Violin Lessons - Frequently Asked Questions
+ When is the best age to start violin lessons?
We believe that learning the violin should be accessible at any age! You are never too old to learn and so we welcome adult students of any age to enrol in our violin lessons. With regards to younger ages, the appropriate age to start really varies between students. Things to consider would be the student's attention span (They need to be able to sit still for 30 minutes) and their ability to read (a solid understanding of the alphabet is advantageous). We encourage young students to enrol for two initial lessons to see if they enjoy the violin and are ready to make the commitment to learn on a regular basis.
+ When can I take my first violin exam?
This question really requires the input of one of our violin teachers who can assess the point at which their student is in their development. However, for parents who are keen for their children to take exams it is important to consider the motivations behind sitting exams in the first place. Often, taking exams will mean that a student will be playing the same pieces and technical work on their violin for 6 months or longer. While taking violin exams has many benefits, for some students it may actually be more beneficial to be able to learn more varied pieces and technical work over the same period of time without having to achieve 'perfection'. Please discuss your goals with your violin teacher to decide when the appropriate time to take violin exams may be.
+ How much practice does the violin require?
Your progress on the violin is directly related to your practice. Ideally, it is important to practice on your violin every single day. Understandably though, this can be difficult with busy schedules often get in the way. Depending on what you may be working towards, your daily practice may need to be a few minutes or a few hours! If you are time poor, please discuss with your teacher what strategies you might employ to make the most of the time you have available to you. Your expectations of your progress need to be in line with your practice. Consistency is key; the more consistent your practice, the more progress you make, and the easier it becomes to play the violin!
+ Should parents sit in on violin lessons?
Parents are most welcome to sit in on our violin lessons if they wish. This can often be very helpful particularly for younger students who may need help with their practice at home. However, some students actually find that they are less able to concentrate with more people in the room and so in some cases having just the student and violin teacher in the studio may be more beneficial. Please discuss with your teacher what option may be best for you.
+ If I am left-handed will I need to play the violin differently to a right-handed person?
Regardless of whether you are left-handed, right-handed, or ambidextrous, the violin will sit on the left side of the body with the bow in the right hand. There is such a thing as a 'left-handed violin' where the instrument sits on the right side of the body with the bow in the left hand and the strings in reverse order but these tend to be rare. If you are left-handed and would eventually like to play in an orchestra or chamber group, it is important that you play with the instrument traditionally on the left side of the body so that your bowing is synchronised with your fellow violinists.
+ What do I need to play the violin?
Apart from the violin and bow, most violinists will generally need a shoulder rest. The shoulder rest attaches to the back of the violin and helps to hold the violin up whilst playing. It is important to find a shoulder rest that fits your body so that you maintain good posture as you play. This will help to ensure that you are able to play for many years to come!
Rosin is also an important accessory. Rosin is used on the bow and allows for the bow to grip the strings of the violin. This helps with creating a nice big confident sound.
+ How often do violin strings need to be changed?
This will depend on how often you play. Generally every 6 months is a good amount of time to wait until changing strings. If you are an avid violinist and like to practice for over an hour a day you may find that your strings will need to be changed after 3 or 4 months. Over time the strings lose their vibrancy and it actually becomes harder to play in tune. Other signs to look out for are discoloured or unraveling strings. These are definitely signs it is time to change your strings!