Showing posts with label Teaching Violin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teaching Violin. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How Can You Tell If a VIOLIN TEACHER is Good?

English: Susanne Hou performing the Mendelssoh...
Susanne Hou performing the Mendelssohn violin concerto with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra in Vernon, BC, Canada. 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The main reason you want to find a good teacher is to get access to learning correct violin technique. Why do some violin players only perform in the local school halls while others grace national concert halls and world-renowned recording studios performing with symphony orchestras? A great deal has to do with correct technique.

Don't Be Fooled

Just because a musician puts an ad in the local paper advertising their services as a music teacher, does absolutely NOT mean that they may suitable or even appropriate as a violin teacher. Notice I didn't mention qualifications?

Once again, if a violin teacher has a BA in Music or a 4th grade "this "or 5th grade "that" may also not be a definitive indication that this violin teacher has herself been taught correct violin technique. So how do you judge?

The Best Advice Here

A virtuoso Australian jazz pianist who also was the head of music department at a prestigious art school in Australia always used to say in lectures - "It all comes down to; how well can you play your instrument" That may seem simplistic however that's where the beauty lies...

If you ever try to get a job with a symphony orchestra you'll find out that they're not that interested in the "pieces of paper" you have, but you can count on having an army of people sitting at a table watching you carefully and listening to your audition. Again, I pose the question - "How well can you play your instrument"

So, therefore a good teacher will have these:

Look for a professional performance resume

Most good violinists have delivered some notable performances at some point. These could include theater or concert, TV performances or traveling overseas to perform. Recordings or touring with artists who are publicly known is a good indicator that a musician has reached a proficient level.

Look for a professional teaching resume

Also, a good indicator is a violin teacher who has some teaching experience in a quality educational music facility. Some musician is so good that they don't make very good teachers mainly because they don't know how to break down complex musical concepts into small 'bites size pieces' for students to pick up and digest. You may find these quality education facilities as high priced private high schools or colleges.

A good idea might be to call up the school and ask who the violin teacher(s) there is. Then ask if they teach privately. Ask them about fees (also another good quality indicator - generally high prices indicate quality, but not always). Also, ask them for a professional resume or less formally in conversation "who do you perform with?" If they say an orchestra of some description, make a note and look them up. They may also say a string quartet. Again, look this up on the Internet.


Starting with a teacher that will teach you correct technique from the start is absolute GOLD! If your serious about learning an instrument, spend some time to find that teacher. Good luck in your endeavors.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

How to Play VIOLIN Artificial Harmonics

English: Nut of a violin Deutsch: Sattel einer...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Violin artificial harmonics are an advanced technique that should be practiced primarily by violinists who are already comfortable on the instrument. If you want to learn violin artificial harmonics, just keep this in mind and be ready for a decent amount of frustration as they can be very difficult, especially if you have only just started mastering the basics! That said, here are the steps you need to take to play them.

For a violin artificial harmonic, you are going to play a note with your first and fourth finger. Your first finger will be the base and will hold the string down. Your fourth finger will be the harmonic finger and will lightly press the string in order to produce the harmonic note you desire. Combining these two will create a new harmonic on a string that didn't previously exist. Sound complex? It is challenging, but practicing it will make it easier and easier.

Harmonics happen at points of perfect intervals. So when we play a violin artificial harmonic, you are going to target the only perfect interval you can really play with the first and fourth finger: a perfect fourth. The distance between them should remain exactly 3 steps.

So start by placing your first finger in first position on D string and playing an E. Then place your fourth finger down in a harmonic position for an A, right where the A string is. You can play an open A to test the note. This creates a violin artificial harmonic where the fourth finger is. You will notice an entirely new harmonic has formed where originally the harmonic would have been at a different position.

You can shift this violin artificial harmonic position up as well to test new harmonic sounds and see what results. This creates more new harmonic sounds where previously there were only a select handful. What you are doing is simply tricking the string into thinking it is a different note by playing the first finger, then relying on the fourth finger to find the new harmonic note that has been formed from the artificial harmonic therein. It is a very tricky technique, but one that gets easier with practice.

Overall if you are truly serious about learning violin artificial harmonics or any other violin techniques, you need to get yourself a good teacher. Having a good teacher makes a tremendous difference in violin playing ability, so don't ever underestimate this!

    Eric Conklin is a violinist and a blogger who specializes in helping new musicians find lessons that help them grow quickly and efficiently.

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