How To Play Violin

Violin, also called informally as a fiddle is a string instrument, with 4 strings tuned up in perfect fifths. It is the highest pitched, smallest member of the family of strings instruments that also includes the cello and viola. The question that arises when a person hears of the instrument is how to play violin. It requires dedication and practice to learn to play the violin. When a person masters to play the violin, it would seem to be the most beautiful instrument to play. One must be disciplined enough to play the violin very well. Violin can also be learnt as a hobby. But learning it as a hobby will not require much serious practice.


The question of how to play violin not only requires the violin instrument and steps to play it, but also it requires certain accessories. The accessories needed to play the violin are Violin strings, a violin bow, violin rosin, Violin Bridge, violin cases, violin mutes, a shoulder rest and a chin rest.

Violin strings are considered to be one of the most important violin accessories one must have. Mostly the violin strings are provided with the violin. If it is not provided with the instrument, then it has to be purchased separately. Three different kinds of strings are available in the market and they differ in the kinds of sound they produce. The violin strings should be purchased in extra amounts always.

Rosin is an important accessory, which determines the sound of a violin when the bow will grip the strings. Rosin is available everywhere but an unsuitable one will make the violin playing difficult and uneasy. It is a solid form of the tree sap that helps in creating a friction or grip between the string and the bow. If one plays on a new bow that hasn’t been rosined, a feeble sound is produced by the instrument.
The sound produced by the violin and the volume and tone can be controlled by the Violin bridge, though it is the smallest accessory.

Violin mutes are the small gadgets that are used to create a soft sound and prevent the vibration of the string. Mutes can be made up of wooden, plastic, leather and metal that covers either a part of the bridge or the whole bridge.
Violin shoulder rests are used to provide as a cushion for the shoulder and helps in raising the height of a shoulder. They made be made up of a cloth, a sponge or specially made materials as cushions.

Chin rests effects the relationship of a player with the instrument and also the comfort considerably.
The above accessories also play a part initially to answer the question of how to play violin, because without these essential accessories the violin cannot be played. The question of how to play violin is further answered by the steps that are to be followed to learn the instrument. Once these mentioned steps are followed strictly with discipline, then learning violin is no difficult.


Mentioned below are the detailed steps that are to be followed, answering to the question how to play violin. These steps will be helpful for a beginner, because these steps teach everything from minute basics to the detailed level.


  • Step 1: The first step is tightening the bow hair in a clockwise direction by turning the end screw in such a way that the space between the stick and hair at the middle is that big enough so that a pencil can pass through. The precautions that have to be kept in mind while following the first step is avoiding the use of a pinky finger because the oil from the skin may transfer to the bow hair making the adherence of rosin difficult. Once the playing of instrument has been finished, the bow hair should be loosened. The question of how to play violin is some what answered in this step.


  • Step 2: The next step is to rosin the bow. If it is a new bow, then the shopkeeper or the teacher should rosin it. Rosining the bow depends upon the frequency of practice. If the instrument is being practiced everyday then the bow should be rosined quite often. The following method should be used to rosin the bow. First, the bow should be tightened as normal. Second, the rosin should be glided fully down and fully up on the bow hairs 3 to 4 times. Too much of rosin may cause a scratchy sound. But if the bow is being used for the first time, there may not be sufficient rosin on it, so the strings may not be gripped enough to cause the vibration and the sound may not be produced. The question of how to play violin is further dealt in detail in this step.



  • Step3: The next step is to hold the bow in a correct and gentle way by placing the index finger on that of the grip between the 1stand 2nd knuckle. The following method can be followed. The pinky tip is placed on the bow’s flat part just behind the top, such that it is kept slightly curved. On the same edge, the other fingers are kept at and equal distance from each other. Ring finger must cover the pearl circle at the side of the frog. The thumb should be resting underneath the stick. When the bow hair is underneath, it should be placed in such a way that, it is present in front of the frog. The first joint of thumb should be bent at an oblique angle. The thumb should not straighten as this will produce tones that are poor while playing. The bow should not be gripped very tightly, because then one will not be able to bow the instrument effectively. The hands should be loose and relaxed, and rounded somewhat as that of holding a ball. This might be difficult in the beginning, but it will require practice. The question of how to play violin can be answered by this and following steps.



