I’ve given myself one year to master the violin.

As an adult beginner, I should be playing Twinkle Twinkle; instead, I'm playing Paganini's 24th caprice.

Introduction to thirds

A third is two notes played at the same time (a double stop) that are two notes apart, like a C and an E.  I guess it’s called a third because it spans three notes, C-D-E.  Now, you saw me playing octaves earlier, which is also a double stop.  So thirds should be no problem, right?

Here’s Danielle playing some basic thirds.  She’s playing the C-E with her first and third fingers and then plays D-F with her second and fourth fingers:

That doesn’t seem too hard, huh?

Now, that, believe it or not, wasn’t even as bad as I remember, but it feels horrible and let’s just forget about playing the actual piece yet.  The reason thirds are so hard is because, well I’m not exactly sure.  I think it has to do with stretching the third and fourth fingers over the string you need to play on.  Remember octaves?

There, I don’t have to switch fingers, which is nice, but the fourth finger doesn’t have to stretch over anything, since it plays on the lower string.  Plus, it’s difficult to switch fingers from first and third to second and fourth.  Either way, octaves were a whole new level of pain, and now thirds, to me anyway, are even worse.  Unfortunately, every couple of days I get something new that comes along and reminds me that I’m sadly still a beginner.

When people ask me (quite often since I hang around Danielle) if I’m a musician I haven’t been quite sure what to say in the last couple of months.  Danielle is hesitant to bestow the title of musician on me yet, as it’s a little like saying I’m a vegetarian since I haven’t eaten meat since last night.  She wasn’t even sure what the threshold would be when I transition from non-musician to musician, but that threshold has now been identified.  When I can play thirds proficiently, then she will consider me a musician.  That’s something to look forward to at least.


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