How to Take Your Violin Lessons to the Next Level
The violin is a sophisticated instrument. It has to be played at a close-to-perfection level. Its pristine and delicate sound comes out best from highly-skilled players. Thus, violin lessons are indeed demanding. Good enough is not good enough.
So how do you up the ante and challenge yourself to constantly improve as a violin player? Here are some self-help tips:
1. Listen. Watch. Learn. Be Inspired. It all starts from listening. You witness the beauty of music unfold through listening. Listening is also the backbone of learning. Here are activities where you can listen and immerse your senses to violin music.
a. Record and listen to yourself playing the violin. This would help you and your teacher in violin lessons pinpoint areas that need improvement.
b. YouTube. Use this social media tool to your advantage as an additional resource material. It has a treasure trove of violin performance and tutorial videos.
c. Watch a concert. This is a lasting experience that could leave you in awe and inspired.
d. Attend a violin masterclass. It is a great opportunity to learn from the masters. You get to interact with higher-level violinists. They could give you nuggets of wisdom on the discipline of playing the violin. They share tips and techniques. They could give you very useful and constructive feedback on how you play.
2. Analyze and Emulate. After watching and/or listening to a performance, ask
yourself, ‘what did I like most about the performance?’. How does the violinist execute the technique you’ve been working on? Take notes on key elements of the performance like bow technique, posture, movements, etc. Watch, learn, and try to do it yourself.
a. When: Daily practice is a must. Have you found an optimal time for your practice routine? You should set an ideal and fixed time/s of the day when you can focus and be free from distractions.
b. Where: Listening is important. Thus, your space should be quiet or has minimal noise coming in from the outside. At the same time, also be considerate to others. The sound you make while playing should also not disturb others, especially your neighbors.
c. How long: Listen to your body. It will give you signals if it is drained, overworked, and stressed out after practicing. Thus, you may want to break down your full schedule into shorter sessions. With this, you allow your body to rest, recover, and re-charge.
d. Practice Accessories: Have the materials you need within reach. Aside from your instrument and music sheets, you may also want to have a pencil, a notebook, a recorder by your side. If needed, you may also want to equip yourself with tuning aids, music stand, violin resin, extra strings, etc.
4. Handle your violin with TLC (tender loving care). The violin is an extension of your body
and soul. It gives a voice to your emotions, your inner being. Treat it with love. Handle
it with care. Its beauty and elegance deserve respect.
Learning to play the violin does not start and end during your violin lessons. Go beyond the sessions and find ways to improve. What do you think is the best method to supplement your violin lessons?