Edited by Catie, Spyagent, Grifflet, Katie and 8 others from Violinist.com
Ok, so you've learned the basics, how to play the violin, how to hold it properly, and all of that. Perhaps you've even had a good teacher. But you feel like something is missing, or you want to be better at it. Read on!
- Realize that it will take money, love, and hard work to accomplish your goal. You will potentially spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on teachers, and a good instrument. You will also have to dedicate most of your time to playing and getting better. You are in search of perfection, and that comes with a price. Don't even try this unless you love music and the violin enough to go through with it.
- Get to know your instrument. It may sound silly, but the better you know the instrument and love it, the better sound you will produce together. Don't think of it as just you playing the violin, think of it as either an extension of yourself, or your best friend. Perhaps even your baby. Giving it a name can sometimes help with this. If you both are relatively new to playing, you both will develop together. If either one of you is more experienced, one will teach the other.
- Surround yourself with music. Widen your taste to include everything from classical to rock to traditional. Your playing will be better for it.
- Become an active listener. While you are listening to music, if it does not have a violin part, think of one in your head. If it does, try to follow it. Listen to where the music takes you, the tune, the beat, and the melody.
- Listen to the masters play. If a jock wants to become better, he watches the best of the best and tries to mimic them. Do the same. I recommend Mairead Nesbitt. She combines Fiddling and Classical violin and is incredible on stage.
- Play all the time, and every day. Play during your free time if you can. You won't get anywhere if you don't practice. As an exercise, play some music that you don't know the violin parts to, and play with it. Improvise as you go along. It will teach you to listen to what the music tells you to do. Close your eyes while you play as well, force yourself to concentrate.
- Have fun! Listen to the music, you don't have to strictly play what the sheet tells you to, add in some embellishments after you have learned the piece. Playing with other people can be fun as well. Move around to it, get into the music.
- If you have a musical hero, pretend that they are there listening to you. Close your eyes and imagine them right there, it helps you concentrate and play your best.
- Get a good teacher to help you out. They will catch things you may not, and help you refine your skills.
- Strive for a perfect tone. Keep your bowing straight, your fingering on track, and your violin in tune. Always pay attention and be in control. Good posture helps as well, try to stand up when you play, keep a straight back, wrist open, fingers peaked and loose, loose but controlled bowing arm, and elbow up.
- If you feel like you are getting bored, find a complicated piece and play it. Or take songs from your favorite movies or bands and try those. It doesn't all have to be classical. Play what you want to play. Make sure you love the music.