Poor TV, yes I bet those quavers are a pain. You cellists will be there playing away wishing Jaws would just get a move on!
Well I'm back home and had my first couple of practices after not playing for a few days. As expected yesterday's practice -- the first on Wolfy for a couple of weeks -- was pretty scrappy. Today's was a little better. It's always like that isn't it when you haven't been playing and it made me think how violins are a bit like ponies - the more you use them the friendlier they get!
So, for those of you who are just taking up the violin again after a longish break:
Tip #13 Don't be discouraged if playing at first feels like a totally alien experience. Just practice a little more each day and gradually the feel will come back to you.
However this is important:
Tip # 14 Ensure a good grip, good posture and comfort with the right combination of shoulder rest and chin rest to suit you.
A few people may have a build that doesn't require a shoulder rest, but most will benefit from one of these. I was glad to discover the Bon Musica shoulder rest which can be adjusted in all sorts of ways - there is a lot of information on this on the web and more about my experience in the Viva Strings shoulder rests thread.
A comfortable chin rest is also crucial. We also have a choice of side or middle-mounted chin rests. I've followed some advice I received from a violin professor during a consultation lesson many years ago, that a middle chin rest can help those of us with short arms (he also advised me to get a 7/8 size violin -- a pity he didn't say 3/4 size ) .
The height of the chin rest can also be adjusted by adding more cork where it sits on top of the violin. After today's practice I decided to put some extra cork under my chin rest. Though I don't have a long neck I am now playing a 3/4 size violin which of course is also smaller in the vertical dimension. I had been given a nice flat piece of cork by a local luthier from which my OH carefully cut two small shapes with a Stanley knife (also known as a box-cutter).
When it comes to removing or installing a chin rest here is a really good tip regarding an item you possibly already have among your stationery:
Tip #15 The wire popped out of a 25mm fold-back clip makes an ideal tool for removing and replacing your chin rest.
Just remember the old motto when dealing with screws "lefty loosey, righty tighty" and don't over-tighten.
My raised chin rest does feel more comfortable and it seems that as less of my neck is now squished sideways that dratted double chin thingy has been reduced! Still I'll continue with my face exercises.
Next time, since I've got you all set up and exercising just about everything else, I'd better talk about exercising your fingers!