Someone interviewed 600+ students, teachers, parents and made the 10 commandments of learning violin

Edited: December 30, 2017, 12:11 PM · I saw this in a facebook group and wanted to share it here. Curious on your thoughts!

THOU SHALT Set Achievable Goals.

THOU SHALT Listen Before You Play.

THOU SHALT Break It Down.

THOU SHALT Practice Slowly.

THOU SHALT Listen For Your Mistakes.

THOU SHALT Use A Metronome.

THOU SHALT Keep An Audio Practice Journal.

THOU SHALT Practice In Front of A Mirror.

THOU SHALT Practice Away From Your Instrument.

THOU SHALT Share Your Struggle With Others.

Original post can be found here: 10 Commandments of Learning Violin

Replies (17)

December 30, 2017, 12:43 PM · I guess "THOU SHALT Practice Regularly" is too basic huh? Seems to me that should be commandment #1. :)

These are all good ideas but some I wouldn't consider important enough to make the top 10. I would remove the audio journal and practice away from your instrument. Recording is great, but I wouldn't recommend doing it daily, maybe only weekly or longer. Each hearing of a recording should yield enough things to work out that daily use wouldn't be valuable. Practicing away from the instrument is fine, but practicing with the actual instrument will always be a better use of time.

December 30, 2017, 3:14 PM · That makes a lot of sense. Out of curiosity, if you had to replace the audio journal and practice away from your instrument with two other habits, what would you make them?
December 30, 2017, 8:20 PM · Jason, I would add
1) A written journal with detailed goals, review (rating, reflection, etc.) and
2) A clock to keep track my practice time and make sure I take mini (1'-2') breaks every 15'-20' practice sections. And take a longer break each hour.

Written journal force you to think more carefully what you've learned and put into words what's good and where to improve. Taking small breaks to allow your brain to rest and process is much more efficient than practice a long stretch without break.

One more thing I've added to my "THOU SHALT" list is to treat each practice session as a lesson, only that my teacher is imaginary ("This spot needs fix, let's see what's the cause and what are the solutions"...)

December 31, 2017, 2:27 AM · I would say "Practice Six Days a Week" would have to be nr 1

I don't get "Listen before You Play". Listen to what?

If it means Listen to a recording of your etude (or whatever) and then start, I would say Don't Do That.

It's very important to learn to figure out the music by yourself, and to listen to yourself.

December 31, 2017, 5:25 AM · The full article explains; some excerpts:

Listen Before You Play - If you don’t know what a piece sounds like, you’ll never play it correctly ... listening to a recording before practicing ...

Practice Away From Your Instrument - Simply visualizing yourself practicing ...

Edited: December 31, 2017, 6:14 AM · Herman makes a good point ... take a crack at it yourself first and improve your sightreading skill.

A couple more...

THOU SHALT start before the age of 7.

... try at least 10 different E strings on your VSO.

... utter only positive remarks about Heifetz.

Edited: December 31, 2017, 10:08 AM · That's easy to say. I'm awfully glad my parents helped me through a few slumps. Nobody has a crystal ball to see the future, but I bet my own kids will say the same, even if it takes 20 years.

Some kids have to be forced to do their homework, or exercise, or eat vegetables, or go to church. Isn't part of parenting making some of their choices for them? We did let them choose their instruments, but in some families music is part of your education and of the fabric of the family. So don't judge too quickly or harshly. To be more succinct, you raise your kids and I'll raise mine.

Edited: January 3, 2018, 5:02 AM · Sorry, didn't mean to get so testy, but you very very often hear "let them quit if they want" from people who would never say that about Sunday School in a million years. And "plenty of money" is relative and often about choices. I spend less on my kid's lessons than most of my peers spend in restaurants. Glad my mom taught us all how to cook too!

Edit .. The posts to which I was responding were removed.

December 31, 2017, 11:23 AM · Cooking, yes!

THOUGHT SHALT learn to cook. I will claim that all good violinists are or potentially can be wonderful cooks. The two are intrinsically related as the arts of violin and cuisine cannot be explained but must be intuitive. :-)

December 31, 2017, 11:33 AM · Uh-oh. Yixi! Say it isn't so! My violin has a dinner date with the garbage. Lol
Edited: December 31, 2017, 12:06 PM · Seriously, there are so mch can be said about slow practice. One key has not been much discussed is slow down between repeats. When something is not quite right,give yourself at least a few seconds to think it through before trying again has been the best practice habit I've learned recently from Dr. Noa Kageyama. So often you see people/teachers/coaches yell "Again!Again!" This is very misleading to say the least because if something is not right, doing it again and again hoping that you'll get it right is not only wasteful but a bad habit of building faulty mechanism into playing. Repeat only when we get it right to solidify it.
This relates to another thing toavoid: rush -- professionals and amateurs alike, we rush and the sound and music suffer. Rush is not speed in physical sense but rather a psychological phenomenon. We can play a very fast passage feeling calm and centred after we have mastered it. I suspect we rush during performance because we either didn't learn the piece properly or we rush during practice or both.
December 31, 2017, 3:56 PM · Yixi, yes, I do all the family cooking. But I find a closer connection between cooking and synthetic chemistry! Violin is my vacation.
December 31, 2017, 6:31 PM · I cook, therefore I am. Violin is my new post-retirement job. Happy New Year!
January 1, 2018, 12:10 PM · I would replace one of them with "THOU SHALT Enjoy Playing Your Violin." Too often we practice boring exercises, etudes, and pieces we don't like. Its important to find some repertoire you love to play. And find ways to learn to enjoy the less-immediately-pleasant stuff. Make little challenges for yourself and learn to cherish the experiences where your scale is just a bit more in tune than it used to be, or when your vibrato becomes just slightly more expressive, etc...
January 2, 2018, 3:59 PM · @Yixi Zhang, I enjoy cooking to, but sometimes it hinders my ability to play violin: remember my post "Help! I cut my left finger"? Also, Todd has a good point.
Edited: January 2, 2018, 6:52 PM · Here's one important thing about violin and cooking (it's especially easy to understand to those who can cook without recipe). Nate Cole said something extremely insightful. I don't recall the exact words, but something like this: the music written on the paper is not a recipe but a menu. We players have to know how to produce the final result from the "menu" without having detailed instruction.
January 3, 2018, 4:56 AM · Yixi : I am good cook (at least my family and surroundings are still telling me) I am cooking without recipes and I enojyed it, so I have a potential to be a good violinist one day :) great!

Your thoughts about rush are absolutelly right, I feel the same, I must think about piece when I make mistake, then slow go through each note or think about phrase etc, it is very important for me. And playing is some kind of relax for me, so I wanna enjoy it after work day. Even when sometimes my 1.5 yrs daughter is climbing my leg :D

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Yamaha YEV Series Violin
Yamaha YEV Series Violin

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

Metzler Violin Shop

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop