The Bracket Violin

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“Everyday I get to live and experience one of my dreams: I get to play through Vieuxtemps, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens, Elgar, Mendelssohn, Bach, and Mozart… almost anything that I want. And while I do this, I get better at classical instruments – because I engage in modern complementary studies that are both challenging and fun. Try telling me that is not worth pursuing or not worth sharing!”

– Jeffrey Hsu, Inventor

The bracket violin effectively sets a modern foundation for musical study and complements pedagogy and performance:

  • Expedites Rehearsal Time and Improves Sonic Performance.
  • No Callus Irritation = More Potential Practice Time if Desired.
  • Dramatically Improves Dexterity (Likely for all Musical Instruments).
  • Establishes Intonation via Auditory Memory (Likely for all Musical Instruments).
  • Independent or Guided Experimentation as Framed through Pedagogy to Form Natural Grips and Grasp Balance Requirements Over Time.
  • Encourages Full Use of Bow, Understanding of Bow Vectors, and Realizing Bow Propulsion through Virtual Osmosis.
  • Sustaining Flowing State of Vibrato via Virtual Osmosis.
  • Intuitive (Virtual Osmosis) and Coherent (Mental Reading) Decoding of Music Literature (and Optionally in–Adults–or in Mandatory–Children–Combination with Strings).
  • Designed to Activate Attention and the “Magic Synthesis” in the Brain through Experiential or Mental “Flow.”
  • Significantly Enhances Reading Comprehension (especially through Mental Reading) or Helps to Form Visual Map of Finger Placements and Corresponding Notes in Brain which can then be Visualized while Reading Music or Playing from Memory on Bowed Stringed Instrument.
  • Contemporary Processes to Accelerate Memorizing of Music.
  • Effective and Safe Unilateral and Bilateral Training only Possible on Stringless and Not Possible on Strings.
  • Stringless does Not Produce Poor Habits because Stringless Does Not Strengthen or Reinforce Work with Resistance Training.
  • Templates are ‘Stringless’ and Do Not Result in Poor Technique or Visual Dependency; Instead, Set of Decals Serve as Collective and Imaginative Manual of Spatial Aspects of Fingerboard in Brain which Can be Accessed Later via Memory Retrieval for Strings (as Discussed Above).
  • Templates (or Future Light Patterns) are Graded for Different Stages of Learning.
  • Variety of Bowing Platform Options including Singular Track Option to Reduce Inhibition for Experiential Flow, Interchangeable with Plural Tracks for More Accurate Mental Reading, such as Traversing Full Bowing Range According to Left-Hand Position, Simulating Arc of Bridge to Properly Roll Bow for String Crossing, and Shifting into Correct Positions and Digit-Related Locations.
  • Singular Track and Open Fingerboard Design Lowers Inhibition but Conditions Perpendicular Movement of Bow (which Later Applies to Proper Bowing Range) and Allows Body to Naturally Develop Rigid Finger Placements in Left-Hand Over Time.
  • Other Bow Guides on Market are Anecdotes–because they Do Work for You–and Do Not Effectively Condition Proper or Natural Movement; they also Stifle Experimentation.
  • Stringless Precipitates Natural Rewards in Brain (i.e. Achievement) and therefore Creates New Habit Loops for Effective Learning Strategy.
  • Relieves Students and Professionals of Aggravation Associated with Difficult or Tedious Learning Tasks.
  • Stringless is Fun, Challenging, and Artistically Creative while Complementing Art of Violin.
  • Stringless is Accessible via Household Electronics and Existing/ Affordable Technologies and Bracket Violin (or future Laser Iterations) Should Be Affordable to Most Households.
  • No Tuner or Metronome is Needed because Digitally Enhanced Music Recordings Create Accurate Auditory Memories in Brain (i.e., when Attentional Networks are Activated via Singularity*), and Said Recordings Provide Rhythmic Backdrop for Fingering and Bowing Articulations.
  • While Repetition is Important for Student Programming, Creative Conditioning Solves Major Problems–Reason Why Many Do Not get Involved or Discontinue their Participation in Arts–and that is, Creativity and Time. Virtual Osmosis Allows Stringless Participant to Temporarily Bypass Technical Error–while Improving Motor Skills over Time–in order to Experience Art of Violin and Gain Positive Musical Experience.  Perhaps in Future, Professional Orchestras will Open Up their Halls to Engage Silent Orchestras – Licensing Music Lovers to Share Art of Performance with Expanded Audiences.  More Activity may Augment Ticket Sales and Orchestra Attendance and Widen Scope of Music Appreciation, especially for Transient Non-Artists (like Family and Friends).
  • Rote Exercise, furthermore, Can Lead to Injury and are One Reason Why Students Have Difficult Time Adjusting to New Musical Parameters.
  • Traditional Exercises/Pedagogy can be Applied to Stringless.
  • Virtual Play can Serve as Enhanced Reward, i.e., Pleasure/Satisfaction of Making, or in this Case, Experiencing Music.
  • Less Self-Reflective Judgement and Less Observable Judgement in Stringless Method that is Highly Important for String Performance.
  • More Opportunity to Learn via Osmosis, Either Virtually Online or In-Person.
  • Stringless May Help Disadvantaged or Underprivileged Students to “Catch-Up” in Cases where They Did Not Have Opportunity to Study Early On.
  • Allows Tense Musician to Practice on More Gentle Platform Until Musician Naturally Relaxes Over Time as More Bits of Information are Realized.
  • Innovation Can Help User with Selecting Acoustic Instrument of Choice.
  • Stringless is Tested, Well-Researched, Works, and Makes Sense!

