Take a bow with the violin

People have always been drawn to the beautiful range of sounds that the violin can produce. In fact, every day, thousands of adults pick up the violin and begin lessons. Many of them even end up learning to play the electric violin and joining a band. With a little practice, know-how and commitment, you could be the next to master this popular and timeless instrument.

Buying a Violin and Accessories

If you're a beginner, it's recommended that you start your search for a good violin at your local music store, where professionals can guide your choice. Often, music stores also rent violins, so you can rest assured that the instrument will be insured if you accidentally break or damage it. Music stores will also have all the accessories you need in stock. Here are just a few of the additional violin products you might add to your collection:

  • Sturdy violin cases

  • Violin music books (beginners often start with Suzuki violin books, which are well-known to music teachers)

  • Violin shoulder pads (to rest between your shoulder and chin as you play)

  • Violin rosin

  • A strong violin bow

  • A cleaning rag to wipe rosin dust off the instrument when you finish playing

You may also need backup violin strings in case yours break, as well as additional violin sheet music so you have something else to play once you've mastered the beginner notes and songs. To save some money, look for these accessories online. As your proficiency improves, you may also choose to return your violin rental and purchase an instrument crafted by a professional violin maker.

Violin Lessons

As with any instrument, from the flute to the harmonica, hiring a private teacher is the most common approach to learning the basics. Make sure your instructor has a college degree in music as well as teaching experience. You should interview the teacher before committing to a lesson package; any teacher who seems impatient or dismissive of your questions should be avoided. If you have universities or community colleges in your town, look for a teacher there – you might be able to save some money by hiring a student who's willing to work for less than a dedicated professional teacher might charge. If you need referrals, talk to a high school music teacher or staff members at your local music store.

Violin Music

Beginners with little experience often find it difficult to choose appropriate violin sheet music, since it's tough for a novice to judge the difficulty of a given piece. Your violin teacher will be the best judge of what you should be playing at each stage of your learning process. Even if you don't use the Suzuki learning method, you might still start with the Suzuki violin books, since they're inexpensive and offer a good collection of songs for beginners. As you get better, your teacher will encourage you to expand your horizons and try more challenging pieces.

As a tip, remember that the Suzuki method is intended to teach by ear and finger number, and doesn't delve into note reading until you've had a year or two of experience. This method is usually reserved for very young students, since many older students don't find this approach beneficial. However, many teachers use the music from Suzuki songbooks anyway.

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