A hustling Nigerian knows how stressful and demanding the country can be. Besides the thought of making money, most Nigerians pay little attention to self-care. That's why many end up stressed, and hypertensive. Although violin playing isn't a cure, it relieves stress and depressive thoughts.
Violin learning is sometimes seen as difficult. However, the learning medium you choose can simplify or complicate the technicalities involved in its mastery. Thus, it’s advisable to choose what works best for you. Irrespective of the music learning medium you choose, becoming a great violinist takes years of practice and dedication. Even the best violinists were once amateurs, practising day and night.
There are several learning mediums you can implement in your violin learning journey. They include online learning, self-study, and private home lessons. While self-study is free, online learning is less expensive than private home tuition. Your choice of study shouldn’t be based solely on your pocket but on your goals. If you’re a pro who is only interested in revision classes, self-study and online classes are recommended. An amateur who can’t handle a bow or stand properly would need private tuition.
This article gives an insight into the pros and cons of each learning method.
“I love the relationship that anyone has with music… because there’s something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It’s the best part of us probably.”
Nick Hornby, English Lyricist and Writer.
Benefits of Violin Lessons
The violin is a stringed musical instrument capable of improving various aspects of your life. Its benefits outweigh the troubles of learning it. These are some benefits of attaining proficiency in violin playing:
- Playing the violin has a positive effect on your brain. Besides boosting memory, it increases your mental capacity. Studies show that violin playing improves attention span, speech, language processing, and reading skills. Kid and teenage violinists display strong visual and verbal abilities. Violin playing prevents episodes in kids battling with mental disorders.
- Like other stringed instruments, learning the violin improves your ear for music. Many people lack this ability; thus, the reason for off-beats and off-keys in songs. You can’t play in an orchestra if you’re musically deaf.
- Learning the violin builds social skills. If you’re an introvert seeking exposure and friendship, sign up for group violin lessons. Group lessons encourage teamwork, especially when creating an accelerando or crescendo.
- Are you impatient and always wanting things to go your way? Learning to play the violin would teach you discipline and delayed gratification. With its steep learning curve, you must persevere through months or even years to achieve commendable results. Daily practice teaches discipline and patience.
- Violinists are less susceptible to stress, anxiety, depression, and hypertension. This is because playing the musical instrument relieves stress, anxiety, and depressive thoughts, all causes of elevated blood pressure and stroke. Many are depressed and suicidal, a fun hobby such as this might be the fix they need.
- If you’re looking to improve your posture, try learning violin with your tutor. Violin playing helps to correct poor postures, strengthen your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
“No matter who we are, no matter what our circumstances, our feelings and emotions are universal. And music has always been a great way to make people aware of that connection. It can help you open up a part of yourself and express feelings you didn’t know you were feeling.”
Josh Groban, American Songwriter and Singer.
Merits and Demerits of Online Violin Lessons
You can learn the violin online for free or through paid tuition. Even though downloading online tutorials and e-books is free, it’s difficult to ascertain what music material is educative and what’s not. To save yourself the stress and time, you can opt for paid online tuition. This way, you’re guaranteed structured learning, time-conservation, and less stress.
From the comfort of your home, you can connect with a local or international music teacher via Google Hangout, Zoom, or Skype. Strong internet access, a microphone, a computer, and your violin would suffice. Even though you’re learning virtually, don’t get too comfortable or lose concentration. Let’s briefly discuss the pros and cons of learning the violin virtually with a music teacher.
Merits of Learning the Violin Virtually
- It’s less expensive than one-on-one lessons. If you’re looking for economical tuition, virtual lessons are recommended.
- You have tons of great violin teachers to pick from locally and internationally. Unlike physical lessons that limit your choice of tutors, online tuition provides umpteen choices. There are violin tutors who specialize in certain areas or teach specific age brackets. You would find your pick online.
- Schedule flexibility is paramount to everyone. You can work full-time without skipping your music lessons. Have you considered the stress of commuting to work and attending group lessons every week? A typical Nigerian knows how frustrating, time-consuming, and fuel-draining traffic congestions are. Connecting with your tutor via the net would save you stress and some money.
