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4 Ways to Play Soft or Loud on the Violin or Viola



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Can you play as soft and loud you want on the violin or viola? How to do it?

Do you know there are 4 ways to play soft and loud on the violin or viola?

How and when to use them, so you can use dynamics in every way you like and find most suitable for the piece you are playing?

1) Amount of bow (lots or a little)
2) weight of your arm
3) place on the string
4) amount of bow hair you use

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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What to Play at a Solo Violin Gig



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Please find here my personal selection of violin gig books to use: http://astore.amazon.com/violloun-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=9

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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How to Release the Tension in your Neck when Playing the Violin? | Violin & Viola TV #210



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My Violin & Viola Academy student Susan has pain in her neck while playing the violin. She writes…

Hi Zlata,

I am working on the Weight vs Pressure thing but I can’t get rid of the tension in my neck etc. I also adjusted my chin- and shoulder rests and it feels a bit more comfortable.

Thank you so much for your kind attention whenever possible.
Susan

Some people spend fortunes and a lot of time and frustration on trying out new chinrests and shoulder rests. The important thing to realize here is that it’s not all in the material. No shoulder rest or chinrest can compensate a bad hold or balance.

People tend to think ‘I know how to hold my violin’, but there is always some improvement to make.

The trick is to find balance between your left hand and collar bone. The weight of the violin should be distributed around 50/50 on your collar bone and left hand.

It’s a common misconception that you should squeeze the violin between your shoulder and chin. Certainly with the viola, being longer and bigger, this can cause quite some injury.

Lots of people, me too, use the expression ‘put your violin on your shoulder’. Actually it’s best to have your violin rest on your collar bone instead of your shoulder. This is another common misconception about violin hold. The pictures you find in books are often exaggerated to prevent children from holding the violin too much down (with the scroll pointing to the floor).

In a comfortable balanced violin hold, the endpin points to the middle of your throat. Your violin rests on your collar bone and in your left hand (this even improves intonation). Your chin doesn’t have to squeeze the violin, but just prevents the violin from wobbling while bowing.

By implementing these tips and relaxing your neck and chin, you can play comfortably for hours a day. Search for a hold that is good for you and doesn’t activate your neck too much.

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 & Viola TV episode to answering your question!

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How, When and Why to Tilt Your Violin Bow | Violin & Viola TV #215



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In this episode of Violin & Viola TV I answer a question from one of our viewers Taran. He writes:

Hi Zlata! I’ve been watching your videos on youtube and have found them very helpful.

I’ve searched around on several sites and video tutorials and never saw this addressed. Does the angle at which you hold the bow matter? I noticed when I see other people play that they typically have the hair of the bow pointing towards the bridge, whereas when I play, I have it angled with the hair pointed more towards the neck. I’ve tried rotating the bow to play on the other side of the hairs and noticed no change in my tone. I have included pictures to show my position and bow hold.

Kindest Regards,

Taran J Hook

In the video I show you what Taran means and answer his question.

Your teacher might tell you that you should bow with all the hair and have your bow straight above the hair. This is great for the beginning. To bow with all the hair, a good sound and with a whole bow is your basic way of bowing. It teaches you fundamental bowing technique. It also teaches you to control the bow and not have it swob around over the string.

How to tilt your bow?

If you learned some basic bowing technique, you can start varying with the amount of hair you use when bowing. To use less hair, you can tilt the bow a bit away from the bridge in the direction of the scroll of your violin. You might lift your wrist a bit doing this.

For the bow itself it doesn’t matter in which direction you tilt your bow. The bow hair doesn’t sound differently on each side.

However… for your bowing technique and things like spiccato it does matter. When you tilt your bow the wrong way (so in the direction of the bridge and away from the scroll) you lock your hand, strain your wrist and block your movement. You can bow better when you tilt the bow in the right direction.

Why and when to tilt your bow?

You probably see players tilt their bow. They do this to:

play softer
play smoother at the frog
In the video I demonstrate how to get a regular sound and smooth bow change at the frog by tilting the bow just at the frog.

Don’t tilt your bow all the time. It might be easier to get a smooth sound in the beginning, but you should also be able to bow smoothly with all the hair. Tilting your bow should be an effect that you execute consciously. It depends on the music you play and the sound you want to make.

I hope I have clarified some things around tilting your bow with this video. Thanks for watching!

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 & Viola TV episode to answering your question!

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How to Play in Tune Right from the Start | Violin Lounge TV #232



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Before I explain how you can play in tune on the violin right from the start, I will first explain why you would want that.

