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7 Tips for Learning to Play the Violin

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As an elegant, classical instrument used by many famous composers, learning to play the violin is worth every moment.

However, you may associate violin lessons with precocious toddlers being raised to rival Mozart and Beethoven. That’s not true, and violinists can start at any age.

7 Tips for Learning to Play the Violin

Like any new hobby, though, it takes a while to attain mastery. There are a few reasons why adults don’t pick up new skills, in some cases, as quickly as children do. One of those reasons is embarrassment. 

For instance, children tend to sing loudly, off-key, and with no self-consciousness. As adults, many of us laugh off our ‘inability’ to sing without trying. In some cases, new hobbyists don’t give themselves the permission to be bad at something at the beginning.

Instead, they expect to be perfect the entire time. Of course, that’s unrealistic, which is why we’ve assembled these tips on practicing the violin.

Record Yourself

This is one of the top violin tips to measure progress. If you have an ear for music, you can generally tell if you’re close to the target.

However, when you’re playing music, it’s not for you. It’s meant to be performed as something that everyone else can hear.

That’s why it’s important to record yourself often. This is true for two reasons, and the first one is motivation. When you feel that you’ll never know how to learn the violin, you can go back and listen to old recordings.

Recordings and pictures don’t lie, and you’ll be able to see how much progress you’ve made.

The second reason is the ability to course-correct. If you’re hitting a wrong note consistently, it’s best to figure it out early. That way, you don’t spend months memorizing a piece the wrong way.

Adjust Your Instrument

As a beginner, you might have picked the wrong violin. When buying a violin, it’s important to rent one out first. This lets you play it for a little while, without making a huge financial commitment.

If you find that your instrument makes it difficult to hold the right posture, or that it’s difficult to soldier through a few hours of violin practice, it might be time to swap instruments.

When practicing the violin, get your instructor (if you have one) to look at your instrument. This will let you know whether you’ve picked a violin that works best for you. This guide to buying a violin can also help.

Sign Up For Lessons

Like we mentioned above, an instructor is invaluable when buying a violin. Of course, the benefit of an instructor goes far beyond that.

In this age of YouTube, it might feel difficult to justify the cost of paying for an instructor. A violin teacher is valuable for multiple reasons, though.

The first one is accountability. If you’ve been assigned a piece to learn, and you know that you will be meeting with your instructor on Wednesday, this motivates you to practice over the weekend. This is much more powerful than knowing that you can learn the piece anytime.

The second reason is knowledge. YouTube can’t lean over your shoulder and correct your posture when you’re doing it all wrong. YouTube also hasn’t worked with dozens of students over the decades personally, shaping them into great violinists.

Practice Daily

Violin practice is key. You may be picturing a scene out of a movie, where a genius violinist plays their fingers off for hours at a time.

But if you’re juggling a part-time job, school, and childcare, this might not be realistic. Don’t discount the value of practicing the violin daily in short bursts.

Even if you’re only able to practice for fifteen minutes a day, this is far better than only being able to play in a two-hour session once a month.

Building a skill is like rolling a snowball, and sometimes, one snowflake at a time is how that ball gets built.

Keep Motivated

Popular advice for developing a skill is a lot like the advice given when you are starting a new fitness routine.

Give yourself grace. Focus on consistency. Realize how far you’ve come.

This is all true for violin, too. If you waste all your time comparing your clumsy adult skills to that genius two-year-old going viral for their rendition of Beethoven, you won’t get as far as you might like.

Go To A Music Camp

Summer camp isn’t just for kids! If you’re learning to play the violin, this is a great way to get a dedicated block of study and instruction time.

With the right music camp, you’ll learn from violin masters from all over the world. You’ll also meet adult violinists who are in the exact same boat as you are. 

These camps are a great place to meet a mentor, new friends, and hone your skills while taking an out-of-the-box approach to vacation.

Compare Pieces

Sometimes, a comparison is valuable if you approach it from an educational angle. For instance, you can record yourself playing a famous piece. Then, you can listen to how famous composers played that piece.

As we talked about above, this shouldn’t become an opportunity to beat up on yourself and feel bad about your own talents. Instead, it is a chance to note the differences in play.

Some differences might be nuanced stylistic choices. Others might be errors, which is what you’re on the lookout for as you improve as a violinist!

Learning To Play the Violin

When you’re learning to play the violin, you may stumble across a certain truth sooner rather than later: you’ll never master it. There’s no such thing as total and complete mastery of an instrument, even if you’re Beethoven or Mozart.

Even the greats were often dissatisfied with their own performances and knew that they still had more to learn. If that’s where you’re at right now, know that you’re in great company.

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