Violin 101, Lesson 3:

Learning “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

Daily Practice Routine:


Make sure you have watched the



accompanying video



first. Do Step 1 at least 5 times or till you can accomplish it smoothly, correctly, and without much effort. Same goes for Step 2. This may take 1 day, or a few days, but take your time learning so you can learn correctly. Once you are familiar with Steps 1 and 2, then move to Steps 3 and 4, learning the parts of the music. Make sure you can play each section individually, again smoothly, correctly, and without effort, at least 5 times in a row, before moving on to Step 5, putting the whole piece together. Your goal is to play through Twinkle 5 times correctly every day after you’ve learned it.

THESE STEPS ARE LAID OUT VERY SPECIFICALLY. FOR THE BEST RESULTS, DO NOT SKIP STEPS FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS OF LEARNING, EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU ARE FEELING COMFORTABLE WITH THE Music.

So it is finally time to start learning some music, the whole point of learning an instrument in the first place! Just like we started with simple, basic motor patterns in the first two lessons, we are going to continue with some simple basic music that utilizes those motor patterns: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”

STEP 1: FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH CROSSING STRINGS

One of the first actions in this music is playing the A-String followed by the E-String. This means the level of your arm must change. Now, there are right and wrong ways to accomplish this goal, and you want to make sure you are doing it the right way!

First, make sure your bow is on the A-String, with a good bowhold (see Lesson 1), and that the bow is perpendicular to the string and in between the bridge and the fingerboard. Make sure that the elbow joint is at a right angle when you start. This should put the bow around the middle for most players.


Keep arm at right angle, with bow in between fingerboard and bridge

Keep arm at right angle, with bow in between fingerboard and bridge


Bow angle too far toward fingerboard

Bow angle too far toward fingerboard


Bow angled too far toward bridge

Bow angled too far toward bridge

Then, practice rocking the bow back and forth between the A and E strings. This motion should come solely from the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder, as moved by the deltoid muscles. DO NOT SHRUG!


Proper arm string change from shoulder joint

Proper arm string change from shoulder joint


String crossing by shrugging shoulders (THE WRONG WAY!)

String crossing by shrugging shoulders (THE WRONG WAY!)

Once you are comfortable with this, then practice playing the rhythm from Lesson 2 on successively on each string, going back and forth, following this progression of practice:

  1. Play the rhythm on the A-String (being sure to use a small amount of bow i.e. 1-2 inches) and only moving from the elbow. After playing the rhythm once, stop the bow, and then carefully rock to the E-String, and then play the rhythm. After this, stop and rock to the A-String, and repeat this process till it becomes comfortable.

  2. After you’ve become comfortable with step one, then you will want to practice shortening the stop between the rocking to the next string and playing the rhythm on that string. You will want to still feel as if you are stopping between rocking and playing, even if the stop is almost unnoticeable. Mentally, if you feel like you are stopping and then moving, you will take greater care of your motor patterns, and will be more accurate.

  3. Once you’ve done 2 enough to where the stop between rocking to the next string and playing is almost imperceptible, then you will want to make the string crossing and playing into one smooth motion. Make sure that you never hear the other string whenever you are playing on the one you’ve just rocked to! If you hear the A-String while playing the E-String, for example, then lower your arm level a bit so the bow is angled away from the A-string. If you hear the E-String while playing the A-String, then vice-versa.

STEP 2: FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH CROSSING FROM E-STRING TO 3RD FINGER ON A-STRING

In Lesson 2, we practice tapping and placing our fingers up the fingerboard tapes, going from 1st to 2nd to 3rd finger. In “Twinkle” we will have to go in the opposite direction. Titinada only will you have to place your 3rd finger down, followed by 2nd, followed by 1st, but you will have to get there from a string crossing from open (i.e. played without any depressed fingers) E-String. Here are some steps to make that easier.

  1. Much like the string crossing steps above, we will want to segment this process first. So, firstly, play the E-String in the rhythm from Lesson 2. Then, stop the bow, carefully depress the string with the 3rd finger directly adv lewat its tape (make sure the 3rd finger was hovering over its tape while you were playing the E-String!!) and only after it is completely pressed down, string cross to the A-String, and play the 3rd finger with the same rhythm pattern.

  2. Again, like the steps for string crossing, slowly decrease the time of the stops in between steps until the stopping is almost imperceptible.

  3. Once your stops have nearly become unnoticeable, then attempt to play from E-String to 3rd finger on A-String in one smooth motion.