This video is inspired be an e-mail conversation I had with one of my followers. He wrote that his wish was to first learn as many notes and scales on the violin as fast as possible and that ‘playing in tune will come later’.

That’s a way to develop a very sloppy technique that’s very hard to correct in the future. You might have to start all over again and it will be even harder than starting from scratch.

Please remember practice doesn’t make perfect… it just makes permanent.

Practice makes permanent.

If you play on the whole fingerboard without minding the intonation (playing in tune), than you will not only NOT learn the right technique, but you will learn a wrong technique. You’ll make the wrong spots and the out of tune notes permanent.

This is why it’s important to try to play in tune right from the start and to be very precise while practicing. Yes, this means that you will learn all the notes on the violin much slower, but the end result is worth it. You will have a good technique, a beautiful tone and you will play in tune.

Here’s how to play in tune right from the start…

First develop a decent basic bowing technique. If you can’t get a nice sound of your violin, don’t start playing with your left hand fingers just yet. Practice on open strings until you can produce a nice sound consistently.

When you are ready to begin with the fingers, start with the basic frame where your second and third finger are close together. There is some space between your first and second finger and your third and fourth finger. In this frame you learn the one octave major scales of G, D and A… all starting on open strings.

Don’t learn all fingers at the same time. Start with the first finger. Once you can consistently play the first finger in tune, you can use it as a foundation for the second finger. The third finger is learned by placing it very close to the second finger. Take about one to two weeks per finger.

You see how important it is to follow a step by step curriculum?

If you want to learn the good technique right away and don’t want unnecessary detours, the Violin Lounge Academy will offer you structure and curriculum right from the start. You will learn in a fun and interactive way and in different ways simultaneously.

Within the Violin Lounge Academy you will find the course Violin Lounge Basics amongst many other courses. My students get great results from it and even advanced students benefit from the basic lessons. Violin Lounge Basics teaches how to play the violin from scratch, holds your hand, tells you exactly what to practice, in what order and how. The results is a good basic technique on the violin. If this sounds interesting to you, click here to read more www.violinloungeacademy.com.

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 Transcribe Violin Sheet Music for the Viola | Violin Lounge TV #227



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This is the episode a lot of violists have been waiting for!
Do you annoy yourself on the fact that so much beautiful music is available for the violin and that you can buy every song in sheet music, but for the viola you can’t find it?
This video explains exactly how you can transcribe violin sheet music for the viola in 4 easy steps.

Step 1: You need to have software in which you can write sheet music. The software I use in the video is PreSonus Notion, what I use in my violin studio. A free alternative would be MuseScore. This same instruction can be followed in several other notation software programs.

Step 2: The violin sheet music must be inside your software. There are ways to import files, but if you are working with a PDF or with a printed paper, you have to write the notes in the software yourself.

Step 3: Change the clef from violin to viola. It’s possible in most software, but it can look a little different. In the video I explain it for Notion. Now you have the same pitches, but in the viola clef. Of course the notes now can be too high to play on your viola. If you can play it like this, you can skip the next step. If the pitch is too high, go to the next step.

Step 4: Transpose the sheet music one fifth down. If you have to play together with people and have to stick to the original key, transpose an octave down if that’s easier to play. If you play solo or it’s ok to change the key, you can go one fifth lower.

Well… not so difficult, is it? When you can do this, you can make the viola repertoire just as vast as the violin repertoire.

Of course you can use this skill to transcribe it from other instruments to other instruments than the violin and the viola.

Now I would like to hear from you! Have you transcribed a piece successfully? Be so kind to post it below and share it with other violists. In this way you can enjoy each other’s work and don’t have to do double work.

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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Should You Use Stickers on Your Violin or Viola Fingerboard?



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Buy your Don’t Fret position indicator here: http://astore.amazon.com/violloun-20/detail/B0052FU602

On one side your muscle memory should get the chance to develop and learn the right positions…

On the other side you have to learn to play with your ears and not with your eyes…

Position markers are never exact as intonation is far more complex than just placing your fingers on one spot…

Watching your violin while playing can ruin your violin hold…

Everything is true, so you need to find the right way to use position indicators.

In this video you will learn how to use position markers in a way that they help your technique, intonation and hearing development without ruining it…

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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How to Get a Clean Sound Without Tension in Your Left Hand



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Come on over to http://violinlounge.com/how-to-get-a-clean-sound-without-tension-in-your-left-hand/ to enjoy the discussion with other violinists and violists worldwide.

This episode of Violin & Viola TV is inspired by my Violin & Viola Academy student Susan. She writes:

Hi Zlata

I Hope you enjoy every moment of your holiday and relax as much as you can. Thank you for all the wonderful videos you provide for us your students.

