If you thought that playing the violin is easy, then think again. But that doesn’t mean to say it isn’t worth learning, quite the opposite in fact!
Learning violin is a hugely rewarding activity and one that will give you quite a unique skill. While many people choose to have piano lessons, guitar lessons, voice lessons and drum lessons, not as many opt for flute lessons, cello lessons, bass lessons or violin lessons.
This is partly because the musical instruments aren’t as easily accessible in state schools so pupils aren’t exposed to things like the violin from an early age, but it is also because of how tricky it can be to grasp, not to mention the fact they aren’t as commercially seen in popular music.
The key, as always, is to practice, practice and practice some more. If you really want to become a proficient violin player, it will happen!
One of the most complicated things about learning how to play the violin is actually holding the fiddle! See below some tips on how to hold the violin, along with the bow, and how you should be music making by making bow strokes.
If you want to perfect the correct violin positioning, you should hold the violin horizontally and angled slightly to the left of a straightforward position. The base of the instrument should be parallel with the floor below you. The wooden instrument will sit on or around your left collarbone and the left side of your jaw will rest on the chin rest. You can use shoulder rests or alternatives (like sponges) if you find this more comfortable.
The placement of your hands can impact the sound that you make with the violin. Photo on Foter.com
Left Hand Tips
Regardless of whether you are left or right-handed, the hand holding the violin should take up a position that enables you to grip the instrument and reach the strings comfortably. With this limb, try placing your elbow under the middle of the violin, keep your wrist soft and rounded and have your thumb opposite the first or second finger. You should ideally have a space between the thumb and index finger, in a curved, backwards “C” shape.
Holding The Violin Bow
Your other hand will be holding the bow, but you won’t just be holding it any which way.
Make sure that your hand is relaxed, turn your wrist to the left slightly and see where your fingers naturally drop. Your fingers should curve over the top of the bow stick with the tip of your thumb touching the frog contact point.
Remember: These are only tips and you can, of course, experiment with violin placement and fingering to find your own preferred positioning. A unique way of using the instrument could be your own unique feature.
Posture is very important with violin playing because you need to be open to using a range of muscles from your core to the tips of your fingers, so don’t restrict your movement by slouching or not giving yourself enough space to express yourself musically.
When in a standing position, stand up with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart, either next to one another or with your left foot slightly forward. If playing sitting down, use a firm chair rather than a soft cushioned sofa and sit up straight. Shift yourself toward the front of the chair to make yourself more comfortable when playing.
Maintain a good posture when standing or sitting and playing the violin. Photo credit: toresetrephoto on Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Now that you have mastered holding the required equipment, how do you start playing?
A nice tone is achieved through placing the bow just right on the strings – this includes place, speed and pressure.
You should place the bow on the string at the central point between the fingerboard and bridge and then draw the violin bow in a fluid motion parallel to the bridge. The heavier the pressure you place, the louder the sound. To achieve a softer sound, apply light pressure with the bow, drawing it close the fingerboard.
The key to a professional sound is to keep the level of the arm and bow constant whilst playing on different strings.
It is always worth picking up your instrument as much as possible at home and practising the basics above, plus if you can read music with ease then you could try playing a few tunes. Even if it is only Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or other simple melodies!
Once you are ready to take your violin playing to the next level though, be sure to find a tutor or to enrol on a course that can help you to develop your musicianship skills.
Go and visit Superprof to see if there are any violin professionals offering classes in your area. With a private instructor, you can usually pick and choose your hours due to their flexibility and you can also choose a tutor who fits your financial requirements.
Even if you don’t find the right tutor for you on your doorstep, you could find someone in the West Yorkshire area who you are happy to travel to or you can even arrange to have online lessons via Skype or video call. It may not be as convenient in terms of getting feedback, but it could be perfect in terms of getting your the right tuition at a time that suits you.
Some people are able to teach themselves to play by ear training or from watching video tutorials on the Internet so learning music using distance learning methods must work well for some!
You can have violin lessons either one to one or in a group or class setting. Photo credit: Jim, the Photographer on Foter.com / CC BY
Singing Fiddles is a company offering fiddle and violin lessons to mainly children (but adults too) in the Glasgow area.
“Conveniently based in central GLASGOW, near Buchanan bus station, Queen Street station and with good local parking, we can provide lessons and individual tuition that suits you day or evening and can help you develop your voice or playing skills at your own pace.
Fun and affordable singing and violin lessons in Glasgow. Aspiring musicians come to us from across Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Paisley, Giffnock, Newton Mearns, Bishopbriggs, East Kilbride and more.
Explore our website for more information and fees. Contact us to arrange a relaxed, fun and friendly, no-obligation, £12 trial half-hour, one-to-one lesson. We can provide lessons and individual tuition that suits you day or evening and can help you develop your voice or playing skills at your own pace.
So whether you want to learn to sing, get violin tuition, pass your Grade exams, rehearse for a performance, audition for an on-stage role or just learn singing or violin for fun, we can help.”
Melrose Music School
Melrose Music School provides individual music lessons for a variety of instruments, including the violin. Lessons usually last for 30 minutes.
“Violin Lesson are extremely popular at Melrose Music School among children, teenagers and adults. This stringed instrument can be easily transported. Our lessons cater for classical, jazz, pop or folk music, Many pupils learn for fun and we can also prepare those who wish to pursue graded exams through ABRSM syllabus. There are a variety of violin sizes for different ages so we can offer advice on this when you are starting. more…
Violin Lessons for Children
The violin is possibly one of the most expressive instruments and children can start to learn from a very early age. Our tutors will work on building a solid technique, with a view to developing your child’s expressive capabilities as much as possible. Our tutors work a lot on musicianship games with children which they find to be great fun and it really develops confidence. We can provide assistance on which size violin to purchase when the time comes. The violin is one of the most expressive instruments and playing it is within your reach. We help young and old, beginners and more
Violin Lessons for Teenagers
We can provide expert violin tuition for your teenager, whether it’s for extra support for studies at high school or just to learn for fun. Along with teaching the practical aspects of violin we can also provide lessons in musical theory which will go hand in hand if pursuing music further. We use ABRSM syllabus for those wishing to pursue exams.
Violin Lessons for Adults
We offer one to one violin lessons for complete beginners to advanced level and structure the lessons on an individual basis to best suit exactly what you want to get out of the lessons. We have spare violins to try at your first few lessons. We will tailor your violin lessons to match your abilities and ambitions and work with you to achieve your musical dreams – whether these are performing in public, passing Grade exams, or just being able to play the violin in your spare time as an enriching hobby.”
Don’t live in Glasgow? See these blogs covering other UK cities: