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new youtube channel [Oct. 6th, 2008|12:17 am]
about a month ago i figured out how to make movie files and started uploading rare violin recordings so you can see i have been collecting for a long time now

http://www.youtube.com/rareviolintreasures

also have recently discovered the wonderfulness of kempff's interpretations of the music beethoven, i think he is one of the few people in the world who ever understood his music
linkpost comment

gavotte or garotte? [Nov. 27th, 2007|10:34 am]
Decided to finish memorizing bach gavotte 1 and 2 on guitar before i master anything else, I barely study music at all anymore and will be getting a second job soon no matter what.

Has everyone been keeping up the updates on my you tube channel?

http://www.youtube.com/Ziegunerweiser
linkpost comment

church of trees [Sep. 1st, 2007|11:51 am]
what i like
broccoli with ranch veggie dip
what i dont like
getting a new tub of veggie dip and taking that first bite only to discover i bought the fat free version (yuk)

well tempered mania - been baching my brains out lately listeing to schiffs recording of bachs well tempered clavier, id much prefer to hear garliov play them but the library didnt have that

on you tube:
pollini/mozart 23 - i liked it but it got dull
church of trees - ive been playing violin to this piece by liz story, only a video of some girl playing it but its a really wonderful piece i may fully transcribe for guitar and violin

this has been all i have doing musically the last few months, not very much but my life has changed so much recently and coping with tragedies in my life that are unbearable at times, despite all this - advances have been made in my professional life as my ability is growing to service computers and write code that processes efficiently

i think the next few months is a new phase in my life that is just about to start and i have no idea what will happen but certainly things cant get worse and it is also possible for my greatest dream to come true again, i have hope but im so worried about what could happen

i pray every day for a chance to be happy, time will tell if this was meant to be so
link3 comments|post comment

.flv [Aug. 14th, 2007|11:41 am]
another letter to my violin friend regarding saving videos on you tube
*****************************************************************
Ive been meaning to write you but have been too busy with work, its totally crazy here right now but slowly im getting caught up!

...but did want to mention something, did you see this thread at v.com?

http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=10988

ive been experimenting with this stuff and it really works

1)use this page to download the video:

http://keepvid.com/

paste the address below where it says "Download videos DIRECT from most video sites Copy the link of the page with the video on it and paste it here" and press enter or click the download button

2)you will be prompted to save the file, change the name to something meaningful and select the folder you want to put it in

3)after it is done downloading rename the filename with a .flv extention

4)go here to download the flv player and install it, dont need to install any of the other stuff there (all programs are free)

http://applian.com/flvplayer/?src=KeepvidPlay

-click where it says download
-answer the question What's your favorite web site or software for COPYING (not playing) FLV files to your PC? and click the button that says submit and thanks for sharing
-click on downloads at the top
-click the download button under where it says flv player

5)burn all your files and the flv player exe file to a cd incase your hard drive crashes and you have them forever, well not forever - cds do have a shelf life of 20 years

6)thats it no money to spend, no programs to register

7)the flv player doesnt loop and you cant create playlists but so what its free and were watching free videos we can save, how awesome

8)you gotta hear alexandra play the clip of the glazunov ooooh i love that concerto and i wish the clip was complete!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uOhRlV3kxO8

9)alexandra plays paganinis nel cor variations

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Le6NCXu4e0c

-while i no longer enjoy listening to paganini like i did when i was young i must say i thought it was impressive

10)id like to direct your attntion to the 5 part series of "The Universal Mind of Bill Evans"

http://youtube.com/results?search_query=mind+of+bill+evans&search=Search
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Jm6V7bWnVpw

all i can say is wow that is awesome

11)id like to direct your attention to the 5 part series of "The Life and Times of Glenn Gould" &

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Jiuw44HHb4g
http://youtube.com/results?search_query=life%20and%20times%20of%20glen%20gould&search=Search

12)you tube has "horowitz the last romantic" & search for "richter the enigma " in google searching for videos, you can get it from google videos



...theres more stuff to discuss but need to get back to work now - will get back to you as soon as things settle down here at work, ive been working all day all night for a while now but im used to that as ive been a workaholic since college days, a habbit i never really got rid of
linkpost comment

dam girl [Jul. 28th, 2007|03:29 am]
did you all see this?

http://www.deutschegrammophon.com//gpp/popup.htms?ID=verbier07

she played the entire a minor sonata - i was totally stunned and breathless the whole way@!
linkpost comment

huh? [Jul. 14th, 2007|06:23 pm]
its official, my favorite thing to say is huh?

other than that here is yet another letter to my friend olivier in france who maintains the holdsworth web i mentioned in my previous thread...

Re: Stanley Jordan, Don Mock, etc

Hey ollie

i saw stanely jordan when i was like 17 (that was 22 years ago), he was the opening act for spyro gyra, just one guy on the stage and i couldnt believe what i was hearing, no one heard of him back then and i remember people complaining because i kept saying wow and it was bothering them (the performance was in a more formal venue)...

