Tuesday, October 06, 2009

More Socks & Fiddle

Gary's second pair of hiking socks fit better than the first, although he's still concerned that the tops may be too loose. We won't know for sure until he takes them out on the trail, though.

Meanwhile, I had my third fiddle lesson today and actually learned a tune: "Mary Had a Little Lamb." The fingering would be easy, if getting my fingers where Charlene wants them didn't make me feel like my arm's being twisted out of its socket. If my left hand's doing what it should, my bow hold inevitably disintegrates, and when the bow hold's okay, the left hand's out of position, or I'm moving my shoulders too much, or my bow isn't straight. Plus my tone's cruddy, although I trust that will improve with practice.

I've ordered a metronome, which should arrive from Amazon on Thursday. Charlene wanted me to get one, because she says I'm trying to play faster than my brain can think. My homework's to start playing with the metronome at 70 bpm, and gradually get faster until I reach 100 bpm, maintaining good tone along the way. This may take a while!

Does anybody have any tips on how I can get my left hand into position without feeling like I'm trying to become Gumby?


  1. I used to tape a thumbtack onto the underside of the neck, so my little students would be motivated to keep their left wrist straight. Ultimately, though, you're just going to have to persevere until your muscles, tendons, and bones get used to this very extreme position. My advice is, take frequent breaks; while a stretchy feeling is good, pain is not.

    Remember, that when a kid learns to play the fiddle, they are still growing, and their arm grows into the shape it needs to be in to play the violin.

    Your arm will remodel as well, but the process will take much longer.

  2. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Wow! I never knew learning to play an instrument could cause physical pain/"remodeling" like that. Ouch! Sounds like little ballerina-wannabe girls training their hips to turn out & later on getting their toes support their body weight. Doesn't happen on piano, your hands & fingers just get flexible. Unless over ten years of lessons I somehow didn't notice something like that happening.

  3. When I was a more regular viola player, I found that stretching and "warming up" my left arm on a regular basis helped with some of the bending issues. I also know some people who would wrap their wrists; I think the rationale was to give the muscles some support until they learn to adapt. Not sure about that one, though--I never tried it.


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