It is that time of year! Whether it was Hanukkah, Yule, or Christmas, I get to hear from students who are beyond thrilled with their new treasure…until they try to play it.
Let’s face it, playing the violin (or viola) isn’t easy, but there are a few things you can do right now to sound just a little better.
Make sure it’s in tune
If you do not already know how to tune your violin, it is time to learn (or find a teacher!). An out of tune violin sounds awful, and there is no way for a new player to fix it without first tuning it.
Get enough rosin on the bow
Sometimes I joke that the bow hair is just a fancy rosin-carrier – but the truth is that rosin and bow hair go hand in hand. A brand-new bow can take up to 10 minutes to rosin properly, and a bow without rosin is useless.
Apply rosin until your thumb nail brings up a light puff of rosin when you scrape across the bow hair next to the frog.
Hold the bow properly
A few days ago, I reviewed how to get a proper bow hold, but if you missed it, read it here: https://gailsmusic4kids.com/that-crazy-bow-whats-the-big-deal/
Holding the bow correctly will go a long way towards improving your sound.
Don’t push with the bow
Crunching down with the bow causes squeaks, shrieks, crunchy sounds and more.
Don’t crunch. Instead, let the bow glide across the strings – try to pull the sound out of your instrument instead of forcing things.
As a beginner, a fully rosined bow can do much of the work for you; all you have to do is keep it more or less perpendicular to the strings.