Learning the Violin Again

I am glad I have picked up the violin again. The experience is very different this time around.

First, I am paying more attention in general. For example, I am paying attention to the tightness of the bow. It is shocking how I never paid attention to this. I never ever considered how the significance of bow tightness.

I am paying attention to all aspects of my body. In the past, I only paid attention to my right arm and wrist. This was because my Dad drew my attention to it. “Imagine you are gently petting your cat!” He would suggest. This time around, I am paying attention to how my chin is resting on the violin. I am paying attention to my posture. I am paying attention to how my left hand feels during shifts. I am paying a lot more attention to the characteristics of the sound I am making.

I am also paying attention to how to relate concepts and ideas to others. As I work with Jing on her playing, I am trying different analogies. I am paying more attention to how she’s feeling and how she is accepting my pointers. I am also watching masterclasses and observing how the masters delivered their pointers and suggestions. Maxim Vengerov focused more on conveying the energy while Twoset violins explained the technical details of music making. This is rewarding because the skill to relate will be useful in other circumstances.

I am choosing among a few pieces to work on. I am undecided among the Passacaglia, Beethoven Romance in F, or maybe even the Meditation. The Passacaglia would be a good piece for me to work on a few techniques, from double stops to runs to spiccato. The Romance is a good piece for honing musicality and runs. Meditation will be a good piece for me to work on the control and coordination of my two hands to craft sound.

Technology has changed the way we learn music. For example, there is a trove of accompaniment videos to play along, which makes playing much more enjoyable. I can also find masterclasses and talks of the best violinists easily. I can download music sheets, find unique arrangements and adaptations of my favourite pieces, and tinker with music making software. Learning music these days is so much more fun.

Finally, I am going to set a goal. I will record and post a performance before June this year. This should give me the accountability I need to keep practicing.

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