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When You First Learn Violin

For anyone who has watched Sherlock Holmes thinking while he plays the violin at the window or who has watched the orchestra section when attending a musical performance, you might expect playing violin to be easy. However, when learning violin for the first time, it can be painful, literally. In fact, it can be difficult the second time too, if you let enough time pass. If you already know how to play a string instrument, like the guitar, the violin is not too much of a stretch, but it requires time before you will be comfortable. Knowing how to strum is not comparable to using a bow.


You should erase all preconceived notions about learning the instrument before you begin. It will take time to learn how to hold the instrument, and it will take even longer before you will have an audience who can enjoy listening. If you are an adult who has decided to start learning violin, you will have to relearn certain basic tasks, like the proper way to sit. In the end, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences, as well as an excellent way to unwind and relieve stress.

Your bow hand

If you are like most people, you are right handed. At first it may appear illogical to hold the violin with your left hand, forcing your less-used hand to work through all of the fingerings. Initially, this will be awkward. All the right hand does is hold the bow and move it across the strings. After you have spent a few hours playing, you will realize that using the bow is actually considerably more difficult. The left hand makes small movements, which are easier than the larger movements of bowing. Also, controlling the bow requires more power, making the right hand a better choice for most people.

The right posture

Another area of possible discomfort when learning violin is how you must sit. You have probably heard your entire life that you should sit up straight. When you play violin, it is absolutely essential to do so. You will also need sit on the edge of your chair and move your right leg slightly out of the way so that you do not hit it with the bow. This maximizes you range of movement.


For the first few months, you should sit in front of a mirror while you play. This can be a bit tricky since you will also need to be able to see the music and fingerings, but it is necessary to ensure you have the correct posture and that you are moving the bow correctly. The visual perception when learning violin is a little off because the bridge and bow are right in front of your face. Keep in mind that the violin is at an angle though. This means that the bow movements will look wrong initially, when you are doing it right. If you work in front of a mirror for a while, your arm will remember the proper position when your eyes are telling you it is wrong.


Finally, if you have not played another stringed instrument, be prepared for some discomfort for the fingers on your left hand. The strings are tough and it will take some time to develop the muscle memory required for fingering the notes.


A good teacher will be an invaluable guide on your musical journey.


photo credit: THEMA.FELIX via photopin cc

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