I felt it appropriate that this should be the first lesson as when I pulled my violin out of it’s case the other day I found that two of the strings had snapped. It can be quite a tricky process and I haven’t seen it covered much online so I though it would be a great start to a few lessons and help you get an understanding of the violin.
In my last article I provided five tips on getting started on learning how to play the Violin basics. In this article I am going to provide five more tips on improving your skills as a Violinist. So if you are ready to learn more on playing the Violin just follow these five tips and improve your skills.
1. An important factor of the more advanced playing of the violin is learning about positions. The reason why this is important is because when you get to the advanced stages of Violin playing is that when the composer or arranger specifies sul G that means you play that note on the G-string. Practically speaking the highest position is the 15th position. If you don’t learn the basic positions or more advanced positions it is unlikely that you will be able to reproduce the note that the composer or arranger has specified.
2. Another important factor of producing more ‘effects’ and the advanced playing is learning how to do vibrato and vibrato trill. The reason for this is simple. The Vibrato in my view hints romance and tender feeling towards the music. The Vibrato is a technique of the left hand and arm in which the pitch of a note varies in a vivacious rhythm. While various parts of the arm may be involved in the motion, the end results is a movement of the fingertip bringing about a slight change in vibrating string length. The Vibrato Trill is when the vibrato is used for a fast trill. A trill initiated from just hammering the finger up and down on the fingerboard will create a harsher quality than with a vibrato trill. This technique is especially important because it uses a skill that makes violin playing more exciting and more capturing from an audiences point of view.
3. An even greater technique to learn on the violin is the use of harmonics. With a fingertip lightly touching the string at a harmonic node creates harmonics. Instead of a normal note being played there your finger is placed more firmly on the string as you know from the basics of violin playing the harmonic note as we know by placing the finger tip lightly on the string produces a higher pitched note sound. There are two types of harmonics: natural harmonics and artificial harmonics. In actual fact that natural harmonics are played on an open string. The pitch of the open string is called the fundamental frequency. Harmonics are also known as overtones. This is especially important to know because the composer and arranger uses a sign for the violinist to produce the effect of a harmonic and it is also very effective.
4. The next very important techniques are the use of the right hand and tone colour. This includes Bowing Techniques, Col Legno, Martele, Tremolo and Mute. These techniques are extremely important to learn because it adds difference, flavour, dynamics and timbre to the music, in which, the violinists plays. The most essential part of bowing techniques is the bow grip – this is where the thumb is bent in the small area between the frog and the winding of the bow. The other fingers are spread across the rest of the lower end of the bow evenly. Depending on the pressure that you put on the bow you can produce loud and quite sounds as well as more dramatic sounds. The Col Legno is a technique and is written in music when the composer or arranger is informing us for striking the string or strings with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. Martele literally means a strongly accented effect produced by releasing each bow-stroke forcefully and suddenly. This technique can be played in any part of the bow and is sometimes indicated in written music by an arrowhead. The Tremolo is a very rapid repetition that is typically of a single note but occasionally of multiple notes and is usually played at the tip of the bow. This produces an effect of suspense or horror. The Mute is produced when you attach a small metal, rubber or wooden device and you attach it to the bridge of the violin and this produces a softer, and more of a mellow tone with fewer audible overtones; for example, the sound of an entire orchestral string section playing with mutes has a hushed quality. These techniques produces an important effect of their own as they also produce effects of dynamics, timbre and rhythm.
5. The last important tip that I am going to tell you is the Musical Styles, in which, the Violin can be played in. There is Classical Music, Jazz, Popular Music, Indian Classical Music and Folk Music. Playing in these musical styles is very uplifting for you the Violinist and your audience.
So if you really want to be more advanced on playing the violin then use these five tips as your skills will be developed, you would be able to teach and create different Timbres and Textures to your Violin playing.
Since the age of Six, I have been playing the Violin. The Violin is simply an extraordinary instrument with just four strings: G, D, A and E. I am Grade Seven standard and have played in Orchestra’s such as the Reading Youth Orchestra and Corelli. I have also played as a Soloist, as part of a duet, trio and in bands as a performer and as a session musician. That is why I am writing this article to share my passion for playing the Violin.
If you are determined and keen to start learning to play the Violin, there are some important things you need to know before you begin. Just follow these five tips for learning the Violin, getting started to play the violin and having fun with learning to play the violin.
1. An important factor when you start to learn to play Violin is learning how to hold the instrument properly. If you don’t the sound projected will not sound right at all. So, first of all you pick the Violin up by the neck with the F holes facing away from you so you should only see the back of the Violin. You then place the violin on your left-hand shoulder and rest your chin on the chinrest. When you first begin learning to play the violin you can practise ‘balancing’ the violin by just resting it on your left hand shoulder and your chin resting on the chin rest. Take care not to hunch your shoulders whilst doing this. It can easily happen but try to avoid it. The violin will balance.
2. Another important factor is knowing how to tune and know the pitch range of the instrument. It is absolutely critical because when you play the instrument if you do not know how to tune the instrument properly when you do play the notes will sound flat and the violin will sound out of tune. So, remember that the pitch range of the violin is from G3 that is G below middle C to C8, which is the highest note on the modern piano. The top notes are often produced by natural or artificial harmonies. You can either tune the Violin by the pegs where the scroll is or you can use the fine tuners near where your chin rests and this used to make smaller pitch adjustments.
3. You have to get the right size Violin that is suitable for you. If the Violin is either to small or big you may struggle to play the instrument properly and getting the right sound is extremely important. So the sizes from smallest to largest are 1/32, 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and finally the full size violin.
4. Another important factor is knowing how to play the instrument because if you don’t play it properly the angelic sound that is supposed to come out it will sound muffled. So you can either stand or sit down on a chair to play the violin. If you are standing up whilst playing the violin you should stand up straight with your legs placed apart – level to your waist and position your feet in a V shape. If you are sitting down on a chair whilst playing you have to sit up straight at the end of the chair with legs far apart. When holding the Violin in your left hand the neck goes between thumb and your first finger. Make sure your wrist is straight while placing your fingers on the fingerboard to playing the right sound.
5. Have you considered either plucking the strings with your right hand fingers or using the bow. This projects different dynamics out of the instrument and creates either staccato notes or long sustained notes effect.
So if you really want to learn the Violin in either as a fun or professional capacity then follow these five tips and you will please yourself and your family and also make money out with it.