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famous violin players

10 Inspirational Quotes from Famous Violin Players

Do you need a little inspiration to get you through your violin lessons? When learning a new instrument, especially one as complex as the violin, it’s normal to feel frustrated or defeated. Even the most famous violin players have felt insecure about their playing at one point or another during their career.

Instead of admitting defeat and giving up, it’s important that you overcome these feelings of frustration and remember the many reasons why you first started playing the violin. Below are 10 inspirational quotes from current and past famous violin players to help you stay motivated and keep positive.

1. “The discipline of practice every day is essential. When I skip a day, I notice a difference in my playing. After two days, the critics notice, and after three days, so does the audience.”

– Jascha Heifetz, renowned violinist who is synonymous with technique and musicianship

famous violin players

2. “The only reason I am successful is because I have stayed true to myself.”

-Lindsey Stirling, an American violinist and 2015 winner of the Billboard Music Award for Top Dance/Electronic Album

famous violin players

3. “The stage is the best experience in the world. It’s a great compliment to be able to share the music…”

-Vanessa Mae, British classical and electronic violinist with an estimated 10 million CD copies sold

famous violin players

4. “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts—such is the duty of the artist.”

-Robert Schumann, German composer in the Romantic era

famous violin players

5. “I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin.”

-Albert Einstein, physicist and amateur violin player

famous violin players

6. “When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.”

-Joshua Bell, celebrated violinist who has recorded more than 40 CDs throughout his career

famous violin players

7. “What does it mean to be a ‘successful’ musician? You can play a hundred or a thousand concerts, as long as there are two or three occasions that you remember yourself.”

-Ivry Gitlis, renowned Israeli violinist who has performed with the world’s top orchestras

famous violin players

8. “The aim was for perfection, but perfection can be like a computer programme. Of course, I’m not saying you should play out of tune or be messy, but there has to be a balance.”

-Viktoria Mullova, highly-decorated and Grammy nominated Russian violinist

famous violin players

9. “Art is not in some far-off place. A work of Art is the expression of a man’s whole personality, sensibility and ability.”

-Shinichi Suzuki, violinist and creator of the Suzuki method of music education

famous violin players

10. “Music is about devotion, and knowing when to be free.”

-Leonidas Kavakos, Greek violinist and conductor who has won several international competitions

famous violin players
Mastering different violin techniques can be difficult. It’s important, however, that you don’t give up. Whether you’re having a hard time mastering a particular technique or need some motivation for an upcoming audition, use these quotes from famous violin players to help inspire you!

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5 Ways To Make Money Playing Violin

5798939739_7bffcf4d6f_bWhen you think about making money using your skills as a violin player, violin teacher jobs might be the first thing that comes to mind. But there are so many more options! Here are some ideas from Brooklyn, NY teacher Julie P...

 

The ability to play the violin is a very marketable skill. If you’re looking for violin teacher jobs, working at a school or teaching private lessons is a great way to earn money. But if you’d prefer to just play and perform, there are a number of opportunities open for you to make money with your violin playing.

1. Special Events

Special events such as weddings, funerals, bridal or baby showers, and church services are great places for violin players to provide music. Any of these events may call for a solo violinist, but often they call for string quartets or trios. The types of music requested are usually classical and light jazz/pop, but it really depends on the event. Churches often use violinists as part of larger orchestras for special services around Christmas and Easter, or as a solo instrument for weddings and funerals. Some funeral homes keep a database of musicians to contact when clients request special music.

2. Playing in Bands

If you play any music in the rock/pop/folk/bluegrass/jazz genres, you could make money playing violin in a band. Since the violin is often a featured instrument in these groups, playing in a band is great for people who enjoy performing as a soloist. Some groups provide written music, but often the violin player improvises their own parts, so it’s important to be able to improvise and play by ear. You can also work your way up to soloing with musicians such as Celine Dion, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones.

3. Cruise Ship Entertainment

Many cruise ships hire string groups (often trios) to play mostly classical music in the dining room, as well as in places like the grand promenade on large cruise ships. If you have your own group and possess the proper repertoire, this can be a great opportunity to get performance experience while also seeing different parts of the world. Cruise ships pay a weekly salary and also provide room and board free of charge. Some cruise ship companies have websites that list opportunities for musicians, but often your best bet is to find an agency that books acts on cruise ships.

