April 2015 - 6. I finished Leopold Auer's "Violin Playing as I Teach It." It had some good suggestions and ideas, which I appreciated reading, though I found the book too pedantic overall. Among the things I learned: the left-hand thumb should be directly opposite the second finger on the note F on the D-string; the main purpose of the left-hand thumb is to form a cradle that keeps the violin from falling; vibrato should not be used as a crutch for faulty tone production, and should be consciously avoided if one has overused it or used it incorrectly; double-stops should first be played in thirds and then stopped, with the second double-stop repeated; the first finger is the most important in simple octaves, and intonation can be checked by keeping the octave in the left hand and having the right hand sound out only the first finger; three- and four-note chords should be broken into two; chromatic scales are too often neglected; nuance in interpretation (esp. dynamics, e.g. p vs pp) is very important, and is what makes the violin "speak"; singing on the violin should be the goal of tone production; musical expression consists of understanding and expressing the composer's ideas and intentions, and relying on one's own ideas to tell one how has done; an artist should not seek to imitate another artist, or follow in the "tradition" of those before him; Spohr is great for musical expression; and one should have studied broadly and widely, and mastered the greats before choosing one's own repertoire.