Learning to play the violin is a fantastic goal to train to reach. It takes dedication, motivation and a passion for the instrument. One of the amazing things about violin lessons, however, is that it not only trains you to be able to play the instrument, but it also teaches you how to be a better person. It takes time and precise to learn how to play the violin well.
Today we are taking a look at what to expect when you are learning to play the violin.
Violin Teaching Methods:
Traditional Learning Techniques
The traditional violin method is a collection of teaching styles that all share a common structure, teaching the student how to read notes. Even as a beginner violinist using this method, you will learn to read music. Although this may be the only commonality among the various teaching styles. It is core to the belief that starting to read notes early on helps music students to become strong sight readers and gives them the opportunity to join in with recitals, music groups or a junior orchestra from early on.
Advantages Of This Style:
- Students can learn the notes by reading music and then later memorise them to help with their technique.
- Parents are not required to be involved in this technique, and so it is a very low-maintenance style to study.
- There are lots of study aids available to instructors which can help them to teach the violin better.
Disadvantages Of This Style:
- Having to read music while playing the violin can be a bit of an overload and can get in the way of the technique.
- Additionally, for a very young student who is learning to play the violin, it can be challenging to implement at learners as young as 3 years old may not yet even be able to read books let alone music notes.
- There is little accountability at home as parents are not involved in music lessons.
Suzuki Violin Method
The method is invented by a violinist from Japan called Shinichi Suzuki, It was his observation that children could learn their mother tongue with relative ease and so he developed this inspiring system using that idea as the foundation. It relays heavily on parent involvement, positive encouragement and repetition.
The Suzuki method delays learning to read music, which they call the mother tongue approach. This method treats music classes as a language. Immersion is one of the primary ways that students of this method learn.
Advantages Of This Style:
- Students can focus on playing music and on all of the other things they have to remember as reading music is introduced much later
- This method allows you to learn at an increased speed which allows the student to become confident quickly.
- Because parents are heavily involved in the lessons, the child and parents learn together creating a healthy relationship for learning. Empowering the parents to be able to coach children at home. Which creates a very complete learning program,
- This method is excellent for music students of all ages. An especially excellent learning method for younger kids.
Disadvantages Of This Style:
- Delaying note reading until so late in the violin classes, may impede the student later on.
- It is hard for the kids to take part in an orchestra or group shows because they do not read music. They use mostly ear training.
- Problems can arise for children who don’t work well with their parents.
What To Expect When You Learn Violin
- You Have To Lose Your Ego
Learning how to play the violin takes time, and many other students find themselves getting discouraged when they discover that they are not as good as talented child prodigies. But the violin isn’t about being better than other students it is about being passionate about your music and following your own privately created discipline.
- Your Violin Needs A Lot Of Care
Learning how to play your violin is only part of the work to be done you also need to take care of your violin. Especially if you want to sound your best when you are playing and practising. This will become natural to you over time and is an essential part of being a violinist. As well as tuning your violin you also need to take care of the bow making sure to loosen the violin strings when not to retain the curve in the strings. Violinists use a violin rosin to do this which is a tool that attached to the strings to create the friction required to make the sound.
- Unless You Are A Prodigy, You Won’t Sound Good For A Long Time
It takes a lot of time, dedication and determination to be able to play the violin well. In the beginning, you will likely find that the sound that you create is very unattractive. It is important to remain enthusiastic and try to focus on remaining motivated. There is lot’s that goes into mastering the violin, and to play well could take as long as a few years.
- You Will Become Part Of A Community
Because of the dedication, it takes to learn to play the violin, you find that there is an active community around the instrument. People group together as s form of encouragement, this creates a supportive and passionate community.
Warm Up Exercises For Playing The Violin
- Finger Placement
Finger placement is crucial for playing the violin, If you don’t master finger placement, you will never create a great sound. Playing simple scales in the first position is a well know tip to help to tune your ear to the sound of the notes and train your fingers where to go. It is a good idea to play with a tuner so that you know that you are getting the right sound for each note each time.
- Playing Long Strings
Playing long open strings is an excellent way to learn bow placement and practice making consistent and clear sounds. When practising move to stand in front of the mirror and slowly draw the bow over the each of the strings paying close attention to placement. This also a good time to learn about the weight of the bow and focus on how it moves across the strings.
- String Crossing
Being able to move smoothly from string to string with precise placement, is very important, as is maintaining good posture and focusing on your movements as you practice.
- Fourth Finger Practice
We don’t often use our little finger for much, but it is just as important as any of the other fingers in violin. If you hope to reach professional musician level with your practice, you will need to learn to use all of your body to play the music. Your little finger, in this case, is critical as sometimes you won’t be able to reach the strings in the correct location with your other fingers. In this case, you must strengthen your little finger so and practice with it so that you can give yourself more reach while playing.
Top Tips For Learning Violin
- Use online violin mobile apps, you can find apps to track your progress, for tuning your notes or for joining a community of other musicians. Since you probably use your phone quite a lot, integrating your violin practice with your phone apps makes good sense.
- Make sure to focus on your posture, it is an integral part of your music. Good posture helps you to play even better and prevents fatigue. Exercises to loosen and open up your body before playing can support better stance in the long term. It is probably worthwhile finding a short exercise routine that allows your body the flexibility needed to play well.
- Create a violin practice habit and stick to it, if you are serious about getting better, you will need to practice playing the violin every day. If you have a set time to practice you are more likely to stick to it. Distractions are bound to come, and sometimes you may seem too busy but maintaining a constant practice is the best and most efficient way to become a violinist.
- Keep your sheet music together and in good order and keep a pencil with it so that you can write any breakthrough down as you are practising. As you practice each day, you will need to be able to find the song that you were working on. Even if you can remember how to play without the music, your notes written on the sheet music will still be an invaluable resource to have with you as you practice.
- Make sure to tune your violin at the start of each and every practice session. This is some you will be doing a lot so either learning how to use this by ear or getting an app that can help you will be important. You cannot play the violin with an out of tune instrument. If you do, you will be damaging your violin and your ear. You do not want to practice and learn notes that are not in tune if you are serious about improving your skills.
Final tip: look for a violin teacher near me.
For students of the violin whether you are thinking about violin lessons with a tutor, just learning to play, an intermediate learner or a professional violinist. Learning the violin naturally instils students with skills such as patience, focus, precision, confidence and many other skills which are very useful to have in life in general. Enjoy your music program.