4. Musical Theater

Many musical theater productions call for violinists. If you enjoy this kind of music and don’t mind playing the same thing for multiple nights in a row, playing for a musical can be a great way to make money. The top level for this kind of playing is Broadway, where the pay is quite high. But opportunities exist in almost all major cities, as well as at high schools, colleges, and community theaters.

5. Symphony Orchestra

The violin sections of professional and semi-professional symphony orchestras are made up of some of the very best classical players in the world. Getting a job in one of these orchestras is very difficult and consists of passing at least one audition, if not more. The amount of money these orchestras pay their members depends on the number of services (rehearsals or performances) that make up their season, as well as the performance level of the orchestra itself. The top orchestras pay a full-time salary while the semi-pro groups often pay a set amount per service. Audition notices may be posted in union papers and some trade magazines/journals.

For any of the ways to make money playing violin listed above, you have to be a solid player as well as have good networking skills. Musicians are often recommended and hired by word of mouth, so it pays to know as many people as possible in your field. It’s also important to conduct yourself professionally in all work situations, and be easy to get along with. If people have a good time on the gig with you, chances are they’ll want to work with you again.

If one of these five ways to make money playing the violin appeals to you but you don’t have the necessary skills yet, private lessons are a great way to move toward your goal. Find the right teacher to help you achieve your goals today!

JuliePJulie 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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How to Set Up a Violin Bridge | Violin Tips

How To Set Up A Violin Properly There’s one important – and slightly intimidating – hurdle that all violin students have in common. Whether you’re a complete beginner looking to make a cheap, factory-made instrument more grateful to play, or a more advanced student wanting to customize your “forever” instrument to suit you and you alone, the basic knowledge of how to set up a violin is worth grasping even if your interest doesn’t extend much beyond curiosity and a love of tinkering with things.

As you’re probably aware, the bridge is a major factor in determining the sound of your instrument, and learning how to set up a violin bridge is a worthwhile nugget of knowledge to acquire, as they have a habit of collapsing at inopportune moments — like just before an exam or recital, when you don’t have a chance of getting to the repair shop.

How does the bridge affect my violin’s sound?

Assuming the sound post is properly in place, your bridge will allow the strings to resonate properly, but only if it’s the correct height. Many factory-supplied bridges are not entirely fit for purpose, and either sit too high, or aren’t curved to fit comfortably to the body of your violin. If the bridge is too high, it will require additional pressure on the strings to make a sound, and if you’re younger or less strong, this can be extremely frustrating. The bridge should be safely held in place by the pressure of the string — never resort to glue, no matter how tempting. The excellent YouTube tutorial below, from Karacha.com, will give you a step-by-step guide for setting up your bridge on a new instrument that has been shipped “bridge down”, i.e. without the bridge in place, to keep the instrument safe during transit.

Can I really do this on my own, or should I get my teacher to do it?

If you’re not confident, or you suspect that adjustments are needed that are beyond your capabilities — such as the height of the bridge needing adjustment, or there being inadequate curvature to make it secure — seek your teacher’s advice, or go to a good violin maker or repairer for assistance. However, if everything is otherwise as it should be, it’s a worthwhile skill to acquire yourself. Bridges have a habit of falling over when you least expect — particularly when you are changing strings or re-tuning. This YouTube tutorial on how to set up a violin bridge after it has collapsed is handy to bookmark for reassurance when you hear that alarming “snap” when tuning — it really isn’t the end of the world!

Is that it? Is there anything else I need to do?

Like all instruments, your violin will serve you well if you look after it. Most important in terms of maintenance is keeping your violin at a constant humidity to prevent cracks and other deterioration. An in-case humidifier is a smart purchase as it will prevent the need for expensive repairs.

It’s easy to become quite the repair geek as you find out more and more about your instrument and how it works, and it’s great fun too — talk to your teacher about violin repair and maintenance, and you’ll find yourself acquiring skills and knowledge beyond scales and double-stopping!

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Violin Playing Tips: Surviving Your First Audition

Violin Audition TipsLearning to play in front of an audience can be tough, but playing for an audition can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences, especially your first time around. There are many violin playing tips to help you learn how to play, and how to listen to others in the orchestra, but many of those tips do not apply to an audition. No matter how good you are, nerves can be a huge factor.

