Friday, July 22, 2011

Learning the violin for the absolute beginner.

7/22/2011 06:46:00 PM | 
The description is actually kinda funny because it suggests that a beginner is going to attempt to teach something to other beginners, a sorta, blind leading the blind type scenario. This is not the case, this is just a starting point for beginners, me giving the info that i have gathered over the past year, and links to resourses etc.

In an effort to just address the obvious ahead of time, i must say, what everybody told me when i started. The recommended approach is to take formal classes from a qualified instructor. if for whatever reason (poverty, or whatever) you decide that you want to take it up on your own, then this is the place for you.

Now on to the tutorial.

Firstly and most importantly, you must have either a violin of your own or easy and consistent access to one, for example if somebody in your household owns one or you can borrow a beginner violin from a more advanced etc.

Once you have a violin at your disposal, you need to understand the absolute violin basics before you dive into your first attempt at a recital.

Before the violin basics you need to understand a little music notation though, don't worry to start you only need to know some very basic things that are fairly well explained here:


For now all you need to care about is what is written for the treble clef. this is the clef that all the music in Suzuki book one is written in at the very least, so there. once you get to end of book one you should have generated enough internal motivation the gather books that explain everything further.

Now that you have that we could return to violin specific info.
Here is a chart of the first finger positions of the violin.

With the info on those 2 pages you are almost ready to start playing the first song in Suzuki book 1.

now you need the books, which can be found, along with the accompanying audio tracks here:

And one more tiny bit of info:

The numbers above the notes in the suzuki books represent the fingers you have to use:
0- open string
1- index finger
2- middle finger
3- ring finger
4(0)- pinky, or next open string.

The first song happens to be twinkle, twinkle little star, which is familiar to most people and allows you to at least know exactly what you are supposed to sound like.

in plain text the song would be
or with the little number notation

A(00), E(00, 11, 0-)
A(33, 22, 11, 0-)
Where the letter represents the string you are on, and the number represents the finger you need to use. This notation refers to "Theme" in the book, the first other versions are a little tedious to write in this notation. But the sound of the recordings is more than enough for you to catch on.

Now since the violin has no frets, you need to know where to put your fingers. and for that we have this little tool called tune it:

This tool is one of the most important for the beginning "self taught", violinist, because it shows what note is being played and how accurately it is being played. So this in conjunction with the chart above, helps you to get to know where to put your fingers.

Finally youtube is your friend. but more specifically "professor V" on youtube is your friend, he is a professional violinist that offers free info and tutorials for various things. He even presents objectively multiple views on stance and various holds etc. allowing you to choose which ever is most comfortable to you. I suggest you take whatever advice he gives, from bow hold to the colour shoes you should wear, and take nothing for granted. I for one took some advice for granted but in the end had to take heed and adjust, take my advice and save yourself some time: Do whatever he suggests from the beginning so you don't have to waste time adjusting afterward.

Professor V's channel:

Absoulute beginner videos:

Lesson 1: Holding the bow

I don't need to list all the videos here since they appear in order on his channel and in the playlist next to the above video.

Finally if there is anything you would like me to add please post, any questions etc. post them here. also i am no professional so i really couldn't include everything on my first try, but i would be happy to add and adjust accordingly once it is brought to my attention.

And when all is said and done, DO remember to enjoy yourself. DON'T rub the bow on the strings lightly for fear of being ridiculed by your neighbors, it sounds sick and "airy" and they will hear you and ridicule you anyway.

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