As a beginner violinist, it's easy to get discouraged. Have no fear, Stringily is here! We have four essential tips to get you through the growing pains of learning the violin:
1. It will take some time for you to be able to make a pleasant sound.
Don't worry; we all start off sounding awful, and it'll probably take months, if not years, before you (and anyone else in your vicinity) stop cringing at the sound of your playing. When it comes to playing in tune and producing tones, the violin is unlike many other instruments.
Unlike an instrument like the piano, where you press a key and your note is always in tune (as long as the piano is in tune), when it comes to hitting the appropriate note on the violin, you actually have to be accurate within a very limited margin of error. There are no frets on the violin like there are on a guitar, so playing in tune takes a lot of effort and muscle memory. Furthermore, your right hand has a significant impact on the tone you produce, and developing your right hand technique takes time.
2. Getting good outcomes requires consistent practice.
When people ask us, "How long should I practice?" we respond, "As long as you can while keeping consistent," we normally say. You'll get much better results if you practice regularly (every day or multiple times per week), even if you only have 10 or 15 minutes to spare, rather than doing what we call a "binge practice session," in which you save all your practice time for one day of the week and try to make up for all the practice you missed earlier in the week by playing for 2 hours or more on that one day.
Trust us when we say that if you practice consistently, even if it's for a lesser period of time each day, you'll make far faster progress. Don't worry if you skip a day or two; it won't stop you from making progress; just try to maintain it as consistent as possible.
3. Even if you're correctly set up, it's a physically demanding instrument to play.
While you should never be in any real discomfort while playing, you should be aware that it's somewhat uncomfortable, and your posture will almost certainly never feel completely natural.
This is where your setup comes into play, as you'll want to get the best equipment to make it as comfy as possible. Because of all the repetitive motions and isometric type holds you're in to maintain your posture, even though the violin is a light weight instrument, it's necessary to take regular pauses during your practice sessions to avoid injury.
4. The violin is one of the most difficult instruments to master.
Many artists claim that their instrument is the most difficult, and while mastering any instrument requires a lot of practice, the violin is one of the most difficult instruments to learn, especially for beginners.
Intonation and tone creation on the violin are extremely difficult to master. There are no frets, the spacing between your fingers changes all the time, especially as you progress up the fingerboard into higher places, the speed of the bow, the pressure of the bow, and the distance of the bow from the bridge all affect your tone... There's a lot that goes into making a note that's not only in tune but also has a pleasant tone, so be patient with yourself as you learn.
It doesn't matter what level you're at; the essential thing is that you're having fun and making progress! Remember, practice makes perfect!