Violins are known for their beautiful and versatile sound, but they’re also complex instruments that require quite a bit of practice to master. Just like lessons, violins are often expensive, which is why a lot of people opt for a cheaper study model so they can find out if they like it enough to make a bigger financial investment once they have the basics down. For beginners and other dare-devils looking to step into the magical world of bow-string instruments, we hereby offer five useful violin tips.
1. Tune Your Violin
Before you start playing, it’s important to tune your violin. Most models are made of wood and as such, are sensitive to shifts in temperature and humidity – two things that can negatively impact the tuning. Fresh strings are also known to cause instruments to go out of tune quickly and it can take up to several days before the new strings fully stretch out and stabilise. A clip-on tuner offers beginners a great way to keep their instrument perfectly in tune, while a tuning fork is a good option when you want to train your hearing.
2. Loosen the Bow When You’re Not Using It
When you’re not using your bow, it’s wise to always release the tension, even if you’re only taking a quick break. This will significantly extend the lifespan of your bow and can be done using the screw of the back of the bow. And remember, as always, righty-tighty, lefty-loosey when tightening and loosening.
3. Replace the Strings
Since violin strings can break or wear out and sound dull, it’s recommended to swap out the strings for a pack of fresh ones once a year to guarantee consistent sound quality. Keep in mind that you should replace the strings one by one to prevent the nut and the sound post from coming loose.
4. No Rosin, No Sound
Rosin is absolutely essential for getting great sound out of your violin since the horse-hairs on your bow need it to create friction and get the strings to vibrate. Just don’t put too much on there or you’ll risk ending up with a shrill-sounding instrument. Rosin also leaves behind a lot of dust, so you’ll want to wipe down your violin with soft cloth regularly to keep the rosin-dust from gunking up. Like the strings, you should aim to replace your block of rosin once a year, as it dries out and loses its effectiveness over time.
5. Remember Playing Posture
To be able to play freely and comfortably and prevent injury, it’s important to play with proper posture. Balance and relaxation are key here. Many beginners clutch their violin too tightly, making it more difficult to play. A shoulder rest can help out and relieve the pressure on your neck, but you have to make sure it’s set up to match your body. Here, it’s advisable to talk to a violin teacher or a more experienced player. Another tip would be to invest in a music stand so you can read sheet music while maintaining proper posture.
Practice Makes Perfect
The violin is a stunning, multi-faceted instrument and since we all have to start somewhere, we wanted to share these basic tips with absolute beginners. If you’ve recently bought your first violin or if you’re on the verge of getting one, we wish you lots of playing joy! And remember, you’re never too old to start learning a new instrument.
How did your first few steps into the world of violins go? What are some of the things you’ve noticed? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!