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I'm learning to play the violin because for one, I love violins and secondly, because I walked into a music store and the man there told me how difficult that the violin was to play, keep tuned, how expensive strings were, and there were no frets which makes it even more difficult. I said, "Fine, I'll take it!" ?
I am loving it although everything that the shop owner said is right on, but my experience playing piano has helped 'some.' It's been 3 1/2 months since I bought my first violin (which sounded like a brass horn honking) I have been reading this forum, watching Fiddlerman videos (thanks!) and it has really helped. I'm looking forward to learning more from you all. Thanks all !
Hey there, welcome to the forum 🙂 Even though I had always (always) wanted to learn to play the violin, part of the draw of finally trying it out as an adult was everyone telling me it was too hard, that I'd never be able to do it. I like a good challenge 🙂
World's Okayest Fiddler
Welcome to the forum and congrats on your decision to learn to play! 😀
I too took it up partially because of the challenge. I have a tendency to quit on things before I even start, so I want to prove to myself that I can actually achieve something.
Looking forward to maybe seeing some progress videos. 🙂
Hey Bella86. I will try to put up progress videos, at least audio when I can record on something other than my phone. I'm just now learning to play without a death grip around the neck. My left hand and arm felt awful. I never knew that a violin could be so painful. ? Yes I too, want to achieve something on the violin and hopefully will be able to play more smoothly in a couple of years. I love to practice so that will help, hopefully. Thanks for the welcome!
Hey All ! Thanks for the welcome and encouragement! A pitch for Fiddlerman's carbon fiber bow: I bought one and love it, so that has helped. I didn't realize how heavy that my other bow was until I bought the carbon fiber. I think that my other bow was made of iron and fishing line. ? As far as progress, im still in first position. I'm so proud of that for the next couple of months. I'm just working on trying to play a decent little tune or two in some sort of smooth fashion. I'm trying to figure this madness out. ? I'm working on Lovers Waltz by Jay Ungar. I can play it (saw through it) but barely. I can get the right intonation but I can't really get much expression into my playing. I'm working on bow control for that aspect, and trying to work that out. I'm thinking that it will take much experience. I'm absolutely loving the violin and yes it's a bit of insanity. I think that I've permanently damaged my left arm but it's all good. ?
I was just reading your comments about your arm and positions. I am in my 4th month of playing now and it has gotten much less painful. Some discomfort is normal for beginners. But if it is not improving, or getting worse you should have an experienced violinist or preferably a professional teacher help you with posture and proper holding of your violin.
Also, I am not familiar with that song but as long as it is all in 1st position you should not have too much pain reaching the notes. Again, a teacher should be able to help you to properly place your finger and hand so that you are not injuring yourself during playing.
Violin is a pleasant, relaxing, peaceful instrument to play and should never be torturous for you. I am afraid that if you hurt yourself you might end up having to stop playing and that would be tragic.
- Pete -
As pchoppin says, in the beginning, twisting the arm the way you need to do to play the violin will result in some soreness. For me it took a few months before that was not an issue anymore. I even remember one time where I played for over an hour and after i felt nothing anywhere. No discomfort at all. So it is possible when completely tension free. (which pretty much never happen in my case)
I also noticed that I need to keep the shoulder as low on my shoulder as possible, as in, shoulderrest need to be kept short. This took away a lot of pain in my arm.
I've had more problems with my trapezius muscle though. It seem like I do raise my shoulder a bit even though I think I am keeping it down. (being tired and tense from work doesnt help either) I have had to try to find a very high chinrest to help with both that and to keep close to my shoulder. It's a pain having a very long neck. Even the SAS isn't perfect for me as it's so flat. I was more comfortable with a lower chinrest that was on a trial violin as it had a little lip on it that hooked under my jaw. I also just last week realised I should put my shoulderrest on at a slightly different angle.
My point here is that I encourage you to experiment with shoulderrest and chinrests if you keep experiencing pains. You really don't want permanent injuries, it'll most likely force you to quit playing eventually. I am interested in knowing where, and in what way, your arm hurts when you play?
Hey Everyone! I think that you all are right about relaxing the arm. When I bought my first violin, it had steel strings which hurt my fingers and I kept a grip on it as if it would play prettier the tighter that I held it. ? It was so tinny sounding and heavy. It had a lot of thick varnish on it. I had no clue on what to look for in sound or playability.
I think I strained a muscle in my upper arm in the tricep/biceps area.
I finally learned to relax but have not played for about 5 days and I think I'm on the mend.
About 2 weeks after playing my first violin, i went to a 'real' violin shop, as opposed to a music shop that sells mostly everything except violins, and bought a used Scott Cao 017. It was very affordable and the difference is amazing. It sounds warmer and is so much easier to play.
I've tried shoulder rest but just feel awkward and immobile with the shoulder rest. Maybe I should try it again.
I would love to play classical but from a realistic point of view, I would be satisfied to just play anything with feeling. I love old time violin style/waltzes/folk as well. I want to play old Suzannah with enough feeling to either make someone want to cry or want to dance. ?
Thanks everyone for your input. I need it !
Thanks Fiddlerman and everyone for the encouragement. I really have been having to baby my left arm. I'm left handed so I over use it anyway, which hasn't helped with this muscle strain. I had no idea that a violin could strain a muscle! Who knew? I guess lots of us know that have violins. ?
It's crazy because I've always been active and had no clue that such a small instrument could strain a muscle...Anyway....
yes, I agree that playing music with feeling is the most important thing. Most people don't have a clue if someone is playing technically perfect anyway! I will hopefully post at least some audio. I've recorded on my phone and think nooooo. It sounds like a transistor radio when I play it back, or maybe it's just my playing. ? ?