Three Areas Your Violin Teacher Will Cover During your Beginner Violin Lessons

Now that your mind is set on learning the violin, you would have spent some time researching and selected your first set of violin and violin bow. You also have vetted through a few music schools or private violin teachers and narrowed down your selection. You are finally ready to start violin lessons. The journey to this stage is like an adventure to most new violin students. Each stage is a new discovery, both of yourself and also learning new knowledge, and I hope that you are enjoying the journey towards starting private violin lessons soon.

According to Rita Yeo of Stradivari Strings, a violin school with maestro level music teachers, there are three important areas your teacher will cover during violin classes for beginners.  These three areas form an important foundation for all beginner level music students. Covered well and in detail, the students will be able to move smoothly and fluidly to intermediate level and advanced level. In terms of the time frame one can expect to master these four foundation areas, plan between three to six months to do so. Some students will gain clarity faster, some students will take a slightly longer time to grasp the concepts. It does not matter as long as the student tries his or her best to learn and master these concepts. After all, you are not in a race with everyone to rush to be a maestro level violinist!

Read on for more information on what these four foundation areas are, so that you can be very well prepared before you start violin lessons Singapore:

First Area: Basic Music Theory Knowledge

Mastering music theory is very important if one were to learn any musical instrument. It is the universal notation of music like a language. For example, if you wish to learn a foreign language like Japanese or French, you need to understand the written characters and words of that particular language so as to appreciate if as a whole.

During your beginner violin lessons, your teacher will explain to you note values, rest values, concepts of bars, time signatures and so forth. You will also need to learn to read pattern of the stave, for both the treble clef and bass clef. The violin score is notated on treble clef, while the cello is notated on the bass clef. Even though you are learning to play the violin, you need to master note reading off the bass clef as well.

Next, your violin teacher will guide you to correlate the note of the treble clef to the four strings of the violin. The easiest way to go about this is to recognise the open strings of the violin (the G, D, A and E open strings) on the treble clef. Then understand the concept that if one presses on the fingerboard, the violin string is shortened, hence the tone emitted is higher. Once you understand this concept, you can apply the rest of the music notes on the treble clef to the violin.

Second Area: Rhythm Training

Rhythm training is an important key component for any students looking to start music lessons in any musical instruments. For students who were exposed to a first musical instrument as a child, learning a second or third musical instrument will be a breeze as one has already acquired a musical rhythm sense.

For learners who are totally new to learning music, getting the rhythm right is very important.

In explaining this connect, the violin teacher will need to explain the concept of time signatures, bar line, bars, as well as the different beats associated with each type of notes (the crochet note, the quaver note, the semi quaver note, the minum and the semi breve). Rests and the values associated with each rest will need to be covered.

Basically, for every note value there is a corresponding rest value.

With this concept under the belt, the violin lesson will be geared towards understanding different combinations or rest and note values on a score. The most effective way that teachers typically use is to get the student to clap to the rhythm of the score.  The concept of constant beat (the speed of the song — whether fast or slow) must be explained to the student and this constant beat is different from the rhythm of the clapping which corresponds to the music score.

After the student gets the hang of clapping to the rhythm of a score, the teacher will explain that instead of clapping, that the student holds the violin bow and move the bow in a “down bow” and “up bow” direction in sync with clapping.

Once the student understands this, then the actual playing on the violin starts.

For some students, understand the concept of rhythm comes naturally. For others, it may take a longer time. Ultimately, any music student who wish to learn to plan any musical instrument effectively, needs to grasp this concept.

Third Area: Aural and Intonation Training

The next area the teacher will train is aural and intonation training. You need to learn to pitch the correct tone so that this helps your to place your finger positions on the violin fingerboard at the correct spot.

Very often, I notice that some teachers use tape to mark the spot on the fingerboard for their students. This is not the right way of learning to play the violin! When the tape is there, the student will tend to look at the fingerboard to get visual assistance, versus training their muscle memory of the fingers and utilizing sense of hearing to pitch correctly.

The correct way to approach this is to use a piano or keyboard to train the student to sing and pitch simple scales. Then pick up the violin and emulate the pitch. The student needs to be aware that shortening the violin strings by pressing on the fingerboard, sharpens a note. Moving the fingers closer to the violinist sharpens the note while moving the fingers closer to the scroll of the violin flattens the note.

From there, it is a matter of intensive aural singing and pitching on the violin, to get the notes correct.