If you’re new to playing the violin, you may have trouble with things like mastering vibrato or keeping your bow straight. But don’t get frustrated! These are just a couple of the common issues beginners often face. If you’re tempted to give up, however, remember that tons of other violin players have faced – and overcome – the same frustrations.
Here are a few common violin struggles you might encounter, and how to work to solve them:
Uneven or Wobbly Vibrato
Vibrato issues are definitely a common struggle, among players of all levels! Learning how to coordinate your fingers, wrist and arm just right takes time. A “wobbly” vibrato, in particular, could be a sign of not enough pressure from the finger onto the string. For a simple exercise, set your metronome to a slow tempo and practice pulsing on each quarter note, eighth note, sixteenth note, etc. Concentrate on making your vibrato speed and width consistent. As you continue practicing, speed the tempo up a bit, and finally, get rid of the metronome altogether.
See also: Violin Vibrato for Beginners
Fourth Finger Not Cooperating
Your fourth (pinky) finger is naturally weaker than your other fingers, which can make coordination a chore. Adjusting the position of your hand and wrist can provide the needed support. Make sure you’re working with a private violin teacher who can help you position yourself correctly. You can also try finger strength exercises, such as the ones described here.
Thin or Screechy Tone
Beginners often have trouble getting a clear, pure sound. Bow pressure and position are two things that can affect your tone, and there are several “quick fixes” you can try to improve it. First, you’ll need to experiment with the right amount of bow pressure, which may take some time to get used to. The bow should also glide along the strings evenly and horizontally, parallel to the violin’s bridge. Old and worn strings may also be a culprit to a screechy tone, so violin care and maintenance should always be a priority.
Still struggling? Working with a private violin teacher will give you the individual attention you need to progress.
Photo by Nina Matthews Photography