Don mock? hell yeah i know who he was, i grew up on mit books (musicians institute in hollywood) and from what i understand he was one of the founders. Ive had his books "artful arpeggios" and "fusion" for years, i still have them actually and still think they are important books and i use them in when i teach sometimes. I am aware he made videos but i never bought them and never saw them until recently i found parts of them on youtube! It was cool to finally see him play after all those years of studying his books. I would describe his sound as george benson mixed with larry carlton with just a bit more distortion/gain on the amp.

When I say i grew up on mit stuff don mock is the tip of the iceberg, the following is a list of other mit faculty and materials that have influenced me that you may or may not be aware of:

frank gambale - technique books 1 and 2 - several videos especially monster licks and speed picking, several transcription books
howard roberts - columns in back of old guitar player, chord melody instructional book
les wise - jazz guitar instructional book - bebop licks
joe diorio - fusion - intervallic designs - creative jazz guitar video
scott henderson - several videos some are on
ron etege - Chord Melody Phrases for Guitar, he has several others
don mock hot licks - fusion - artful arpeggios, several videos
paul gilbert - several videos, transcriptions of racerk x and mr big include intersting sequences and string skipping ideas
shawn lane - power licks video - power solos video
brett garsed - a video called "rock fusion"

so as you can see ive always been a student of the shred school and also the jazz school and also the fusion school, im not sure i do either one very well unfortunately but im the biggest fan and i try to have fun and just keep playing and maybe one day ill get there, must never give up

some jazz standards ive been playing lately
love for sale
green dolphin street
our love is here to stay
solar
there will never be another you
autumn leaves

few more intersting things

did you know ralph towner has 2 transcription books out now?
i found some vinnie moore power tabs
i found some william ackerman power tabs i love his sound!
i found some racer x power tabs - scarified and frenzy - yow
i found a power tab for elvis at the hop and the big wave by tribal tech
found some gambale power tabs and videos at our tube
found some joe pass power tabs
found a power tab for cruise missle by steve morse
found power tabs for several mahavishnu and mc laughlin tunes especially guardian angel
found power tab for dimeola stuff including egyptian danza and mediterranean sundance, some acoustic stuff too
found some chick corea power tabs like electric band stuff and other material
found several coltrane and parker power tabs



i found these videos interesting

bireli and friends
http://youtube.com/watch?v=tbqkO7kp-KQ

some kid from italy
http://youtube.com/watch?v=NiNXoy-20Tc

pual gilbert insteresting string skip ideas
http://youtube.com/watch?v=oKvIAuXMl7U

paul at home
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VJk6RQE_oY

paul plays yngwie, eddie, etc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu9_gg277wU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn9AUsz14aw

cool django lick ideas
http://youtube.com/watch?v=ipzRAWSrV8A

brett garsed from rock fusion video
http://youtube.com/watch?v=fTMBVKfBcqs

shawn playing rice with the angels in 97
http://youtube.com/watch?v=loJDXgWx9_U

shawn playing rice with the angels in 95
http://youtube.com/watch?v=LP9KZ00P1Qo

another preformance of rice with the angels
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huh9k2UjxYA

shawn playing Serpents and Pigs
http://youtube.com/watch?v=k2Bb67nem4U

shawn playing time is the enemy
http://youtube.com/watch?v=DVVyi-DuwMQ

another performance of time is the enemy
http://youtube.com/watch?v=PYq4p384wWw

shwan plays Deep Umbra
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z8vb6Af73mw

Shawn jamming with Johansson Hellborg
http://youtube.com/watch?v=TUtWkkXOG_E

shawn plays fred by holdsworth/williams/pasqua
http://youtube.com/watch?v=uNxxtTO5_mQ

shwan lane plays plays Mike Stern's Upside Downside
http://youtube.com/watch?v=C2IU3926fsI

shawn plays steve morse's the introduction
http://youtube.com/watch?v=5BCS2DWQUXk

so what from the centrifugal funk disk (shawn lane, brett garsed, frank gambale)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=XakV-olPDJM

some guy accurately plays a shawn solo from the centrifugal funk disk
http://youtube.com/watch?v=BQ3cj94_r84

same guy shows you some of shawns secrets
http://youtube.com/watch?v=_7Ldg7URHwY

these are from shawns videos power licks and power solos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Skk9Q0Qd_k
http://youtube.com/watch?v=QjBKLOMauJ8
http://youtube.com/watch?v=PRSGs9Ve_7I
http://youtube.com/watch?v=57q5zdvMw58
http://youtube.com/watch?v=UJ5bafUGWb4
http://youtube.com/watch?v=L0gPkt8Y-HI
http://youtube.com/watch?v=fOLZ6z959U8
http://youtube.com/watch?v=-Q_r8DD1GCE
http://youtube.com/watch?v=-f2Jq10j1ms
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJmQxx8Lmhg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSRQfTVsz4Y

cheers
scott


---------[ Received Mail Content ]----------

Thanks for the info on Ted Greene
I'm not familiar with his playing, but I will certainly check it out,
especially Bill Evans is one of my favorite piano player ever. One other player
who amazes me is Stanley Jordan, but I haven't heard about him in a very long
time, he plays guitar like a piano (or a stick bass). I guess you know him.