One more thing… Stringless is expected to evolve all the benefits of human development that go along with learning to play a musical instrument, like bringing out intelligence, improving attendance in school, and potential plastic changes in adults.

Possible adverse reactions:

  • Injury due to accelerated learning in adults.
  • Depression due to perceived failures in ameliorated learning.
  • Reliance on Virtual Rewards.

Author: Stringless Artist

By choice, I started studying music when I was in the 5th grade. Not by choice, I was assigned to play sax. Through high school, I exercised self-agency and learned to play clarinet, flute, and cello in pursuit of orchestra. After playing flute for only a year-and-a-half, I was accepted into the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati where I studied under one of the world's leading professors of flute performance. After CCM, I pursued architecture at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where I won two international design competitions: Leading Edge and Walt Disney Imagineering. Before getting my bachelor's in music, I also won the UNLV concerto competition on flute. Post graduation, I went on to work for a global architecture firm (Archurban) in mainland China, and back in the states, I wrote my first electronic music album (P A X M A X). Missing music performance, I decided to revisit cello. I received further training at the Nevada School of the Arts and the Multnomah Arts Center, and I played cello in the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra for two seasons. During that time, I invented a stringless platform for learning the violin (the bracket violin). This event--without pause--was the most significant pivot in my life! While in pursuit of patents, I developed conceptual, technological designs for stringless electronic training aids and musical instruments (beyond structural models), or more specifically, stringless controllers/synthesizers for advancing pedagogy, furthering artistic capabilities, and real-time electronic music making. Looking to make a professional fingerprint with my inventions, I took courses in "Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture" and "Teaching the Violin and Viola" respectively at Vanderbilt and Northwestern Universities (via Coursera). I also have had multiple "Stringless Technology" exhibits at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire and Violin Society of America, taught violin at the Boys and Girls Club, developed therapy applications through volunteer hospice and palliative care, give free private music instruction, and performed/appeared on the stringless violin at Make Music Day Denver, Apogaea, Sloan's Lake Rehab, Denver Gay Pride, and Suncrest Hospice. I also have auditioned to be on TEDx MileHigh, was recently interviewed for my ProBoPat Success Story, and am currently working on a targeted prototyping/beta testing/business plan (with SCORE Colorado).

18 thoughts on “The Bracket Violin”

  1. This analysis is thorough, comprehensive, and based on three years of extensive research into the benefits and rewards of the stringless approach. The findings are trustworthy through extensive virtual play, mental practice, and practical applications. These principles are brilliantly and perceptively well thought out. They are suitable for application by the experienced violinist and beginner alike.