- You can request an emergency class. Imagine you’re making last-minute practise for a concert, face-timing your tutor might be your only chance at polishing your skills.
Demerits of Learning the Violin Virtually
- Online violin lessons aren’t best for starters. They’re more appropriate for professional violinists interested in specializing or revising.
- Nigeria has remote regions devoid of internet access. Poor internet connection means online violin learning would be impossible.
- Online learning is devoid of physical interaction. Being social beings, it’s capable of causing social isolation. Thanks to the Coronavirus, we all know the psychological effect of social isolation on us.
- It’s almost impossible to learn the violin basics via webcam. It’s difficult for your music tutor to correct habits like posture adjustment, finger placement, bow tightening, and violin tuning.
- Not everyone is tech-savvy or owns an internet-enabled device.
- You cannot learn all topics via the net.
“Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to a fine racer, and counterpointists to hack post-horses; therefore be advised, let well alone and remember the old Italian proverb: Chi sa più, meno sa – Who knows most, knows least.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer.
Merits and Demerits of Self-Study
You should implement this learning method only if you’re disciplined and can follow through with independent study. There are countless educative violin e-books and tutorial videos available for self-study. Despite the economic nature of this option, it’s practised best by professionals. They should have experience in sight-reading and sight-playing music pieces.
Merits of Self-Study
- It is free to study independently. There are tons of violin tutorials on YouTube, beginner-to-pro e-books, and educative podcasts you can access for free.
- This learning method allows you to learn at your pace, unlike group learning which might create unhealthy competition, comparison, and criticism.
- Self-study teaches you self-discipline, time-management, prioritization, and independence.
- It equips you with problem-solving skills. Overcoming your music challenges independently boosts your confidence and self-esteem.
- It’s neither time-bound not location-bound. Therefore, you can practise your instrument whenever and wherever you feel like.
Demerits of Self-Study
- This form of learning is unstructured. You would learn only what you think you need. Unlike self-study, a violin instructor teaches you based on an outline. This way, you would master the basics before attempting complex topics.
- Self-study is distracting. Imagine opening YouTube with the aim of streaming some violin tutorials, but end up streaming a football match.
- You’re likely to avoid areas that would improve your playing. Most self-trained beginner violinists skip practising scales and arpeggios. However, it’s a compulsory exercise in most music schools. Although difficult to master, scales and arpeggios triple your playing proficiency.
- It’s demotivating and lonely to learn the violin without a music teacher. You might give up when it becomes difficult.
- With no teacher watching you play, it would be impossible to detect your flaws. For instance, the stance, how to hold the instrument, detecting off-key notes, and rhythm. Only a professional violinist can spot and correct these flaws when you’re playing.
- Self-study is time-consuming, especially if you’re a beginner. Understanding a violin concept or theory can take time if there’s no one to simplify it.
Merits and Demerits of Private Tuition
Private tuition is the best way to learn the violin. Although it’s expensive, it increases your chance at quality tuition and faster assimilation. Sometimes, it’s difficult finding a music tutor that suits your preference. Face-to-face learning allows for error detection and correction. For instance, your music teacher would watch how you pose, tune your violin, strum it, and tighten your bow.
Merits of Private Tuition
- There’s a higher probability of success if you learn with a private violin instructor.
- It allows for convenience and schedules flexibility. You get to decide when and where you want music lessons to hold.
- You don’t need the internet for this, just your violin. Unlike online learning, private violin lessons allow for posture correction.
- If you want structured learning, hire a private violin teacher.
Demerits of Private Tuition
- It is sometimes seen as expensive for the average Nigerian, especially if you’re learning long-term.
- It might be hard to find a qualified tutor near you.
- Learning becomes impossible when you’re away from home.
Weigh your options before choosing any learning method. They all have their benefits and shortcomings; what matters is your music goal and how you intend achieving it. One thing they all share in common is constant practice. If you don’t practice, you would never become a great violinist. Practice right, be patient and never give up.