You're right there's so much tabs, pdf, etc on the web,
I've downloaded tons, but I end up never exercising any, too much to choose
from, weird isn't ?
Then I get depressed with all this material and I feel guilty !!
Now I decided I should try to focus on one or two educational videos and one or
two books. I need to improve on jazz. Do you know Don Mock's videos or books,
I've found it to be perfect for me, he's a great educator. Do you know him?




response to this letter i sent:
>
>
>
>
> Hey
>
>
>
> ive had teds books for a long time now but never heard him play until a few
> years ago, he made several books well worth checking out, maybe youve heard
> of them?
>
>
>
> chord chemistry
>
> modern chord progressions
>
> Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing, Volume 1
>
> Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing, Volume 2
>
>
>
> yes if you watch the videos you will see ted greene was the most accomplished
> harmonic guitar player ever, ive never seen anyone play guitar with so much
> polyphony and contrary motion along with joe pass style bass lines/comping
> and bill evans style chord voicings, as though joe pass and bach and bill
> evnas were all in 1 person playing jazz guitar, im shocked by how
> harmonically interesting his playing is, ive never seen anyone play with that
> depth of harmony before
>
>
>
> lately ive been filling up on other powertabs ive found on the net too, im
> amazed by how much free stuff there is out there, no need to keep buying
> chord solo books like i was going to, its all on the net and free and i can
> store it on a cd instead of having a huge stack of books, i only wish this
> stuff was around 20 years ago when i first started playing
>
>
>
> ok talk to you later and enjoy
>
> scott
linkpost comment

holdsworth webmaster [Jul. 11th, 2007|10:44 am]
this is a response to a ltter i recieved from my friend olivier who is the webmaster of this web:
http://ofeuillerat.free.fr/

it is interesting to note it is a direct link from allans real page here:
http://therealallanholdsworth.com/allanslinks.htm

the intention is for me to preserve what i have been up to musically...

***************************************************************



Re: lickbyneck.com



hey olivier

ya just wanted to congradulate you on your web, its done so well but most of all i love the powertabs and jamming along to rythm tracks and finally starting to plan an allan solo for the first time, sometimes ill pick up the violin and play a violin solo over allans ryhtm tracks, its so fun haha

i havent been into fusion too much the last few years, just alot of bach on violin mostly

ive been goofing around with improvising jazz and became involved with playing music with a saxophone player, one time he played piano and i played violin on ralph towner's icarus it was an interesting moment

lately been goofing around with sheet music and videos on the internet and found your holdsworth powertabs, they have been alot of fun to play with and over, fun to improvise on! I was shocked how accurate some of the solos were haha really was

same thing with lickbyneck, the chord solos are unbelieveable, even if the software doesnt work out, the tabs are generated from the software so you can still look at the tabs, they also have the videos on youtube thats how i found out about them

Hey have you seen the ted greene site lately?

ive also been goofing around with putting some of my compositions into powertab, its so neat to hear them played back and improvise over them! I use it to progaram chords and rythm tracks to practice improvisation over, its a wonderful tool and i cant believe its free!

drink one for me!


cheers
scott

---------[ Received Mail Content ]----------

Hello Scott,
I haven't heard from you in years !!
how are you ?
the soft sounds interesting indeed,
actually I use another kind of tab editor, which is ok for me, it's called Tabledit.
(plus I'm a mac user, I don't have windows !)
cheers
Olivier
linkpost comment

violins, holdsworth, ted greene, joe pass, power tab, composition, etc... [Jul. 10th, 2007|02:02 pm]
...this blog is created for the puropse of recent correspondence that i consider to be significant to me and therefore should be preserved!

to my friend gilbert isbin who is a fingerstyle guitarist/composer and who i have mentioned in previous blogs...

re: violin, holdsworth, ted greene, joe pass, etc...

hey gilbert remember me?

whats up with you?

ive been playing violin the last few years and lately ive been goofing around with power tabs lateky have you tried it? lately i was goofing around with putting some of my compositions into powertab, its so neat to hear them played back! Than and i use it to progaram chords and rythm tracks to practice improvisation over, its a wonderful tool and i cant believe its free

you can get it here:
http://www.power-tab.net/guitar.php

Hay have you seen the ted greene site lately? (tedgreene.com) some of the chord solos on the videos totally blow me away, the contrary motion and the joe pass basslines and bill evans chord viocings, the polyphony is really unbelieveable and sometimes its strange, seems like more than 1 guitar! That and he does the lenny breau harmonic thing unbelieveably well! Its a shame he passed away, id have to say hes the best guitarist ive ever heard playing standards

hey some of the powertab files at this holdsworth site seem accurate, hey maybe ill be able to play holdsworth solos on violin one day? haha that would be so awesome!

