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Sunday Afternoon Violin Games

September 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Here is a list of various games to play using your violin when you're finished practicing the day's work on a rainy/snowy Sunday afternoon.

1. Upping the Tempo: Pick a scale or a fast section in a piece of music. The example I thought of was the Irish theme during the Quiddich World Cup in the fourth Harry Potter movie. Using a metronome, start your theme out slow. Each time you finish playing, restart it, but increase your tempo. See how fast you can play your theme before the metronome overwhelms you!

2. Chromatics: Start on your lowest string and go up a whole step, down a half step, up a whole step, down a half step, etc. See how far you can go up your strings! (Starting on the G String: G, A, A-flat, B-flat, A, B, etc.)

3. Sound Violin: Have a friend (or record yourself) playing some old video game, it doesn't matter which. Make special note of the music and sound effects as you play. Then, mute the T.V. volume and take out your violin. Try to play the music and sound effects as they're happening on-screen using your violin! You'll have to continuously swap between BGM and sound effects, but keep trying until you're happy with what you have. If you need back-up, have a friend tackle music while you settle on the sound effects or vice-verca.

4. Jam Session: With a group of friends on any instruments, play music! You may do popular music or, well, really anything you want to do. Improvise (play in a pentatonic scale if you want the notes to naturally sound good together!). This is simply a way to have a good time with your friends on the weekend before starting back up at your orchestra (or whatever you're doing).

5. Copycats: Have a friend play a cluster of notes and you repeat them. (Then switch and you do it to a friend.) You can play this game many ways, like your friend starts with one note you copy and adds one more each time. Or you can make it so when your friend plays a cluster of notes, you have to play the same cluster in a different key.

6. Instrumental Story-Telling: Look 'violince' up on YouTube, it's really cool and will give you some ideas to get you started! Basically, make up a simple story with your friends. It can range from enemy versus hero to drama to sci-fi. Costumes would be cool if you wanted. The only catch is you have to progress the story with your actions and your instruments. No talking allowed! You could try recording yourselves having a conversation and then interpreting it together.

7. Fiddlin' Around: Especially since autumn is coming soon, and I think of fiddles as a before-Halloween autumn treat for some reason (maybe because at the apple orchard we always go to they have a band playing country music and I remember once they had a fiddle-player), this game will be fun for now! Basically, you can improvise your own tunes, but only use double stops on your instrument. Try to make up some cool tunes! Some other (well-known) instruments your friends could use are: accordion, banjo, string bass, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, and piano. Check this out!

Whew, that was fun! (And took a while!) Try some of these out and let me know what you think. Feel free to make up your own games and put them in the comments section. The more the merrier! You can soon have your own violin party! :)

I'd just like to add that in the evening at about 6pm me, my sister, and her friend did a jam session (violin, guitar, ukulele)! We might be making our own album as a band or something, I dunno. Just wanted to mention this :)

From Jesús Fernández
Posted on September 17, 2012 at 8:43 AM
Great post, ¿may I translate it for my blog? (, in spanish).

From Joshua Iyer
Posted on September 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Sure! Feel free! :)
From Jesús Fernández
Posted on September 17, 2012 at 2:14 PM
Thanks! I will try to do it well
From Charlie Gibbs
Posted on September 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM
Here's a big second on the jamming. When my classical exercises start to get me down, there's nothing like fiddling with my bluegrass buddies to pick me up. It's amazing how when I'm not struggling with fiendish double-stop exercises or playing tricky passages in high positions, my tone suddenly becomes presentable again. But all the hard work is paying off - at the jams I now find myself using lots of double stops and improvising solos entirely in third position.

(As you might have guessed, I was in a really good jam last night.)

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