Place your 3rd finger (notice how I use a simple movement up and down, not sticking up any other fingers and keep my wrist straight!)

Place your 3rd finger (notice how I use a simple movement up and down, not sticking up any other fingers and keep my wrist straight!)


Move to A-String after placing the 3rd finger

Move to A-String after placing the 3rd finger


Play the 3rd finger

Play the 3rd finger

STEP 3: LEARNING PART 1

One of the great things about “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is not only its familiarity and simplicity, but how if you learn half of it, you’ve learned all of it. If you haven’t noticed, the song only contains 2 sections of original music! Once you have learned both, you repeat them, but in the opposite order.

Let’s learn part 1!

Note: I’m teaching this from the standpoint of those who can’falak read music. You do not need to read to learn basic violin pieces. I will introduce music reading later, but if you can’tepi langit read music then don’horizon let that stop you! instead I will use finger numbers, string letter cues and, of course, the accompanying video where I play thru and explain the whole piece. message me if you have any questions.

I like to split up Part 1 into two halves. The first half follows this string and finger pattern:

A A E E 1 1 E (LONG)

The “long” refers to the fact that the final “E” is twice as long as the other notes.

Here is a video demonstration:

Now, how to practice this:

  • You’ve already practiced playing back and forth across the A and E strings. The only thing new is the 1st finger, which is place on the E-String and not the A-String. Like before practice stopping, then placing the 1st finger, and then playing the 1st finger. Keep reducing the stopped time till it is imperceptible.

  • Make sure you always mulai with a “down” bow. This would be the direction of the bow toward the floor.

  • Make sure you are using small bows that are only being generated from the elbow joint.

  • practice each of these notes with “the rhythm.” This will sound like this:

Now, it is time for the second half of Part 1, which follows this string and finger patter:

3 3 2 2 1 1 A (LONG)

Here is a video demonstration:

Now, how to practice this:

  • All of these fingers are on the A-String. You’ve already practiced going from E-String to 3rd finger on A-String. Now, the trick is making sure your other fingers are in position. Once you start playing 3rd finger, you should place your second finger on its tape, so all you have to do is gondola up 3. The same goes for 1st finger while the 2nd finger is being played. Here is a video demonstration:

Notice how I place the 2nd finger down while the 3rd finger is being played, and the 1st finger while the 2nd is being played.

  • This half-section will begin on an “up” bow, with the komisi going toward the ceiling. This is because the previous section ended with a “down” bow.

  • Make sure you are using small bows that are only being generated from the elbow joint.

  • Practice each of these notes with “the rhythm.” This will sound like this:

STEP 4: LEARNING PART 2

Thankfully, part 2 is much shorter than part 1. It’s finger and string patterns are as follows:

E E 3 3 2 2 1 (Long)

Here is a video demonstration:

How to practice this:

  • You’ve already learned all that’s necessary to play this section in the previous section. The only difference is that the long note is on the 1st finger instead of an open string. Practice this section the same way as the 2 halves of the previous section, taking care on the transition from E to 3rd finger on A-String, and placing the subsequent lower fingers in their places while the previous higher finger is being played, as described above.

  • This will begin on a down bow.

  • Practice this with “the rhythm.” It will sound like this:

STEP 5: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

The form of “Twinkle” is mirror image. If I were to visualize it, it would look like this:


Twinkle form.png

First, you must have the ability to play both parts through, separately, without stopping. Once that is achieved, then it is pretty easy to put them in order. Just remember that each part

begins

with the opposite bow direction than the previous part, i.e. part 1 is down bow, then part 2 starts up bow, then the 2nd part 2 is down bow, and then the final part 1 is up bow.

Also play through the whole song using “the rhythm.” This will sound like this:

Here are some other rhythms you can use:

For those who can read music, all of these are found in the Suzuki Violin Method, Volume 1.

Watch the end of the video for this lesson for a complete play through of the whole song.

And that is it!

Before we go, however

PART X: BONUS BOW EXERCISE

While I insist that you use a small bow stroke for now, we are going to continue on from the bow exercise we did with just the bow and the shoulder from lesson 2, this time with the violin. Here is how this is practice:

  1. Raise the arm above the string so the frog is directly above the A-String. The bow should feel like it’s dangling out the hand (without disrupting the bow hold), and the arm should be viewed as a sort of construction crane, lowering the bow to the string.

  2. Slowly lower the bow to the A-String. Once it touches the string, allow the bow to glide down to the uang lelah, with no added pressure from your hand or arm. Allow the pure weight of the bow to make the sound. Continue the bow movement past the tip.