Unlike a concert where the audience is inclined to praise you because they are there to enjoy the music, an audition involves a panel that is there specifically to judge your skills. Figuring out how to play under these circumstances is an individual experience, but there are a few universal violin playing tips that can lessen the apprehension and tension of an audition.

Early Preparation

First, take the time to determine exactly what is required of you. You may be asked to demonstrate specific techniques, or play a particular piece. If you know that you want to get into a certain school or class level, take the initiative now to go over this information.

As you practice leading up to the audition, make sure to spend some time actually visualizing your performance. Of course, the actual experience will be different, but placing yourself in that frame of mind will help you when the time comes. Once you have set up the scenario in your mind, start playing.

Setting Up

Some auditions require you memorize your music, others allow you to use a music stand, and you may be asked to play standing up or sitting down. Before you play, make sure you’re both physically and mentally prepared.

Make sure you’re in a comfortable position, especially if you have to stand. Take several deep breaths, fully inhaling and exhaling the air. You can do this with your eyes open or closed, but either way make sure you are focused only on your breathing. This sets up your mind, forcing you to pay attention to your body.

Pay attention to your shoulders, also. If you feel them getting tense, take a couple of extra breaths and relax. The more relaxed you are, the less nervous you will be. This is particularly important for your bow arm, because if it is tense, you can lose mobility and range of volume. Just like one of the first violin playing tips you learn, your bow hand should be remain relaxed.

During the Audition

As you begin your audition, return to what you visualized during your practice sessions. Of course, most of the room and people will look different than you had visualized, but you are turning to your mind’s eye. By focusing on something that is familiar, your body will react instinctively, and you’ll be more likely to play like you did while practicing.

Keep your posture as steady as possible so that your arms are able to move as needed. You left hand needs to be able to move freely, which it cannot do if you start to slump in the middle of the song. Shifting your right leg can interfere with your bow hand. Of course, you don’t want to be completely stiff, as that will cause discomfort, but do be aware of what your arms and back need.

Again, keep your shoulders relaxed. During a long rest or break, take the time to make sure your shoulders are not tensing up. The more relaxed your shoulders, the better your bowing and fingering will be.

Every audition is different, and it can be difficult to fully prepare for playing the violin knowing that you are being assessed. No one set of violin playing tips will work for everyone, particularly when you are trying to get into the best class or school. The most important thing is not to let the final results discourage you too much. Even if you don’t do as well as you wanted, learning from the experience will improve your performances in the future. Regardless of the result, treat every audition as a way to improve. Good luck!

 

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18 Benefits of Playing Violin You Might Be Surprised to Hear

18 Benefits of Playing Violin You Might Be Surprised to HearThe violin is one of the most widely recognized musical instruments among children and adults of all ages. It’s a beautiful instrument, both to look at and to listen to. If you’re thinking about taking violin lessons, be prepared to find benefits in several surprising ways! The benefits of playing violin go far beyond just gaining the ability to play beautiful music on a new instrument. Take a look at what else the violin can do for you:

Physical Benefits

  • Increased arm strength: You may find yourself tiring quickly after playing the violin when you first start out. This is completely normal. As your arm muscles and upper body become stronger, this problem soon dissipates. The result? Stronger arms without making a single trip to the gym. Sign us up!

  • Improved finger dexterity: As you learn more difficult songs on the violin, you’ll feel the fingers on your left hand strain to reach certain strings. The fingers on your right hand must learn to control the bow, which takes precision as well. Over time, the strain disappears as your fingers become more flexible. This makes it possible to play exciting new techniques later down the road.

  • Improved posture: Another one of the benefits of playing violin is that it requires you to sit up straight and tall. Before you know it, you’ll find your back and shoulders becoming stronger and able to support your upper body with better posture.

  • Better coordination and motor skills: When you’re playing the violin, you need to coordinate both your fingers and your arms simultaneously. Pressing a string with your left hand must match up with the movement of the bow in your right in order to play correctly. In this way, learning the violin increases your coordination and motor skills.

