A few questions from beginner.
So I got a Hofner violin 2 days ago as a birthday present and I have started to learn to play. I know how to hold the violin and bow. I know it's uncomfortable right now but I'll get used to it.
For now, I'll be teaching my self. A teacher isn't available. It will probably take longer but I'm patient.
The questions I have to ask are about taking care of the instrument.
How often should I rosin my bow? Before playing every time?
Should I clean the bow after every practice?
How loose should my bow be when putting it away in my case? I do it just enough that the hair isn't sleek and the bow is curvier. (hopefully that makes sense)
How often should I tune my violin? (I have an electric tuner)
I have a hardfoam case that came with a blanket. What if I accidentally slightly bump my case into wall or an object? Will my instrument be safe? I've been treating my case better than a drug smuggler would treat his stuff and I feel I've been to paranoid.
I've already learned the names of the strings and where to find them on the ledger lines and now I'll be trying to learn 'twinkle twinkle little star' since it's probably the simplest but what do I move onto after that? 'happy birthday'?
Please and thank you~ :)
You tune the violin every time before you play. And then you have to start watching youtube teachers to get anything out of the playing. You do not know how to hold the bow and violin yet. Accept that you dont know what you dont know.
Thank you! ^_^
This site has some good tutorials too: /en/masterclasses/stance-violin-position
Thank you! :)
A caution about foam cases: most of them don't protect the violin very well from certain impacts. If you bump the case on the bridge side (or drop the case upside down), the violin bridge will bash the inside of the case, and could do major damage to the top of the violin. A true "suspension" case supports the violin at the edges, avoiding this type of damage.
A soft cotton cloth, like an old wash cloth, can be used to wipe down the bow and the violin. Do this after your last practice/play session each day. Rosin can build up quickly and become difficult to remove. Gently wipe down the strings too.
Alternatively, try Skype lessons or video exchanges. I also recommend searching this site for threads on online lessons, as they're plentiful.
I agree with the others about getting a tutor. However, I'm in the same boat concerning not being able to afford the lessons (or whatever your particular setback may be).
Oh, and another great tip that I came on late (or just started utilizing late, maybe because it sounds weird) is to record yourself often. This is useful for a myriad of reasons.
Thank you everyone so much! This means alot. ^_^
I made a blooper, the primary site I recommended browsing is the following: http://violinmasterclass.com/
I also strongly recommend looking at yourself in a mirror, especially as a self-learner.
@Ella Th, I tried doing that but I got too distracted looking at my reflection for possible bowing and posture errors, so much that I was making mistakes that didn't exist before. Lol. I'll settle for recording a video of myself playing (however horrible I might be)
I get that. However, you don't have to do it all the time, just sometimes.
@Ella Yu I've actually been planning recording progress videos. The first will be week one on Thursday since it was last Thursday that I touched a violin for the first time. It's not for YouTube but for myself so that after 4 months or so if I feel like giving up I could look at how far I've come and use it as encouragement and motivation. So the video recording thing is actually the most convenient for me right now.
There are so many aspects to the violin, I always feel a silent need to apologize when I'm focusing on one particular detail because if it's my bowing, my intonation will be off, if my left hand, my bow will be off and if posture, likely both.
I did consider buying a fret tool but then I read that professionals normally advice beginners to use their ear. I'll try that first but just in case it fails I'll keep my options open. Thanks. :)
Professionals do normally advise to learn by ear, but they are probably thinking of a student that's taking regular lessons. Don't get boxed in in your learning process. Frets or tapes may work well for you. Do what works.
First, welcome to the club! Learning the violin is both a frustrating and exciting adventure, so happy to hear you are taking the plunge.
Thank you. I'm trying hard to relax but I can't get past the first finger. I'm not losing patience but it's pretty discouraging. I'm trying to experiment with every combination of pressure and speed to find the proper method of getting a sound out of my finger positions rather than a noise.
I'm also beginning to suspect that my violin strings aren't properly set. There's a deep prominent groove in the bridge for the E string but mine is set a few centimeters before the groove. The distance between my A and E strings is less than the distance between my G and D & D and A string. So I'll try to set that up as well to see if it makes a difference. The problem is tuning the violin after loosening the strings. It's like my tuner is broken since it has switched the names of my G and A string.
I'm curious what you mean by the first finger? I'm not sure what program or method you are working on and I'm not saying my method is the way to go but I never focused on *a particular finger. If not sounding great to start, on top of having to pay attention to all the aspects of posture, bow hold and other little details you won't be familiar with yet isn't frustrating enough, I can't imagine being harsh on myself about getting one finger to sound perfect.
Thanks for the advice. I'll reflect on it. ^_^
Less advice (I'm not actually qualified for that) then just an enthusiastic hang in there, from one amatuer to another. I know the frustration of beginning but also the satisfaction of making progress but I apologize if it seems that I am trying to be an authority because we basically speak as peers and I am excited for you and your Hofner. I genuinely am curious what method you're following? I'm always looking for new possible practice techniques of routines.
