Learning how to play the violin is a challenging yet rewarding process. One day, you might end up with the skill and dexterity of singer-songwriter Amanda Shires, who fell in love with fiddle songs at first listen and can now utilize her violin to express her innermost emotions. For now, though, your goal as a beginner is to be consistent with your practice and learn from your violin mistakes. To better spot the most common violin mistakes beginners make, here’s an overview.
Giving Up too soon
Learning the violin includes mental hurdles. If, after months of practicing, you quit when you still can't sound like your favorite musician, you'll be committing one of the most common violin mistakes. You must understand two things. Firstly, the process of leveling up your abilities is long and tumultuous—the website Violin Trend suggests it can take up to four years to even change positions. Accepting that is the key to moving forward. Secondly, some advanced musicians use equipment to boost their sound, and while this isn't something beginners need to worry about straight away, it can be a milestone to aim for. You can take inspiration from professional violinist Nicolas Draps, who utilizes Strymon effects pedals, an innovative piece of music technology that has standard mix, decay, and damping controls that can manipulate his music to sound exactly how he wants. This innovative way of playing the violin is something beginners can look forward to and use as motivation not to give up.
Not applying rosin to your bow properly
One of the most common violin mistakes beginners make is applying too much or too little rosin. If you don’t rosin your bow enough, your music flow might be interrupted by jarring silences thanks to patches of bare bow hair. Too much rosin, however, and you might end up with discordant, gritty sounds, as well as sticky dust that can eat away at your violin’s wood. As a beginner, rubbing rosin on your bow two to three times a week is generally more than enough—just make sure you get the rosin evenly spread on your bow.
Not training your bow hold
Mastering your bow hold is hard as there aren't many things in your day-to-day life that you clasp like that. Your hand muscles are likely to resist. While this will ease with time and practice, you can also leverage Things4Strings hold trainers, which support your fingers and aid them in the customary placements for violin playing. Through this tool, you'll learn to grasp your bow properly via muscle memory.
Neglecting to tune your violin
Another of the violin mistakes you can make is not taking the time to tune your instrument. This can be difficult for some beginner violin players unused to recognizing the correct modulation to use. Still, practice makes perfect. As we note in our article "A String Student’s Guide to Tuning," a consistently well-tuned instrument sounds better and helps you to develop stronger playing habits.
You can use an electronic tuner to guide you to your desired pitch. Yet it's better to deliberately listen to your instrument’s sounds and those of other players to build your tuning and intonation skills in the long term. Training your ear to ensure your instrument is always correctly tuned will be a vital foundation for advancing your skills as a violinist.
Exhibiting poor violin posture
Poor violin posture is one of those violin mistakes that can be negligible at first but harmful in the long run. Your playing involves your hands, arms, back, and neck—and if you continuously hold yourself in an uncomfortable position, you could develop long-term injuries like scoliosis that can affect your ability to play. It’s thus best to maintain correct violin posture when playing.
To help you, leverage a shoulder rest to maximize your comfort and position. For instance, the Kun shoulder rest can give your body the ergonomic support and proper somatic alignment you need, and its adjustable mechanisms can grant you the optimal positioning needed to maintain the correct violin posture. You can even augment it with voice coils to enhance haptic feedback.
Violin mistakes are common and easy to commit as a beginner. Watch out for the ones above to improve your skills as a violinist.
Article written by Reena Joseph