MO - How to Play Violin Pain Free- 11 Easy Tweaks to Reduce Shoulder, Neck, and Back Pain

How to Play Violin Pain Free: 11 Easy Tweaks to Reduce Shoulder, Neck, and Back Pain

MO - How to Play Violin Pain Free- 11 Easy Tweaks to Reduce Shoulder, Neck, and Back Pain

Do you experience pain or discomfort when you play violin? Here, Portland, OR violin instructor Naomi Cherie S. shares her tips to teach you how to play violin pain free…

If you’ve been playing violin for a while, you know that it can be a lot of fun! You’ve probably also noticed, however, that it isn’t always the most comfortable instrument to play. Due to the positions and poses necessary to play this unusual instrument, you may feel sore and stiff after practice.

Like most physical activities, any repetitive motion can cause wear on the body. Over time, these issues can develop into bigger problems.

Just like athletes, we musicians must take the time and consideration to keep up with maintenance and do preventative exercises to keep our bodies in peak playing shape!

We’ve put together a list of 11 quick fixes and healthy practice habits to help you learn how to play violin pain free!


Wear Comfortable Shoes

You may play violin with your hands and arms but this doesn’t mean you should forget about your feet!

If you’ve ever been on your feet all day, for a job or at school, you know it’s important to have proper footwear. The same applies for violin.

Wear comfortable shoes when you practice. Cushioned flats or tennis shoes will give you the support you need and take some of the pressure of standing off your lower back.


Use a Pad or Cushioned Rug for Practice

I always recommend that my students set up a designated practice area in their house to get inspired to practice regularly. Set up a corner in your bedroom, study, or living room where you keep your music stand and violin.

Make sure to keep a cushioned rug or floor mat in your area to stand on, especially if the room has bare floors. This will also help take stress off of your lower back.

If you’re still having issues, try investing in a memory foam floor mat.


Use a Comfortable Chair With a Pillow or Cushion

Many people prefer to stand when they play, to practice presentation and posture. If you get stiff when you play, however, don’t rule out sitting during practice.

You may also want to alternate between sitting and standing every few minutes. When you sit down, make sure to use a proper chair like a desk chair or dining room table chair.

Avoid using something with too much cushion, like a recliner or couch. Make sure to sit up tall on the edge of your chair with your spine straight. Your legs should make a right angle and your feet should rest flat on the floor.

If your chair becomes uncomfortable, keep a flat cushion or memory foam pad nearby.


Pace Yourself

It’s very important to pace yourself, especially as a beginner. You want to achieve consistency but you need to be careful not to overdo it, which can cause burnout and physical strain.

You need to develop the necessary muscles and flexibility required to play the violin. As a beginner, your body isn’t used to the unusual poses required to play the instrument.

Practice daily in segments, rather than extended periods once or twice a week. Beginners should start out with 20- to 30-minute practice sessions. After a few months, you can increase your practice time to 3o minutes to an hour.

This practice time will increase as your playing stamina develops, and as time goes on, you’ll get a feel for how much practice you need to accomplish your goals.


Take Stretch Breaks

Stretch breaks are incredibly important. It’s easy to get carried away and play for long periods of time; make sure to stop and stretch every so often.

You can take breaks in between scales, exercises, or songs. Put your instrument down, shake out your hands and arms, and stretch your wrists. Don’t forget to also stretch your legs, and your neck and shoulders.

These simple stretches can prevent strain, injury, and bigger issues down the road.


Reduce Tension: Breathe and Relax

Breathe. It sounds like a simple concept, but when you’re wrapped up in the passion and energy of music or concentrating on a difficult concept, it’s easy to forget to breathe consistently.

Keep a reminder in the back of your head and allow yourself to breathe throughout the practice session. Be mindful about tension. Your neck and shoulder muscles may tense up during practice, so take note of this and remember to relax.

Sometimes we don’t realize we’re tensing up, so take a breather every few minutes to keep yourself in check!

 Try these five exercises to reduce tension when you play violin.


Proper Posture

When it comes to playing violin, proper posture is imperative!  Whether you’re standing or sitting, your spine must be tall and straight at all times.

While standing, keep your feet about a foot apart with equal weight on each foot. Keep your tummy tucked to avoid putting pressure on your lower back.

While seated, keep your feet spaced about a foot apart with each foot flat on the floor.


Proper Stand Height

The proper stand height (or owning a stand at all) is important to develop healthy practice habits.

Some beginners overlook this detail and try to practice their sheet music by hunching over and reading it off a couch arm, desk, or table. Avoid this mistake and purchase a music stand.

Not only is it important to have a music stand, it also needs to be the correct height. Many of the generic stands sold in stores are made for children and don’t get much higher than five feet. If you’re an adult or you’re taller than five feet, make sure you invest in a stand that has an extension rod that allows you to adjust your stand. You may need to visit a violin shop or order a stand online.

When you’re looking at your music, it should be eye level. You shouldn’t need to bend your neck to read your music. You can reduce tension by keeping your head level and your spine straight. 

Besides a music stand, find out which violin accessories you may need! 


Exercise Daily

Regular exercise is important to alleviate the aches and pains from playing violin, but it’s also important to relieve the aches and pains of life!

In addition to your stretch breaks, make sure you stretch before and after practice. Pre-practice stretching is a great addition to your practice routine. Post-practice yoga is one of my favorite ways to stretch my back and neck after a long playing session.

Keep a yoga mat near your practice area and consider picking up a few poses from a YouTube yoga channel. Trust me, your body and your mind will thank you for it!

In addition to physical exercise, don’t forget to do exercises to build your finger strength!


Strengthen Your Core

A strong core will reduce the tension on your upper back, shoulders, and neck. When you have a strong core and abdomen, you can absorb some of the pressure the violin causes to your upper body.

Try adding core-strengthening exercises like crunches, push-ups, or light weight lifting to your daily exercise routine to help you build a strong core foundation.


Massage Therapy

If you’re like me and you’re prone to back and neck issues (due to genetics or previous injuries), you may still deal with back, neck, or shoulder pain from time to time, even with healthy practice habits.

For more serious cases, it may be necessary to seek professional help from a massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, or physical therapist. I’ve personally employed the assistance of many professionals over the years, and combined with lifestyle choices and healthy practice habits, I’ve found some relief.

