How to face a first violin lesson from the didactic point of view

Updated: Mar 16

Violin lessons

First Violin Lesson

The first thing to keep in mind during your violin lessons is that the violin is an instrument of very high difficulty, technically speaking. Like all the musical instruments, it requires years of practice and this can only be faced with a desire to learn and passion for music. Said that the first thing to be transmitted to the student and more when they are young and they are starting to learn and interest in music.

Violin for Beginners

How to play the violin ?

If we go back twenty years in time, everything was focused on a very technical point of view, which is great, the technique should never be left aside, in fact you always have to inculcate students to start with scales and technical exercises, but we must not forget that they are children and we must look for something that motivates them to start studying and that after the "boring" (everyday talking) always comes the best part, so you have to leave it for the end.

Why the technique is so important? Because it requires a lot of concentration and we acquire it innate when we begin to study, as the hours go by, we use to lose concentration because we feel tired. That's why, we recommend to start with scales, finger and bow exercises. When we study something that we like, the concentration comes to us as it is something that we enjoy while we are doing it. That helps our motivation. But when it comes, the technique has to be 100% mental concentration and this must be studied priorly.

Once this introduction is over I will explain the best way in which we could start an instrument class, in this case violin although I think it could be applied to any string instrument. I will frame it in students of an average age between 3 and 10 years.

Well, as best we could start from my point of view it is presenting the instrument will surely be his other half for the rest of their lives.

The Violin and its different parts:

1. The head or scroll. 2. Pegs: Embedded in the head of the violin, serve to tune. 3. Fingerboard: Where you put your fingers comprising musical notes and through which pass the 4 strings. 4. The strings. 5. The bridge: Which holds the ropes. 6. Fine tuners: They serve like the tuning pegs for the violin. 7. F-Holes: Where the sound comes from. 8. The soul: It is a small wooden stick inside of the violin that supports the body and makes the violin vibrate and produce sound.

9. Chin Rest.

Going back to the Strings, we will explain to the student that the violin is composed of 4 strings called SOL-RE-LA-MI (G-D-A-E in English nomenclature).

And covered all this input we will repeat it briefly making the student interact with us and helping him to memorize as much as possible. Then the practice will go on.

From my experience it is best to start with the basics of the notes that pass through each string in the first position (this would only be done if the student has basic knowledge of music such as musical notes and what a staff is, but he has theoretical and musical knowledge, he would not teach the musical notes in the first class) and teach the technique of pizzicato (which consists of percussing the strings with the index finger on the part of the fingerboard).

Depends on the age that you start learning violin, we will start at a more advanced level or less. For example, if the student's age ranges from 3 to 6 years (without theoretical music knowledge) we will simply teach the SOL-RE-LA-MI strings and implement a rhythm to do. Then we can look for a melody recorded in audio with the piano or play it ourselves with the violin while the student accompanies us with that previously studied pizzicato rhythm. That will motivate them and help them when they are studying at home singing the melody mentally while they’re studying the rhythm.

Why start with Pizzicato?

Playing the violin, the right and left hand move simultaneously but not always those movements go together. It is better to strengthen the left hand first, learn the name of the strings and which finger belongs to each note and leave that base grounded and understood, while with the right arm we learn the distance between one string and another and we automate that movement inadvertently, like that will be easier when adding the bow.

When playing pizzicato on the different strings our right arm has taken hold and learned the movement and distance between string and string. This movement will be the same as we will do with the bow. The student has memorized it involuntarily while really what he was memorizing was the technique of the right hand. After this, all you have to do is being focus on the bow that is what frames the important part of playing violin. It is good to have speed in the fingers but these will always have to be accompanied by a very good control of the bow. If the bow technique is not clear and secured the sound will not be beautiful and elegant. No matter how fast the fingers go. The bow is the inflexible point of playing the violin.

Now, if the student has sufficient knowledge of music theory and an age of 7 to 10 years we can expand something more in the first class. The introduction would be the same. Present the violin, the strings that comprise it and we would also start with the pizzicato. But this time we would also see the notes that we play through in the first position and start learning the G major scale, its key signature and how to play it into the violin. Only in the first position and with pizzicato and we would do a first exercise of open string from SOL(G) to MI(E). For what? Like that the right arm can learn the movement of string change well.

Seen this, the week of study would be the exercise of the string SOL(G) until the string MI (E) and viceversa with pizzicato and the scale of G major, also with pizzicato. The recommended study time when you are starting is from half an hour to an hour. Half an hour: From 3 to 7 years. One hour: From 8 to 10. This would be all I see in a first violin class adapted to every student. If they do not have musical knowledge, I would start with the first part and if at least they know the notes I would do the second part, everything written in this article is what I personally practice in my first violin lessons and it works fantastic for me.

Haydn Sonata in A for Piano and Violin - Juan Rezzuto and Irene Bejar REHEARSAL

#violinlessons #irenebejar #musiclessonslondon #violinteachers

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