How to Successfully Practice the Violin
Learning the violin involves long hours of training. Unlike the most common instruments like the guitar, the violin is something that’s hard to learn on your own, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. It’s great how practicing is not just done in a single way. Luckily, there are lots of techniques and methods in doing it successfully, and each of us can try whichever is suitable. One, however, seems to have been proven better than others.
A study, entitled as “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance,” was headed around 1990’s by K. Anders Ericsson, Clemens Tesch-Romer, and Ralf Th. Krampe. It was a remarkable research because it has changed how musicians see and approach in practicing the violin. This study has revealed the differences in the practicing habits of the elites and the average learners. Both groups have practiced with exactly the same amount of time every day, but the elite was engaging in a deliberate one.
So, what is deliberate practice? This method requires complete focus because you have to center all your thoughts on your practice for the entire period. Meaning, your attention must be undivided. Here are some key points to remember in order to practice the violin successfully.
It will make such a big difference if you don’t have a clear image and an outlined attainable goal in your head. When we typically practice, we focus on the part where we have made a mistake. We try to remember it when undergoing violin lessons for beginners in NYC, and we focus on it because of trying not to do it again. Unfortunately, this is what makes it worse. Instead of an emphasis on the wrong point that you’ve been doing wrong; focus on how it should be done correctly. Imagine how it would look like if you were to do it properly and it has to be realistic. Create the image of how will it be, how it would look like, how it would feel, how it would sound, etc. Therefore, focus on the outcome or the result that you desire instead of trying to remember your current situation. This is why it can also be beneficial for you to observe professionals on how they play the violin then later on as you practice, try and imagine yourself to be doing the same thing.
Just like how our workplace influences us, the place where we practice also has a direct impact on how effective we can be in learning. Your surroundings should not have any distracting decors because again, focus is very important. Even gadgets should be put away because no texting, calling, or surfing online is allowed. A quiet room is also preferably ideal. Instead of visual distractions like posters or designs on the walls, a mirror should be considered because it helps learners in assisting their visualization which we can refer back to the first point (clear goal).
Undoubtedly, you will encounter problems and create mistakes along the way, like learning to hold the violin properly. This is normal in practice and no need to get frustrated about it. If ever you’re finding it hard to correct yourself, try to slow down the pace and play softly. Do not hurry and try to skip the part where you committed a mistake because you are just ignoring the need for correction. If you try to repeat the piece at the same pace, volume, and tempo; you are only trying to practice it incorrectly. This will instead give you a mindset of practicing it the wrong way even if it’s not the intention. Our sensory perception is heightened when sounds are quiet or faint which then makes it easier for learners to detect the slightest mistakes and alterations in the pitch or vibrato. Then, reducing the tempo of the piece during practice also give you more time to process it. This also helps in practicing the correct form of your arms and fingers. Once you’ve mastered each factor, you can then start on speeding up the right pace.