Kate Hendry - Fiddle and violin tuition in and around Nottingham

1. Comfort

Find a really good shoulder rest that is comfortable to your body shape. I use a Wolf secondo violin shoulder rest.

If you buy from a shop or online website offering free returns you can try them out until you find the comfiest one for you!

Always do warm up shoulder exercises to keep your body loose….

2. Left hand

Aim for the all-important curved left wrist placing your fingers on their tips and use finger stripes if you need to for the all-important 1mm tuning accuracy...

...one of the biggest challenges for the violin beginner!

3. Violin bow hold

  • Work on the flexibility of your right hand wrist
  • Bow tension to be no more than 1.5cm
  • Don't under or over use the rosin
  • Don't clench the bow too tightly
  • Flow with the bow
  • Curve the right hand fingers over the stick

4. Practice

  • Practise little and often
  • Loosen up beforehand
  • Stop if you find it too hard and restart
  • Always make sure you are focussed
  • Aim for daily practice and start with 10-minute bite-size sessions
  • Set up a room so you're ready to pick up and play your violin straight away
  • Make sure your music stand is at the right height so you can hold up your violin comfortably and look at the music at eye level and that you can stand up comfortably

5. Physical Factors

Those who don't wear glasses or contact lenses are at a distinct advantage and equally people with long slim fingers also are lucky... it is easier to play violin for them as the accuracy is crucial.

Everyone has the ability to play up to grade 3 level at least as long as they can pitch the notes in their head and don't have severe joint problems.

Experiment with glasses for reading music up close and sometimes people need different glasses to read music from a distance... experiment and see which works best for you!

If you have very large fingers then a larger instrument will be more suitable for you eg. a banjo, cello, guitar or double bass.