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Hi All! So this is the first forum I’ve ever joined! I am 39 and started my violin journey in August 2020! I’ve never been interested in music but I’ve always wanted to learn the violin! So here I am struggling to read music and make a decent sound! I’m teaching myself and! I think the only thing that might be going well is my left arm is quite straight !
hello katie, dont worry everyone finds violin hard, you persevere get better and never give up, you can get good advice on this forum, just ask, very nice down to earth people on here, who have all gone through the same problems, some still are , like me😄
Sounds like you’re off to a good start. A straight left arm = good form, and attention to good form and technique right from the start will make the journey that much smoother.
Plus, Fiddlerman and everyone at Fiddlershop provide such a wealth of sound advice that you’ve definitely found the right place. 🙂
Thank you so much for the messages! So when I say my left arm I actually meant my left wrist ! Oops! So let me tell you what I’ve been doing on the violin !! Well yesterday I spent much of my practice session adjusting my shoulder rest ! That’s something I find really awkward and I’m never sure if I have it right!
I do watch the fiddlerman tutorials and at the moment I’m having a go at Romeo and Juliet. Have to say it’s too advanced for me but I’m giving it a go I was thinking it’s all practice isn’t it??
That’s a question I have, how does everyone practice a piece? Is it a case of going over it again and again ?
First of all find something really simple just a few notes, and try to get them in tune, there are certain notes on violin which ring when you hit them bang on, these are g,d,a and e, once you can hear these notes you use them as a guide to where you are on the neck and where other notes are, check the notes using a tuner and memorise what they sound like, intonation is one of the major challenges with violin all violinists even advanced players practice intonation, scales are one of the best ways to learn, but at the beginning you will really struggle till your ears develope, don’t worry it can take a long time enjoy it.
Welcome! We're all on the same journey, some of us just farther along than others. I still remember being where you were when I started teaching myself 20 years ago.
You've gotten some sound advice already in the posts above.
There are a lot of moving parts to playing violin, and it takes time to make them automatic. As difficulty of music goes, I'd recommend learning things that stretch your ability a little but not too much: it should feel difficult but playable, and most importantly you should feel like you're able to figure out the next thing to work on and how to work on it. If you jump too far ahead of yourself, you may find it hard to make progress because there are too many things to think about at once.
The best approach to practicing a piece is to focus on what needs work. If there's a spot where you're making mistakes frequently, work on that spot, playing slowly, until you can get it right consistently. Slow practice is important in general. It's much easier to speed up something that you can already play slowly than to learn music at full speed. This only gets more important as you progress. Experienced players are likely to spend 90% of their practice time on the hardest 10% of the piece.
@katie m -
I'm still amazed you said you've never been interested in music - you must enjoy listening to music.
So, what kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
I was much older when I decided to learn to play the violin and I'm self-taught. The members of this forum have been a huge help to me, especially getting through frustrating times.
Under "Learning Violin/Fiddle" here in this forum, "Learning to Play" has many wonderful threads, containing great suggestions for ways to practice. If you have trouble finding this, just let me know.
Shoulder rest hunting seems to be a necessary evil. Much depends on your body and how you want to play your violin - everyone is different. I don't know of too many people who easily find one that works for them - especially on your own.
I play with my violin angled out approximately 45° to the front of my shoulder. A "SureTone" rest and it's layers of little foam disks was my 1st, then several rigid ones, a "Bonmusica" (rigged low and unbent some hook over my shoulder) worked great for quite a while, now I'm back to the flexibility I have with the "SureTone".
Learning music you love can be very important motivation for self-taught beginners, even if you think it's too hard. There is always a simple version or base melody you can start with. Add more difficult techniques and passages as your skills grow.
I started right off with several pieces of music too complicated and fast for me. I just played very slow and a simpler version when necessary. I sounded terrible, but family and friends could at least recognize what I was playing - that's a start. It just gets better!
Hope you enjoy your new journey!
Hi again violinists!
Thanks so much for the messages and advice, I appreciate it so much. It’s really great to have your opinions. Non of my friends or family play the violin so it’s really good coming on here to chat.
