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A Modern Guide to Violin Mastery: Unlock Your Potential

A Modern Guide to Violin Mastery: Unlock Your Potential


A Modern Guide to Violin Mastery: Unlock Your Potential

ratings:
5/5 (4 ratings)
Length:
211 pages
1 hour
Released:
Feb 15, 2018
ISBN:
9781785895036
Format:
Book

Description

This book is a straightforward, comprehensive guide to mastering the violin quickly and efficiently.
This method of learning and practicing correctly is tailored specifically for children and adults in this busy modern age who want to be good at the violin but do not have time to fit in hours of daily practice. You will learn how to achieve the best results in the least amount of time and get the most from your instrument.
Each section is carefully constructed and individually tailored to the needs of beginner, intermediate and advanced players. It comes complete with simple diagrams, and varied musical examples. You will learn how to attain a relaxed, professional posture in both hands and how to execute passages with ease and precision through a set of simple exercises. The book also comes complete with useful sight-reading strategies, which are addressed at the end of each section and can be applied at any level.
Apart from perfecting your posture, overall technique and sight-reading, this book addresses simple, yet highly effective methods of practicing. These efficient and valuable practice techniques frequently used by professional players will help to achieve the best results in the least amount of time.
If you are learning the violin and feel that your progress has halted and you have reached a stale point in your journey, this book is for you. This book holds the key pieces of wisdom that will augment your understanding of the violin and transform your playing.
Released:
Feb 15, 2018
ISBN:
9781785895036
Format:
Book

About the author



Inside the book

Top quotes

  • When playing ‘up’ bow, the stick needs to gradually tip slightly towards the fingerboard. This preserves the straightness of bow. This tilt should not be exaggerated as it causes the wrist to lift up unnecessarily.

  • The index finger is held slightly away from the middle finger in order to balance the weight distribution of the bow.

  • The basis of a healthy sound derives from the arm weight into the string.

  • Maintaining natural relaxation in both hands is the key to mastering the violin.

  • When both hands are relaxed, the muscles use energy more efficiently.

Book Preview

A Modern Guide to Violin Mastery - Elizabeth Levine

Conclusion

Introduction

There is no such thing as a bad student. Everyone has a hidden talent and even the most tentative pupils can progress beyond their expectations in a short period of time if guided correctly. The secret to the violin is smart practice.

The Self-fulfilling Prophecy

Inefficient and uninformed practice leads to little or no progress, thus resulting in the pupil feeling un-stimulated, defeated and giving up on the instrument far too soon. This is frequently the case, and the natural dormant potential or hidden talent is extinguished before it gets a chance to shine through.

Who Would Benefit From This Book?

This book is a straightforward, comprehensive guide to mastering the violin quickly and efficiently. This method of learning and practising correctly is tailored specifically for children and adults in this busy modern age who want to be good at the violin but simply do not have time to fit in many hours of daily practice.

Kids (and adults) who are serious about becoming good at the violin can progress very quickly with only thirty to sixty minutes of daily practice as long as they practise smart. They accelerate their learning and progress dramatically. As the legendary violinist Leopold Auer once said, ‘Practise with your fingers and you need all day. Practise with your mind and you will do as much in one and a half hours. ’

The violin is there to be enjoyed to the full – not struggled against! If you are learning the violin and feel that your progress has halted and you have reached a stale point in your journey, this book is for you. This book holds the key pieces of wisdom that will augment your understanding of the violin and transform your playing no matter what musical path you are on or how young or old you are.

Section IV in this book outlines the most efficient practice techniques to achieve the best results in the least amount of time. To get the most out of your practice time, one must remember that efficient practice requires discipline and patience. With those two things, you will progress very quickly. The more patience you have, the quicker you will progress. It is as simple as that.

When you practise at home, you are in charge. It is like being in a lab and studying your playing under a microscope. Every note matters! Trying out specific practice techniques is like a scientific experiment. You try one strategy and then another, then expand it and see what happens! Practice is exploring simple learning strategies and trying out new and effective methods that lead to noticeable progress. I cannot stress enough how much better you will feel once you start applying these strategies, and I hope you get the most out of this book.

Chapter 1 – How to Read This Book

This book is divided into three sections:

The book is written to address these recurring, important aspects of violin technique according to each level. As you read the book, the content of these principles progressively expands with each chapter as the difficulty level advances.