you can download holdsworth tabs and midi here:
http://ofeuillerat.free.fr/transcriptions.html

that and lickbyneck.com has some wonderful arrangements have you seen them?

anyways, wow so much new information so fast can only help our playing! maybe ill start playing gigs in a few years haha

perhaps you would consider doing some power tabls of your favorite compositions? id love to play them, maybe ill send one of mine if youre interested?

another thing, i still have the sheets you put up from ther nick drake recording you did and sometimes i play them when i play live, wanted to tell you that people ask me what it is and i tell them about you

i thought of you when i bumped into a little video clip from youre instructional video that i found on youtube:

http://www.power-tab.net/guitar.php

wanted you to see my youtube channel:
http://youtube.com/ziegunerweiser

well thats it for now, its been a long time but ya i have been playing alot of violin lately

hey drop me a line sometime and let me know what youre up to and congrats on all the the wonderful music you have been writing lately


cheers
scott

*******************************************

to my friend olivier who maintains an allan holdsworth website mentioned in the letter that follows...

re: violins, power tab, composition, etc...

hey olivier remember me?

whats up with you?

i just checked out all the power tabs wow who did all that some of those songs sounded accurate even the solos, i was shocked!

Hay have you seen the ted greene site lately, some of the chord solos on the videos are some what like holdsworth

that and lickbyneck.com has some wonderful arrangements have you seen them?

anyways, wow so much new information so fast can only help our playing! maybe ill start playing gigs in a few years haha

ive been playing violin hardcore the last few years and maybe ill be able to play holdsworth on violin one day haha that would be so awesome!

lately i was goofing around with putting some of my compositions into powertab, its so neat to hear them played back! Than and i use it to progaram chords and rythm tracks to practice improvisation over, its a wonderful tool and i cant believe its free!

hey drop me a line sometime and let me know what youre up to and congrats on the wonderful web you have been keeping alive, i sure appreciate it and i think allan does too!

that and drink one for me!


cheers
scott

*******************************************

to my violin friend ritain a reply to a letter she wrote:

Hey rita,

doing well thanks

ya i love all the new chung stuff coming out on you tube isnt it wonderful? i found her mozart most impressive of all for some reason

hey i finally had a chance to listen to jesfowitz play the bruch, i really liked the first movement, it was really dramatic, i found her playing of the 2nd and 3rd movements far less interesting though but i loved the first one thanks for telling me about it, that and theres something about watching a woman play the crap out of a violin!

ive been finding a whole bunch of new violin things that i added to my lists but not many to my favorites so check my violin vol 2 and 3 for all my latest that i found, among them perlman playing sarasate tarantale that i love so much, not as good as the milstein video but no one put a video of him playing that up yet

found alot of interesting new things at youtube other than violin also related to jazz, acoustic jazz guitar, etc

hey tell me what you think of this little girl Alexandra Soumm?

http://youtube.com/watch?v=MgUf0avhSM0

I noticed she has a profile at violinist.com under the litening section



cheers
scott


---------[ Received Mail Content ]----------


Hi Scott,

How are you?

Don't miss latest updates on youtube of the beautiful and great violinist of our time, Kyung Wha Chung. I love her way to make true music.




******************

did you see the photo of the missiah here:
http://maestronet.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=4&threadid=316205&STARTPAGE=2&FTVAR_FORUMVIEWTMP=Linear
and here
http://maestronet.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=4&threadid=316205&STARTPAGE=3&FTVAR_FORUMVIEWTMP=Linear
and here
http://www.burgessviolins.com/Messiah2.jpg

and brahms recorded?
http://web.archive.org/web/20060424074918/www.measure.demon.co.uk/sounds/Brahms.html

take a look at this too:
http://www.fritz-reuter.com/articles/chicagotribune/young_musicians_pay_a_heavy_pric.htm
linkpost comment

hello from cheetoland [Jun. 12th, 2007|12:46 pm]
heres another letter i wrote to my violin friend rita.....


hi again my violin firend rita from cheetoland

ive been busy lately (mostly eating cheetos) but i always catch up to you eventually



>
>Just in case if you didn't watch it yet... it was uploaded today:
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OlI0RLQJoU&mode=related&search=