As someone who picked up the violin a week ago, I haven't been following a routine. I have been playing whenever I get the time which is basically an hour on weekdays and 2 hours on weekends. I've downloaded several apps for music theory and rhythm. So for the time being I'm kind of 'winging it'.
Violetta, the string should rest inside that groove. The largest groove is for the G string and smallest for E so make sure it is the correct way around. Bridge position and being perpendicular to the violin is important. Perhaps you can post a picture of it so we can determine if it is alright.
Lol, 2 prerequisites for playing violin, regardless of circumstance:
There aren't any luthiers in my city probably in my country. One of the reasons why I can't find a violin teacher. There are barely even any music competitions that I could use to track down any sort of teacher.
Violetta, no worries. I was afraid I was starting to sound disrespectful or overbearing with my enthusiasm. I'm glad to encounter another self learning amateur on here. I definitely consider Erik an official source, but for me, learning the violin does come as a multi tasking operation. At least to do it in a fashion I hope to progress and become tolerable. I am from FL but living in between here and IN. Aside from the fact my funds are tight, finding a steady, non committal tutor is tricky. Probably just because I don't know the scene. Finding a luthier in IN was a cinch. In FL, I mostly rely on the big corporations and I question the quality of those workers, maybe unjustifiably but I do. I also kind of "violin worship", to put it in a sense, and I get nerd level geeked out to put my hands on a different violin than my own. Case in point, I visited a pawn shop today and saw a Sam Ash FR30 44 violin (around a $500 violin). The guy was like, "You can just put it on the counter," as I was trying write down the details of the violin on a scrap piece of paper. No chance that was happening and I just held it in my left hand. :P
Lol I live in a country that is considered undeveloped. Finding a string instrument shop was hard enough lol. Also, I think I perfected my strings and bridge because this morning when I decided to experiment during practicing open strings suddenly all of the scratchiness went away. It started to go away from the E to the G. Either I accidentally found the perfect speed and pressure or I've been blessed with miracles from Mozart's or Beethoven's ghost. Hahaha
Ah, I didn't realize you were in an undeveloped country. It's great that you finally figured out the "magic combo" of bow speed, soundpoint, and pressure. Honestly, that's the hardest part about starting the violin so it should be easier from now on :)
@Erik Williams you're right. I should work on that. I'm getting my hopes up too high every time something good happens. So I have A lot of work to do on that.
@violetta May i ask in which country you are on? I come myself from a 3rd-world country and I can assure you, there is always a musical community somewhere. Sometimes you just need to dig a bit.
@Bruno Camargo I'm from India. The problem isn't finding a musical community, it's about finding a luthier. I could easily find a music community when I start college.
I am afraid this is not the best approach. When you find the community, you will find the service.
Unfortunately I don't live anywhere near there. Thanks for the help.
Violetta, you sound very happy and enthusiastic about your violin and I think you could do great things. I completely understand being under restrictions and you clearly face even more obstacles than I do. I think you should explore and try to find a community but under the realistic conditions of your situation, that may not be within your resources so my second best suggestion would be: the work you can do yourself on a violin is very limited because it really is a delicate instrument so before you consider doing anything yourself, post lots of pictures, ask lots of questions and do a lot of thorough research online. The whole saying, "Hindsight is 20/20," is sometimes too painful for us to swallow and accept. Therefore, just research your butt off concerning proper care so you know all the preventitive measures and ask, ask, ask.
Also, I've always wanted to come to Dubai to do some personal research there. Visit some libraries and read the history from India's perspective. I know some areas of India are struggling, the population and it's growth, along with climate conditions and natural disasters are a very deep concern. I did a paper in my english composition college course about child slave labor around the world and I know certain areas especially struggle with this. I had two heartbreaking stories involving children from India. I still hadn't really thought of it as a third world country.
Large parts of the world are still lacking in musical communities when it comes to Western instruments. It's mostly a matter of taking time to penetrate cultures that don't traditionally use the violin family. Funny you mention Dubai -- it's been the wealthiest city on the Arabian Peninsula since the 1960s, but as recently as the 1990s it was one of those places. I mostly grew up there (age 3-12) and never saw a violin-family instrument until 1995, months before returning to the US.
That was a blooper, I meant New Delhi (got Dubai stuck in my head due to a funny youtube video of a kid coming down off hospital drugs) but I would take the opportunity to study anywhere. History is bias to the nation it is taught. Also, picking up interesting facts like the ones you just mentioned. I've always been interested in India specifically because it is the origin country of Buddhism but I think an ultimate goal, traveling to any part of the world, would be to get a more balanced perspective of world history and submersion into diffiferent cultures.
I was wondering where Dubai was mentioned, or if anyone who posted in this thread lives there... and didn't think it was strange because there's a large Indian population there.
Hey. I started learning violin 1.5 years ago and I live at a place that consist of no violin teacher (I finally found one, but I end up travelling by bus and train to reach him)
As my mom and teacher always said, "PRACTICE SLOWLY!" Especially for a beginner, when fingers still need to learn where they are placed. I feel like the pros have covered everything else already.