  • Step 4: The next step is resting the violin on the collar bone, where it is held in place by the jaw and fully supported by the arm. The jaw region just under the earlobe but not the chin is resting on a chin rest. A relaxed and slight head weight prevents the instrument from sliding off the shoulder, while the arm actually supports and bears the weight of the violin. The posture is very important to play the instrument. One must stand straight and the violin’s end should be pointing out straight, not holding it towards the ground. The scroll’s angle should be such that it points toward the ceiling, making the strings to be parallel to the floor. While holding the violin, the left hand has to be placed around the base of the instruments neck. The fingers should be relaxed and curled and the thumb should be clearly visible. The thumb’s base should not touch the violin’s neck, and neither the wrist should touch the same. The left arm should be in a position that is placed around the right part of the instrument’s neck. If one holds their left arm with the elbow pointing to the left too far, then a perfect tune cannot be played.



  • Step 5: In this step the bow should be placed halfway approximately between the fingerboard and the bridge. The bow is slightly tilted towards the scroll, so that the tune produced from the instrument will be a more focused one, producing a good and professional sound. The bow is pulled as straight as one can along the string, in parallel facing the bridge, applying little amounts of pressure. If large amounts of pressure are applied, louder sounds are produced that make the instrument scratchy. The wrist should be relaxed at the same time. We are almost coming to the end of the answer to the question how to play violin with just few more steps to be explained.



  • Step 6: The next step is to practice by playing the open strings. Here the term open does not mean pressing the strings down with the fingers of the left hand. The neck of the instrument is rested in the space between the first finger and the left thumb. The bow is held in position by the elbow, shoulder, wrist and contact point within one plane on the string. The elbow is raised to lower to the change the strings by bringing the bow at a proper height. First short strokes are tried nearly six inches or so at the middle of the bow. After this half stroke is tried from the frog which the part of the bow one holds, to the middle and then moved back again. One thing should be made sure of is that the wrist and the fingers are kept flexible while playing at the frog. While changing the bow directions the transition should be made smoother in a circular motion rather than as a start and stop piston motion. Change from one string to other should be practiced thoroughly. The practice should continue until one can avoid the touching of one string by the other.



  • Step 7: The next step is to practice playing using the scales. Scales are a series of notes that descend and ascend in a predetermined patterns of half and full steps. In the major scale C, the third finger is played on the lowest string that is C as the 1st tome. After this one can play the open string the D, 1st finger: E, LOW 2nd finger which is close to the first, F,G and open string: A, B and the low 2nd finger C on the 2nd highest string. There are a large number of scales. A major, F major, D major, C major, B major and so on. In order to play these scales one must place their each finger down, 1 at a time while the string is bowed. This is done to achieve the goal of relaxed playing of every note, with no halts in between. This helps in producing a warm and even sound. The answer to the question how to play violin has almost been answered by the above steps. Just one more and the most important step will complete the answer to the question how to play violin which seemed to be difficult at the first.



  • Step 8: The last and the most important steps of all are practicing the instrument every day. First the practice session should start with a short time that is around 15 to 20 minutes. This time should be slowly extended by working a little longer each day until it has been reached at least 1 hour. But if one wants to play violin as a hobby then the hours of playing can be reduced. But if one wants to seriously learn the instrument then they should be able to spend more amount of time practicing even two to three hours a day. But in these two hours different music should be tried instead of holding the instrument and sitting. Every days practice should start with a goal. Everything should be played at once. Instead the hard parts of the instrument should be worked on. This is how practicing will keep one improving and finally makes them perfect to play the instrument.

The above steps perfectly answer the question of how to play violin. If these steps are followed with proper discipline, then learning isn’t difficult. Using the bow to play the instrument is very important because most of the music is produced by the use of bow. Simply puckering the strings will not produce the perfect music. Though learning the instrument might seem to be awkward and difficult at the beginning, but at the end when one can beautifully produce music with violin, they will become very comfortable. In this way the answer to the question of how to play violin complete successfully.

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