Hahn plays Sibelius - her tone and vibrato are magnificent and i didnt even hear one missed note, very cleanly played but i didnt always agree with the tempos at times - there wasnt enough attack for me it was too subdued for me - sibelius and tchaikovsky is right next to paganini for me, a virtuoso concerto - taking a kreiseler like approcah is not the way it should be played to my ears - music like this should have more of a "there take that" attitude and hahn didt have it - that and she seemed kind of bored. One thing I want to say is i used to perform alot and i noticed when you play the same music over and over you can get bord and performing can be an act of automation with little thought or feel - this is why its so difficult to make a perfect recording you have to record the right night when the magic was there and that can not be predicted - there are so many recordings that only imply how great the artist is because the best night was not recorded - i think its certianly possible for her to create the best recording ever of this concerto, it could have been a bad night or the beginning of a tour and still getting used to the right orchestra, there are alot of factors: the happ the mood communicating with the conductor what your intentions are how well the orchestra and conductor conveys your intentions, etc the list goes on and on, i have an idea you know exactly what im talking about.

Id say the violinist f.p. zimmermann is a perfect example - his recordings only implay how great he is but if you goto see him youll know he was one of the best ever, his recordings dont do him justice. Have you heard him play?





>
>Watch this! I also thought of you when I heard it.
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpk_3-RJdN0
>It is just a little fragment, ending, but it tells a lot about this interpretation.


Rubenstein plays rachmaninoff - typical rubenstein really he has that sound like a cannon boom boom boom - ill say this rubenstein was accurate and played incredibly well, i like to listen to what he does with he music and i find that interesting but i never liked his sound - to say hes a mediochre pianist would be a sin hes incredible - certainly one of the best but i cant listen to him would prefer to hear many others but i always listen to rubenstein anyways to see what he does with the music and how he shapes every phrase


I have the rachmaninoff recordings 10 cd box and i listen to that regularly. Regarding the paganini variations its not that i find them unimpressive i just prefer many of his other works to that composition.

Regarding weissenberg - hes kind of hit or miss but when hes on theres no one better - i love his rachmaninoff but not chopin - some things he records are just plain dull for me. If you ever het a chance to buy his rachmaninoff sonatas its really incredibly i first heard a copy from the library and had to have it but its out of print so i kept my eye on ebay and found it one day - awesome piano cd really unbelieveable

The other rachmaninoff cd was george bolet played variations on a theme of chopin - a very hard cd to find one day i just copied it from the library i dont think ive ever seen it for sale







>
>If you didn't hear Volodos, watch him:
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdHO5yvZza0&mode=related&search=

hes good but not great, i like listening to zimerman, argerich, byron janis, george bolet, earl wild, van cliburn, and rachmaninoff himself when i listen to the music of rachmaninoff. Somehow volodos is not as interesting to me?

An artist like argerich has the ability to rip your head off and say wow and then make love to every note and you feel it in your heart, she seems to have what volodos does not, for modern russian pianists i prefer pletnev to him but even pletnev isnt as interesting as those i have mentioned above although i always found him interesting and refreshing, he always has his own idea about what to do with the music even if i dont agree. Argerich is like that too but somehow i seem to prefer her playing im not sure why. Maybe its that a great artist has the ability to create drama, argerich seems to do this with ease.

I found some clips of her that i loved, not sure if you saw them, i was stunned...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQR0Zae_alM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl9MvizSf78

Also here is a video of a guy i used to talk to because we have exactly the same musical style (you probably know im mostly a guitar player). His name is gilbert isbin and we have exactly the same musical influences and the music we write is very similar, we once used to send each other music that we both tried to transcribe by ear. Maybe one day ill send him a note again. here is is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUcp_DQizUU


until next time talk like boomhauer - dag maeeen tryin to open dang ol can o'whoop ass pop top flippity flop worse than gettin bit by dang ol dang ol skeeter
linkpost comment

New Chapter? [Jun. 4th, 2007|11:32 am]
Well spring has ...well sprung and the springy humid days with cool nights are starting to turn into the summer-likeness of humid days with humid nights which is hell unless you have air conditioning!

Still havent fealt like practicing lately, just working and relaxing and helping my friend lisa, i recently paid to have her record cleaned but she needs to save herself now, I know i did all i can for her and its time to start whats left of the rest of my life, could this be the beginning of a new chapter of the book that has become me? Somehow the music of dwight yoakam says it all, I recenly have become involved emotionally with his music and made a playlist of only his best songs, listen to the words and i know you will be deeply affected, the music is simple but the message is incredibly deep.

http://youtube.com/my_playlists?p=C286118D478CD713

I would also like to archive the best violin blog ever from here:
http://www.violinist.com/blog/fiddleheads/20075/7020/

Psychological Analysis of Violin Student Personality Traits 101
Published: May. 29, 2007 at 6:05 PM
A mentally gifted and exceptionally verbose violin teacher unravels the mysteries surrounding the complex inner workings of the violin student's mind
by Rhiannon Schmitt

In the expansive field of psychology, violin students' personality traits are understood to be the complicated mental dimensions of personality discovered through empirical research. Empirical research meaning, in the context of this article, my vast experience and wisdom as a violin teacher for the past 10+ years.

