Improving violin

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orla25
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Hey everyone! Hope you're having a good summer holiday.

Okay so straight to the two questions, one is: how can I improve my bowing on the violin?
You see when I play the violin my bow doesn't go straight instead it tends to go upwards. That is why I wonder if any of you violin players out there have any tips to help me with this issue.

Also, I find that my counting is pretty bad for the grade I am at. I just can't seem to get it into my head. I will count but I just can't seem to play with the beat when I first see music which isn't the best for being in an orchestra. How can I improve counting? I want to be able to see a piece and kind of be able to play. Tapping my foot doesn't help, I just mix up and it's like I am doing two different things at once. I normally listen to the melody and I can just play after that.

Any tips, thank you!
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orla25
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ihavemooedtoday
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(disclaimer: I am a pretty bad violist myself, but I've played other instruments to pretty high levels)

My bowing used to always go up the fingerboard, too. My teacher told me to push the wrist out when near the tip, and that seems to have helped. Sorry it's hard to describe.

Also, I found playing while watching myself in the mirror really helps. It helps with catching many little posture problems, not just bow going up the fingerboard. My vibrato got much better also for some reason.

What kind of counting do you have trouble with? Long notes, triplets, etc? For long notes my orchestra conductor suggested subdividing (eg counting a semibreve as 4 beats of 4 semiquavers each). It's very useful when you have for example a few bars of rest, and need to come in without a cue. For 6/8 time, count in 2 beats.

Can you sing to the beat? It may be easier to sing at first before playing, since singing is easier. Don't have to sing all the right notes, too.
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musicman1
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Hello Orla25!

I have done my grade 8 on Violin and have just graduated from a music degree (just in case you were suspicious of my ability to answer )

I had exactly the same problem as you with bowing, this is what I did, I made two bits of polystyrene U shaped things, one to put over my finger board and one over the bridge, now obviously you have to make them fit snuggly but not too snug and even so mine made my violin sound awful so I wouldn't suggest using them while practising properly but I used to just play scales for about 20 minutes with them on and then I'd take them off and practice in the mirror it takes a while so just keep practising, it's all about muscle memory.

And as for your second question about counting, just sight read sight read sight read, all the time. I was lucky, when I was learning I was one of those VERY rare musicians who loved sight reading! I would just play through random pieces all the time, and because of this I am now a very good sight reader and my rhythm is one of my best qualities. Again this will come with time and the more you get used to certain rhythms the better you'll be, you'll be to recognise the look and shape of the notes without having to work out where the beats go and it will come second nature Hope this helps! xx
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