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Danielle Glynn was one of our young violin teachers at Dynamic Rhythms Music Centre a few years ago, and she reflects on 13 years of learning to play the violin and shares some tips for those starting out.

I grew up surrounded by string instruments, due to a mother who loved classical music and was too persistent to let either of my elder sisters quit. I heard the violin from a very young age, and at age 5, I decided in all my five year old wisdom, that I was ready to learn the violin.

I learnt for a month and then quit.

Fortunately for this story, my mum did not let me quit forever and I restarted lessons the following year and continued with it until this day. But definitely the road to learning the violin was not an easy one. So here are some of my tips about learning the violin from someone who has had a tumultuous relationship with the instrument.

  1. You will use muscles you didn’t even know you had

Musicians have a great deal of strength and pain tolerance that is never acknowledged by the general public. Everything from learning the bow hold and how to hold the violin, learning how to play notes, to playing a 10 minute long concerto, requires a new form of energy and strength. You will use muscles in your hand that you didn’t know existed and violin requires a great deal of stamina- it involves using both hands at once and it is usually required that you stand to play. It is tiring, and learning it is very tiring. However this stage doesn’t last forever as you do gain stamina

  1. Embrace any sound that you make with the violin

 I don’t believe that there are some people that just aren’t musical. There are musical prodigies like Mozart and Beethoven who clearly demonstrate that some people are born with a natural ability. But for the rest of us, music is almost like learning not only how to read and understand another language, but to then translate it into something that doesn’t personally assault you. Violins are particularly notorious for assaulting the ear. It can be very discouraging when you first begin to play the violin when you hear that the sound you are creating is not particularly pleasant. My tip for this is to embrace the sounds that your violin makes. As a beginner, or even just when you are learning a new piece of music at all, it is important to be confident with your playing. Being shy of making wrong notes, a lack of rosin and too little pressure on the string is more likely to make a much less pleasant sound than intended.

  1. Its daunting but rewarding

The violin, if I do say so myself as a violinist is not an easy instrument to play. Between coordinating the fingers and bow, to finding the exact spot on the fingerboard without the use of frets, the violin is challenging. But the scope of music that is played on the instrument means that you have a truly infinite amount of songs that you can play in every genre. The violin is so versatile and so much fun to play and it is definitely worth the effort.


By Danielle Glynn

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