When dealing with a more serious issue, sometimes it’s necessary to take some time off from playing violin. Recognizing the problem and taking time off to heal will make playing violin much more enjoyable.

Use these tips when you practice violin to develop healthy habits, increase longevity, and reduce pain.

If you have questions, let us know in the comments below! 

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin in Portland, OR. She is a classically trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. Learn more about Naomi here.

Photo by _zhang (with text overlay)

MO - 13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

MO - 13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

So your son or daughter has just started music lessons. You’ve found a kind, knowledgeable teacher, set up a practice space, and bought an instrument.

There comes a point in time, however, when your son or daughter simply doesn’t feel like practicing.

To help you avoid endless fights and keep you from pulling your hair out, we’ve put together this collection of strategies from music teachers, bloggers, and child psychologists to help you motivate your child to practice.


Treat Music Like a Different Subject

Think back to when you were in school. You had your academic classes and your after-school activities. You knew your daily routine: Math, English, Science, etc. Then after school: piles of endless homework!

With so many different subjects, it’s no wonder adding time to practice music can seem like a burden to a kid. That’s where you come in — you can help shift your child’s mindset!

Rather than treating music like any other subject, create a distinction so your child sees music as something he or she wants to do. The best way to shift your child’s mindset is to let him or her play an instrument they’re actually interested in.

“If you want your child to be motivated to play an instrument, music needs to be different than other educational subjects,” says Bobby K. from Guitar Chalk. “Your child shouldn’t see music as a forced discipline, like Math or Geography. This ultimately comes down to choosing the right instrument, which is going to be the one the child is excited about and wants to play on his or her own.

“For me, that was the guitar, which had me practicing (voluntarily) three to four hours a day at 11 years old. That couldn’t have happened with piano because piano wasn’t “my” instrument. It was just another subject. But guitar was different in that it felt like play, not school work. Getting your child into a similar situation, where their instrument doesn’t feel like just another school subject, is absolutely critical. If it’s not happening, that might be a signal that it’s time to switch instruments.”

This also means you may need to be flexible. While it can be expensive to allow a child to start and stop several different activities, try to work with him or her to find one he or she enjoys and is intrinsically motivated to practice.


Put Your Child in Control

It’s no secret that when we’re told to do something, we don’t always want to do it. During the course of a day, there are several different people (parents, teachers, older siblings, coaches) telling kids what to do. Add music to that list and it’s no wonder motivation seems to dwindle!

Combat this problem by putting your child in control. Let him or her determine the practice schedule, that way they’re more likely to stick to it.

“Kids hear adults tell them what to do all the time; to catch their attention, let them plan their own practice schedule,”  says Nicole Weiss, LCSW Psychotherapist and Coach. “Start with the end in mind. Basically, you want to get your child to make the decision that he or she needs to practice so that he or she can play the way he or she wants to play. After the decision is made, the parent can help the child research and figure out how often a good musician practices. The child then sets a schedule based on the reality that, to be good, one must practice.”

Not only will this allow your child to feel a sense of control, it will also help him or her to learn the value of practice.

“The child makes the schedule, then the parent reinforces it,” Weiss says. “I’m sure many parents reading this would say…’yeah but will they do that day to day?’ That’s where you come in — but you have more weight in your reminder. It was the child’s desire to make the goal. Additionally, the reward should be for accomplishing little goals. For example: ‘practice every night this week and we can download that song you want.’ Reward the work.”

More: Motivate Your Child to Practice With a Reward System


Help Your Child Understand the Gift of Music

Show your child that playing a musical instrument is a special privilege and an opportunity that isn’t necessarily available to everyone. Teach your child to appreciate music and all it has to offer. Help them discover that music can enhance their life.

“I believe that we’re here in this world to do great things with the gift of our lives, and we’re here to serve others,” says Heather F. from Music for Young Violinists. “Learning to play [the violin] helps us in both of these areas — we’re drawn up into a level of greatness through the discipline required to study this art form, and in this process, we cultivate a gift that we can share with others.”

This also includes helping your child develop a love for music. Take them to concerts or shows, play music at home, and help them discover what they like.

Many adults wish they had stuck with a hobby or endeavor they started as a child, like playing a musical instrument. While this can be a difficult concept for young kids to grasp, teaching them to appreciate music can help them understand why practice is important.

According to this article from MusicTeachersHelper on motivating students to practice, “…I can’t count how many times I’ve heard adults say to me, ‘I quit taking piano when I was young and it was such a mistake. I wish I could go back and take lessons again.’ Parents can help children know the value that musical talent brings to society.”


Don’t Make Practice an Obligation

This one may seem a bit counterintuitive, right? After all, you’ve invested the money in an instrument and lessons, and you want your child to make the most of it. Plus, if your son or daughter wants to be good, he or she needs to practice!

The key here is to not make practice seem like an obligation, as compared to other fun activities. For example, if your son or daughter loves to play video games or play outside, don’t allow him or her to do this until after completing practice.

Using a fun activity as a reward will create the mindset that practice is the obligation that stands in the way of the fun activity, and this could create resentment or dread for practice.

As Why We Teach Piano suggests, “Don’t set an arbitrary amount of practice time, without specific goals, and then reward them with playtime or video games afterwards. This just reinforces the notion that playing piano is not fun and video games are fun.”


Plan Performances

When it comes to any sport, hobby, or endeavor, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize. The same thing applies when it comes to your child learning an instrument; your son or daughter has to have a goal in sight, otherwise, he or she may question the need to practice.

“If you want to keep students engaged and excited about their music education, make sure they’re performing consistently throughout the year,” says Anthony M. founder and author of The Music Parents’ Guide. “There are other profound effects on more scheduled performances for all school programs, as well. We, as parents and teachers, need to foster a growing curiosity and even an excitement about music in our children’s lives. Consistent performances are the best way to do this and continue to motivate our children.”

Not only do performances help to increase excitement, they also work to hold children accountable. Ask any music teacher — even the most unmotivated student will be more likely to practice if it means avoiding embarrassment at a recital!


Let Your Child Choose

Just because you loved playing piano as a kid doesn’t mean your child will love playing just as much. Your child may have other interests, and it’s important to allow him or her to explore different endeavors.

