Practical Violin

Don’t scrimp on your violin bow

Most new violinists excited about beginning their study of the instrument spend the lion’s share of their budget on the violin and perhaps private or group lessons. But newbies hardly ever think about the importance of the bow.

Don’t scrimp on your violin bow! It’s equally, if not more, important than the violin itself. The bow is your direct tactile connection to your tone. It needs to be comfortable in your hand, with proper balance, arch and tension.

You’ll eventually become accustomed to the tone of a mediocre violin, as long as it’s properly set up. But a cheap “kit” bow can easily stop you in your tracks.


Transformation through the Violin

I made my violin student cry.

I regularly ask my violin students to stretch far past their everyday boundaries.

Sometimes those lessons produce an unanticipated effect. A sense of overwhelm. An unanticipated jitter. Even an unexpected welling up of tears.

The results, even if less than perfect, are irrelevant. It is the resolve to pursue the path and the will to endure your inner resistance that is transformational.

That’s the whole point of undertaking the violin journey.

Pro's Corner

Zen and the Art of the Gigging Musician

As a gigging musician you can focus on the quality work calls you are getting, and how you compare to your friends.

Or you can focus on improving your craft day in, day out. On achieving a greater level of mastery, even if the gigs suck. On staying the course, even if your audience sounds like a field of crickets.

The first path (the path of ego) will drive you to distraction.  The path of mastery will always lead to a positive transformation in every part of your life.


Practice Problems Practicing the Violin

How to Cut Your Practice Time in Half

Here’s a simple music practice shortcut for your consideration. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. And I can promise that you’ll achieve your current results and still cut your practice time in half. Or easily get twice as much done in the same amount of time.

It’s simply this: protect your practice as a sacred oasis from day to day life. It’s a place filled with curiosity, experimentation, discovery and a wonderful spacious feeling. In this place, impatience and frustration simply melts away. In this place the quality of your practice always exceeds expectations because any agenda exists only for the sheer joy of the work itself. It is truly immediate success on a new level.

On the other hand, you can continue to push and drive forward by force. Practice when over scheduled, exhausted or compelled. Accept gigs and auditions that cement unrealistic expectations into your life. We all know how that goes.

Practicing the Violin Violin Lessons for Kids

The Buddhist Art of Violin Practice

Basketball MVP Allen Iverson famously had to take it on the chin for his poor attitude and memorable soundbites about practice. Still, western culture sees practice as a means to an end. Practice is the necessary evil we must endure on the path to musical bliss.

The problem with that western concept is that will power alone can’t sustain us through that 10,000 hours of must-do time on the chin rest. And no amount of parental nagging will can create a Sarasate Tarantella like the one I heard 12 year old violinist Karen Ferry play today.

Then how and when can we achieve true mastery and harmony with our instrument?