What is this all about?
This blog is here to track my progression on the violin from the very first day.
I am recording every practise session I do and every week I’ll upload a video summarising the past week’s practise in a sort of ‘best of’ per day format.
Why am I doing this?
There are a number of reasons for this endeavour. Here are just a few:
- I want to learn a new instrument this year. Add another string to my bow so to speak – I’m sorry, I had to say that one. 😛
- People will be able to comment on my playing and instruct me on how to correct my technique and posture etc.
- I will be able to watch my videos and critically analyse them. Recording is a great way to show inconsistencies in technique.
- I have never methodically and consistently tracked my progression in a skill or on an instrument right from the very first step so it’ll be a fascinating experiment to discover how quickly a musician can learn another instrument.
- Observe the effect of practising ‘little and often’ – at least 2-3 sessions of 20-30mins per day.
- People will be able to observe my progression from week to week and aid me in what to work on. It’ll clarify things such as the order in which skills need to be mastered on the violin in order to progress to the next step.
- I want to perform and record music with the violin. I’m in a folk duo at the moment and it would be fantastic to reach the stage where I could bring my violin to gigs.
How long will this go on for?
Following the rules of the experiment which are filming every practise session, practising at least twice a day for 30mins per session and having a weekly lesson with a private tutor, I intend to run the videos and blog for 3 months. I think this is a good measure of time for a musician to get over the ‘hump’ when learning an instrument as unforgiving as the violin. In 3 months time I expect to be able to perform simple tunes with good tone and consistent precision so that they are actually pleasing to listen to. After the three months I’m sure I’ll continue to practise but probably not as rigorously. I’ll then post videos every month as the progression will differ less at intervals of 1 day or 1 week.
What are my goals?
At the end of 3 months I want to have achieved the following (however these are subject to change as I observe my progression on the instrument):
- Be able to play accurately as many simple melodies as I can from films, games, carols, folk music, classical music etc. The focus is not on quantity but accuracy and quality of tone, expression, intonation, vibrato and sound.
- Be able to play simple melodies with vibrato and good intonation.
- Have completed the first two Suzuki Method Violin books.
- Know the keys of C, G, D, A and E in the first position and be able to improvise to some degree in them.
What am I using to do this?
This experiment obviously requires a violin. I picked one up in London for £20 after seeing an advert on GumTree. I bought new strings which cost £24 and will also buy a shoulder rest. I found a local tutor who I will have 2 lessons a week with for the first couple of weeks and then lessons once per week thereafter. I own the first Suzuki violin book (this is the one my brother used as a child) and will buy the second one when I reach that stage. These are my only foreseeable expenses so far.