In each section, there are five main principles:

The points that stem from each principle are tailored directly to the student’s level and their developmental stage. For example: the left hand technique at Beginner level covers the basics such as hand posture, training the fourth finger, intonation, introduction to the third position and shifting. At Advanced level, it covers playing in (as well as moving to and from) higher positions, various types of shifting, fingering, playing double stops and fast passages as well as advanced vibrato techniques.

This book addresses the two main concepts:

Learning technique precedes practising technique. It equips you with the basic technical tools that enable you to carry out the practising technique to the max. Practising technique on the other hand, focuses on more concrete technical aspects of violin playing.

Here is an example: learning to hold the bow with flexible, relaxed fingers and producing a good sound would be classified as learning technique. Working on specific bowing articulations and incorporating them into a musical passage would be classified as practising technique.

The Advanced section (Chapter 4) contains two extra principles:

These sections focus more on performance and personal interpretation. Successful performance is not only based on technique, but also interpretation. This is where listening to and viewing recordings of great violinists comes into place.

Important: it is recommended that you read this book starting from the Beginner chapters (regardless of what level you are at), as each chapter contains valuable information for all student levels.

Chapter 2 – Beginner, Grades 1–3

I: The Concept of Good Technique

Approaching the Violin With a Relaxed Mind and Body

Playing the violin is all about your state of mind. It is commonly said about the violin that it is a difficult instrument to play. Therefore, an avid beginner student already approaches the instrument with a mental block and physically tenses up in both hands.

Why do professionals find basic violin skills so natural? There is a strong correlation between the mind and muscles, timing, intonation and fingering. Referring to Ivan Galamian’s book Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching, the relationship between mind and muscles can be defined as follows: ‘it is about making mental command and physical response as quick and precise as possible’.

When both hands are relaxed, the muscles use energy more efficiently. This in turn leads to better coordinated hands, faster technique and allows the player to fully engage with the instrument. Maintaining natural relaxation in both hands is the key to mastering the violin. Whichever level you are at, it is never too late to learn new, correct habits, which will propel you onto the next level.

To start, here are some simple, effective daily exercises that will help connect you with your instrument, instil relaxation in both hands and help you attain a natural, professional posture that soon becomes habitual every time you pick up the instrument. Minimal effort equals maximum results.

Three Useful Exercises to Attain the Most Natural Violin Hand Posture

Exercise 1: The Invisible Violin

Stand with both arms totally relaxed by your side. Imagine the violin is already in place under your chin. Bring the left hand up to support the neck of your invisible violin without altering the natural, relaxed, curved shape of the hand and fingers. The left hand is being introduced to the violin from a naturally floppy, relaxed state. This is best done without hesitation using a continuous movement of the arm.

Next, try this exercise with the actual violin. Note: it is advised to use a shoulder rest so the violin can comfortably sit between the shoulder and the chin.

Result: the violin neck is naturally supported by a relaxed left hand with naturally curved fingers and a loose thumb.

Exercise 2: Introducing the Left Hand Fingers to the Fingerboard

Drop the fingers lightly on and off the strings. Focus on the springy feeling of the fingers coming off the string rather than pressing into it. Practise this on all strings. Also, try this in the third position, which can be found by moving the arm towards you and resting the first finger where the violin neck meets the violin body.

Next, you can try gliding the hand up and down the strings. This should be done with the left hand totally relaxed and fingers naturally curved. Slide the hand up and down the fingerboard. Note: the left thumb needs to be totally relaxed to enable a smooth glide, and should naturally support the neck of the violin and never be too high. The hand should be totally loose and free (as if there was no violin). Relax the shoulder and elbow.

Please note: a relaxed elbow is crucial. It is never rigidly set, and changes position beneath the violin as the fingers move from one string to another. On the G string the elbow is slightly more to the right and on the E string it is naturally more to the left.

Exercise 3: The Invisible Bow

Hold the violin up (without the bow). Imagine you are holding the bow in your right hand. Slowly move the invisible bow up and down the strings in one natural motion, opening up the elbow as it reaches the tip. The shoulder is down and perfectly relaxed. This may feel strange at first, but it is highly effective.

In the following section we shall explore in more detail the bowing technique of the right hand.

II: Bowing Technique

The Most Efficient and Widely Used Bow Hold of the Greats Explained

For optimal control and flexibility, the bow is usually held at the lower end of the stick (the frog).

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    1 person found this helpful

    The best I've read. The book made me realize the importance of that you actually need to learn HOW to practice before you can start learning to play.

    1 person found this helpful