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Violin Lessons: This Old Man

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In This Old Man,
we're going to be looking primarily at
the coordination between the two hands.
Because we've got a few quick notes in
here where the, these fingers and
this hand have got to match up exactly.
And it'll be a great chance to really work
the fourth finger.
And to know that your fourth finger is in
the right place,
all you have to do is match your opening
So in the very beginning, we use a bit of
a convoluted fingering.
But that's only to get practice with the
fourth finger.
So the four should match
the opening exactly.
So if you want, you can hold the two
strings together.
There, I'm actually playing the D and
the A strings together.
But they sound like one cuz I'm exactly in
You'll know if you're not exactly in tune.
Cuz you'll hear that [SOUND]
airplane landing kinda sound.
Now, [COUGH] the way to distribute bow in
this one, similar to Baa Baa Black Sheep.
Except that in this tune, the half note
gets an entire bow,
the quarter note gets half the bow.
So you're going to find that
a lot of this tune is gonna take
place in the lower half of the bow,
closer to the frog, which is just fine.
It's good practice staying in one part of
the bow.
Let's talk a little bit more about the
fourth finger.
Everybody's hand shape is different.
And so when you put the fourth finger
what you're after is a finger that stays
nice and curved, like this,
rather than a fourth finger that has to
reach out and stretch and go flat.
So you can watch the lesson on basic hand
shape to review how to set up your hand so
that none of your fingers, especially
four, has to reach out like that.
So when it's going up and down, it should
look the same going up and
down rather than reaching out to go down.
That's what we don't want.
Now, to start this piece right from
the very beginning, before you play that
first note,
which is an open string, find your high
which will be the second note.
That way, you're not having to fumble
around after you've started.
So before I start, I find it.
In this case, I set it down so that I
could hear it.
But in practice, because I've put the
second finger down so
many times, that I, I can feel where first
position is.
I just set it down once.
then it can stay there while I play the
first note, the open string.
Now, at letter B, in the second bar of B,
we've got those eighth notes which
are quicker than any notes we've played
And so the two hands need to match up.
If the two hands don't quite match up,
you'll hear something like this.
When I, if I hear that,
[COUGH] I know that my bow is changing a
little bit late.
Or I might hear something like this.
That means [COUGH] that my bow is changing
early or my fingers are changing late.
The nice thing about our ears is that
they're very sensitive instruments.
And just by listening for that,
your body will most likely make the
adjustment you need.
So if you simply keep playing it at
different speeds.
You'll usually make the adjustments
you need to get those two matched up.
It just takes some practice.
A great way to practice that if you're
getting a little stuck on it,
is to practice dotted rhythms, which sound
like this.
And that one has an opposite
that goes like this.
And when you do that,
you want the quick note to be as quick as
And what that does is it forces the two
hands to coordinate really
precisely on the quick note.
And then you get a bit of a breather
during the long note.
And that's my favorite way to increase the
Now at letter C, we play the tune again up
one octave.
And just like in the beginning, I want you
to find your second note, and
that's the first finger.
So you've ended the first phrase.
Right away,
put down that first finger during your two
bars of rest.
And then you're all set to go for
the second phrase.
Now, the last thing to look at, the bar
after D,
you've got the same issue of coordination
as you had the bar after B.
But now they're, we've got a string
So you're
coordinating the fingers.
You're also coordinating the level of the
You just go over one level from the A
string to the E string.
And a hint here is that the arm can kind
of lead.
See how I start moving my arm closer
to the E string.
On the early side.
And it's useful to think sometimes of the
arm leading the way and
letting the fingers follow.
All right, enjoy This Old Man.