Starting a new pursuit like learning music as an adult may seem daunting for most people. It is very much like venturing into unknown territory. When we go into unknown territory, we may feel uncertain and worried. Our mind keeps thinking of the following questions: Do I have the musical sense to start adult violin lessons? What if I do not have the time to practice? Am I biting off more than I can chew? Will my family and friends laugh at me as an adult, trying to start violin classes for beginners?
According to Rita Yeo of Stradivari Strings, a violin school in Singapore that has been teaching adult violin students since 2010, all these questions and concerns occur to more than seventy percent of adult music students. It is no wonder that many adult learners overthink and worry. Why is this so? The violin is perceived by many as a very difficult musical instrument to master. Some claim that it is more difficult than the piano, the flute, or the saxophone, as the violinist needs to learn how to pitch properly in the head. Others say that the violin is more difficult than the guitar as the latter only required strumming ability whereas the former requires the ability to handle the violin bow.
Regardless of whether the violin is difficult or otherwise, fret not. She shares five key tips for adults who wish to start violin lessons Singapore.
First Tip: Follow A Fixed Routine
Just like one wakes up in the morning, brushes one’s teeth, drinks water, and showers before heading out to work or to school. A key tip that any violin student should be mindful of is to incorporate violin practice into one’s daily routine.
This can be planned in the afternoon or evening, after one returns from work or school. If this time schedule does not work cos the reality of life gets in the way, then waking up fifteen to twenty minutes earlier to do one’s violin practice is a great idea.
It is quite rare for students to wake up early to do violin practice, so if you managed to do this on a consistent basis, your violin teacher will be super impressed by your enthusiasm. The end result is that your violin teacher in Singapore will put in additional effort to coach you accordingly. It’s a double benefit to you if that happens!
Second Tip: Create A Peaceful Environment For Your Violin Practice
The practice area needs to be conducive so that you can maximize the mileage and progress fast on violin playing. This space must be quiet and free from distractions. For example, if you have pets at home who are inquisitive, find a room and close the door so you do not get disturbed during violin practice. If one of the rooms of your house or apartment faces the main road and is very noisy, choose a room that is relatively quiet. You can then better focus on your violin practice.
Personally, I like a space that is neat and tidy. So the environment should not clutter your thoughts as you practice. In fact, I recommend lighting a scented candle or using aromatherapy so that this puts you in the right frame of mind for your practice sessions. These small things may seem redundant to some, but I encourage you to try this out and see the effectiveness.
I always compare the private practice room to one’s private violin lessons. Why did you opt for this versus group violin lessons? Precisely because you want to internalize what you learn without external distractions. Hence make this your own personal space as much as possible.
An important prop in your practice room is a full-length mirror. This allows you to look at your posture in terms of your arm movement across the violin with your violin bow. So instead of staring at your violin strings and getting the angle wrong, the mirror is a more accurate visual feedback.
For students who are starting affordable violin lessons, the fees saved can go towards buying a full-length mirror, some aromatherapy, or even towards the weekly rental of a soundproof music studio.
Third Tip: Take A Proactive Approach to Violin Learning
Don’t wait for your violin teacher to spoon-feed you only during your weekly violin lessons for adults. A lot of theoretical information can be found in books or online. You can go to your local library to borrow books on how to take care of your violin and violin bow. Or read up on the history of classical music and the origin of the violin. This will help you appreciate this musical instrument more and supercharge your growth in learning.
Always be ready to ask questions during your violin classes. The questions can be anything from how to take care of your violin, how to execute a violin technique like vibrato, even to the philosophy of life learned from picking up tips on how to play the violin. With active questioning during lessons, you are also giving your violin teacher the good impression that you are a student who is curious and wants to learn more. As a result, your coach will explain more things to you.
Fourth Tip: Learn to Sing
The ability to be able to pitch a hundred percent correctly is crucial in using your violin practice. In order to pick this up properly, learn to sing. You need to produce the note in your head and the only way to pick this up is to produce the correct pitch by singing or humming.
For new violin students who do not have perfect pitch, I recommend spending ten minutes a day singing the D major scale. Start the first note by using a piano — of course, you will need to ensure that the piano is tuned at least once every six months. If you do not have a piano at home, a digital keyboard, pitching fork, or an electronic intonation trainer works as well.
As you continue this daily exercise over a few weeks, you will find that you develop an ear for close to perfect pitch. Very soon, you will not need the use of a tuner to tune your violin. You will also be able to play every note on the violin to the correct pitch.
Apply the above tips on a daily frequency and you will ace your weekly violin classes in Singapore and impress your fellow violin classmates and teachers. Happy practicing!