      1. For anybody out there, if you have a student that suffers with ‘pain in their fingertips,’ send them to me! I myself had this overwhelming problem when I resumed my cello studies as an adult long after high school (with 11 years of inactivity between). None of my doctors–not even my dermatologist–was able to solve this elusive fingertip quandary. I understand very well that it can greatly affect your ability to perform, and consequently, negatively affect your mood. Meanwhile, other musicians around you act like it’s an excuse. It’s unfair to assume that you are a “bad player;” it’s a horrible and hopeless feeling! The truth is, I quit playing my cello as an adult because of the problem with my fingertips, but I have started to play again (as an adult) thanks to “the stringless method.” And honestly, I play better now… even with another 3-year hiatus as I have worked through the stringless method on the stringless violin. Go ahead and test me.

        The stringless method, for obvious reasons, may help to address the fingertip hiccup by focusing on the mechanical aspects of string playing without strings. And at the end of the day, a student may be able to play (at least I personally can) on high-action stringed instruments with improved capability and with no apparent pain – pain that would have otherwise interfered with optimal performance. Additionally, there is less residual pain (less recovery time) compared to past experiences. In other words, it allows you to practice healthily on a stringless technological instrument and perform on the strings for concerts, recitals, and the like or improves your technique so much that you will likely be able to play the stringed instrument correctly–that is, with less pressure, at the right angle, and with less muscular tensions (as you become more familiar with the complementary stringless instrument and setup)–all the time!

        Similarly, the stringless method may be more useful for boys in their youth than girls because boys tend to tense up rather than relax, which is especially true during the natural stages of physical human development, i.e., puberty.

  2. Neuroscience Sheds New Light on Creativity: What neuroscience reveals about how to come up with new ideas.

    “If you imagine something that you have never actually seen, like a Pluto sunset, the possibilities for creative thinking become much greater because the brain can no longer rely on connections shaped by past experience. In order to think creatively, you must develop new neural pathways and break out of the cycle of experience-dependent categorization. Only when the brain is confronted with stimuli that it has not encountered before does it start to reorganize perception.”

    “By deploying your attention differently, the frontal cortex, which contains rules for decision making, can reconfigure neural networks so that you can see things that you didn’t see before. You need a novel stimulus — either a new piece of information or an unfamiliar environment — to jolt attentional systems awake. The more radical the change, the greater the likelihood of fresh insights.”

    “Novel experiences are so effective at unleashing the imagination because they force the perceptual system out of categorization, the tendency of the brain to take shortcuts.”

    Adapted from the book Iconoclast, by Gregory Berns, by permission of Harvard Business Press. Copyright 2008 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. All Rights Reserved.

  3. Hola! I’ve been following your site for some time
    now and finally got the bravery to just give you a shout
    out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up to date the great work!

    1. Hola, are you in the field of music? I’m getting ready for my next big exhibit at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire on Oct. 8 + 9 – if you wanna see the latest in stringless innovations. Thanks for your interest!

  4. Umm, virtual play is also positively effective because it extracts the audience and/or teacher. Both observers are innately judgmental, even if they have good intentions. By taking away your audience–including the aware or conscious self–you may take away possible negative sympathetic (internal) responses – which ‘is’ useful for practice in helping one to enthusiastically make it through a routine or piece of music. And later, the student can enjoy positive sympathetic mechanisms, induced by his/her audience, during performance. Removing audiences, furthermore, is especially beneficial to classical improve when working towards arts creation or technical refinement and technical expansion of string playing capabilities.

  5. I realized tonight–again, going against the grain of tradition–that sensing pressure along the fingerboard also captures the surface area of the fingers… so, that is useful for providing technical feedback to the student – in virtual effort to correctly condition the fingers to land on their (fingertip) pads. This affects the grips of both the left-hand and neck (balancing the violin on the shoulder)… thereby affecting the angle at which the bow approaches the strings, too. Consider that this can all be achieved mentally via experiential processes. Again, the stringless advantage offers less psychological and physical aggravation – the physical part being especially advantageous because a stringless platform requires less stress/work on the body – meaning stringless can reduce the chances of injury. (Remember to apply even and light pressure most of the time and relax all three grips (neck and hands).)