“First of all, I think it’s critical that the child choose the instrument they’re going to learn,” says Matt T. from Unlock the Guitar. “I’m a guitarist, and I’d love nothing more than my son to be interested in learning guitar, but he’s undeniably drawn to the piano. Plus, if an instrument is thrust upon them, practicing it will also be thrust upon them. Letting the child choose the instrument turns this on its head, and into your favor, even if they didn’t choose the instrument you would have liked them to play.”


Be Their Cheerleader

Let your child know you’re his or her biggest fan, especially early on when your child may feel frustrated or discouraged.

Eighty-eight notes school of music suggests listening to your child at home as often as you can and making encouraging remarks about their progress. Also, make sure to ask them how their lessons went.

Take a genuine interest in your child’s musical journey. Your son or daughter will be excited to play for you and show off new skills!


Help Them Engage With Music

Your child is more likely to practice music if he or she feels connected to the process. Help your son or daughter develop an interest and curiosity for music.

To help your child stay engaged, become a part of the process. Whatever you can do to get involved is likely to increase their interest and motivation.

“Motivating your child by reward or punishment will stop working very quickly; instead, help your child get curious about music and develop an inner desire to engage with music,” says Jonas G., the founder of flowkey.”Let your child play around with different instruments. Listen to music and sing together. Your child will naturally want to imitate you, so a big motivation for children to practice is seeing their parents engage with music themselves.”


Create Challenges

Rather than telling your child to practice, help him or her set specific goals and challenges. This will help them progress faster because they’ll work on accomplishing specific tasks or mastering particular skills. This idea can be applied to any instrument.

Practiceopedia author and practice expert, Philip J., has a completely different take: “Don’t ask your kids to ‘practice’ — they won’t know what to do. Instead, give them bite-sized, clear challenges to complete: (1) Work out a fingering for measures 24-35 (2) Gradually speed up section B to 85bpm. (3) Be able to play the left hand of the coda from memory.”

Having trouble coming up with the right challenge? Check out Phillip’s website, thebootcampedition.com, for a huge collection.


Celebrate ALL Accomplishments

Learning to play an instrument is a long journey full of peaks, valleys, and plateaus. While you’ll definitely be proud when you watch your child perform, it’s important to celebrate the little victories along the way.

While verbal praise is important, you may also want to create another way to celebrate achievements; familyshare recommends keeping a journal of your child’s accomplishments. When you put it in writing, you’re less likely to forget. If journaling isn’t your thing, you can keep a white board on the fridge, or make a chart that you can display in the house!

Celebrating the little victories will help your child keep a positive attitude when they’re struggling or having difficulty tackling a new concept or song.


Let Them Play Music They Like

While there are always certain signature songs and classics for various instruments, your child will lose interest if he or she doesn’t like the music they’re playing.

Work with your child’s teacher to make sure your child is playing some music they truly enjoy.

According to the Academy of Music and Dance, “As children get to be around 10 years old, sometimes younger, they start to develop preferences for musical style, largely influenced by radio, TV, and whatever they’re most exposed to at home. They will also typically gravitate to whatever their friends are listening to, especially for boys at around age 13 and girls around age 11.”

Use this as a motivational strategy; allow your son or daughter to play at least one familiar song as part of their weekly routine.


Make Practice Fun

This should come as no surprise — no one wants to practice when it’s boring! Incorporate fun games, activities, and challenges, and your child will look forward to practice!

According to PianoDiscoveries, “appropriate goals and positive reinforcement will make practicing fun and rewarding. Very few children are self-motivated in their practice. Most need incentives and reminders to keep them focused and moving forward.”

Ask your child’s music teacher for some creative ways to make practice more fun!


Find the Right Teacher

This brings us to our last strategy and one of the most important: find the right teacher! Although practice is done outside of lessons, if your child connects with his or her teacher, they’re much more likely to practice on their own time.

According to Music Central,”…finding the right teacher will make or break the whole experience. Don’t be afraid to try a new teacher if your child isn’t connecting. The best teachers are usually the ones who not only teach, but know how to be a good friend and mentor to your child.”

Find a teacher who understands your child’s learning style, and a person who’s able to teach concepts in a way that keeps your child interested. When your son or daughter likes his or her teacher, they’ll be more willing to take direction and practice consistently.

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Which of these strategies have been successful for you? Do you have other methods that you use to motivate your child? Let us know in the comments below!

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learn violin

6 Reasons Learning Violin is Hard and What You Can Do to Succeed

learn violin

Many beginner violinists wonder “is it hard to learn violin?” While learning violin can be challenging, it’s definitely NOT an unattainable goal. Here Brooklyn, NY music teacher Julie P. explains why learning violin is hard and what you can do to be successful…

Have you been told that it’s hard to learn violin? We’re not going to lie to you, it can be challenging at times, but that’s no reason to be intimidated or discouraged. With a good teacher, practice, and perseverance, you can learn violin!

So if you’re struggling, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Everyone has a hard time with some aspect(s) of the instrument, but there are ways to work through your struggles and become a better player. Here are six reasons learning violin is hard, and what you can do to be successful.


Posture

When it comes to violin, there are several different things to coordinate with your posture. It’s hard for beginners to figure out how to hold everything correctly.

If you’re just starting out, take it one step at a time…

How to Improve

Practice each part of your posture separately. Practice your bow grip five times in a row, and take a break between each round.

Practice holding the violin between your chin and shoulder, without supporting it with your left hand. From there, practice bringing your left hand to the playing position, and try to relax your body.

Need more posture practice? Try these 10 wacky ways to improve your posture


Left- and Right-Hand Coordination

Many violinists struggle to match their bowing with the notes being fingered with the left hand.

How to Improve

To improve your coordination, practice bowing slowly, back and forth between two notes that are next to each other on one string. Once you master this, try bowing slowly, back and forth between two notes on different strings.

If the bows aren’t matching up with the changing notes, determine which hand is getting to the new note first, and then adjust your other hand to match.


Tone Quality

You produce tone quality on the violin with your bow, so if you want a more beautiful sound, you need to work on your bowing technique.

How to Improve

Great tone depends on bow speed, bow pressure, and bowing angle. Use a mirror to check if your bow is moving parallel to the bridge, and to see if it’s in the middle between the bridge and fingerboard.

Try experimenting with bow speed and pressure. The more pressure you use, the faster your bow has to move to prevent a scratchy sound. If you use light pressure on the bow, you’ll have to move your bow slower, or else the tone will sound light and whispery.

When you’re working on your bow technique, play something simple so you can put all your focus on your bow. Make sure to start out with open strings and slow scales.