To further advance the congruity of science and arts in the 21st century and assist my readers to unravel the fascinating mysteries surrounding the complex inner workings of the violin student's mind, I have compiled my extensive investigation into the following twelve categories:


1. Deer in Headlights

2. Ping Pong Ball

3. Aggravating Antagonizer

4. Teenage Trend Jockey

5. Chit Chatter

6. Know-It-All

7. Chronically Unpunctual

8. Procrasti-Master

9. Excuse-Generator

10. Neurotic Nelly

11. Black Hole

12. The Ideal Student


1. Deer in Headlights

Frequently manifested in pupils over the age of forty, these wide-eyed and petrified casualties of violin instruction are rarely seen by audiences or people who appreciate fine music. Mushrooms of novice music, these willy-nilly players resort to more desirable activities on recital night, such as an elective colonoscopy or tooth drilling, but on rare events may be coerced, er, motivated to participate with the proper incentive: promises of an empty theatre and free finger food.

Once on stage and confronted with the reality of a sold-out live audience (far less preferable to Deer in Headlights to that of a dead audience) the Deer in Headlights defy the human “fight or flight” instinct and opt to freeze for the duration of their piece. Though they seem to be in a deranged trance, they are actually using their peripheral vision to locate the nearest exit.

More bold and seasoned Deer in Headlights may muster up the courage to play a fragment of a scale or the start to “Twinkle Twinkle,” but usually opt for scurrying off the stage like a squirrel with a weak bladder.

The blind audition, or one which is conducted with the player behind a screen or curtain, was surely concocted by a Deer in Headlights. He or she could play like the dickens but had an inordinate fear of spotlights, neat rows of seating and eyeballs.

Players between the ages of four and six may experience Deer in Headlights symptoms during their first couple violin lessons, in which time they will stare up with a frozen, gaping mouth and frightened raised eyebrows at the instructor. They do not respond to light conversation or friendly questions and spend the entire half hour session frozen. They may go out on a limb and nod their head slightly when asked if they want a sticker at the end of class.

Sadly for the teacher, this phase quickly passes and many morph into Ping Pong Balls, leaving the teacher pining for the days when the child didn't speak.


2. Ping Pong Ball, aka the Easily Distracted Hyperactive Hellion

The most concentrated number of young violin students fall into the Ping Pong Ball classification. They are very easy to spot as they are the ones swinging from the ceiling lamp, followed by floor gymnastics while screaming nasty, made-up lyrics to Ode to Joy. The Ping Pong Balls find it inexorably difficult to pay attention to the lesson, listen to their teacher or remain still for longer than 3.672 seconds (I've clocked them).

Depth is lost on the Ping Pong Ball and teachers working with them find themselves the object of much rejection. I have concluded some of my finest technique lectures and riveting inspirational speeches only to be asked by a Ping Pong Ball, “Where did you get that cool pen? Can I have it?”

The Ping Pong Ball quickly switches topics to something about another child at her school who can lick her own elbows and then on to the subject of what their dog coughed up the other day. She cannot think in a room with windows, bright lights or shiny objects.

This is not to say the Ping Pong Ball is not an intelligent individual. Quite the opposite, the Ping Pong Ball is a very smart child who is so enthusiastic about her violin lesson she cannot control her urge to act impulsively.

Violin teachers with pets, toys or any other objects of desire for children in their home will find dealing with these distractions to be a losing battle. Just let them play and enjoy the time off to surf the net or catch up on laundry. The child is having fun at their lesson, even if they haven't learned anything violin-wise. Tune their violin, give them a star on their book and send them on their hyperactive way.


3. Aggravating Antagonizer

Music teachers serving time in prison incontestably taught one too many Aggravating Antagonizers in their careers. The Aggravating Antagonizer is undoubtedly the most difficult violin student to instruct as they are usually under age and protected by special laws; laws which they conveniently use to their obstinate advantage.

Picture an adorable seven-year-old little girl in pigtails. Add a pouting bottom lip, claws and a shrill scream and you've got the start of a successful Aggravating Antagonizer. You say black, she says white. You ask her to play a scale in tenuto whole notes, she plays it staccato prestissimo! Aggravating Antagonizers are spite externalized, though surely they would disagree.

A few more words on Aggravating Antagonizers: adverse, clashing, conflicting, contradictory, headstrong, hostile, negative, obstinate, opposed, ornery, rebellious, stubborn and unruly.


4. Teenage Trend Jockey

Ping Pong Balls and Aggravating Antagonizers do mellow and become more agreeable with age. As teens they enter a pupal stage in development as a Teenage Trend Jockey. Like the Ping Pong Ball, the Teenage Trend Jockeys (or as they would cleverly have it, the “T2J”) are still distracted from the lesson, but focus their teenage distraction instead on being cool and aloof.

