Performance Jitters!

Many people get nervous when they perform. Performing builds character and helps students of all ages overcome fear. This allows individuals to realize their goals, whether musical or otherwise. I highly encourage performing.

Here is an example of a very well-respected and accomplished violinist that tells in her bio how she began getting nervous after success began to happen and how she overcame it. Click here: Natalie MacMaster

My pinkie gets stuck (I’m double-jointed)

For the most part, this is due to lack of “height” on the hand over the fingerboard or other incorrect left-hand posture. The correct height and curvature to the fingers will help you maintain a good strong finger action… 4th finger exercises are always a plus.

Let’s chat and take a look to fix this problem.

I found a Stradivarius in my attic; in an estate sale; etc…

Whether you come across an instrument that has a label that says Stradivarius, Guarneri del Gesù, Amati, Strainer, etc, it is EXTREMELY unlikely that this is what you have. Although, that is not to say that the violin is not playable or salable. To find out what it is worth, you need to take it to a qualified luthier. Ask your teacher, colleague, or professionals in the area to help you find one.

Should I buy a violin off of eBay?

The short answer? Probably not. Send me a link to what you are looking at. I will let you know if I would bid on it, how much I would pay for it. In short, it doesn’t matter what the label says. The labels are often wrong, replaced, or leave off things that say this is a manufactured instrument. If it has some amazing label in it…. it is most likely a cheap knock off.

If it is a company, like say if a violin shop you know of  had items posted, you should probably just do a search for that company and buy direct.

Should Parents Sit In?

This question comes up mostly for younger students, but parents can be very helpful with older students as well.

Here are some pros and cons. Review the list and see if you fit into more Pros than Cons… or if you, as a parent, could mend your ways =)

PROS

  • Parents can praise, clap, and encourage
  • Parents can be great note-takers
  • Parents can assistant with technique building exercises
  • Practicing together can be fun bonding time

CONS

  • The student receives negative reinforcement
  • The parents don’t pay attention
  • Direction comes from someone other than the teacher
  • They don’t know how to let go, so the student can play on his/her own
  • Non-violin lesson topics come up for discussion

Parents that sit in should:

  • Have realistic expectations.
    (As Suzuki explains, a baby doesn’t speak right away, first he/she makes noise, then words, then phrases… etc.)
  • Take notes.
  • Watch attentively to assist.
  • Provide POSITIVE only feedback when assisting at home. If it is not correct, say “Very nice, but I know you can do it (or this specific thing) better.”
  • Listen to instructor, don’t provide another way of looking at it… especially during the lesson.
  • Relax. If the student does not get it this week, it will come. Persistence is key.
  • Most of all, keep it fun. Praise every effort. Try to do it better each time.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Sitting in does not have to be weekly. If you can come in every now and then, you are more than welcome!

How Much Should I Practice?

It is not necessarily how much time you invest,although there is a definite correlation between more practice time and better results =),  but what type of practice you are doing while investing that time. Sometimes tips and tricks can help make a 30-minute practice session more effective than a two-hour drill. Repetition is not the key, unless you are repeating it correctly, memorizing the feel, steps, or sound and practicing thoughtfully. If you practice it a million times and finally get it right, don’t put your violin down thinking you have conquered your problem. Practice it the right way a million more.

Answer: This equals three million hours =)

Have a question you want answered? Leave it as a comment below.