Playing in Tune

To play in tune, you have to put your fingers in the right place on the strings. You need to develop muscle memory for this, as well as the ability to hear when you’re playing out of tune so you can adjust on the spot.

How to Improve

If you’re just starting out, you can put tape on your fingerboard as a reference for where your fingers will go.

It takes time to develop muscle memory, but this exercise can help: Practice going between B (1st finger) and C# (2nd finger) on the A string. Listen to see if all of your C#’s sound exactly the same.

To develop a good ear for intonation, play with others, or along with recordings. The more you hear yourself play with someone else, the more you’ll start to hear when your pitches are out of tune.


Keeping Your Violin In Tune

It’s a lot easier to play in tune if you make sure your instrument stays in tune! Keeping your violin in tune takes some work, but it’s not that difficult if you keep up with it.

How to Improve

Tune your violin every time you practice. That’s right, EVERY time.

Violins are made of wood, so they respond to changes in humidity. It’s especially important to tune your instrument daily when there are sudden changes in the weather/humidity.

Use a tuner or tuning app. If you don’t have fine tuners on your violin, have a teacher help you or find someone at a music store who can install fine tuners for you.


Where to Look

Do you look at your bow or your fingers when you play violin?  Looking down at your instrument or fingers while you play may cause problems when you learn to read music since you won’t be able to look at your violin and the music at the same time.

How to Improve

You can do more than you think without looking at your instrument!

Try playing a piece without looking, just to see how you do. Then, look at your bow and fingers and play an easy measure. Try to memorize how everything feels.

Now, try to play the piece without looking. Notice what improved, and where you struggled. Try the whole thing again and make adjustments where appropriate.


Learning Violin is Hard, but You Can Do it!

If you’re struggling with any aspect(s) of learning violin, don’t be discouraged! All violinists, including the professionals, have had to work on these things.

The important thing is that you don’t give up. There are tons of different ways to practice and improve, and with some time and effort, you will get better at the violin.

Have fun!

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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taylor davis

How Violin Star Taylor Davis Turned Her Dreams Into Reality

taylor davis

If you’re learning violin, you probably know a thing or two about Taylor Davis. Tayor is a talented violinist, arranger, composer, and a YouTube sensation. Her love for video game and film music helped her launch her YouTube channel ViolinTay, which has over 150 videos and one million subscribers!

In addition to her viral YouTube videos, Taylor has released five full-length game, anime, and film-themed albums. Her self-titled original album debuted at #10 on the Billboard Classical Charts.

Following the success of her first headlining U.S. tour, Taylor recently completed a tour Europe. The talented star took some time to chat with us about violin and her love for music, and to share her insight and inspiration for aspiring violinists.

taylor davis

photo by Aga Jones

TL: Being a touring violinist is something most people only dream of doing. What do you love about it and what was surprising to you? What advice do you have for anyone who gets nervous during a big or small performance?

TD: I feel so incredibly blessed to be touring now because it’s truly a dream come true to perform the kind of music I love for an audience that loves it just as much. So much of what I’ve done over the past six years with my music has been online via my YouTube channel, and while I love my audience on there, it’s sometimes tough to only interact with them online because you really miss out on that personal element. What I really love about touring is the chance to actually see people out there in the audience while I’m performing, and meeting them after the shows and talking with them because it’s so nice to have that type of personal interaction.

The most surprising thing about touring was how much I enjoy it! I was pretty nervous to start on my first tour last year because I really didn’t know how I was going to like it, but I had such an amazing experience and am so excited that it’s becoming a regular part of my career now.

One of the things that has helped me get over nervousness during a performance sounds so simple but it’s so true, and that is to just make sure that I feel like I’m prepared. If I think I could have practiced more, or there are still a few parts of a piece that I needed to work on more, then I sometimes get nervous during a performance because I’m not fully confident. If I feel like I truly prepared as much as I could, then it’s a lot easier for me to relax and enjoy the performance.

TL: You released your first self-titled original album after working on game, anime, and film albums; how was this different, were you more nervous or excited? The album has been very successful, does this mean more original projects in the future?

TD: I love working on cover songs, but it had always been a dream of mine to release an album of original music. I was definitely nervous since I am mostly known for my covers. I was really proud and excited about the original music but I really didn’t know how my audience was going to react since I hadn’t released much original music to that point.

I had such a supportive group of fans cheering me on through my Pledge Music Campaign that it really inspired me and made me feel a lot more confident about the project. I’m so glad that people are enjoying the album now! When I get back from my European tour, I’m going to immediately start working on another album of original music.

taylor davis

photo by Aga Jones

TL: You’ve been studying violin since you were eight, what was your inspiration early on, how did you stay motivated to practice and improve? You’ve said your mom was one of your biggest supporters, why is it important for music students to have a strong support system?

TD: I will be honest, I was incredibly unmotivated to practice and pretty much did everything I possibly could to avoid it when I was younger! I did study with a private teacher, but it was very casual and they were short lessons. My mom is truly the only reason that I am a violinist today, because there were so many times where I wanted to quit, but she was always incredibly supportive and found creative ways to incentivize me to practice.

If I wanted to play video games, I had to at least practice 30 minutes of violin first, so that was a pretty huge motivator for me. haha! Now, I actually really enjoy practicing, but it took me a long time to get to this point. I think it’s important for a music student to have some sort of support system, or a strong role model to look up to for inspiration.

Learning an instrument can sometimes be very discouraging because you have to be so patient and work very hard to continue practicing, and sometimes it feels like you’re not even improving. If you have someone in your life to cheer you on, or someone you look up to who can inspire you to work through those discouraging moments, I think that can make all the difference.

TL: Let’s talk about starting your (wildly popular) YouTube channel ViolinTay. How did you decide to share your videos on YouTube? Were you surprised by the response that you got from fans, how did this help you to continue pursuing your passion for both video game music and violin?

TD: I started my channel almost six years ago after I graduated from college. I never thought that I would have a career in music, but I started to get really sad right before I graduated because I realized that I might not do anything more with music in my adult life, since I fully intended to get a business-type job.

I started thinking of ways that I could keep music in my life, and one day when I was randomly searching for some of my favorite game music on YouTube, I saw a few people had posted videos of themselves playing video game music. I was really shocked to see that people were interested in it because I thought I was one of the only people who liked this type of music. I grew up being a “nerd” and was made fun of a lot for my interests in video games and other nerdy things. I figured I had nothing to lose by putting up a few videos of myself playing video game music and decided to start posting my favorite tracks.