Mental Benefits

  • Expanded reading skills: A 2011 study at the Institute for Music and the Mind at McMaster University found a correlation between a child’s musical training and their word decoding skills, a fundamental part of learning to pronounce specific words. According to the study, this occurs because music lessons train the auditory abilities necessary for correct word pronunciation.

  • Improved concentration: It takes effort to learn how to read violin music and translate the notes on a piece of paper into beautiful sounds. You must remain focused while practicing the violin to benefit from it, so playing the instrument inherently improves your concentration and attention span.

  • Greater perseverance: Expect to complete long practice hours in order to improve. This expectation is actually one of the major benefits of playing violin, because it helps you learn perseverance! After all those hours of practice, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the form of beautiful music that you create yourself. Little else in life is as rewarding as that!

  • Sharpened memory: Your muscle memory will improve as you become more proficient at playing violin. It also gives you the opportunity to memorize songs and play without sheet music, which sharpens your memory even more.

  • Enhanced self-discipline: The only way you can expect to improve is by practicing. It’s not a task you can hand off to someone else. This knowledge makes you more dedicated to learning the violin, since it’s your responsibility alone. It’s also your job to tune, clean, and replace the strings on your violin so your instrument lasts for many years.

  • Lower stress levels: On a stressful day, playing the violin is a healthy way to let off some steam. The sound of the music itself can be calming, and playing a song you know well can provide relaxation through the familiarity of the piece. After practicing, you may feel as though you just finished an effective therapy session!

  • Boosted academic skills: According to a study review presented by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, school-age children who play the violin often see a boost in academic achievement compared to their non-musical peers. Various studies cited in the review explain that there’s a commonality of skills associated with playing the violin and excelling in school. These skills include focused attention, critical thinking, problem solving, and familiarity with teacher-student mentorship.

  • Stronger verbal ability and visual pattern completion: These skills are not normally associated with music lessons, but a Harvard-based study published in 2008 found that children who take three years or more of violin lessons outperform their non-musical peers on vocabulary IQ tests and Raven’s Progressive Matrices.

Social Benefits

  • Opportunities to invite others to events: Whether you play in an orchestra or you take one-on-one lessons, you’re bound to have concerts and recitals you can invite your friends and family to. This may even open the door to other social and musical opportunities, like finding other musicians to “jam” with.

  • Greater confidence: Playing in front of a group of people at a concert or recital is nerve-wracking. However, putting yourself out there and trying something outside your comfort zone can give you better self-confidence in other areas of your life, such as giving speeches in class.

  • Stronger collaboration skills: This is another one of the benefits of playing violin if you’re an orchestra member. Since each person needs to plays their individual parts just right, you learn to hold up your end by practicing and mastering even the trickiest spots in the song.

  • Higher standards for yourself: When you get up in front of people to play your instrument, you undoubtedly want to execute the piece perfectly. This high self-standard can translate to other areas of your life and make you a better person in a way you never would you have expected.

  • Greater sense of community: Playing the violin automatically gives you something to talk about with others who also play the instrument or are simply musically inclined. You’ll feel part of something important, which can bring great fulfillment to your life.

  • Increased feelings of accomplishment: When you dedicate yourself to learning the violin, it can feel like an awesome accomplishment. You may realize you can do difficult things and achieve the goals you set for yourself. It’s OK to feel proud for doing well at a performance or triumphing over a particularly difficult piece. In fact, it’s this feeling of accomplishment that may help you stick with it!

Music is a universal language. Try playing a recognizable violin piece with someone else who speaks a different language and you’ll be stunned to discover you just had a deep conversation. It’s an amazing feeling – and one that you won’t want to miss out on!

 

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Bored with Bach? Explore Rock, Soul, and More Songs for Violin

Bored with Bach? Explore Rock, Soul, and More Songs for ViolinOne of the coolest things about playing an instrument in this day and age is that anything is possible! Thanks to the Internet, you have a world of options available to you for accessing sheet music, recorded songs, accompaniment tracks, and tons of other ways to find new and interesting songs for violin. This article is here to offer you a fresh and exciting perspective on how versatile the violin is, by guiding you through five examples of contemporary music to explore, encompassing a variety of genres . No matter what kind of music you like, you’ll find something to be inspired by and jam along with!

The violin was invented to be as versatile and expressive as the human voice – in fact, “lyre” (the instrument from which the violin evolved) and “lyric” stem from the same root word. There’s practically no end to the ways you can explore music by learning new songs for violin, so read on and let’s get to rockin’ and bowin’!

