Learning to play the violin is not an easy thing to do. Because of how challenging the process truly is, we’ve come up with seven things you should consider before you decide to play the violin. The more prepared you are, the better, and knowing as much information you can on this topic will help you on your learning journey.
Practicing Is Essential
Violin, the same as every other instrument, takes a lot of practice. This is something you will need to be wholly dedicated to and you will need to take time almost every day to master your craft. It’s not an easy task, and without that dedication of time right from the beginning, you’re not going to learn very quickly or effectively. Because of how much practice it takes you should never think that you will sound like a professional violinist right off the bat.
Teachers will be very encouraging of you practicing and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed when you first start out. You won’t be great right at the beginning and this is to be expected. Embrace all of the mistakes you make and know that you are going to get things wrong. It’s these mistakes that you learn from and all of it is part of the violin learning process.
Keep in mind that your teacher will keep track of your mistakes and they will help you improve on any errors that are made. You won’t feel judged and you will be able to be much more relaxed in a classroom environment.
The Learning Process Is Slow and Difficult
We’re sorry, but it’s a fact. Learning to play the violin is hard work. The violin is a notoriously difficult instrument to master. It can sometimes feel very discouraging by the lack of progress you feel like you’re making, which can lead to people giving up and putting the bow down for good.
If you ever start to feel discouraged you should remember that there are plenty of people who feel this way when starting out. Knowing that other people can play better than you isn’t a bad thing. Instead of thinking about it as a competition, you should see this as an encouragement to reach their level and better your violin playing.
It’s Very Physical
Professionals who have played the violin for many years make it look easy. So it’s common that people don’t expect it to be such a physical activity. It involves a lot of different skills such as strength, dexterity, and muscle memory. In order to master all of the special techniques involved in playing the violin, some teachers choose to give their students exercises. These are designed to build up your strength over time.
To be a truly great violin player then you will need to practice all of the exercises that are given to you every day. This is an instrument that requires a lot of time to be dedicated to it, especially if you want to play pieces perfectly. Practicing like this means you will have the right physical strength to carry out the proper bowing techniques and you will know where to place your fingers on the strings.
You May Need Extra Equipment
The instrument itself isn’t the only investment you’ll be making if you plan on learning the violin. There are quite a few extra accessories that you will need to factor into your budget. These will be especially important if you are determined to be great at the violin.
One of the main accessories you will need is a violin case. This is used to carry the instrument around and also protects it from bumps, scrapes, and elements. For beginners, it’s best to get a sturdy case that’s not too expensive just in case you decide not to pursue the violin.
Another accessory that can help you, in the beginning, is a shoulder rest. When you first start learning the violin your body will need to adapt to the extra weight from the instrument. You can always play without a shoulder rest but it may be easier with one. Maintenance things like rosin, new strings, and violin cloth all need to be purchased when you first start playing, but we’ll cover more on that later.
Metronomes are recommended for beginners because they can help you to stay in beat. You can set a steady beat and play along to it. This will massively help you if you plan to play as part of an orchestra later on. Specialized books are also recommended so that you can get lots of practice in various genres of music. Ask your teacher if there are particular books you will need or do some research online to find books that other students would recommend.
Your Violin Will Probably Be Noisy
Even professional violinists find that their instruments can sound noisy and scratchy every so often. However, it’s this noisiness that is actually a great thing. Think of where you hold your violin as you play – it’s right by your ear. In fact, many violinists who have played for years on end sometimes lose their hearing in this ear because of the violin’s proximity to their eardrum.
When you are a violinist, especially if you plan on playing solo, you want to make sure every sound is articulated to the fullest so everyone in a concert hall can hear you. Just because your instrument is making some creaks and scratching noises, the dampening effects of concert halls counteract this. When you play for other people, all they will hear is the beautiful music you are producing.
Violins Need Care
Violins take a lot of work to maintain. It’s something that will eventually become a habit as you continue to learn but in the beginning, it can feel a little daunting. You will need to learn all of the maintenance tasks such as tightening your bow and tuning your instrument. Rosin will need to be applied to the bow regularly to keep it from causing too much friction on the strings. This rosin also leaves behind a residue that needs to be cleaned off with a cloth.
These are only some of the things that go into properly maintaining your instrument. As part of your lessons and your learning journey, your teacher should teach you all of the things you need to do to keep that instrument sounding bright and right.
Don’t Expect to Be the Best
It’s incredibly awkward to start learning to play the violin. In the first few days or weeks of your journey, you’re probably going to sound bad and look a bit silly too. Once you get the hang of it, these things disappear so it’s definitely nothing to be discouraged about. The unnatural positions will eventually become comfortable and later on when you’ve played for some time, things become second nature.
Always remember that there is support out there on your learning journey and you are absolutely not the only beginner. Get in touch with people in your local area for motivation if you feel like you are getting stuck with your violin. Learning with others can be a huge help, especially when you’re feeling discouraged. Comment below on the most challenging things you found when starting to play the violin and share your experiences with others.