I was surprised to see that people were finding my videos and seemed to be enjoying them. It was really slow at first, and I was working a business day job at the time, but as my channel grew, I gradually started upgrading my equipment and tried to improve the quality of my videos as much as I could afford to.

It’s still hard for me to believe that this is what I’m doing for my career now and that my really low-budget videos I filmed in my parents’ spare room ended up leading to this. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I’d be able to have a career playing my favorite type of music, and that so many other people would be enjoying it with me. I can’t tell you how grateful I feel for where I’m at.

TL: What’s the coolest thing about being on tour and performing live?

I think, like I mentioned before, that personal connection that you feel when you’re performing to a live audience is really amazing. I’m usually always working alone from my home and sometimes it can get very lonely, so being out on tour is a really nice change of pace, not only for interacting with my fans in person, but for also working with my tour team.

My piano player, Salome Scheidegger, has become one of my best friends and we had so much fun together on the first tour, and my tour manager is a wonderful person and so much fun to hang out with. Even though I’m a solo artist, I definitely feel like I’m a part of a team when I’m out on the road, and I love that feeling.

TL: You worked on an awesome Star Wars violin medley and even made a really cool video! What was that like for you? The video must have been an intense but unforgettable experience!

TD: Yes, I’m really proud of that music video! The director, Landon Donoho, is someone who I’ve been working with for years and he’s incredibly talented and fun to work with. We talked about the video concept before I had created the arrangement, and we had the idea to do the light side vs. dark side type feel, so I really tried to create that feeling in the music as well.

Landon also suggested that I try out some body paint for this one, and I was a little scared about that at first since I’ve never done anything like that, but I’m so glad that we did that because I think that really ended up making the video really special. The makeup artist did an amazing job!

I also really wanted to take the music in a different direction from my normal arrangements because I always like trying new things and experimenting, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s definitely a different style and I won’t always arrange new pieces like that, but it was so much fun to try something new!

TL: Between your YouTube channel, the albums you’ve worked on, and touring and playing music, you’ve been able to combine two of your biggest passions and achieve your dreams! What advice would you give someone about trusting the process and keeping the faith while chasing a dream?

TD: I think that one of the most important things to keep in mind, that I think is difficult for some artists to understand, is that you really need to think of yourself as both an artist and a business. I think there’s sadly a negative feeling sometimes towards the business aspect of any sort of creative career and a lot of artists either think they’re “selling out” to engage in it, or they simply don’t want to deal with it because they only want to be creative and not worry about everything else it takes to build a career in this industry.

In my opinion, and what has certainly been true in my own career, it’s absolutely crucial to be comfortable and confident with both the creative and business side of things. It’s almost crazy to think that you can solely be an artist nowadays and that someone will randomly discover you and offer to handle everything else for you to turn your art into a sustainable career, that just realistically doesn’t happen.

I didn’t sign with a management team until last April (that was 5 years after I started my channel), and while they help me now with tour planning and general advice/resources, I still very much manage all of my video projects, albums, website, and social media myself. I think it’s really important for an artist to stay involved in those aspects because you won’t find yourself in a position where you’ll get taken advantage of, and if you’re the one ultimately calling all the shots, it’s a lot easier to stay true to yourself and your vision.

There are plenty of days where I end up not being able to work on music and have to handle tasks that I don’t enjoy and that aren’t fun or creative, but they’re necessary to continue sustaining and growing my career. I’m still not at the point where I can afford to delegate all that kind of work to other people, and having to still do that kind of work definitely makes me feel grateful for the days where I can just be creative and work on some new music or spend a lot of time with my violin. For me, it actually feels like a nice balance.

Again, a huge thank you to Taylor Davis for taking the time to chat with us! To learn more about Taylor and keep up to date with her latest projects, bookmark her website and subscribe to her YouTube channel!

Ready to turn your violin dreams into reality? Sign up for lessons with a private teacher today! 

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The Perfect 15-Minute Violin Practice Routine [Video]

violin practice

Think you don’t have enough time to practice violin? Think again! We all have days where we’re short on time, but that doesn’t mean you should skip practice altogether. Here, Austin, TX violin instructor Naomi Cherie S. shows you how to get an effective violin practice session in only 15 minutes…

We’ve all heard it before: “Practice makes perfect!” However, an intelligent five-year-old violin student improved this saying when she told me “Practice makes better!” It’s a nice reminder that while perfection is something we should always strive for, it’s important to be patient and remember that we’re only human.

How you practice is just as important as how much you practice. In this article I will outline the perfect 15-minute violin practice, and also break down important components for any practice that will help you improve.


Good Practice Habits

As a violinist, practice is essential to develop your skills, and it can determine how quickly you will progress on the instrument. Practice can also be one of the biggest challenges we face in our studies.

With the fast paced lifestyles most of us live today, it can be hard to fit in time to practice consistently. For beginners, I recommend that you practice at least five days per week for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.

Building Your Practice

In music (similar to athletic training), it’s a good idea to gradually increase your practice session length while you’re developing muscles, flexibility, finger callouses etc. so that you don’t overdo it and end up with sore hands, wrists or arms.

Aim to work up to one to two hours (or more) of practice per day. The more you practice, the faster you will improve!

Consistency is Key

Remember, it’s important to maintain consistency over time spent (quality over quantity).

For instance, I’d rather you practice for five days a week, even if you could only play for 15-30 minutes on some days, than waiting until the last day before your lesson to do an extra long practice session.

Our brains need time to process what we practice, and repetition is key to perfect your skills. Sometimes, even when you don’t feel like you’re improving during a practice session, you will start to see progress over time, if you keep at it and look at the big picture.

Think of your violin journey as plants in a garden: you can’t see them growing, but eventually, with love and care, they blossom and reach new heights.


The Perfect 15-Minute Violin Practice Session

(For those busy days when you don’t think you have the time!)

As a beginner, it’s crucial to keep your momentum going and avoid skipping more than a day or two of practice. For the first several months, your budding skills are very delicate. Without consistency, you can easily backtrack, and you’ll have to re-learn certain concepts if you go too long without practice.

