Being fully equipped and prepared for your violin lessons is the first step in ensuring that you make the most of your class. This is particularly important for beginners, who will need to make sure they are equipped with more than the just the violin itself.
The first step is to find a suitable violin for your needs. You'll also need to make sure that you have the right materials to properly maintain your violin.
You will also need a number of different materials to help you during your violin practice between your lessons. Without the correct equipment such as a metronome, a music stand, and a tuner- then you won't be able to make the most out of your lessons. As any violin teacher will tell you, these are essential to good violin practice.
So whether you're an aspiring concert violinist or an absolute beginner, our Superprof guide will help you to decide what you need before you play.
Basics Equipment for Learning the Violin
Evidently the first thing that you'll need when when you are first learning how to play the violin, is a good quality violin and bow, that meets your needs for your level of training and practice.
Depending on your personal needs and budget, you may wish to rent or buy a violin. Renting is recommended for younger violinists who may quickly grow out of their current size, or for absolute beginners who are not yet ready to make the commitment for a more expensive violin. If you are ready to make the full investment, then it's a good idea to do your research before buying a violin.
You can choose to rent or buy your violin from a specialist music shop or violin shops. These are highly recommended as they will be able to provide specialised advice an help you choose the violin that is most appropriate for your needs and given budget. There are so many violins to choose from, including other stringed instruments that come in a vast ranges of sizes.
It's important to ask for advice from a professional to make sure that you have the correct size. An appropriately sized violin is absolutely essential in ensuring that you are are to play properly and without any discomfort.
When trying out different violins and different sizes, make sure that you are able to comfortably hold the scroll of the violin the your left palm, with your violin resting comfortably on your collarbone. Try to play different pieces and get an idea of the sound of the violin.
Don't forget to get a proper bow, which is just as important as the violin! Make sure that you are holding the bow properly and that you are able to tighten the horsehair strings and apply enough rosin before playing.
When purchasing a violin or renting one, any musical expert will tell you that you need rosin. Made from hardened tree sap, rosin is used to provide friction between the bow and the violin strings, and is rubbed gently on the strings of the bow. This helps to improve the sound and protect the horsehair strings of the bow.
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Correct Posture While Playing the Violin
The violin can be a rather uncomfortable instrument to play after a while, especially for beginner violinists who are not yet used to maintaining the correct position and posture.
This is because the correct posture can be tiring to maintain, and violin players are required to use the strength their back, arms, and shoulders to support the violin and hold the right posture over long periods of time.
There are several types of equipment which can help to make long hours of violin playing as comfortable as possible. One of the essentials for most violinists is a kun or shoulder rest.
The shoulder rest is an ergonomic form of equipment placed between your shoulder and the violin. It attaches to the lower part of the violin and helps to hold up the violin in the correct position on your collarbone. The shoulder rest can significantly diminish pain and prevent you from overly straining your muscles in your shoulder and your neck.
Many beginner violinists or young violinists use a sponge instead of a shoulder rest. All you have to do is attach a sponge to the lower part of your violin with an elastic band.
Although it's best to stand while playing the violin in order to ensure that you are holding the best posture, if you have a sore back or are practicing for long hours, then it may also be a good idea to use a chair.
A sturdy chair without any arm rests to get in your way while playing are best. The chair should be the correct height so that you aren't hunching over and putting pressure on your back. No matter equipment you are using, always remember that maintaining the correct posture is absolutely essential to good violin practice.
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Equipment Required for Practicing Your Violin
According to our violin teachers, here is a list the essential equipment you'll need when practicing the violin:
The violin is such a delicate instrument, that it can very easily go out of tune. It's essential to tune your violin every single time before you begin your practice. The violin is tuned using the small fine tuners at the tailpiece of the violin. The more you play the violin, the more you will
The strings of the violin should be in tune before you begin your practice. Violin strings are tuned by turning the fine tuners which are found at the tailpiece of the violin.
A violin tuner will help you to ensure that your violin is set at the right tune before you play. More experienced violinists will be able to tune their violin by ear, but it's absolutely essential for beginners to begin using a tuner.
