In our last blog, we discussed the important elements that are needed when an individual decides to begin the process of mastering the violin. While you only need an instrument, there are some other pieces that you can purchase to enhance your musical education. For the perfect treat after you complete your practice session or weekly lesson, listen to Máiréad Nesbitt’s newest solo album release, Hibernia, available for download from iTunes and Amazon now! There are a few necessary, but not vital, extras you can also purchase. A few of them include:
The original volume button for instruments. A mute is used to soften the ringing of a violin and is an excellent idea if you plan to practice in a shared area, such as a student dorm or apartment building. While listening to violin music is considering relaxing to some, multiple runs of practice scales and finger exercises can cause your previously friendly roommates or neighbors to leave rude notes on your door. While it does dampen the sound, it does still allow you to still work on bowing techniques and fingering for musical pieces you’re currently learning. These can be purchased for $10-15 and are made of rubber, so it won’t scratch or alter your violin.
Extra Set of Strings
In case your A-string breaks while on a trip or at an audition, having a backup string set will save you and come in handy probably more than you would expect. You can keep them in the outer pocket of your case.
Every time when you complete your practice session or finish a lesson, wipe off your instrument and bow with a cloth. The rosin can build up on the strings and on your instrument which can alter the sound quality over time. Make sure that the cloth is soft and won’t scratch the wood or strings. Many violinists recommend a chamois, which is a buttery leather made from sheepskin. It’s thin enough to be worked into the nooks and crannies of your instrument, but also won’t harm the violin. These can be purchased at auto repair shops. If you would prefer to not use leather, a piece of cotton jersey (like an old t-shirt cut up) will do just fine.
If you’re unfamiliar with music, a metronome is a timekeeping instrument that can be adjusted to the tempo of the song. It will help you stay in time, meaning playing a steady pace. If you want to eventually play with an orchestra, symphony, or ensemble, staying on beat is vital to the success of the piece being played. It’s an excellent way to train yourself, especially when embarking on learning the violin.
A Note About Teachers
While we live in a society that loves to complete DIY projects and teach ourselves to play games, learning violin is not one of those skills that you can learn on your own. Learning proper technique, music theory, sight-reading, and other unique skills associated with a classical instrument is the difference between becoming an excellent violinist or musician with so-so skills. Talent doesn’t play into it as much as you would believe, and excellent technique will always win. That being said, you don’t have to find the best instructor possible to learn violin. Check around your city for a renowned teacher, or if you have a local college with a music program, you might be able to find a student teacher. Lessons don’t have to cost half of your paycheck or require hours of your time. You’ll be sure to find a trusted instructor who can help you begin your violin journey.
If you’re interested in learning violin, don’t be daunted by the list of items you have to acquire. The art of music is an incredible way to extend your mind and teach yourself confidence, a new skill, and enjoy the gift of music in a different and exciting way. While you may find yourself struggling to learn the notes, clefs, or scales, it will pay off when you can play an entire song by yourself. Practice truly makes perfect in this craft. If you find yourself uninspired to practice, take a listen to Máiréad Nesbitt’s newest album, Hibernia. The swelling themes and ethereal melodies will be sure to breathe new life into your session. For more of Máiréad and her incredible talent, check out her website now!