NVD = New Violin Day.
I received my Tower electric starter violin. I actually accomplished some things and discovered the following today.
1. Tuned! I'm a guitar player and familiar with the process and how to use an electronic tuner. (I still have my 440 tuning fork from way back when though too).
2. Learned how to put some rosin on the bow, enough to make some notes without poking an eye out. This is something that takes a while too I can see to get right (rosin). Where would I be without YouTube
3. Learned that my fat fingers don't like to reach over to the G string. Then I realized that I was holding the violin wrong. Its getting better. That's a skill of its own. I'm not sure if I like the shoulder pad thing that came with the violin.
4. I found a small electric guitar amp in my basement that I had gotten my son years ago so I can use that if I tire of the headphones. Actually for what I'm doing right now, unplugged is the most merciful.
So onward to learning where to put my fingers.!
New to Violin myself and your right that holding it properly is a lesson in it's self. I keep trying to keep the top of the Violin Flat or Level and am having to stretch and reach the G String. Although i haven't tried the shoulder rest i am thinking it might actually help me with hold, i really do need to sort the hold out.
@stringy I think my problem is trying to keep the Violin kind of level with my Jaw line if that makes sense. I have been watching some video's and most have the scroll end lower which i think might help. I still keep telling myself that i need to lower it slightly but it's like my arm is telling me it's wrong so keeps trying to keep the scroll end up. I just need to get into the habit of keeping it lower which would help me reach the G String, i get so annoyed at myself sometimes but it's like i can't help it, plus it's pretty uncomfortable.
when I started I got bad neck problems as mouse says.. I was told you shouldnt use any pressure with your chin when holding the fiddle, in other words dont pres down with your head. You also have to be completely relaxed which is difficult. I still tense up with my shoulders, but being tense will definately severely affect your tone. you are finding out as I and everyone else does that violin is arguably hardest instrument in the world, even down toj ust holding it, let alone playing, shoulder rests make a big difference as does chin rest, hard to tell without seeing how you are holding it, dont know if fiddlerman has any vids on holding the fiddle. you have to get used to holding violin its an unnatural position! and as mouse says very uncomfortable at first. have a look at how oher people on here hold the fiddle, by the way Irish trad players tend to hold it different to classical, they also tend to hold the bow differently.
@tbman , @LordOdin -
For reference: At the top of the page is "Learning Tools, Where do I start?". Fiddlerman has clear photos/discriptions of how to hold the violin and bow.
I personally believe you shouldn't torture yourself any more than necessary. (lol)
I would at least start with a big sponge/rubber band type of shoulder rest and a couple layers of soft cloth to protect your collar bone. This is at least a little self-leveling to begin with, until you can better judge what you really need in a shoulder rest.
Use whatever helps you.
I've even seen a simple neck strap/adjustable loop used by some fiddlers! I personally started with a "SureTone Rest" and wedge-shaped velcro discs you can stack to fit you. Even this wasn't easy to get to fit me. I've used other types, but I'm back to the SureTone - it protects my collarbone well and allows me freedom to roll my violin when I need it.
I'm not in very good health, my left arm was very weak when I started - so I had to rest my left elbow on a pillow until I got stronger.
Discomfort is expected for a while, but NOT PAIN!
- STOP if you have pain!
- STOP if you have an ache that doesn't go away when you stop playing!
- Figure out what you are doing wrong before continuing. It may be position or maybe you need to relax more.
I'm so glad I started with a 5-string Violin. You think reaching the G string is hard - imagine 1 more past that! (lol) I felt it was better to deal with it right from the beginning and it was well worth it to me.
To reach the G string: Swing your elbow more in front of you/under the violin so your hand/fingers can rotate more over the top of the fingerboard. Fiddlerman has photos and videos that show it.
- Practice small durations of time to begin with, 2 or 3 times a day.
- Later, try practicing an hour or 2, once a day.
- The more you put into it, the more you receive back.
- You must not hurt yourself in the learning process.
- "No pain, no gain" DOES NOT APPLY HERE.
- EMBRACE and pat yourself on the back for the tiniest improvements you make!
DON'T GIVE UP! Keep up the good work! Try simple versions of tunes you really enjoy!
It's easy to get obsessed - make time in your day for other things you enjoy, also.
I spend about 3 hours between the Violin and Banjo and about an hour or so actually playing music on my Acoustic Guitar. I find if you push yourself too hard practice becomes boring, i spend quite a bit of time watching video's on utube trying to pick up on things i might be doing wrong, i do find this forum a massive help and it's nice that people can take the time to help beginners like me.