Strangely there is a definite split in characteristics depending on the gender of the Teenage Trend Jockey. Females exhibit this behavior by spending the entire lesson admiring their polished reflection in the mirror and messing with their hair. They obsess on mundane news items yet insist Britney Spears' new haircut is information of life-altering quality.

Teenage Trend Jockey Males are simply concerned with occasionally pulling up their sagging pants and disengaging their digital watch alarms every two minutes to help pass the time. They also enjoy bragging about their cars and latest gadgets. They do not yet understand the concept of deodorant.

All Teenage Trend Jockeys find enjoyment in checking their text messages on their cell phones and starting up loud conversations with other students waiting in the hall outside the lesson room rather than listening to their teacher. They are not known to practice and have many tragic reasons why they didn't have the time to practice that week [see Excuse Generator.] However, they are good to keep around as they all give free computer and technology tech support.


5. Chitchatter

I, regretfully fall under this classification. Mixed with Chitchatter students, my long distance phone bill rivals the national debt. To keep things succinct, the Chitchatter talks constantly and dedicates a fair chunk of lesson time to casual banter.

Some adult Chitchatters are just cleverly avoiding playing in front of the teacher or any other observers [see Deer in Headlights] and must be cut off mid-sentence and firmly ordered to play a G major scale.

Violin teachers must strive to schedule chit chatters before Chronically Unpunctual students and to never, under any circumstances schedule a Chitchatter before Neurotic Nelly for whom the weekly babbling and delay to lessons will surely cause a mental breakdown in the latter.

More than one Chitchatter in a group lesson or ensemble means no actual practicing or rehearsing will be done, so you may as well just sit back and enjoy the conversation. Finally, DO NOT schedule the Chitchatter at the end of your teaching day unless you like staying after work two hours extra each day and eating cold supper alone while your family sleeps.


6. Know-It-All

Not to be confused with mere Chitchatters who simply enjoy talking during lessons and sharing a mundane narrative, or the Aggravating Antagonizer who is contrary to anything the teacher says or does, the Know-It-All has the inexplicable ability to attend one lesson and become an instant expert in the violin, its technique and theory.

Expect the Know-It-All to refute any information you share as a teacher but to lack the capacity to prove their argument. Thus arguing with the Know-It-All is futile. Logic and reason do not apply. Yet they continue to pay for lessons even though they are thoroughly convinced they know all there is to be known in violin.

Violin instructors tend to breed Know-It-All children who refute everything their parent explains to them about music. This is the reason why violin instructors pay to have someone else teach their offspring violin.

Know-It-Alls are connoisseurs of self-arrogance and ego in its lowest forms but tragically claim to be humble and patient. Never compliment a Know-It-All; his head will swell up to three times its normal size, which is already larger than 95% of the population, and you will be forced to rush him into the nearest hospital for an emergency ego-exctomy.

Despite their lack of popularity in musical circles, there is plenty of work for Know-It-Alls. With much practice and very little thought they make superb orchestral conductors or music critics.


7. Chronically Unpunctual

Some Procrasti-Masters have devolved into a nasty little side cluster: the Chronically Unpunctual. These people do own watches but apparently do not know how to read them. The laws of time and space do not exist in the mind of the Chronically Unpunctual. To them a weekly lesson slot is merely a suggested time for arrival.

Chronically Unpunctual students are in the lesson in spirit. The spirit of swearing while swerving down the highway at outrageous speeds. Strangely, they find their composure as they enter the lesson room and act as if there is nothing at all inappropriate in being 15 minutes late for a 30 minute lesson.

Chronically Unpunctual parents of young violin students raise resentful Excuse-Generator children who, with enough missed lessons, may even develop into Neurotic Nellies. The Chronically Unpunctual may become nervous wrecks over time, in which case they incorporate Excuse-Generator traits to their repertoire which season their weekly late arrivals. After all, every teacher loves a long, drawn-out story involving traffic, bad roads, alien abductions and time distortion at the start of class.


8. Procrasti-Master

Procrasti-Masters leave everything to the very last minute, and not just their weekly commutes to lessons. They have the best intentions of practicing their violins all week but seem to forget about it until the day of the lesson. Some can be seen practicing their music in the car en route to the lesson.

Interestingly, Procrasti-Masters' best work is done under pressure. To them it's a thrilling experience, like skydiving or robbing a bank. The adrenaline starts running as the teacher asks the Procrasti-Master to play the new piece he was assigned the week previous. Thus Procrasti-Masters are fantastic sight-readers and learn pieces far quicker and more efficiently than those silly people who actually practice.

