February 2013

3 Essential Improvisation Tips especially for Violin Viola and Cello players

February 16, 2013 11:13

Violinists, violists and cellists often find improvisation to be difficult, and I have some ideas about why.

I've made this video to help explain why it can be difficult, and also to give you three ideas for how to get started, or to improve your improvising.

I hope you find it useful, and if you do, I welcome your comments!


Violinist and Skype violin teacher at Violin Lounge

Archive link

Practicing in flow

February 13, 2013 08:17

Just yesterday I read a German article (some English explanation here) about making music and practicing in 'flow'... I recognized exactly the feeling that I have while playing violin. Violin playing is meditation for me. It's not just study or work, it's spiritual and healing.

It's funny to read an article to learn something new and to realize you are already doing what is written there.

I played violin all morning today and when I left from home to my work. The sun shined, I heard birds whistling and everything seemed to be all right, simple and one. My mind was clear and focussed. It was like the world was music... that this morning I had made de world music.

But very soon I landed on my feet... I had to mind all the traffic, when I got at my work I got thousand of phone calls, had to answer lots of e-mails and had to rush for appointment after appointment. I realized that I wasn't really benefitting from my flow experience from this morning. My challenge is now to keep the feeling of flow I have during my violin playing during the whole day... during my work, while driving, while playing concerts...

Do you recognize the feeling of flow? Or is it new to you? Can you keep this feeling all day and also in stressful situations? Please share!


Violinist and Skype violin teacher at Violin Lounge

2 replies

Less effort, more tone

February 10, 2013 06:01

Tone is already there in your violin, you just have to release it... don't force it!

Just yesterday I had a private student. She started to play violin at the age of three and was pressured from the very first lesson.

As she was talented and worked hard she managed to become a student at a conservatory. Here she had to study about twelve hours a day (according to herself, I wonder if it's possible) and was pressured in a very negative manner.

At the age of nineteen she put her violin aside and stopped playing... at all... the pressure had ruined her fun in violin playing. Now, five years later, she thought she should find a way to able to play again in a relaxing way.

Her technique was very good, but all the tension and insecurity she felt could be heard in her tone. Yup, you can't hide anything playing violin. Everything you think, feel and are are represented in the tone your violin will produce when you play.

Violin play requires a lot of work, time and effort, but at the same time it requires you to release all tension so you can release the tone.

A good vibrato requires you to loose the tension in your wrist and fingers, not to fixate them (so you can combine arm, wrist and finger vibrato or use it separately).

A good tone requires you to let the bow float through the strings from a relaxed weight in your arm, not to push in it.

To use weight, not pressure...

Your assignment...

Next time you encounter a problem in violin play... or you just want to make your tone more beautiful...

Don't think about what more you can do...

Thank about what less you can do...

Have a nice Sunday!


Violinist and Skype violin teacher at Violin Lounge

4 replies

More entries: March 2013January 2013

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine