violin

As a music teacher, teaching violin requires a good amount of planning, preparation, organization, goals and objectives.

But more than that, there has to be a few different approaches depending on the student.

When it comes to violin, a student’s age can vary from a 6 year old to maybe a more experienced musician who wants to experiment with a second instrument.

But of course this can also be applied to teaching other instruments, so let’s dive into the specifics of learning how to play violin.

Posture

This is something that needs to be reminded to students every once in a while after teaching it for the first time.

The idea is to remind your students to keep an upright posture, but remain loose and flexible, from your knees up through your neck. Keep the violin parallel to the floor. In the process of playing, you will invariably move the violin up and down, but your home base posture should have the violin aligned parallel to the floor

How to Hold the Violin and the Bow

violin

This is one of the most important parts of teaching a young musician how to play the violin, and while every instrument requires a specific technique, it is more notable with the violin.

When we are talking about playing the piano or even holding a guitar, it comes as a very natural posture, however with a violin, something feels strange at first.

This is why it’s easy for the student to make mistakes when it comes to standing correctly and holding the instrument the way they should.

Pizzicato

Remember to mix things up a bit while having your students learn how to play pizzicato, which will strengthen the left hand, and focus on intonation.

It may even be a good idea to start with pizzicato before even learning how to use the bow as a way of letting your students get familiar with violin without the complexities of holding another part of the instrument.

It’s a really fun way to interact with the instrument and it will get your students to interact with the violin in an interesting unexpected way.

Interview with Violin Teachers

Rigo Murillo is a classically trained violin teacher who specializes in lessons with students between the ages of 3 to 18 years old.

In an interview with Murillo, he spoke about some of the most important aspects about violin teacher., For example giving advice to parents seeking a violin teacher for their children.

OBSERVE a lesson with a prospect violin teacher before you sign up. Do not let their hourly rate be the first screening factor. Effective, quality-oriented music teachers with adequate training and experience are not cheap, but are well worth your money, translating in a great experience and proper technique, musicality and music theory learning.

While his advice is directed towards parents, as teachers, it’s important to keep this sort of advice in mind when thinking about becoming a dedicated violin teacher.

Music teacher Bonnie Foti on the other hand comments on the difficulties of keeping the violin in tune, which at first seems like an easy thing but it can be very chaotic for beginner violinists as she tells of an experience with her students.

It’s awful. I had a parent tuning class. Strings were broken and bridges fell. It’s such a sensitive instrument, like if you don’t know the history behind it, at the making of it – the shapes, and nothing’s glued. You know these parents just rented it. They don’t have the touch for it – to be gentle, or to know how much to turn the pegs. So I told the kids the great thing about the instrument you play is that you can still play it without making noise. They can do the fingerings, hold it up and just go through it. Just sit and say the name of the letters if you don’t have your instrument. Read the music. Yes tuning is definitely a problem.

Remember giving the much needed attention to tuning the violin properly as it could turn into a bad habit for your students.

To help you with your lessons, remember to check out Music Teacher’s Helper to keep your lessons in order.

 

 

 

Read More

Musical instruments go through different process of constructions, whether it is because of the nature of the instrument itself or the particular process of wood instruments like a violin, guitars and more, in which the manufacturer does the work, this involves different types of wood and processes

Violin Builder

Terry Borman, a professional luthier shared his opinion on the business of making violins today by saying:

Makers are finding that, aside from the fact that it’s one of those feel-good things, it comes back to you many-fold,” Borman said. “By the time one idea has been churned around by 15 other makers, who have found 15 other opinions of doing it — maybe some of them are brilliant ideas and some of them are not-so-great, but at least you have the option to pick through them. It’s dramatically altered the landscape. It’s more of a camaraderie (now), as opposed to — it was almost like a sect.

Wood

Wood changes everything, from the sound, the weight and the whole way a violin feels. The ideal wood for a violin is Balkan maple for the ribs, the back and the scroll because of its density and light weight, and Spruce for the front part of the violin.

It is known that sometimes other types of wood were used such as cherry wood but only when the best couldn’t be found.

The general consensus amongst people who have studied wood their whole professional careers is that most woods become a little bit less dense, but it’s not a huge difference,” Borman said. When violin makers buy wood from a dealer, they know to test it for its density. “They sell wood that you pick it up and it feels like it’s lead, and you pick up some other pieces and it feels like foam.

Tools

There is of course a certain set of tools needed in order to build a violin, these include many woodworking and carving tools like, planes, chisels, gouges, saws, many types of knives , and scrapers. There are also, a few specialized tools are needed such as a thickness caliper, small curved bottom “thumb” planes, purfling groove cutter, peg hole reamer and matching peg shaver, bending iron, clamps of various types, and patterns.

Sometimes violin makers even make their own set of tools. This just shows the level of commitment and skill with using, and maintaining sharp edged tools.

Violin Strings

Just like any other instrument with strings, they have to be changed from time to time as rust and use begins to affect the quality of the sound, and it can even break for a few reasons.

The strings is the last part of building a violin of course, but essential for testing if everything else is in order.

Testing Wood Density

Violin

Today there are new methods to help with calculating density and information that could help build better instruments while still maintaining the traditional way of making them.

Borman said:

I decided, the easiest way to get a whole bunch of information was to just do a CT scan.

After studying what makes great wood for a violin he found that:

What we found is that makers today can access wood with similar material properties, so basically, let’s just move on to something else

On the other hand it’s interesting how close it came to another way of testing wood density, which is way less high tech than the other method, Borman says:

You slowly lower the wood into a bucket of water (and float the wood). Then you pull it out, and you mark with a pencil the line between the wet and the dry. Then you turn it around and do the same thing, you do the same test twice. Then you average those measurements, divided by the length. Basically, you’re measuring the buoyancy. So if it’s really heavy it’s going to sink farther into the water.

To know more details about how a violin is made, we recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8GuxN5_59c

Terry Borman’s page: https://www.bormanviolins.com/

Read More