If there’s one four-stringed instrument that’s beautiful and interesting enough to captivate one's mind, it’s the violin.
If you’ve seen or listened to “a million pieces” - a performance by The Chamber Orchestra of London featuring Bastille, then you can absolutely testify to the inspiring melody the sound of violin adds to the music.
So, if you’ve been lately fascinated by the instrument and you are thinking it’s time you challenge yourself and learn how to play the violin, be rest assured it’s not as easy as you may have imagined.
First, you need to know that as a beginner violinist, there are helpful tips you need to know about to make your study or practice less difficult for you.
Or maybe it’s not you who is interested in learning violin, it’s your child?
You are still on the right path, whichever one of you is, Superprof is here to help you light the path of your violin learning journey.
If you are concerned bout how to take care of your violin, if it’s possible for you to earn qualifications after learning a musical instrument or how you will learn in your violin class, worry your pretty head less.
Here, we have taken the time to come up with a proper guide that will aid your violin learning and answer the questions you might have.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Instrument
If it’s your first time having to get to know the instrument, it can be a bit of a hassle to get your first violin at the violin shop or from a music professional.
As an individual who is new to the violin, keep in mind that violins are not one-size-fits-all. Their sizes differ. The person playing the violin will determine the size of the violin. That’s because it’s important for the violinist to be comfortable with the size of the instrument while playing it.
Talking about the sizes of violins for beginners, they mostly exist in 6 different. The features of these beginner violins are fractions that vary from 1/16 to 4/4 in size.
The violin that will be your perfect fit will be the one that suits the length of your arm. And so long the violin is your right size, grasping the scroll of the violin in the palm of your left arm should be easy.
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After you have purchased the right violin fit for you, taken it home, it’s only natural for you to be eager to want to see what’s contained in the violin case box. So, once you open the case, of course, you will see your violin, but another thing you will find is your bow.
First, you have to be mindful of how the violin is placed into its case. You will notice that the case is padded, this is to keep the instrument safe and secured in case it falls, the cushioned fitting will protect it from damage. That being said, it’s essential that you adhere to the way the instrument is properly placed, and you do keep your violin too the same way once you are done with your violin lessons for the day.
Plus, refrain from the temptation to touch the hair of the bow on your violin with your hands! The hair on the bow is made with horsehair, which is very absorbent, and it can get dirt from the oil accumulated in your hands. However, once it absorbs this old dirt, it means the quality of the sound it produces will be affected.
Musical instruments, especially the cords or strings are delicate. Knowing that the violin is fragile is important, as it keeps you aware you need to learn how to take care and set up your violin the right way. You can learn how to do this even from the place where you purchased your violin.
When you start taking your violin lessons, one of the first teachings you will receive is how to care for and maintain your violin. And also, how you can tighten and release your bow before you play your violin, and after you do.
On how to tighten the bow on your violin, place your hand on the screw at the end of the bow, tighten it until it can no longer move and you feel the horsehair is stiff. After that, you put rosin on the bow. Rosin is an object that gives the bow hair friction, this enables it to produce a sound when the bow is drawn across the strings on the violin. The rosin is available in most musical instrument shops, and you will find it's in the form of a block and powder.
When you are done playing your violin, release the horsehair before you it back in the violin case.
Advisably, you should also clean your violin with a dry cloth. This is a good way to eliminate dust build-up, so it doesn’t affect the performance of the instrument.
However, when you begin your violin lessons, your violin instructor will educate and familiarize you with all the parts and strings of the instrument. Not only that, but your violin teacher will also help you with techniques that will make your violin practice more comfortable for you, for instance, help you position your shoulder and fit the instrument the right way when you practice. Plus, you also get recommendations for other violin equipment that may be useful to your learning.
What You Should Expect At Your Violin Beginner Lessons
Starting a violin music lesson – especially when it’s new to you – may seem like a lesson that might be difficult to grasp. Not to worry, all you need to know and expect in your violin lessons are all contained in this article, all thanks to Superprof!
