Whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve been playing for years, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to the violin. It goes without saying that if you want to get better, you have to put in the practice time! Here are some easy tips from our music studio to sharpen your practice skills and further your progress.
Especially for younger students who require structure, setting up a consistent routine can help you stay on track and monitor your progress. Some ways you can establish that routine are:
- Practice violin at the same time every day. When it’s set in your schedule, you’re less likely to skip/forget practice and/or make excuses as to why you can’t.
- Gather your materials that you’ll need for practice, including:
- Music Stand
- Goals for the week
- Tune your violin at the start of each practice session. This ensures quality sound and intonation for a more positive outlook on the session. You can use an app on your phone like Cleartune and Tuner Lite. Or, if you’re unsure how to tune your violin without help from your teacher, you can always find a YouTube tutorial to guide you through the process.
Here are some ideas to help you focus your practice, become aware of your habits (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and have fun!
- In addition to tuning at the start of each session, warm up your fingers, arms, ears, and mind. Just like you stretch before and after sports practice, music practice is an exercise and requires healthy technique.
- Practice with a metronome for consistent and steady beat. It’s also a great way to test yourself as you set the tempo to different speeds. Find a metronome for your phone and you’ll be good to go!
- Watch your rosin levels – too much and you’ll get a scratchy tone, but too little and you won’t achieve the dynamics you’re looking to produce.
- Record yourself and assess if what you think you’re doing is what you should be doing. Is there a more effective/efficient way to play that last passage? You don’t have to share with anyone if you don’t want to, but recording is a great learning tool to check yourself as you go!
- Play with others! Most things are more fun with other people, so grab a musically inclined friend and jam with them! Play your music in unison together, or find a cool duet and learn it just for laughs. If they play other instruments, such as the piano or the drums, it will be a fun challenge to jam out together. You’ll not only enjoy the process more, but you’ll improve your ear and musical independence!
Make it a Game!
If you’re bored by the monotony that sometimes accompanies music practice, mix it up with some of these fun activities!
- Task from a Jar – Write down all the things you have to practice for the week on slips of paper (specific passages, rhythms, scales, sight reading, and even some fun songs you already know to keep your morale boosted). Stick them in a jar or container, and shake it up. Pull out 3-5 slips each day and keep your sessions fun and unpredictable!
- Reward Success – For those trickier passages, track your progress and reward your work as you go. You can use quarters or jellybeans (or some other fun treat) for this game. Set five quarters (or whatever) on the left of your music stand, and each time you play the passage correctly, move one to the other side of the stand. If you mess up, you have to reset and start again! The goal is to play the passage correctly five times in a row and move all five pieces to the right side!
- Color by Note – Refresh your note reading skills using these note-based color by number sheets!
While all of these tips will help you improve your understanding of how to play the violin, success doesn’t just happen over night. Try one or two strategies each week as you practice so you can work to improve your playing without getting overwhelmed. Ultimately, the best way to make progress is by working closely with your teacher and strategizing the best path for your learning and goals.
Find the right violin teacher for you by scheduling an introductory lesson at either of our two state-of-the-art music studios. Call the International School of Music today at 301-365-5888.