Now that you or your child has embarked on the exciting journey of starting violin lessons for beginners, you or your child will need to acquire seven good habits. According to Rita Yeo of Stradivari Strings (who has a team of professional and qualified teachers who can coach violin class in Singapore), these habits once cultured so that it becomes a norm for you, will help you to build your foundation solidly. You or your child will then be able to progress smoothly to intermediate and advance level violin playing.
First Habit: Practice Every Day
We are not born knowing how to play the violin. It is a skill that one manages to pick up after years and years of practice. In the beginning, you need to get acquainted with the violin and bow on a daily basis. That is because you need to get used to your sense of space around the violin.
What do I mean by sense of space? During your violin lessons, your violin teacher would have given you instructions on how to hold the violin with your left hand and how to hold the violin bow with your right hand. You also would have been instructed to strengthen the muscles of your right hand, especially that at the thumb and little finger, with an exercise or two.
It is very important for you to practice the scales and arpeggios on a daily basis. The first four scales and arpeggio you learn in adult violin lessons or violin lessons for kids are D major, A major, E flat minor and G major (two octave). Scales run in octaves of eight notes up and down. It is like stepping up a flight of steps and walking down the same flight of steps. Practicing this daily helps you to sense where to position your fingers on the fingerboard of the violin. Sing the scales so that the tone of each note resonates in your head. Then you will be able to pitch properly on the violin.
Then there are arpeggios. Think of this as taking two steps at a time up a flight of steps and vice versa. Why do we need to practice daily arpeggios? Reason being songs are not made up of only scales, note jumps as well to create melody. So your left hand fingers need to be nimble.
There are students who only practice once a week for two hours, just before the weekly lesson. Or the most, only make the effort to practice two times a week. This is not effective. I would rather students practice every day for fifteen minutes to half an hour. Make the frequency of picking up the violin to practice a daily routine, so you automatically do it when the time of the day comes.
Hence you need to make violin practice a daily habit so that you understand the space movement of your right hand and left hand versus the violin.
Second Habit: Plan Violin Practice At A Fixed Time Each Day
Aside from frequency of practice, the second habit you need to acquire once you start violin class Singapore is to plan violin practice into your daily routine. If it makes it easier for you, plan a fix time for this. This can be after dinner, or during your lunch break.
Sometimes we are so caught up by work, school and other commitments during the day that one may “forget” violin practice. For such busy students, I suggest waking up half an hour earlier to practice.
The idea is to make it so natural for you to pick up the bow and violin, very much like picking up the toothbrush to brush your teeth first thing you do when you wake up.
Third Habit: Take Care Of Your Violin and Violin Bow After Each Practice
As a new violin learner, you will need to understand how to take care of your violin and bow after each practice. Make this a habit so your musical instrument performs well with you for life. Let me outline in detail what these habits are:
One: after you are done with your daily practice, take a piece of clean and dry cloth and wipe the white rosin dust off the strings, the fingerboard and the centre part of the violin which is directly under the strings. Also, give the underside of the violin bow stick a good wipe to remove any residual rosin dust. Do not wipe the cloth over the horse hair. The above actions will ensure that the maple wood of your violin and the brazilwood/ pernumbuco wood of your violin bow, will not accumulate rosin which hardens with time.
Next, you need to loosen the horse hair of your violin bow after practice. If you do not do this, the bow is kept taut twenty four hours seven days a week. Over time, the horse hair over stretches and you find that no matter how you tighten the horse hair, it is still looks. Moreover, the stick of the violin bow starts to bend with time if you do not loosen the bow after every practice.
Fourth Habit: Keep Your Violin and Bow In the Volin Case When Not In Use
After you are done with your daily violin practice, be sure to place your violin and violin bow in the violin case. Do not walk around with your violin bow in hand to talk to your fellow musicians / friends. Sometimes you may forget you are holding a fragile instrument like the violin bow and swing it around. The tip of the bow may hit a table or the floor, and may break. If that happens, ninety percent value of the bow is gone.
The same applies to the violin. Place it in the violin case when not practicing. Alternatively, place it on a soft piece of cloth to prevent any scratches on the surface of your violin. When you place your violin on a table, ensure that the full body of your violin sits fully on the surface.