(Know the Cost of Violin Lessons)
Curious about what goes on during music lessons?
Usually, violin lessons are divided into three major parts which include:
You know, whether it’s football or a fitness routine, the process most times begin with a “warm-up”, and so it is with the beginning of the violin class. You begin with a warm-up process that involves you checking the tuning of the violin strings.
In general, warming up is a process that sets you in the mood and ambiance. This, in turn, sets you in the right mind to learn.
The warm-up process in a violin lesson usually includes going through scales and trying out different methods with the bow in order to get a legato or staccato sound. Another experiment could even be using the fingers instead of the bow to strike the strings, known as pizzicato.
Another thing you might find daunting if you are a total novice in learning violin is the terminologies being used. You don’t have to fret over them because you will learn them in no time through your violin teacher, and what they mean as well.
After the warm-up, the next phase is the practical exercises. This entails getting you acquainted with having control of your own instrument and memorizing combinations of notes that are complicated like chromatic scales and arpeggios which are features of popular solo and orchestra
If you are a total newbie, you will be started on short pieces alone at the beginning, but you are not limited, you can as well work on as much as three pieces at one time. For instance, your practice might include short pieces like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as an assignment to do from home.
What’s really important to your progress is practising the violin frequently. Without that, it might be difficult to make progress.
Your violin instructor may encourage you to prepare or opt for violin lessons once they notice the pace of your progress is motivating.
On one hand, it is not necessary that you have to take musical examinations if you are learning it as a hobby or an activity you enjoy. On the other, taking these examinations may as well help you track how well you are progressing in your violin lessons.
Thankfully, ABRSM is a global provider of music examinations that uses a world-wide grade system that indicates the level of your advancement. The body also has a presence in Nigeria and the stages are from Grade 1 to Grade 8.
With each year comes new pieces and pre-requisites developed and allocated to specific grade in the music syllabus. The good thing is, you and your teacher can take advantage of old materials from past examinations and as well use them to practice and prepare you ahead.
However, the ABRSM has its own curriculum that a music student who hopes to take and pass the exams has to follow. The curriculum consists of three lists, and you are required to select one piece from each of the ABRSM list. Most often, one of the three pieces tends to be a study or etude – which is a performance without an additional instrument, while the other two selected pieces are usually together with a piano.
Nonetheless, don’t let the fear or idea of taking music exams make you lose interest in looking for violin lessons near me because they are not compulsory or as daunting as you may think.
What You Will Learn in Beginner Violin Lessons
You have to master the fundamentals of playing the violin before you can become a violin expert who is able to recognize or read any solo Paganini or Vivaldi.
When it comes to playing the violin, it is much more than knowing how to create great melodies and how amazingly fast you play.
Irrespective of what you aim to achieve by playing the violin, building the fundamentals or basis is essential to the advancement of your musical career.
It’s a good thing that taking violin lessons will expose you to almost everything about music, right from the day you started the lessons.
It’s possible that the first part of the violin lesson you will learn is how to hold the violin and bow the right way.
Another thing is that your violin instructor will teach you the appropriate way to position your body when playing the violin, for example, how to hold the bow against the violin, and the position of your hand on the violin.
Adhering to most of the rules as soon as you begin your violin lessons can help you avoid hitches with things like fingering, intonation, posture, intonation, and more.
Importantly, knowing how to read music is one of the important lessons you will learn.
Even though you are not familiar with how to read the musical annotation, you are likely to know how it looks.
Looking at the musical annotation on the violin sheet may seem hard to understand at first, but your instructor will teach and help you learn.
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You may be surprised to know that the some of the instructions are in Italian. So, you will have to learn and understand some words in Italian like crescendo and andante in order to fully understand how you should be performing the music.
Ultimately, choosing to learn the violin is a challenge, but you will find it worthwhile. Nonetheless, no matter your age, and experience, if you discover you have an interest in the violin, then go for it!