Introduction to Learning the Violin
made by: Randell Dan F. De Vera
Parts of the Violin
Print a picture of the violin and bow parts then give
The students must easily identify
that to the students for them to memorize. Select
not only the parts of the violin
some important parts and explain their functions.
but also the parts of the bow.
In short, describe them.
Touch each part and the students will tell its name
or if possible, its function/s also.
Holding the Bow
Print again a picture showing the proper holding of
They should always see to it that
the bow and have them imitate it. Also explain to
their bow holding is correct with
them that the index finger (pointing finger) is posi-
the shape of the fingers.
tioned far from the other fingers for a purpose of
giving emphasis, strength, stress and staccato sound
to a tone.
elevator challenge – students will position their bows Simply, the students must have
vertically and start to lift it slowly, maintaining its up- learned to bow straight.
right position, preventing it from going sideways;
called an “elevator challenge” because students must
compare the bow to an elevator safely and slowly
going up and taking care of the passengers not to fall;
they must have the feeling of having a goal to prevent
the bow from going leftward of rightward. In turn,
they will develop the movement of the hand wherein
it bends flexibly with the wrist. This exercise could be
changed with putting an eraser on the student’s hand
and preventing it from falling just to get the real fee-
ling of the hand in proper bowing.
Have the students face a mirror one by one to see if
he/she bows straight. Correct posture and the place-
ment of the fingers while playing. The bow should
form a “T” or a “cross” with the string and the violin
itself. Maintain these positions until the turn of the
next student. Remember that the student must also
correct his/her bow by himself/herself, not just by
teacher. The teacher is only a guide, not controller.
of the force.
Any song can be used to be played while the student
is bowing in front of the mirror. Use whole bows.
1. “spider finger” – fingers climb like a spider upto the Student’s left fingers should be
tip of the bow and goes down to the frog; this
very relaxed and flexible while
exercise is done repeatedly; proper bow hold
bowing especially if notes in a
should be always remembered, applied and main- piece are all fast.
tained while doing this.
2. “flying bow” – the violinist lifts his/her bow upto
the highest point his/her arm can reach, making
the bow go very far away from the violin body;
this exercise is made for the students to discover
the widest range of their arms in bowing.
* Also do this in down bow.
3. “frog, middle and tip pinch” – the violinist plays an
eighth note separately each on the frog, middle
and tip of the bow.
Let them practice bowing with staccatos.
Also, practice bowing sixteenth notes. The technique
in playing fast doesn’t rely on fast movement of the
arm. It would be very intensely tiring for the player.
The only secret is flexibility of the hand with the wrist.
That’s the only thing. At first, it would be difficult. But
continuous practice of doing it would surely make the
hand very relaxed as if playing fast notes is just like
a normal execution without the need to exert great
force. It can be compared to the action of the hand
while knocking the door where only the hand moves.
Correct Posture in
Have the students sit on a chair with a back rest. The Students must know how to
Playing the Violin
back of the body should not lean on the chair’s back
properly execute these. They
rest. Instead, buttocks should be positioned almost
must always apply the positions
near the front edge of the chair. In rest position, the everytime – when listening to
bow and the violin is held by the left hand on the left the teacher, playing whether
knee while seated. In playing position, the left knee seated or standing or in any
should be a half step away from the right foot while violin event – concerts, group
facing left side obliquely.
and individual lessons.
Now, have the students stand and apply these. In
They must also feel comfortable
rest position, while the violin is held by right hand
enough with the violin on the
wrist on its rig under the armpit, the bow is held by
shoulder. So, shoulder rest is
right hand fingers down to the floor. The left and the recommended to prevent aching
right feet are 45 degrees apart. In playing position,
it is half step forward facing oblique left direction.
In putting the violin on the shoulder, these must be
While the violin is secured under the armpit, the left
hand will get it from its neck or from the upper bout.
Then, put it on the shoulder. The left hand forming
the shape of its fingers on the upper bout. Last, trans-
fer left hand to the fingerboard or the neck, not losing
The violin should rest very comfortable and relaxed
on the shoulder as if without the left hand holding the
neck, it wouldn’t fall. The violin weight should be
supported by the left shoulder, not by the left hand.
The left hand is used only for intonations, tones and
fingerings, not in carrying the neck. The scroll should
also be leveled with the eyes of the player.
Playing in Tune
Explain to the students that in order to prevent being Students must be able to learn
out of tune is to think first of the note in mind before this very important lesson. They
singing it or expressing it through playing in a musical will not be that good in playing
any instrument if they do not
know how to correct their own
First think is to ask the students if they know how to
pitch. This lesson should be well-
identify whether a tone is of tune or not. Even if the
taught by the teacher.
answers are positive or negative, I’m sure this would
be effective. The teacher will sing a tone or play it on
piano or in any instrument except the violin, then they
must find that tone on the strings and play that. This
would be very successful if the teacher is also skilled
in doing this.
Another strategy is this. The teacher will play a song
then the students will identify if that is of tune or “out
In case students still have the hard time being in tune,
play an octave or a scale. They must be familiar with
sound and pitch of each note. Everytime they do this,
they must repeat the tone in mind to likely memorize
Give them an assignment to find the tones of “Jesus
Loves Me” on the violin. Correct pitches should be
Tuning the Violin
In adjusting the pitch of the violin, put the thumb and Students must be familiar with
the middle finger on the peg that needs to be turned. the pitch of each string of the
The index finger is on the screw to encourage force
violin for them to have the ease
tightening the peg into the peg box, preventing the
in adjusting its pitch. If possible,
peg from being loose and removed from the peg box. they should know how to tune
their own violins.
Putting String on the
Just insert the uncovered tip of the string inside the
Students should have learned
small hole of the peg and the covered tip inside the
how to put their own string to
holes near the adjusters. Rotate the peg until string their violins. But if it seems that
tightens. Remember to avoid the strings in the peg
they will likely break the violin
box from crossing each other because it will affect
doing it or they do not know
the sound when the violin is played. Be careful in
how do it carefully, the teacher
putting the strings.
should rather be the one to do
Starting to Learn the
At first, challenge the students to find the do-re-mi-
Ability to recognize notes quickly
Violin with Reading
fa-so-la-ti-do syllables on any string of the violin. Do
and to play it right away from
not tell them what strings are; they must discover
the moment the note is seen on
the notes themselves.
staff of piece should be deve-
After they discovered the tones, play the notes one
by one, saying its so-fa syllable, numbered string on
the violin and its chord name on the piano (A, B, C, D,
E, F and G). Then follow the next activity.
Give them a copy of the different scales labeled with
proper sharps and flat signs on the notes needed to
put with it. It is so that students will remember what
notes are to be played with sharps or flats. Even if it’s
already indicated in the key signature the sharp, flat,
and natural notes, students may have the tendency
to not mind that and just play the note they want to.
So it’s advised to still put beside the note a sharp or
a flat sign.
Later, let the students memorize the violin fingerings
and their equivalent notes in the piano. Then, have a
game in which the teacher draws a note on a paper
then the students will identify its so-fa syllable, num-
bered string on the violin and the chord name. The
student who got it right will have a score. If drawing
on a paper is a waste of time and effort, you can just
play it on the violin.
Now, try to get just an easy piece for the students to
play. It is only an exercise of their reading capacity.
Continue to do it every lesson until they got to be
fast in reading notes. The teacher should have pre-
pared many pieces for them to play.
If they have got fast in reading, you can finish this in-
troduction teaching and start on the Suzuki Violin
School Method book One. Guide them until they
grow up. Still correct every thing – posture, fingers,
bow hold, etc.. until they become used to it.