I'll look at the Wohlfart-Foundation Studies for the Violin and the Barbara Barber book. You can never have too many violin books ;)

Now I know what to expect from the first few lessons, so thank you. And you're right, technique is super, super important more than knowing theory and reading music and such. Hopefully I haven't picked up too many bad habits from playing on my own.

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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2013-01-04 09:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, I was going through my books and I have the Wohlfahrt book. Here's a complete list of what I have:

-Wohlfart Foundation Studies
-All of the Suzuki books
-Easy Classical Violin Solos - Javier Marco
-Simply Violin Violin Scales & Arpeggios (the modified Carl Flesch book)
-The ABC's of of Violin for the Absolute Beginner
-The Phantom of the violin book (it's my favorite show)
-Essential Elements 2000 for strings, beginning book
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