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Tips & Tricks: The Pencil, Important Equipment for all Violinists

April 30th, 2013 by Katherine Moller

small__253412963A couple weekends ago I was rehearsing with Symphony NB.  At many points during the rehearsal, you could hear the sound of many pencils being put down on music stands as we all added markings to our music.  I once had a teacher tell me that the difference between professionals and amateurs is not that professionals do not make mistakes, simply that professionals mark their music so that they do not make the same mistake again.

Marking your music can save you time and make your practice sessions much more effective.  So, what kind of things do I mark on my music?

  1. Fingerings for tricky passages
  2. Sections that I need to practice
  3. Extra instructions that a conductor gives (more separation between the notes, more variety in dynamics, etc.)
  4. Reminders about accidentals or any note that I miss repeatedly
  5. Reminders about dynamics

I tend to mark up my classical music more than fiddle music, but it can be handy in any style of music.

All markings on your music should be made in pencil so that they can be changed.  Also, you need to have an eraser that works for the same reason.

What kind of things do you mark in your music?

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

5 Responses to “Tips & Tricks: The Pencil, Important Equipment for all Violinists”

  1. April 30, 2013 at 11:30 am, Sharon said:

    This is great advice regardless of the instrument you play or if your instrument is your voice. My most valuable asset as a singer since the time I first got started in high school choir was that sharp pencil with a good eraser sitting in my folder ready for immediate use. And it got used a LOT! Thanks for sharing this all-important tip.

    • April 30, 2013 at 11:35 am, Katherine Moller said:

      Thanks for the comment. It is true that the pencil is valuable to all musicians!

  2. May 27, 2013 at 3:29 am, John Tait said:

    Like everyone I collect individual sheets and books of fiddle tunes.
    I often do a “cut & paste” of better variations. I pencil in corrections, alternative titles, sometimes where I heard it played and the tunes it might be associated with in playing a set.

  3. June 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm, Gordon Mumby said:

    A pencil and eraser are 2 very important things. I lead an orchestra and also my own string quartet & since I was in junior orchestras from age 9, have always had pencil & eraser at rehearsals. I permanently have a pencil & eraser on my practice stand, & it is said that when I get a new music score I am not happy until I have put a lot of pencil markings on it !!

    • June 17, 2013 at 9:31 pm, Katherine Moller said:

      It’s true Gordon! I make sure to have a pencil and eraser in my violin case. If I show up at a rehearsal without either, I feel woefully unprepared!

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''Celtic fiddle with a classical twist:
the heart and soul of a fiddler, the artistry and finesse of a classical violinist.''