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What to Play at a Solo Violin Gig



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When you are asked to play on a party, wedding or birthday… solo… do you know what to play?

Watch this video and learn what I play when I have a solo gig and how YOU can learn to give a successful solo performance too!

Is this video useful to you? Please let me know in the comments!

Love,

Zlata

PS: Do you have questions for me on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com

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5 Tips on How To Do Vibrato with Your Pinky on the Violin or Viola



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Bernard writes…

“I can use my pinky pretty confidently, but I have to avoid it on longer notes. Sometimes I have trouble getting a pretty vibrato sound with my fourth finger. It’s odd, because sometimes I get a good vibrato, but sometimes it sounds dead. Could you give any tips on how to work on this? Vibrato seems so much more difficult with the pinky, because there’s not much finger to use to begin with.”

Let’s talk about pinky vibrato.

Lots of violinist and violists manage to make a vibrato or even a good vibrato with their fourth finger (left pinky), but it will always sound better when they do vibrato with (for example) their third finger.

You might make the choice to play long notes with a nice vibrato with the third finger in a higher position instead of the fourth finger. This is very normall. I see violin and viola players do this all the time: when I look at soloists playing pieces and when I look at fingerings in pieces.

It’s ok to use your third finger instead of your fourth finger to make a better vibrato, but don’t always avoid your fourth finger. It’s possible to make a beautiful vibrato, also with your fourth finger.

What players experience as difficult in pinky vibrato, is the lack of freedom of movement.

Here are some tips to increase the freedom of movement and to improve your pinky vibrato:

1) When your pinky is straight, it’s very hard to make a good vibrato. You hardly have the freedom to make a vibrato movement. To solve this pivot your lower arm a little more, so your knuckles are almost aligned with the strings. This brings your pinky closer to the string. In this way it’s possible to make a round pinky. Vibrato will be easier when your pinky is not stretched. What also helps your pinky is to have the neck of your violin or viola a little more in your hand.

2) Lift your other fingers: your first and second finger, maybe even your third finger. This gives your hand the freedom to move around your pinky making the vibrato movement.

3) Bernard writes that sometimes the pinky vibrato works out and sometimes not. This can differ when you have to play a low, normal, high or stretched fourth finger. Try to identify for yourself when you can do vibrato and when not. The rounder you can place your pinky, the easier the vibrato gets. Try to have a flexible and round pinky in all positions.

4) Practice vibrato with the violin or viola on your lap. The position of your lower arm and hand will be more natural. You can do vibrato easier and enhance your vibrato skills when practicing in this way.

5) Change between arm, wrist and finger vibrato to find out which one or which combination works best for your pinky vibrato.

Good luck implementing these tips. Please let me know in the comments below what your experiences and results are so far.

Love,

Zlata
PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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How to Play Semitones in Tune on the Violin and Viola



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This episode is all about how to play semitones in tune on the violin or viola.

To make this video tutorial accessible for players of all levels I use the first semitone you learn on the violin or viola as an example.

The first fingering you learn is a tone between the first and second finger, a semitone between the second and third finger and a tone between the third and fourth finger. This means that the second and third finger need to be really close to each other.

Lot’s of beginners play their third finger too high, because they don’t squeeze it against the second finger enough. In the video I demonstrate this.

Let me give you some tips to solve this issue:

Tip 1: Know really well how the semitone should sound and how it differs from a tone.

This image of the tones in your hear or in your ear must be really clear and solid. Otherwise your fingers will not know what you want from them. You must know to imagine and to recognize the difference between a tone and a semitone.

You can train this be listening to recorded music (I demonstrate the tone and semitone in this video), playing the tone and semitone on the piano if you have one or comparing it to a tone and semitone you can already play.

Tip 2: Know how you have to place your fingers.

Some people tell me that they can’t find the strength to push the third finger against the second finger. This doesn’t necessarily have to with strength. You don’t need a lot of strength for violin or viola playing anyway.

It matters HOW you hold your left hand and how you place your fingers. Lots of people struggle with the semitone, because their third finger is flat and not curved.

Be sure to put your violin or viola IN your hand, so you create some space for your fingers. Pivot your hand a bit towards the neck of the violin. The closer your knuckles are to the neck of the violin, the less your fingers need to stretch to reach their positions on the string. In the video I demonstrate how to do it right or wrong.

Place your finger round, so curved, and not flat. In this way you can slide your third finger over your second finger to find it’s place. This brings your fingertips on the string really close together. You should have the idea that you almost place your third finger on top of the second finger. They are trying to push each other from their place.

Just to summarize: To be able to play semitones in tune you need to:

Be able to clearly imagine the sound of the tone and the interval
Make the correct movement when you place your finger
Have your arm, hand and finger in the right position

Is this video helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!

Love,
Zlata

PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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How to Read in the Viola Clef (for Violinists)



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Are you a violinist and would you like to play the viola? Do you struggle with reading in the viola clef?

In this video I explain all about reading in the viola clef.

Sheet music for the violin and the viola is written in a different clef. The violin uses the G-clef and the viola uses the C-clef.

The viola clef indicates the C on the spot where you (as a violinist) are used to find the B. You might be thinking: everything I read is one note higher. It’s actually seven notes lower.

The A string on the violin and viola are the same pitch. When you read the open A string in the viola clef, it looks like a G (second finger on the E string) on the violin.

The C that is indicated by the C-clef is the C you usually play with the third finger on the G string.

The C string is the only viola string we don’t have on the violin. It’s lower than the G string. When you see the open C string in the viola clef… it looks like the B you usually play with the second finger on the G string. When you would like to write this down in the G-clef, there would be a lot of help lines.

Would you like to start playing the viola and get used to reading in the viola key? I recommend getting a beginner book for the viola, even when you have a more advanced level on the violin. In this way you get used to reading in the clef step by step.

You can buy the book I show you in the video right here http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049BP6U0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0049BP6U0&linkCode=as2&tag=violloun-20&linkId=INHLXH6BADUXJS4N, but you can also use other method books.

Make solid connections between the note name, how the note looks like, where the note can be found on your instrument and how the note sounds. This gives you a good foundation to reading in different clefs.

Don’t use ‘shortcuts’ like reading the viola clef like you read the third position in the violin clef. You will be confused when there are a lot of sharps and flats and you can start over.

Is this video helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!

Love,

Zlata

PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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How to Cross Strings without Noise



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How to cross strings without hearing them?

Watch my previous video about crossing strings in general: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d60TLkStS0

Tip 1: Make bowing and string crossing a separate movement.

Tip 2: If you use a bow stroke that leaves the string, your bow will be in the air when you cross the A string. You won’t touch the A string. If you use a bow stroke that doesn’t leave the string, than don’t leave the string when crossing strings.

In the video I explain this exactly and will also advice you on practicing.

Love,

Zlata

PS: Do you have questions for me on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com

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