“A gift without technique is nothing more than a dirty habit”
- George Brassens (1921-1981), Le mauvais sujet repenti.
For many, learning to play the violin is like a dream come true, it’s also a natural calling when almost everything in your DNA seems to be shouting, I want to learn violin, give me some strings.
However, learning any bowed string instrument is complicated, there are frets, tuning, and technique and it can take months to learn the basics.
It’s unusual for children to teach themselves violin, but many adults try and do this themselves. That is why, in this article, we outline the best way to search violin teachers near me and offer many violin tips and tricks to help you make your dream to become a violin player, come true.
Tips for Using a Chin and Shoulder Rest
Like anything in life, before you embark on an adventure, in this case, a musical one, it is necessary to make sure that all the equipment you need is in place. To learn the violin, you need several accessories as well as the main instrument itself.
When it comes to violin accessories, the first things that usually come to mind are the bow, rosin, and strings. But there are two other important accessories too: the shoulder rest and the chinrest.
Remember, you will need a good chinrest to hold your instrument.
Why a Chinrest?
Usually, a chinrest is sold with the violin itself to ensure that the violin stays in place.
The chinrest has a few jobs. It prevents the wood of the soundboard from deteriorating, as well as protecting it from sweat. It is also able to prevent discomfort for the player caused by vibrations of the wood on the skin.
A good chinrest will you the violin to sit between your chin and shoulder without the strain of needing to crane your neck.
The bottom of the violin, which rests on the clavicle means that it may be more comfortable to own a shoulder rest. This, however, is a hotly contested topic and one that is bound to come up as you learn violin.
The shoulder rest looks like a curved, yet rigid bar which is quilted and spans the entire back of the violin.
By adding it to the instrument, you will notice as you learn the violin that it changes the way you play. It may be more difficult to create a good sound and reach certain strings with your left hand. On the other hand, it could improve your playing as you won’t be annoyed by the irritation.
The options for shoulder rests are extensive. There are different materials like plastic, rosewood ebony, colours, and sizes.
It is recommended that you test out these accessories, perhaps even in music shops, before you purchase them, especially if you are going to order online.
Learn the Violin without Annoying the Neighbours
When it comes to violin tips and tricks while you are learning how to become a violin player, one thing to avoid is annoying your neighbours while you practise. Unfortunately, there is not much worse than the sound of a violin that is not being played correctly.
Fortunately, there is a solution, buy a practice mute for your violin! A what?
A practice mute is a small device that clips onto the instrument’s bridge in order to make it quieter. This extraordinary piece of equipment is useful for any string quartet instrument (violin, cello, viola). It absorbs the vibration of the strings as well as the sound produced by the soundbox.
There are two main violin mutes, those for orchestral practice and those for
There are two main types of mutes for the violin: those for practising in an apartment and those for orchestral performances.
Depending on the material, usually ebony or rubber, a mute can reduce the volume by between 20% and 80%.
If you play in a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra, a mute can leave more space for the soloist to shine.
Before you put one on your violin, you should be aware of the different types of mute available on the market:
- Tourte-shaped violin mutes: This is the most commonly used mute in orchestras. It’s made of rubber and has a magnet in the middle.
- Round Tourte violin mutes: Just like the previous one, this can be used in chamber music and performances.
- Three-pronged practice mutes: These rubber mutes will drastically reduce the volume of a violin.
- Metal practice mutes: Similar to the previous mute but with a different tone.
- Wire practice mutes: This only slightly dampen the sound so it’s perfect for performances.
When choosing a mute, you need to decide on how much you want to dampen the sound, how big it can be (since a large mute will obscure your view of the strings), and the material (metal, ebony, rubber, etc.).
In order to buy a violin mute, just searching “violin mute” into a search engine will give you a whole range of different vendors selling them. There are plenty of online retailers that sell them as well as all good brick-and-mortar music stores.
What Does Your Left Hand Do When You Play the Violin?
Now we’ve got all the accessories we need! such as violin mutes, strings, and chinrests
Before you start playing the violin, you’re going to need to work on your posture to make sure that you don’t pick up any bad habits. You won’t become a good violinist if your technique is poor.
Start with your left hand.
Generally speaking, your left hand will hold the violin by the neck as the fingers on this hand will press down on the strings in order to produce the notes.
Firstly, you need to hold the violin straight and your shoulders, arms, and hands all need to be relaxed if you don’t want to break any windows ...
Here’s how to hold a violin:
- Place the neck between the thumb and index finger on your left hand.
- Each finger needs to be straight
- Your hand mustn’t be tense
- Your right hand needs to parallel with the neck.
- You’ll learn the basic positions of the violin once you start practising.
Just like with the piano, saxophone, and guitar, if you want to play the violin, you’re going to need to learn how to read the music.
On violin tabs, the numbers represent each finger:
- 0 = Open string
- 1 = Index finger
- 2 = Middle finger
- 3 = Ring finger
- 4 = Pinky
To move your fingers along the neck, your index and middle finger will move to the left (towards the lower notes) whereas your ring finger and pinky will move to the right (towards the higher notes).
Violin technique is really important. Without it, you’ll never be able to play the music of the greats.
There Are 8 Main Violin Techniques:
- Hand shifts
- Double stops
- Harmonic Glissando
What do you do with your right hand?
How to Play the Violin Left-Handed
Sometimes, lefties will need to reverse the way an instrument’s played to feel more comfortable.
If this is the case, the strings, the nut, the bridge, and the bass bar, etc. all need to be reversed. This can be a problem for teachers as they’ll also have to adapt.
Right-handed violinists hold the bow in their right hand. However, left-handed violinists play the notes on the neck with their right hand.
It’s imperative that you hold the bow correctly in order to play the notes correctly. Make sure to apply rosin to the hair on the bow before you play.
Correctly holding your violin, and the bow, is a difficult technique to master and you can’t hold the bow like a baton. There are a number of good violin websites showing you exactly how to do this. After you’ve got the hang of holding the bow, you’ll then need to work on moving it in a figure eight.
Don’t forget that the more pressure you apply to the bow, the louder you’ll play. You need to do more than just play a note correctly, you also need to nuance your playing.
The Italian terms fortissimo, forte, mezzo-forte, piano, and pianissimo are used to describe how loudly you’re supposed to be playing the notes.
You’ll also need to learn different bowing techniques to produce different sounds. Nobody becomes a great violinist overnight, after all; not even with the best violin teacher near me!
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