Violin Articles

Liv & Simon's Top 10 Practise Tips

We're often asked for our top practise tips - so here we go!

 

1. Even if it's only for 15 minutes try to practise each day as focussed as possible -  this is much better than cramming in hours of 'panic' practise!

 

2. Always start your practise with muscle warm up exercises, followed by some scales and arpeggios (being careful to vary these each day) - this should become part of your daily routine, we guarantee your muscles will quickly appreciate it!

 

3. Once you've warmed up practise a techincal study which will focus on a specific technique - one that your teacher has recommended.

 

4. Be aware of tension when you practise, watch out for your posture and in particular 'gripping' the violin and bow.

 

5. Be careful not to practise bad habits - this is all too easy to do!

 

6. Set up a mirror in the room you practise, this is an invaluable tool for doing straight bow work.

 

7. Let the phrasing and musical elements within the piece control the technique, not the other way around!

 

8. Record yourself - this is a brilliant tool to listening to your practise with fresh ears, and is easy to do with today's technology of mobile apps etc. You can also ask your teacher to record things during your lesson for you to listen to during your practise.

 

9. Don't compare yourself to anyone else - simply try to improve on your own playing each time you pick up your violin.

 

10. Enjoy it! It's so easy to get wrapped up in the notes, instead think beyond the problems to your ultimate goal - making music!

 

 
Magnetic violin mute

February product of the month : The Bech magnetic violin mute

Although the Bech magnetic mute has been around for a while and it's such a brilliant addition to any violin that we had to put it as this months violin gadget! Here is a mute that provides a solution to the usual 'buzzing' noises which so often accompanies the standard mutes. It works very simply by fixing the magnetic plastic strip onto the tailpiece which will keep the mute in place and can be bought from amazon for £10.

 

Airline victory for musicians

The Telegraph has reported that small instruments will now be allowed on board airlines, no small victory! Read the full article here.

Geared pegs

January product of the month: Geared pegs

Constantly getting frustated with slipping pegs during tuning? Our new find of the month may just solve this problem- The Wittner Fine Tuned Peg.  Designed to save time and energy, once the peg is fitted it can be tuned through turning the middle section of the peg which brilliantly won't slip. Another benefit is that there is no wear on the peg box as the shaft of the peg doesn't move, thereby avoiding expensive repair bills when issues appear. 

For student violinists the geared peg is ideal and certainly gets our vote! Currently being sold by Guivier's in London.

 


Musical instruments on Eurostar

It was probably only a matter of time before Eurostar introduced costs for taking an instrument on board. After all, Ryanair has been charging ludicrous amounts to allow instruments for some years now- and in some cases requiring the passenger to spend £190 for another seat as reported here.  As far as Eurostar is concerned their policy only affects cello's and double basses for the moment.... see the full article here.

Posture

Unfortunately when beginners first pick up a violin they have a tendency to position their bodies in the most uncomfortable positions possible. For example it’s natural to grip the chin rest for a sense of security which is both unnecessary and will cause neck problems eventually. Another common problem is to hunch the shoulders even with a shoulder rest. It’s important to avoid rounded, hunched shoulders by keeping your frame. This is mainly about conditioning the brain to send the right signals to keep a relaxed body, done frequently enough and in the right manner the body will eventually adapt itself without tensing every muscle used to play the violin. For more comments on this subject please keep checking our articles section!

Lessons

Individual lessons are available in Cleeve, North Somerset.

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Testimonials

"With Liv's skilled teaching my weak bow arm was corrected, my technique greatly improved. Liv has a great way of identifying weak points and giving clear solutions in a way that makes lessons fun and worthwhile. I highly recommend Liv as a violin teacher."

Paula