So I think my shoulder rest is probably as good as I will be able to get it at the moment- it’s Bon musica and I like the way it hooks over my shoulder and it’s comfy so I think I’m sorted.
I love music I listen to it all day while I’m working from home. Hope you are all well by the way and staying safe. I just ment I have never been interested in learning an instrument (except the violin but didn’t get the chance) and learning the theory.
Been practicing with my new metronome this evening and I’m doing one bow stroke per click (I’m probably even more of a beginner than you think) I’m working on God rest ye merry Gentleman and I’m sort of able to play it with the metronome going at 80bpm
Must say I’m concerned about one thing in particular- to me it’s not obvious at the moment which note is which. Im hoping that will come in time. I mean I can tell which is a high note and which is a low note but I wouldn’t be able to find a b for example without my stickers on my violin.
Also I have a question. I have noticed the way violinists stick their right wrist out at the bottom when the play a down bow. Is that something you do automatically ? Or do you have to actually think about it and make yourself do it?
Have a great evening everyone
Sticking your wrist out at the bottom is technique, and takes practice. To be honest I am only a beginner myself, so not qualified to give advice, I have been playing 1 year ten months, but if you want to know I can tell you what I have learned. The bow should be held very lightly, and kept very straight, there are numerous videos explaining this and jelly fish bowing which your question about the wrist relates to on you tube. your question about recognizing notes made me smile, I never had stickers on my violin, I personally dont think they are a good idea, though others will disagree, the best way to tell which note you are playing is what I told you in my other post, if you use stickers your ears awill not develop, or not as fast, you know which note you play in relation to other notes, so for instance play the note e on the d string check it with your tuner to make sure its e, place your next finger down right at the side of our first finger, that note will be f, check it, the next note g is a full tone higher so tou leave a gap, place your third finger down check it if its not g move toir finger till it is, you have what are called frames for your hand which is basically a shape in which you put down your fingers. If you mean how do you recognise the sound of the note b you do that by learning how to sing scales, there ade not many musicians who could tell you what a note is when you play it.
by the way just to confuse you, b can be a higher note than c, it depends which octave you play it in, thats in relation to pitch, 😁🤪 dont worry about not knowing everything, dont worry about trying to progress fast, violin isnt like that, there is a reason its the hardest instrument in the world to learn, enjoy the playing and learning, and enjoy every small victory with it. i have said many times, thats it, i give up and felt like smashing it, especially after recording myself, which always brings you down to earth. one of the strangest things about the fiddle is that it doesnt sound to other people what it sounds like under your ear when playing. practice,practice,practice, dont give up ever. I have played guitar for thirty five years and taught it,thought the fiddle would be easy lol enjoy the challenge, thats why I took it up😱
Thanks for that mouse!
Thank you for the info stringy and for taking the time to message back. I’m thinking about taking my stickers off now. It really is jumping in at the deep end though.
I think out of every aspect of my violin playing , my bowing is the least bad area. I’ve definitely worked the hardest at it and I think I’m giving the jelly fish technique a good go. However like Andrew H above said there are lots of moving parts and I think my bowing goes out the window sometimes! So much to concentrate on. I thought my bowing was pretty straight but then when I started concentrating on something else, I realise I’m all over the place even on the finger board!
Tomorrow I may remove my stickers!
If you feel better with stickers on leave them on, its whatever works for you, I was just giving my opinion, they wont do any great harm anyway, and you may start to remember what the notes sound like and be able t o remove them after a few months anyway. my bowing goes out the window as well, I started a thread on this very topic the other day, dont make the mistake of thinking that everyone can suddenly play perfectly even heifetz once made a mistake. if you have never heard of him google him on you tube and watch a master at work
katie m said
I’ve just noticed there is a share a video section! I might do this in the future when I can actually play something !
If you post videos, no matter what you can or cant play people on here will give advice, no one will laugh at you, we are all learning. by the way dont look at you tube violin progress videos, they are liars and will dishearten you. Many of them have been playing years and wannt followers so make out they havent been playing long, easy to spot.