This is where the 15-minute practice session comes in. It can take a lot of self-discipline to practice daily, and with busy work and school schedules, sometimes it just doesn’t seem feasible.

Today, I’m going to share a quick solution for this dilemma. For those days when you’re on the go and just don’t think you have time to practice, think about what squeezing in 15 minutes of one-on-one time with your violin can do to boost your playing and bridge the gap between longer playing sessions.

In the video below, I’ll walk you through my ideal 15-minute practice session. Here are the basic goals of the session:

  1. Tuning – Tuning is a great way to warm up your ears and “fine tune” your ear training skills. It’s also imperative to have your violin tuned up and ready to go each time you play. You can tune by ear with a keyboard/piano or a pitch pipe or you can use an electronic tuner or a tuning app.
  2. Abridged Scale Warm Up – In this video, I demonstrate a really thorough scale warm up. For your abridged scale warm up, you can skip a couple of the exercises and just stick to the basics. Using your G Major scale, start with half notes, then play quarter notes and eighth notes.
  3. Song Warm Up – Next, choose a song you’ve been working on or have been wanting to learn. Start from the top of the piece and work your way through. Try to move quickly, without stopping to fix mistakes, and play through to the end of the piece while taking mental notes of your problem areas.
  4. Go Back and Fix Mistakes – Take a pencil and write in some notes. Add parenthesis around your problem measures. Pencil in “x5” above the measures that really need some work and then go back and play those spots five times in a row (or more) until they sound smooth.
  5. Take the Song From the Top – Once you feel comfortable about your problem areas, go back and run the piece from start to finish. By this time, your 15 minutes will probably be up, but if you have some extra time, go ahead and go through the piece again, constantly taking notes of your improvements as well as sections that still need work.

And that’s it! Remember, when it comes to your musical journey, every little bit helps and it’s important to remember that a short practice is better than no practice at all!

Ready to get started playing violin? Find a violin teacher near you

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin in Austin, TX. She is a classically trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

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14 Fantastic Websites and Resources to Help You Learn Violin Online

learn violin online

When you’re learning violin, it’s always a good idea to have some helfpul websites bookmarked to help you practice and learn between your lessons. Here, music instructor Julie P. shares 14 websites that will help you learn violin online…

If you want to learn violin online, there are TONS of resources available. You can find almost anything you want to know about the violin online, including information about equipment, playing technique, music theory, and inspirational videos. We picked out some of our favorite sites that we recommend to help you on your violin-learning journey!

Bookmark these sites for easy access, and let us know which ones you like best!

Jump to any section of this article here:


Learn Violin Online

FiddlerMan

learn violin online

FiddlerMan has a number of different resources for beginner to intermediate violinists. He even has a special section devoted to people who have never touched a violin before.

Bookmark the site to access video tutorials, and resources on music theory and playing technique. Fiddlerman also has an online violin and fiddle tuner, a blog, and lots of violin sheet music.

Violinonline

learn violin online

This site has tons of articles with pictures on how to care for your instrument, posture, playing basics, practice tips, and more. It’s very user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Violin From Scratch

learn violin online

As soon as you get to this site, you’re greeted with a message from Deborah, the site creator and experienced violinist. Deborah shares the encouraging message that you can learn violin, even with no musical experience.

Besides, the positive welcome message, Violinfromscratch has free beginner articles and a paid violin video course.

Violin Tutor Pro

learn violin online

Tons of free videos and articles from a team of  teachers and enthusiasts.  There are video lessons and you can subscribe to receive daily violin tips.

Violin Tutor Pro is fantastic for beginner, intermediate, and advanced violin and fiddle students.

Beginner Violin Tips

learn violin online

Beginner Violin Tips provides a step-by-step guide for a first-time violin learner. The guide includes everything from equipment, care and maintenance, sheet music, and violin accessories.

You can also browse tips on various violin-related topics, and read articles on violin technique on the blog.


Online Violin Lessons

You can take online lessons right here at TakeLessons, and there are some other great sites that have fantastic online lessons that you can use to practice between your private lesson with your teacher.

Violin Lab

learn violin online

Violin Lab has hundreds of video lessons on everything from basic equipment to advanced techniques.

Red Desert Violin

learn violin online

Red Desert Violin provides subscription-based online video lessons for beginner and intermediate violinists.

ArtistWorks

learn violin online

Subscription-based online video lessons with Nathan Cole, an LA Philharmonic violinist.

Maestro Musicians

learn violin online

Maestro Musicians is the website for Maestro Musicians Academy, greater Boston’s premiere music school.

Check out the website to choose from a collection of pre-recorded video lessons for beginners.

TakeLessons

learn violin online

Don’t forget, right here at TakeLessons, we have both online and in-person violin lessons!

If you don’t already have a teacher, search for a violin instructor near you!


Online Violin Tuner

If you want the best sound from your violin, you need to make sure you tune it properly. With these online violin tuners, you will never have to worry about showing up to practice without your tuner!

Get-Tuned

 

This free online violin tuner plays each note for you, so you can match your strings.

You can use it for standard GDAE tuning, and there is also a new feature for alternate tunings.

 


8notes

 

In addition to a fantastic selection of violin sheet music (see below), 8notes has a great interactive tuner with pitch detection.

 

 

 


Play Violin Online

No violin? No problem! Here are some sites where you can play online. Even if you do have a violin, these sites are a lot of fun to use!

Virtual Violin Online

 

You can play the violin using your computer, or upload your own audio files to play.

Virtual Violin online also has an interactive fingering chart for beginners.

 


Violinonline.com

 

In addition to all the beginner-friendly articles, Violinonline also has an interactive violin fretboard to help you learn violin fingerings and notes.


Violin Games

Practice your skills and have fun between lessons with these online violin games.

Violin Flash Cards

 

A fun twist on flash cards; match the note shown to its place on the fingerboard.


Fiddlerman

 

Check out the learning tools section of the site to access the rhythm game, violin fingering game, and intonation game.


Violin Sheet Music

In order to play new violin songs, you need sheet music! Here are some of the best online resources to find violin sheet music.

Violinonline.com

Image courtesy violinonline.com

 

Violinonline has classical music with melody parts, and separate harmony parts scored for viola, cello and bass.

 


Violin Sheet Music

 

Hundreds of pieces of free sheet music, mostly classical.


 8notes

 

8notes has free sheet music for lots of genres: classical, folk, holiday, pop, rock, film, wedding, Christian, etc.

