From all of the instruments in the world, if you have chosen to dedicate some time to the violin you should know that it is one of the hardest instruments to master, but it can also be one of the most rewarding.
The violin’s small hollow body can create a world of music through a range of beautiful sounds and melodies.
Playing the violin gives you access to the possibility of an enormous repertoire of music to play as it has been the preferred instrument of the world’s most notable composers throughout time. The violin is a key aspect of western classical music and has been hailed by Paganini, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Bach.
Unlike other instruments, the violin has gone unchanged since its first appearance in the 16th century Northern Italy. What has changed however is the way people learn to play the musical instrument. In the past, you had to have a personal teacher or be part of a music school, but now-and-days the access to the instrument is not so constrained.
You can now teach yourself through online courses or even have a private lesson via Skype.
Whatever method you choose to learn with, whether traditional or digital, the wonderful reward of mastering the violin will stay the same.
Choosing the Ideal Violin Educator
After deciding to pursue music education using the violin, you will have to find a music teacher that works for you.
Committing to a violin teacher is an important and very personal choice for a musician. Eventually, you will spend numerous hours with this teacher and they will have a considerable influence on your progress as a string player. When choosing a teacher you will have to look into both the practical aspects and your personal preferences.
Individual lessons will help you learn music theory, prepare for recitals and auditions, and improve your musicianship.
When deciding on a teacher you should consider the following practical aspects:
- Teaching method - What teaching method will they use to instruct. Most violin teacher’s pedagogy involves the traditional style or the Suzuki method.
- Qualification - There is no one defining certification for violin educators. Looking into their resume and experience is necessary. If they have a music degree from a notable university or have played as a professional musician in a city symphony, they are more than likely a good candidate for your music lessons.
- Affordability - Do the fees fit in with your budget? Ask about costs per hour and for the possibility of package deals. Private instructions tend to be more expensive, ask if they have group classes as an option.
- Recommendation - the more trusted the recommendations the better. Ask friends and family of any tutors they might recommend.
- Location - Does the teacher have a set location for her classes? Or could he/she come to your home?
- Availability - Finding a tutor that fits your schedule is imperative . Look into the possibility of after-school music programs or summer sessions when you have more time.
- Styles of Music - Narrow down the search for private teachers by defining the kind of genre you would prefer to learn and select those who teach that musical style. Decide whether you would like to learn Baroque classical music, jazz, or other kinds of contemporary music.
From your first lesson to your hundredth, whichever music teacher you decide to go with, make sure that they inspire you to become the best violinist you can be.
Superprof offers a variety of violin tutors that may fit both your practical and personal preferences for private lessons in your area. You will also find tutors in other major cities around the US such as San Diego and Philidelphia.
In addition, Superprof also provides music teachers for pianist, woodwind and percussion players, and even guitar lessons to all ages and abilities.
Tips for Practicing the Violin
Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
As a beginner violinist, you might be on the search for the best ways to practice this beautiful but very complex instrument. Whatever your goals may be, one thing is for sure, you are going to need a lot of perfect practice to achieve them.
So what are the best ways of practicing the violin for beginners? Here is a list of tips from violin tutor, Michael Newell:
- Gather all of the tools you need to succeed. Rosin, music stand, technique books, tuner, metronomes, shoulder rests, and a metronome are all essential to your growth as a musician.
- Find a teacher you enjoy learning from. One of the most influential factors of a beginner is the music instruction they receive. Your violin teacher will be able to guide you through the initial crucial steps to learning the building blocks for all future improvement.
- Put the bow aside. Plucking the strings and getting a feel for the violin without the added pressure of the bow is the best way to start learning. Take it one step at a time; you will eventually be ready to pick up the bow.
- Do not tense up. While playing the violin or any string instrument, it is important to remember not to squeeze anything. Your hands should be placed gently on the instrument and move with fluidity.
- Use your metronome. There is no point in learning to play music offbeat. A metronome helps you perfect your rhythm. Start with a slower pace and work your self up to the infected tempo.
- Join an orchestra. Joining an orchestra will give you the chance to practice among other fellow musicians and give you multiple performance opportunities.
Continuously practicing your instrument, whether it be only 15 minutes a day, will help you grow your technique and give you the opportunity to one day confidently perform in a recital hall or even audition for a professional orchestra.
Best Orchestras in San Antonio
Have you joined an orchestra yet?
This is probably one of the most frequent questions you’ll receive when you tell people that you play the violin. Like mentioned above, joining an orchestra is one of the most common tips you’ll hear as a new musician. An orchestra gives you the opportunity to not only practice your instrument in a group setting and increase your musical repertoire but it will also help you meet new people.
Creating music with others can be extremely rewarding, you’ll be able to challenge yourself and become a contributing part of a symphony orchestra.
If you would like to get involved in an orchestra in the San Antonio area, here is a couple to look into.
- Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) is a volunteer-based community music orchestra. Their staff of donors and volunteers helps young musicians create amazing music and friends. Their mission is "more than music. The YOSA mission includes fun . . . and what the music and the fun can mean to young musicians in our community." They also organize a yearly recital for their students.
- Balcones Music Orchestra is a chamber orchestra for adults. It is a volunteer-based program and ideal for San Antonio residents that are looking to practice after their work schedules. They provide group lesson opportunities to adults of all skill levels.
- Some orchestras also provide summer sessions like Classical Music Institutes’ summer education program. Their violin lessons are and other music classes are eligible for students from 8 to 18 years of age and of all experience levels. Here, the violin lessons also include the sessions on improvisation skills, ear training, and sight reading.
If you would like a sneak preview about what a symphony or orchestra might look like, check out the San Antonio Symphony. Register now to attend the next open rehearsals for free. They also hold Young People’s Concerts where they introduce student’s grades 3 – 5 to the wonders of orchestral music.