As with every other musical instrument, the violin requires some time and dedication. Besides these, there are equally important guidelines every violinist needs to be conversant with before playing the instrument. This article will focus on some simple guides to playing the violin for absolute beginners.
Playing an instrument is something many people long to be able to do well. Music sooths the soul, and there is just something inspiring about being able to play songs on your own! While Learning an instrument is always hard work, one must be patient enough to get to the peak. It should never be frustrating or upsetting, especially when you aren’t really perfect at it.
When thinking about playing the violin, most people think it will be easier to play than it actually is. Although this may be true, but playing the violin very well will require a lot of time and effort. One must be prepared to put in the quality practice time to become a good violinist.
If you are a starter or beginner then this guidelines are just want you need to get you started. Enjoy!
1. Correct Posture for Playing the violin
Posture is very important when playing the violin. Posture enhances the quality of the sound produced by the instrument. It equally helps to minimize possible muscle and back strain to the player. If you are just beginning to play the violin, ensure you spend as much time as you can getting your posture right first time around. Bad habits can be hard to break, and require lots of un-learning.
2. Holding the violin
The simple guides here are these;
a. Stand up straight and in a neutral position. Ensure that your neck and head are aligned and facing forward.
b. Try looking to your left side and go back to the neutral position.
c. Pick up your violin by its body and not by its neck using your left hand. Hold it out to your left side.
d. Place your violin over your shoulder. Try to keep your violin in place by your chin and your shoulder.
e. Don’t raise your shoulder or put too much pressure from your chin towards the violin.
f. Relax and breathe properly. This will help you avoid much tension.
g. From your neutral head position, look to your left side again as in step B. Place your jaw and chin over the violin’s chin rest.
h. Rest your head’s weight on the violin by keeping your jaw on the chin rest.
3. Holding The Bow
Your violin bow is not a conducting stick. It is not a baton and certainly not a baseball bat. It is quite funny some beginners tend to treat the violin bow as either one or two of those.
The most common mistakes beginners make includes holding the bow with the thumb and pointing finger only as support. Others would usually grab the bow by making a fist with the right hand grabbing it. These are extremes and wrong ways of holding the violin bow.
A proper bow hold is not too tight and too loose. It should be between these two extremes.
The bow should be held in a way that it delivers power and sensitivity, allowing finger flexibility, agility, and weight control.
HOW TO HOLD THE VIOLIN BOW PROPERLY
To accomplish proper bow hold, follow these simple steps:
a. Place your two middle fingers on one side of the frog.
b. Tuck your thumb on the curved portion of the frog, between the stick and the hair.
c. Gently bend your index finger and place it over the bow pad.
d. Bend your pinky and gently place it on top of the bow stick just next to the nut. It should stay bent to control the weight of the bow.
e. Keep your knuckles flat and level. They may flex and point up sometimes during bow stroke.
On a final note, always ensure you hold the violin and the bow loosely. If you hold either tightly, you will produce a ‘tight’ or scratchy sound. Remember, relaxation is the key to playing properly.
4. Moving the Bow
During the first few days (to weeks) of playing the violin, do expect to hear a lot of scratching and squeaking noise (sound). It’s normal. Don’t feel bad because every violinist started as a novice player.
To get the scratch out of your playing is not rocket science. Instead of focusing on pressing the bow into the string, focus on gliding the bow across the string, like a dragonfly skimming across water. If you focus intensely on this, your sound should become less scratchy.
Scratch is produced when there is too much tension in the arms and hands. You may want to be sure you are as relaxed as much as you can before attempting to play.
Don’t press down too hard on the strings. Be firm, but remember relaxation is the key to playing properly.
Learning how to play the violin is a long process and can be frustrating. You need to take time your time, relax, get into a good practicing routine, get to know your instrument and most of all – enjoy the process. If your practicing is becoming a boring difficult chore, move on and have a go at something else. Learning an instrument is always hard work, but it should never be frustrating or upsetting. Remember it’s OK to have a break, just make sure you come back to it again later on.
These simple beginners’ guides are guaranteed to help you become a better at playing the violin. So, congratulations once again and happy playing!!
I am Music Estate’s Music Director