 

 

 


If you want to learn the violin online, there’s more than enough information available. Pick out a few of these sites to check out first, and explore their learning resources.

Everyone is different, so use the resources that work best for you!

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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5 Famous Violin Songs to Add to Your Repertoire

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Learning to play the violin can be a difficult, sometimes tedious task for beginners, especially among younger students. The process of learning to pluck the notes and use a bow can try many students’ patience, and they may give up on the instrument out of frustration. However, once you master your first great violin song, you’ll understand why so many musicians play the beloved instrument. Below is a short list of famous violin songs that are easily-recognized and may inspire even the weariest beginner. Read more

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How to Find the “Sweet Spot” On Your Violin

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The violin can be a difficult instrument to master. Intonation is often challenging; unlike the guitar, there are no frets to guide the fingers, and even if all the notes are correct and in tune you’re still left with the issue of tone. The purest and perfectly in-tune notes can still sound bad if they’re played with poor tone. However, there are many methods and tricks to help your violin bowing, which can instantly improve your tone.

Points to Consider for Violin Bowing
Pressure – When you’re holding your bow correctly, increases and decreasesin pressure are controlled with the first finger of your bow hand. Experiment by playing long tones and gradually increasing and decreasing pressure while maintaining bow speed. When you create a beautiful tone, take note; identify what you did differently this time so that you can easily replicate it the next time.

Read more

how long does it take to learn violin feature

How Long Does It Take To Learn Violin? [Infographic]

how long does it take to learn violin

If you’re interested in violin lessons or you’re just starting to play, you’re probably wondering how long does it take to learn violin? Brooklyn, NY music instructor Julie P. is here to help you answer that question…

A common question for violin students is how long does it take to learn violin? The truth is, everyone learns at a different speed, so there’s no way to tell you exactly how long it will take you to learn. Of course, your learning speed also depends on how much you practice!

If you would like to play violin professionally, you’ll have to commit to many years of hard work. On the other hand, If you’re just looking to play for fun, or to join in at church or in a band with your friends, you can make a lot of progress towards your goal in three to five years.

If you take violin lessons and practice four to five days a week, here is an estimated timeline to illustrate how long it takes to learn violin.


Month One

In your first month, you’ll start with the basics. You’ll learn the parts of your violin and proper care. If you need to invest in a violin, here are our picks for the best violin brands for beginners.

Your early lessons will focus on posture, bow hold, and plucking techniques. In your first month, you will be introduced to basic note reading, violin scales, and music theory. You’ll also learn how to pluck and bow open strings, and learn about quarter notes and quarter rests.


Month Two

This month, you’ll continue to develop basic skills, and you’ll become more comfortable holding your violin and bow.

At this time, you should start using your left-hand fingers (1-3) to play notes other than open strings. You’ll develop the ability to pluck simple melodies, and gain greater control bowing open strings.

You’ll also learn about bow directions and markings (up bows and down bows), and learn about half notes and half rests.

New rhythms: Half notes and half rests.


Month Three to Six

These months are exciting because you’ll start to play some simple songs you recognize.

You’ll learn lots of new notes, including the notes on the D and A strings using fingers one, two, and three.

Gradually, you’ll switch to using your bow to play songs instead of just plucking them.

New Rhythms: whole notes, whole rests, eighth notes, and eighth rests.


Month Seven to 12

At this point, the range of songs you can play really opens up because you know so many notes and rhythms!

You’ll learn to use your fourth finger and some notes on the G and E strings. You’ll also learn to use your second finger to play F natural and C natural on the D and A strings.

You will continue developing your bowing technique. Your violin tone starts to improve, and you’ll learn about slurs and hooked bowing, as well as how to cross strings more proficiently. You’ll also learn the difference between staccato and legato bowing.

New Rhythms: ties and dotted half notes.


Month 13 to 18

By this time, you’ve probably finished your first beginner lesson book and have moved on to the next book in the series. At this point, you can play many pop, classical, folk, and holiday songs. You may still need help figuring them out, but with some practice, you can play lots of different songs.

You’ll learn about more natural and flat notes with all four of your fingers, which allows you to play in keys other than D and A major.

Slurs and hooked bows are common in your music, and you’re able to coordinate the bow with your fingers. You can play faster music without losing your tone quality.

New Rhythms: Dotted quarter notes and syncopation.


Month 19 to 24

At this point, you can really branch out into music you like to play. You might start learning basic classical solos meant to be performed with piano accompaniment, or get a book of music from your favorite movie or pop singer.

You’ll learn all of the notes that you can play, in first position, including sharps, naturals, and flats, and you’ll learn how to bounce the bow and play faster with more accuracy.

Rhythms: sixth notes and dotted eighth notes.


Year Three

This might be the time you start to feel like you can really play the violin!

In your third year, you’ll solidify all the notes in first position, and become comfortable playing in flat keys. Your bowing will become more complex and varied, and you’ll learn about double stops.

New Rhythms: Triplets.


Year Four

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you’re pretty dedicated to the violin, and by now, you’re pretty good!

Now it’s time to learn about shifting into third position, which opens up the range of the violin, so you can play higher notes.

You might also learn how to play with vibrato, which will give you a more sophisticated sound and greater range of musical expression.

You probably don’t need a beginner lesson book series anymore, and you can further your learning by working in scale, etude and solo repertoire books.


Year Five and Beyond

The sky’s the limit for what you can learn and where you can go. The more time you dedicate to practicing the violin, the faster you can increase your skills and learn more music you love to play. If you practice hard and stay dedicated to learning the violin, you can make a lot of progress in just a few years.

So, how long does it take to learn violin? That depends on your individual goals and how far you want to go. To stay motivated, keep this map where you can see it, so you can always keep your goals in sight. Good luck!

how long does it take to learn violin

The best way to learn the violin is through private lessons with a qualified instructor. Find a violin teacher near you!

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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10 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Violin Bow Hold [Video]

violin bow hold

If you want to be a successful violinist, you need to learn proper technique, and that starts with your violin bow hold. Unfortunately, it’s easy to pick up bad habits. Austin, TX violin teacher Naomi S. is here to help; follow this guide to master your violin bow hold and improve your sound…

Proper violin bow hold is imperative to building a foundation as a budding violinist, but bow hold can be one of the most challenging aspects to master on the violin. Your bow hold affects your bow tone and your overall sound quality. A poor bow hold can cause a lot of roadblocks as you develop, so make sure to address the issue right away, and get really comfortable with your violin bow.