  6. Hi again,

    Today I am happy to announce that I just started working on a stringless platform for cello. I guess I needed to make sure that my tech and methods truly worked*–as any good scientists and entrepreneur would do–before investing in more expensive products. Lemme start off first by saying what a richly emotional and powerful experience it is fingering and bowing (stringlessly) along to Jaqueline du Pre’s recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto… (I had done it before on the stringless violin and cried, but it’s nice to play through the music on the intended platform). In doing so, I can reaffirm the points listed about the bracket violin. Though there are no strings and no acoustic feedback to give an artist a learning proxy, it helps move attention from exactly those points to other equally important contributors of string playing. For example, it helps to feel out the swing of vibrato… how well controlled vibrato is across all five fingers (unlike the violin, the cello makes use of the thumb), and especially in, the higher positions…. it gives you tactile feedback as to how you are doing in distributing pressure across all five fingers… the tendency is to mostly push on the string with the index finger, carrying with it the weight of the hand. So, even though in virtual play I am not entering a coherent motor program (because I have not gone through mental practice yet on my new stringless training aid for cello), I am improving dexterity, strengthening my fingers, feeling out the motion of vibrato in all hand positions, distributing pressure evenly across all five fingers, feeling out the grips in both hands, predicting body movements through transitional breaks (moving into different positions), syncing to good rhythm, and forming a better proximal memory of the music I am working on/listening to/experiencing which serves me well when I crossover to strings – IMPROVED OVERALL COMPREHENSION. I look forward to applying my fingerboard template and working more logically on fingerings and bowings. I’ll see you on stage soon… and more importantly, hopefully, you’ll begin to believe in yourself! I am not a prodigy, but if I become one… then so can you. God bless!

    Oh please don’t forget how economical my bracket designs are! It’s at a price point most ppl can afford… if we invest in touchscreen products and high quality lasers/speakers… then we worsen the inequity problem in the arts. I am willing to further all iterations but please understand that if a touchscreen cello were to be put out on the market tomorrow, I would not be able to afford one… me as the inventor! So, please consider how important dreams are before putting price tags on and deciding which product is more “viable” than the other. I will not change my position on this… even if politically pressured. (Please remind me I said this if I do something different in the future.) Let’s release both the training aid concept and the sound-generating concept at the same time, at least. Unless you can make me laser violins and cellos at an excellent starting price… then that’s ok too.

    * I am able to play vibrato (more specifically, elbow/arm vibrato which I would vehemently argue requires greater mastery than wrist vibrato) now on the violin with a certain level of control that leads me to believe, and based on my past experience playing other instruments leads me to believe, that I will eventually have total control over this ultimate measure of violin playing, i.e., the balance and technique of violin vibrato. (Please see my Facebook page for video evidence @ facebook.com/stringlesstechnology.) Additionally, the open fingerboard has without a doubt improved my dexterity in the left hand… (and of course we knew that the bowing platform effectively conditions perpendicular movement and sense of grip in the right). And of even greater importance, I’d say, is that creative fingerings have become increasingly logical over time while licensing further control over finger patterns, that is, the spacing between digits. My pinky finger, for example, is becoming stronger and more curved when stopping strings, and I can “reach” whole steps in relation to the third finger as well as control whether my pinky lands a half step or whole step ahead of the third – which was really hard to do when I started 4 years ago as an adult, and is tough regardless of age. This means that my/our modern theories about learning have a decent shot at becoming accepted or adopted, especially if I can influence more learners or pros to follow my lead… and allows me to feel like spending a little money on a stringless cello training aid is worthwhile (since I have very limited money to work with). Who knows, maybe I will focus more on becoming a solo cellist now instead of putting all my energy into the violin =)

  7. My violinist friend suggested that I comment on how virtual play, in particular the VP of high-ceiling repertory such as the Tchaikovsky violin concerto (in my case, in other words, high-ceiling doesn’t have to be that high since I studied flute at the conservatory level), has affected me beyond training. So, attentively listening to standard violin & cello rep has transferred over to my listening experience and subsequent dance interpretations of modern music… When I dance to music, whether at home in private or at the club in public, I feel as though I can better comprehend rhythm and flow. Consequently, I feel as though my dancing and creative gestures have improved, and I feel more comfortable expressing myself through dance than I have in past years. We, my violinist friend and I, strongly feel that these emotional and physical effects should have valuable applications in music therapy.