Folk and Country

The violin is an indispensable instrument in any bluegrass, folk, or country band. For a classic jam – one that isn’t quite as tough as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – check out Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line”. This song is great for playing your violin in different ways for different lines, with its bouncy guitar part that can be played plucked, or pizzicato, compared to the usual bowing style appropriate for a typical vocal line. (Check in with your violin teacher to learn about playing pizzicato if it’s not familiar, and to find some examples of its applications in familiar classical repertoire!)

For another example, check out “Long-Haired Country Boy” by the Charlie Daniels Band. If you’re loving the Johnny Cash groove, you might also try his song “Long Black Veil”.

Modern Alternative

Mumford & Sons are a great example of how bluegrass has influenced contemporary radio rock. Their song “Little Lion Man” is a great start for exploring their music on violin, and has been covered by many other bands and artists. It’s a great one to play with friends on various instruments!

Simply turning on the radio is a great way to find new songs for violin. You’ve probably heard “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine, which demonstrates her atmospheric and theatrical production style, and makes a great jumping-off point for learning a new instrument. You can also play with style and tone by checking out the band Fun.’s song “We Are Young”.

Hip-Hop and Soul

Virtually no instrument besides violin can compare to the expressiveness and emotive range of the human voice, and from jazz onward, soul and R&B music exemplify some of the most subtle and dramatic ranges of what human voices can do. For a mind-opening look into some indie hip-hop/”folktronica” music, check out violinist and general instrumentalist Emily Wells, starting with her song “Symphony No. 5 – Was A Surprise”. She’s just one of many new artists developing exciting new applications for the violin across genres.

For fans of the more traditional, slow soul sound, a true staple of contemporary music is “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal. For a different direction of genre-blending fun (and some practice for your arpeggios!) check out “Handlebars” by the Flobots.

Classic Rock

The Beatles or the Stones? Or… why not both? Some of the best arrangements for string quartets floating around in contemporary musical literature are Beatles tunes. Check out the Manhattan Project String Quartet’s performance of an arrangement of “Eleanor Rigby”, for example. If you’re a Rolling Stones fan, you have an equally wide range of songs to explore that can be adapted to violin; “Angie” is a popular place to start.

Rock offers all kinds of levels of complexity, for any violin player. One classic band with a number of accessible arrangements for violin is Queen. But don’t feel bad if you love “Somebody to Love” but hate playing it – even the best violinists find playing in certain keys difficult! Talk to your music teacher about options for adapting songs that are in weird keys, by perhaps transposing them or changing your hand position.

Heavy Metal

Heavy metal music has a great deal of shared instrumentation and musical structure with classical music, and can be great material for exploration with traditional instruments. To start with some accessible but challenging music by metal group System of A Down, check out the Meytal Cohen cover of their hit “Toxicity”. (Meytal is the drummer, so be sure to look up her violinist friends’ work as well!) This song is an amazing example of how music employs many kinds of rhythms within a singular simple external structure, by using different subdivisions.

Traditional heavy metal, like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, offers boundless discographies of virtuosic vocal work that make for great songs for violin. Start with “Fear of the Dark” if you’re a Maiden fan, or if you like more highly technical progressive stuff rather than just playing quick riffs, check out bands like Dream Theater. Even if you don’t think you like metal, you might like bands like Blind Guardian and Judicator, who explore historical and literary themes and create truly theatrical works. Check out Judicator’s twelve-minute epic “Elan” to play some violin about the adventurous spirit of Napoleon Bonaparte.

For those who are mourning the lack of musical theater songs for violin in this thread, you are not forgotten – check out Lindsey Sterling’s violin medley of music from the Phantom of the Opera. Adele is another popular artist today who is great for you to check out – let YouTube star Jun Sung Ahn’s violin cover of “Someone Like You” tell you all about it.

We hope your fire for violin is reignited today – there’s no end to the amazing songs for violin out there that you can explore. Remember, you’re never too old to start learning or keep learning, especially when it comes to songs for violin. You owe it to yourself to have a little fun, make something beautiful, and flex your creative skills, so stay sharp (well, stay true to pitch, as it were) and play on!

 

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