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You can purchase a violin tuner from your local music shop, or you can use a wide range of apps on Apple, Google Play or Android. Some apps can do more than just play the correct note - they'll help you tune your violin exactly by telling you if a note is too sharp or too flat.
Metronomes are used to set the rhythm and pace while you play, and used to make sure that you keep in time. You can purchase a metronome from any music shop, or you can download one to your smart phones and touch screen computers.
- Music theory books
Any violinist will have to have some knowledge and understanding of music theory. This includes excellent knowledge of your scales and arpeggios.
Ask your teacher to recommend a book for your level, that contains all the violin scales and arpeggios that you should be able to memorise. In addition, you'll have to understand the use of key signatures.
Being able to memorise and play all the harmonic and melodic minor scales for the violin are essential to your practice, and with the right exercise books and resources this shouldn't be a problem! Theory books will also help you to understand essential concepts such as keys, pizzicato, intonation, bowing, pitch, dynamics, and musical expression to name a few. You may wish to buy a single book or individual books with different topics or theory. Knowing your theory is the secret to progressing in your violin practice.
Music stands will hold your sheet music while you practice the violin. The stand should be held at high level so that you are maintaining the correct posture throughout your practice.
You may wish to consider purchasing a collapsible music stands are the most convenient, as they can be transported easily and folded up for lessons.
Sheet Music for Violins
The most important material you'll need for your lessons is sheet music in order to actually get started playing!
To start out, your violin teacher will be able to make some suggestions of music that is appropriate for your level and musical interests. It's a good idea to try out different pieces to help you learn different keys, dynamics and develop your technical capacities as you play. It's your job as a student to purchase the recommended books and learning material needed for your violin lessons.
If you are a more advanced student and planning to take musical exams, such as the Royal Conservatory of Music or the Suzuki Methodology, then you will need to purchase books specifically for these formal examinations. You will be asked to play from these specific books for your final examinations.
In addition to sheet music, you should also purchase a CD accompaniment in order to be able to listen to the music and to help you learn the piece by ear. Music shops will hold a vast array of different violin accompaniment pieces in a range of different music styles and levels. Playing with a music accompaniment is a great way to train for being in the orchestra.
You may also wish to consider downloading violin sheet music and more contemporary pieces from the internet. There are a wealth of free online resources that will be available to you if you are looking for basic pieces.
Anyone violin teacher will always have a pencil on them to make notes and mark up any sheet music you are practicing. This is why it's so important to make notes while you are practicing:
- You should always highlight or mark up certain notes or passages with incidentals, fingering, keys etc.
- When playing with a musical ensemble or an orchestra, the conductor will ask you to mark certain passages to ensure that you are playing in unison with the rest of the group
Violin practice mute
When practicing during certain hours of the day or in certain places, you may wish to use a mute to tone down the sound of your violin.
How To Care for your Violin
With an instrument as fine and delicate as a violin, you'll need to make sure that you maintain it and care for your violin as best as possible.
One practice you should regularly take, is to gently wipe off any excess rosin from your violin and strings with a dry cloth. Rosin can get built up on your strings and lead to tinny sound when you play. In order to prevent this, always have a dry cloth in your case to wipe down your violin before and after your practice.
The correct storage of your violin when you aren't playing is also essential. Make sure that your violin is stored in a hard case to prevent any damage. Additionally, make sure that the violin is stored in a dry room-temperature room, away from any cold, damp or hot areas which can cause damage to your violin.
It's also important to ensure that your bow is in good shape when storing it in your violin case. The horsestrings should never be pulled too tight or too lose. Ask your violin teacher to show you the optimal positioning for your bow to prevent any damage.
It is also highly recommended to replace the strings of your violin at least once a year. This is because they can easily get worn down and diminish the sound quality of your violin. If you aren't confident in changing your own strings, music shops or violin shops should be able to do this for you for a small fee.
Every year or so, you may also wish to get you violin serviced at a music shop or speciality violin shop. This is particularly important for more advanced players who are using the violins on a daily basis which can lead to some technical problems or to some parts of the violin getting worn down. A repair shop will be able to service your violin for a basic fee and make sure that your violin is able to perform at its best.
Maintaining your violin is one of the greatest responsibilities for violinists- no matter what age and level, so it's important to make sure that you make this a priority.
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