Violin For the Beginner: Tips on How to Hold the Violin, Practicing, Staying Relaxed, and More
Hearing the melodious sounds of a premiere violinist’s solo of a concerto by Bach, or the toe tapping tune of an Irish jig, or even the fast pace rhythm of a square dance number, you can’t help but be enchanted by the violin. It is one the world’s best loved string instruments.
However, it is not an easy instrument to master. You won’t become another classical violinist like Vanessa Mae or the new M??ir?ï¿½ad Nesbitt of Celtic Women in a month or two, not even a year or two. But that is no reason not to learn the violin. Violin for the beginner is always a challenge. Be assured however, with dedication, practice, tenacity and passion, you can be taking your bow as first chair of a symphony orchestra one day, if that is your dream.
One thing every great violinist will tell you is that you must practice daily if you wish to master this instrument. Don’t think you can just fit in a practice when you find the time. Violinists become good at their craft by finding the time to fit in a practice each and every day. At first you will sound screechy and choppy. That’s okay, even if your dog does run and hide. With daily practice and a positive attitude, soon even the neighbors won’t complain anymore! They’ll be opening their window to hear you play. So, don’t get frustrated.
The more relaxed you are with your stance and holding the violin, the better your sounds will be. At first the correct positioning will seem very awkward. It is for everyone. Once you have mastered the technique, you will be well on your way to being the violinist you envision.
Don’t be afraid the instrument will slip from your jaw. The weight of your head will hold it in place. You don’t need to put a death grip on the neck, either. Let it balance in your cupped hand so your fingers are free to move. Don’t rest it on your arm, instead, keep it straight and sturdy, perpendicular to your elbow and slightly tilted towards the scroll.
Try playing in the middle of the neck first with short strokes, then began to glide across the strings to the part of the bow called the “frog, which is simply the place where you are holding the bow. Glide the bow in half strokes from the frog to the middle, back and forth, regulating your breathing so you remain relaxed. That is called “bowing the string”.
How often should practicing the violin for the beginner be each session? Start out with 15-30 minutes, and slowly increase it your practice times over the next several weeks. Avid violinists practice two to three hours a day. But, for the beginner, that might prove only frustrating and nerve-racking. The more you tense up, the worse you’ll sound. Relax, breathe.
In time, the movement of the bow over the strings will seem natural. Instinctively you’ll learn how much pressure and stroke to put on each of the four strings both with the bow and with your fingers of the other hand.
Keep at it, and soon your fingers will begin to cooperate more and more. Your brain will soon learn the violin techniques needed in order to make each note sound properly as you bow the string. Soon you won’t be in the violin for beginner category anymore. Then, your dog will curl at your feet once again and you’ll hear the windows next door begin to rise to let your wonderful violin music flow into their home, too.