Most of my students look at me like I’m crazy when I show them how to hold a violin bow. In the beginning, it’s not always psychically possible to hold the bow correctly. When you hold your bow properly, you use a delicate set of muscles that you might not use in your everyday life, so it takes lots of time, repetition, and strength building to get your hand ready for the task.

Since you may be unsure of all the specifics of proper violin bow hold, I’m going to walk you through it, step by step, in this video tutorial.


Violin Bow Hold for Beginners

While the video will help you learn proper violin bow hold technique, I also have some helpful tips that you should keep in mind as you play. Here are 10 important things to look out for as you work to master your violin bow hold.


10 Ways  to Improve Your Violin Bow Hold Technique

violin bow hold

When you hold your violin bow, place your thumb on the little bump that’s under the stick and attached to the frog. Your thumb needs to remain bent at the middle joint, at all times, as all of your fingers on the bow hold curve inward and not outward.

This helpful trick goes for children as well as adults– if your thumb is flexed and curved, like a banana, you need to correct it and bend at the joint.

“Bananas” happen to almost all new violinists, especially for the first few months, but if you keep correcting yourself, your muscle memory will kick in and start to remember how the thumb should feel.

violin bow hold

Your first finger, or pointer finger, should wrap around the grip. It’s usually a little black strip of leather or soft plastic for your first finger to grip onto. One common mistake is for students to reach up too far and place the first finger on the bow stick instead of the grip. Think of your finger as a hook that wraps around the grip and keeps your hand anchored and in place.

As you practice, make sure to watch out for these seven common violin mistakes!

violin bow hold

Your middle finger and ring finger, often referred to as the “huggers,” don’t do a lot in the bow hold other than wrap or hug the frog. Make sure that you have your fingers bent at the middle joint and snug on the frog.

Many students place the tips of their fingers towards the top of the frog (near the bow stick), but it’s important to make sure the pads of your fingers are placed towards the bottom of the frog, so that you have full coverage over the frog and good balance for your entire hand.

violin bow hold

Almost all bows come with a little white or light-colored dot on the bow. You may wonder if that dot has a purpose, but it can actually help you with your bow hold! The dot acts as a guide so that you can make sure your hand is positioned correctly. The pad of your ring finger should cover this dot.

Always check back while you’re playing to make sure your ring finger lines up with the dot.

violin bow hold

As illustrated in the video above, the pinky or little finger’s job is to sit high on the stick and act as a weight to balance out the thumb. Like all of your fingers, in order to maintain good form and keep pressure off the fingers, the pinky should be curved at the middle joint.

A common issue for beginners is that the pinky wants to flex the other direction, which creates a “french fry” look. If your little finger looks like a french fry and is not curved under, make sure you correct it right away. Like “banana” thumbs, these french fries will pop in every chance they get when you’re first learning because your fingers haven’t built the strength they need to master this unusual hand position.

violin bow hold

When you play a stringed instrument, it’s important to keep your fingernails on your left hand clipped and tidy, so that your fingers can go down easily on the strings. When you clip your fingers, however, make sure not to clip your thumb nail on your right hand (bow hand) too short. You can clip it, but it’s helpful not to cut the white part all the way off.

When you clip your nail too short, it can cause friction on your thumb against the bump where it rests. This can tug at your skin which makes it uncomfortable to play. If you leave a little sliver of the white part of your nail, it can help you grip the bump and act as a shield against any discomfort.

violin bow hold

Remember, your bow hold is not a death grip! You’re not holding onto the bow stick for dear life, you’re holding onto it to create beautiful, emotive music.

Your violin bow hold should be delicate and graceful. Hold the bow tenderly, so that it might be possible for someone to grab the stick out of your hand.

Sometimes, during more intense sections in your songs, your grip may tighten, but always be mindful to loosen up when you can, so that your hand doesn’t get tired during the song.

violin bow hold

It’s common for beginners’ bow hands to look like mountaintops. If your hand forms into the shape of a steep mountain with your knuckles popping up in the air, take time and care to make sure to bend each finger at the middle joint, and relax your hand down, into the position of a nice, rounded hill or plateau.

violin bow hold

Similar to the mountaintop hand, your wrist may start to bend (too much) when learn how to hold your bow. As a beginner, your wrist should generally be in a straight or neutral pose. Eventually, as you draw the bow up towards the ceiling across your strings your wrist will bend and as you push the bow down towards the floor your wrist will flex. This sort of technique may take years to develop but it’s good to keep a relaxed and flexible wrist from the get go so that you can start to build good wrist foundation.

Eventually, as you draw the bow up towards the ceiling across your strings, your wrist will bend, and as you push the bow down towards the floor, your wrist will flex. This sort of technique may take years to develop but it’s good to keep a relaxed and flexible wrist from the get go so that you can start to build good wrist foundation.

This sort of technique may take years to develop, but it’s good to try to keep your wrist relaxed from the get go, so that you can  build a solid foundation.

violin bow hold

Last but not least, check in on your bow hold, constantly! Take breaks during your songs and glance back at your bow hand to make sure all your fingers are in place.

If something is off, stop everything and fix it right away. Sometimes, your hand may cramp up, and that’s a good time to take a break and shake it to let the muscles relax.

Eventually, you’ll become so aware of your bow hold that you’ll be able to correct things like “bananas” and “french fries” as you play, without stopping. In time, with enough practice and spot checking, these issues will go away.


Violin Bow Hold Exercises

Windshield Wipers

Here’s an excellent exercise to help develop the hand strength and flexibility you need to improve your violin bow hold.

Make sure to do this exercise every day for the first few months, until your bow hold becomes stable. You can start off by doing 10 repetitions, and then gradually increase to sets of 30.

It’s important not to overdo it when you first start learning, so pace yourself and take breaks in between your exercises.

Memorize the finger placement of the bow hold, remember the 10 pointers above, and use the Windshield Wiper exercise every day, and you’ll be well on your way to a flawless violin bow hold. Remember, proper violin bow hold technique leads to great sound quality and bow tone!

Have questions about your violin bow hold? Ask your teacher or let us know in the comments below! 

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin in Austin, TX. She is a classically trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

Photo courtesy Changjin Lee

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