Perhaps you’ve inherited a violin, recently gotten into the music of Paganini, or decided that you need to pursue your musical side. That’s very exciting - violin is a great choice.
But can you really teach yourself, or do you need a qualified teacher? We’ll explore this topic below, and if you decide that you do need violin lessons in Greenville, SC, we’d love to hear from you.
Yes, just like any other musical instrument, you technically can teach yourself the violin. You can purchase a method book, watch YouTube tutorials, read articles on WikiHow and Stack Exchange, and find even more resources online or in libraries.
You will need to watch videos or diagrams on how to grip the bow in a relaxed fashion, hold the violin up to your jaw, right the bow correctly, rosin the bow, tune the violin, and pull the bow across the strings. You will also need to learn how to read music, where those notes exist on the strings, learn sharps and flats, and more - if you really are set on teaching yourself the violin, you’ll need to find a structured YouTube channel or method book to guide you. Otherwise, you’ll miss important steps that will hurt your progress.
Does this sound like a lot? It is! And that brings us to our next point:
It is fantastically hard to learn the violin on your own. You may figure out how to play a note with good tone after many tries, and you may figure out how to play a tune, but it’s very rare for someone to stick with it long enough to be a competent violinist who can sight read, play with speed, play arco, play pizzicato, play harmonics, play double stops, employ vibrato, and more.
You will also have to research everything you want to practice - and you may not even know what you are missing. For instance, you’ll probably end up Googling “how to read music.” There is a significant rabbit hold right there. You’ll eventually need to research how to use vibrato - and that is a difficult concept to grasp. The list is endless.
Truthfully yes, you need a teacher. Violin lessons aren’t all that expensive when you consider the amount of time you’ll be saving - time is our most valuable commodity, after all. Your teacher will know exactly how to layer concepts on top of each other in a logical way, they will make sure you know how to play with proper technique right from the beginning, and most importantly, they will teach you how to practice right from the beginning.
What may take you a month to figure out on your own will probably take one week if you have a competent teacher. This means less time with you frustrated on MasterClass.com, and more time with you enjoying making measured progress on the violin (or cello, bass, or viola for that matter).
Yes, and it’s really not even close. Even the fundamentals of the violin are harder; take tone, for instance. One of the hardest things to do on the violin is to make a beautiful sound, and it gets even harder when you add vibrato. On the guitar, the baseline tone is already nice - whereas on the violin, your skin will crawl the first time you pull the bow across the strings. The very first step when playing the violin (making a sound) is already much more difficult than guitar, and it only gets harder from there.
Also consider the level of expectation on the guitar vs. the violin. Your friends will consider you a competent guitar player if you can simply strum the chords along with a few songs, and you can realistically learn the chords to a few songs in a couple of weeks, even if you’ve never played before. Yes, it takes years of practice to play classical guitar or handle advanced technique, but you will reach a decent threshold of competence early.
The violin is a different story. You may not be playing intermediate repertoire for 3 years, and if you want to play truly advanced music, you will have to practice consistently for a long time. Your teacher will be able to give you a realistic expectation based on your prior experience.
Yes, you can; it all comes down to practice. You can pick the violin up as a child, at the age of 30, or when you retire, but if you don’t commit to regular intelligent practice, you won’t make any progress. You need to practice technique, reading, and your repertoire for 20-30 minutes per day (minimum) to make advances, and your progress will increase as you are able to commit more time.
If you’d like to learn more about our string program, piano lessons in Greenville, SC, or any of the other education opportunities here at Noteability Music School, please get in touch! We would love to hear from you and help you reach your musical goals.