  8. I am realizing that creativity allows a student/player of music (not neccessarily of the violin family) to exceed his or her capabilities/current potential and develop certain skills like: dexterity, reading comprehension, rhythm, intonation memory, and more. After creative development, the player should return to her or his instrument of choice with greater ability and confidence. I hope I get a flute to prove this point!

    Creative Utility = Greater Ability

  9. Also, we tend to get too caught up on the technicalities–the acoustic feedback–which can disrupt our flow and ability to advance. I hope this knowledge becomes widespread bc servicing dreams is just as important as servicing basic needs and desires.

  10. You know, I recently decided to switch back to my primary instrument: flute. In a letter I wrote to Friends of Flutes Foundation I said, “Now, this all pertains to the flute because my innovative technology and methods–as evidenced by my independent “stringless study”–have transformed my overall enthusiasm for music as well as my skills. For example, my dexterity, reading comprehension, “intonation memory,” flow and movement, listening, rhythm, and ability to improvise have all dramatically improved over the last five years. As a result, I feel confident that my recent musical development will transfer over to flute playing. This gives me newfound hope for realizing my initial dreams to play flute professionally in a symphony orchestra.”

    These are true statements. Even though I do not have a flute (let alone a high-quality flute) in my possession, I have already started to practice via virtual osmosis. (By the way, I did go to the music store to try out Yamaha flutes, and after almost 10 years without playing, I thought it went fairly well. E.g., I could play low B and high D clearly.) Anyhow, going back to virtual osmosis, I hold my recorder in a transverse position and simulate (correct) fingerings and blowing like I do/did on violin, with less creativity since I know the key codes well. Ummm, anyhow, the point is I have played through Mozart flute concertos, flute orchestral excerpts, Paganini Violin Concerto, Saint-Saens Intro. and Rondo Capriccioso and “Birds” from the Carnival of the Animals, and so on (on “stringless flute”) and already sense that my music comprehension is much better now than when I was a student in school. It’s as if all the tangled connections in my brain have made new pathways for me to understand most of the info on the page, like my dyslexia has virtually dissolved. Again, try telling me that is not worth sharing, investing in, and proliferating!

    Here are some notes from my virtual session tonight while playing through Brahms Violin Concerto on stringless flute:

    “Do not hear what’s wrong, only listen to what’s right.”

    [2nd Movement, Intro] “Think of the support behind the wind pressure of the oboist [as oboists in my experience are usually the most consistent in the woodwinds].”

    “All sound should come from the core [like a singer] – not the fingers.”

    I really look forward to proving my concept – I’m in the process of trading in my cello (which is unfortunate) for a high-quality flute. Soon!

  11. So, I’m in the midst of a “flute trial” with the incredible Flute Center of New York – trying out different brands of flutes before I purchase “the one.” I’m very pleased to say that I was pretty much able to “pick-up-and-play” the flute after about 9+ years of retirement. I of course credit this ability to my five year stringless study on the bracket violin. In addition to being able to pick-up-and-play, I have progressed in at least three noticeable areas: music comprehension, improvisation, and dexterity. For example, I can read difficult passages with more correct notes and rhythms in comparison to when I was a flute major at CCM and UNLV, I can improvise at length on double-tonguing exercises, trills, scale (finger) patterns, and so on, and my scales and arpeggios as well as my solo music work is much more controlled (again, after my stringless study and in comparison to my years as a student of music). My return to flute is happening at a much quicker rate than I had even anticipated. I am not at all afraid to showcase my progress in public after I have selected a flute for purchase (or in my case for trade (cello)). I will be performing live through my current volunteer work and am looking for open chairs in band and orchestra, until I am ready to audition for paid posts in orchestra. Also, I think stringless study on inexpensive bracket violin models might be a wonderful course for continuing education – for professional musicians in band and orchestra. I’m ready when you are.

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