Violin Articles

Liv & Simon's Exam Preparation Tips

With quite a number of our students taking ABRSM exams this summer we thought we would reveal some of our top tips for preparing.

1) Start early! There is nothing more stressful than last minute exam preparation – and it seldom gets good results! There is an old saying we like to quote: 'Don't practise until you get it right. Practise until you can't get it wrong'.

2) Build up your scales slowly and gradually, practise them every day and introduce a few new ones each week. Once they are in your fingertips it's important to rotate the scales in both separate and slurred versions to ensure familiarity.

3) Practise in front of your family and friends! This is so important on the run up to an exam and will help you get used to performing your exam material in public. In our experience family and friends are the toughest audience of all and this is a great way to work through exam nerves.

4) It doesn't matter if you make a mistake – continue playing to the very end of the piece even if something happens. Remember that you may not get marked down if you don't let it affect your performance.

5) Make sure you have at least a couple of sessions with your exam accompanist so you can become familiar with the piano part.
Finally...keep smiling and enjoy it!



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.


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!


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"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."