Am I going too fast or too slow?

said: Apr 26, 2006
 20 posts

Hey there. I’m a music major (composition) who recently picked up the violin on. No teachers or anything. I went to the local violin builder and had my violin adjusted properly. Got a new bow, shoulder rest etc. etc. Also picked up Suzuki volume 1 and the accompanying CD.

My father is a cellist so he was able to show me the basics and make sure I didn’t fall into any traps. I’ve been practicing 5 hours every day for a week and I just completed the Minuet 1. It’s all beginning to feel very right to me. Intonation came quickly from listening to the CD and playing along and I’m getting an ok sound.

My question: am I going too fast or too slow or just about right? I’m not aiming for world class perfection but I have a goal to at least get to grade 4 before I call it a day. How long will this take with the current progression? Are there any “expected progression” statistics out there? What book is known to be the most difficult one?

Thanks!

said: Apr 26, 2006
 26 posts

Your progress depends on the amount of good practice you do and on your ability to figure out proper technique without a teacher! Violin vibrato is much different than cello vibrato, violin bow technique as well. No book is the hardest to learn, but each piece is included for a different reason. Sometimes after a technically demanding piece they’ll throw in an easier one that requires special musical attention. For most little kids who practice well with a parent every day it takes around a year to learn one book after the Twinkles (if all the important details are covered), but it can take more or less.

Theoretically, if you learned at 1/2 the rate of a 7 year old and practiced (well) 10x as much (including listening), you could complete the first four books in about a year.

I put that there only to humor you, because there is no way for any of us to know how long it will actually take you. Remember, it’s not HOW LONG, it’s HOW WELL and FOR WHAT PURPOSE.

said: Apr 27, 2006
 20 posts

Thanks, Wiazmime. I realize the cello is very different in many aspects but there are similar aspects as well. I did make sure I had proper bow grip and left hand grip before I ventured out into the unknown :) I’ve been going to http://www.violinmasterclass.com just to make sure I’m on the right track. So far so good I think. I might get a teacher at some point but I’ve been working with violinists for close to 10 years so I know the instrument pretty well. I’ll continue to practice as hard and efficient as possible (focusing mostly on the parts that I find difficult) and we’ll see how far I am in a year or so. Thanks again for your reply.

said: Apr 27, 2006
 20 posts

Update: I’m on Minuet 2 now and finding it slightly more challenging (in a good and encouraging way!). I’m having difficulty with getting the string crossings as smooth as I’d like, but I guess that comes with practice. I hear the occasional flinch in the recordings as well so I guess it’s something that takes a long time to master. Any tips? The biggest problem is going from the G on the D string to open E string without touching the open A string in the passing.

said: Apr 27, 2006
 26 posts

Practice crossing on open strings without pulling the bow. Use a relaxed underside of the upper right arm to “roll” the bow to other strings, like making your hair-to-string contact follow the rainbow trail without playing a note : ). You’ll wind up in a slightly different spot along the bow, and that’s ok, that’s how it should be for now. Hope that was clear.

said: Apr 28, 2006
 20 posts

Thanks! Invaluable :)

This topic is locked. No new comments can be posted.

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services