Something I am realy struggling with is the pressure on the strings with my left hand fingers. I think that I apply way too much pressure, but if I don’t do it I can’t get a clean sound. Do you think that is the main reason for the tension?

Thank you so much for your kind attention whenever possible.

Susan

This is something I myself learned wrong at first and after that learned to do it well.

There are three ways to place your fingers on the string:

One way is to place your finger on the string as softly as possible and to use very little tension. The downside of this way is that the finger placement becomes very insecure, vage and you don’t hear a good articulation coming from your lef hand.

You need to use some force to hit the string to the fingerboard. That leads us to the second way: People use a lot of tension and force to squeeze the string onto the fingerboard. You get a more clean sound, but your left hand will cramp after a while. That’s also not the way to do it.

The third and (in my opinion) best way is to hit your fingers on the fingerboard. In this way your intonation will also improve.

You need to hold your violin or viola in a relaxed way. You need to keep your left arm under the violin or viola in a relaxed way.

Your left hand fingers however need to be very strong and sporty. Without the bow you need to be able to hear your finger tips hitting the string, which hits the fingerboard. The strings should slap on the fingerboard a little, as if you are hitting a fly with your finger tip.

In this way your left hand will be relaxed, your finger tips won’t hurt and your intonation (playing in tune) will be more accurate.

Perhaps you can analyze for yourself what way you are placing your fingers and if you can make some improvements with the tips from this video.

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

What’s your favorite shoulder rest and why? Share it in the comments below!

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 & Viola TV episode to answering your question!

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How to Play in Tune with the Fourth Finger on the Violin or Viola



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Join the Pinky Training Program for FREE: http://violinlounge.com/how-to-train-your-pinky-to-play-violin-and-viola-left-and-right-pinky-pinky-training-program/

Robyn writes in response to the Pinky Training Program:

LOL yes, I have 4th finger phobia! I am not afraid to use my (left) pinky, but every day when I practise it seems to want to go to another place. I will be too sharp, or too flat, and even if I correct this, the next day it is off on it’s own journey again. Frustrating!
Thanks again for another informative video Zlata

In this video I will tell you how to play in tune with the fourth finger on the violin or viola.

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

Love,

Zlata

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How to Tune Your Violin or Viola with an Electronic Tuner (or app)



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This video shows you exactly how to tune your violin or viola easily with an electronic tuner or a tuner app. It shows you exactly how to use the pegs and the fine tuners.

For tuning small differences you can use the fine tuners. For tuning larger differences you can use the tuning pegs.

When you are just beginning to learn to tune, I recommend using just the fine tuners. It’s handy to have four fine tuners on your violin.

The violin is tuned G D A E from low to high. The viola is tuned C G D A for high to low. I know some mnemonics for this in Dutch, but please enlighten me in the comments about the English mnemonic!

Eventually it’s best and most accurate to tune with a tuning fork. However, for beginners, this might be very difficult. As it’s important to tune your violin or viola every time you play, I recommend using a tuner. When you want to learn to tune with a tuning fork, watch this video: How (and WHY?) to Tune Your Violin with a Tuning Fork? http://violinlounge.com/how-and-why-to-tune-your-violin-with-a-tuning-fork/

How does a tuner work? When you talk, the tuner reacts on the sound of your voice. When you pluck a string, the tuner shows you which tone it is and whether it’s in tune, too low or too high. Some tuners have a special violin mode that only recognizes the violin strings. When it doesn’t, use the chromatic mode.

When you use the chromatic mode, your tuner can indicate a tone that doesn’t match your string. For example: when the G string is very low, it becomes a high F sharp. This means the string is tuned too low, not too high.

When you are tuning, please always check where you are by watching the tuner constantly. Don’t just tune and check later. Otherwise you can tune too high and your string can snap.

Remember that the violin or viola doesn’t have guitar mechanic. The pegs are smooth. When you just turn, they will come out of the peg box. Make sure to push them inside the peg box while you are turning the pegs.

It takes quite some practice to become handy in tuning your violin and viola. Just take your time and tune your instrument every time you practice: preferably daily.

Just to summarize the most important things around tuning:

Use the chromatic mode on your tuner. When it has a violin mode, use that, but not for the viola.
Use the fine tuners for small differences and the pegs for larger differences.
Push the pegs into the peg box while you are tuning.
When you have to tune your violin or viola a lot (when it’s new or there are lots of changes in temperature or humidity) check if your bridge is still standing up straight. There will be a video about this soon.
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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