Though it stresses out the teacher to the point of losing sleep and hair, the Procrasti-Master neglects his pieces until a week or so before the recital. An industrious three or four hours is all he needs to catch up. He smiles smugly knowing he wisely used a semester's worth of practice time playing video games. Thus Procrasti-Masters make excellent understudies for times when the soloist cannot play the concert.

Likewise, Procrasti-Masters consistently earn high marks in festivals, contests and exams. This is a point of contention and jealousy among other students, such as Neurotic Nellies, who have been working on their pieces in all twelve keys for five hours a day the past nine months.


9. Excuse-Generator

One cannot discuss violin students without mention of the Excuse-Generator. The start of every Excuse-Generator's lesson is dominated by the reason they were late, why they didn't practice the previous week, the drawn out story of how their music book went missing and how dropping their violin in no way was the cause for the large, mysterious new crack and broken strings.

Everything in the Excuse-Generator's life is external. They are hapless victims of rare circumstance, government conspiracy and complicated problems to which they have no control or solution. Because of this Excuse-Generators are rarely top-notch violinists. It's clearly not their fault! This is because many cannot read music and have many reasons why it is far easier to just play by ear or fake it.

Excuse-Generators also tend to attract violin strings which break themselves and bows that tighten all on their own. Paranormal activity is also common. A student of mine recently blamed a ghost for his bow suddenly losing contact and sliding off the string. He insisted it had nothing to do with his technique and asked that I have my home inspected and exorcised by a priest.

In college I had an Excuse-Generator violin teacher who, after playing a sour note, would quickly re-tune her violin. The darn fiddle just seemed to go out of tune every time she made a mistake. It was eerie...


10. Neurotic Nelly

This Type-A personality personifies itself in violin students as the Neurotic Nelly, aka Irritating Pain in the Ass. You will see the Neurotic Nelly in a wild frenzy to get to their lesson twenty minutes early. Being late is as simply not an option for the Neurotic Nelly.

Neurotic Nellies make a consistent and painstaking effort to be as anal retentive as possible, thus documenting everything their teacher says and seem to have a better understanding of their teacher's pedagogy than the teacher has. Don't bother arguing whether or not he paid for classes or didn't miss a lesson; he has forms in triplicate and video footage proving the contrary.

Their music is arranged in alphabetical order and is frequently colour-coded. Extreme perfectionists, Neurotic Nellies simply cannot accept compliments as their playing can never be good enough. The plus side is that they always pay for lessons on time and never leave their music at home.

Neurotic Nellies' nervousness makes them unsuitable for colder climates as they are physically unable to travel during inclement weather. A single hovering snowflake has them pressing speed dial to cancel the afternoon's lesson, much to the teachers' dismay as the Neurotic Nellies always request a free make-up-lesson.

It is widely debated among violin teachers and researchers whether or not a Neurotic Nelly and Black Hole sharing the same desk in an orchestra would simply cancel each other out into oblivion or, conversely, prove to be a winning, symbiotic relationship of give and take. In the meantime, the two are kept in strict isolation from each other for the health of the entire orchestra.


11. Black Hole

Also known as Chaos Incarnate, these muddle-minded individuals coax disorder into their lives as an exposed pair of buttocks in the Amazon basin attracts mosquitoes. Black Holes embrace entropy. Entropy, however, secretly longs for a less tumultuous relationship and is considering a career change.

Some Black Hole's daily routines of pandemonium are garnished with the added burden of a violin lesson every seven days. It's just too regular a schedule to adhere to and Black Holes miss more than half their lessons due to poor planning or forgetfulness.

Suitable mates of Procrast-Masters and the Chronically Unpunctual, Black Holes also leave everything to the last minute. More interesting to watch however, Black Holes have added the frantic search for coffee-stained sheet music and car keys amidst a disarray of papers and fast food containers only scant minutes before their lesson time. In their muddled, confused hunt they inevitably forget to pack the violin.

One Black Hole I instructed years back became oddly resourceful and folded and wedged her sheet music into the toe of her shoes for “safe-keeping.” The result: a wrinkled copy of Sonata in G with ink running from her preteen perspiration. I even purchased her a binder which was later lost or eaten by her dog, I can't quite remember which.


12. The Ideal Student: Theoretical classification yet to be discovered

The Ideal Student is a simple beast who listens intently, does everything as instructed to and practices a joyful 5 hours each day. He pays in advance, compliments my appearance and his violin never goes out of tune. She frequently flies me out for weekend visits to her Tuscan villa and is compelled to bring Swiss chocolate to lessons.

Now accepting bookings from students who fit this description: inquire within. And bring chocolates.


*Violin teacher Rhiannon Schmitt is a smart-ass who operates award-winning Fiddleheads Violin School & Shop near Salmon Arm, BC. http://www.fiddleheads.ca
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Until then this cowboy wants to take you away, please be patient im a work in prgress, git r done big dog, hangin out by the ice machine, when it rain theres 100% chance of rain, and most importantly cowboy up y'all
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