Tips for Beginning Students
Beginning string students need a lot of encouragement! Playing an instrument is a skill.
1. Try to practice each and every day.
2. Find a convenient place in which to practice. Have a music stand available and an appropriate chair for cellist(a chair without arms). Violinist and violist will practice standing.
3. Set up a consistent time each day (free from distractions).
4. Play for parents and relatives once you learn some songs.
5. Parents are encouraged to sit and listen to their child practice.
6. Be sure to take the instrument and lesson book to school on your lesson day.
7. Every instrumentalist has periods in the learning process that will be difficult. Be patient.
8. Parents should consider having their child teach them how to play. It will give the parent a better insight into what their child is learning, and it may be fun for both student and teacher.
Their teachers want them to succeed. Let them know if you have concerns.
Developing Good Practice Habits
When you practice, find a quiet room where you won't be disturbed. Playing a musical instrument is not a passive experience. You need physical strength and energy to practice with proper playing position.
There is a lot of information to learn and much to master physically. The string player is actually performing many actions and thought processes at once, including:
1. Playing the correct notes including correct string and finger.
2. Playing the notes in tune (how high up on the instrument to place the hand & whether fingers are placed touching or apart).
3. Playing the notes for the correct duration in rhythm.
4. Volume of the music (dynamics).
5. Bow direction.
6. Amount of pressure.
7. Bow speed.
Care of Your Instrument and General Handling Tips
Never place an instrument on a chair or lean it on anything. Place the instrument on a table or in its case when not in use. Cellist should place the instrument on the side and not on the back.
Always loosen the bow when finished playing, and tighten it when beginning a practice session. Many instruments have had their bows stored under tension. Leaving the hair tight will warp or break the stick.
Temperature, humidity, etc.
Do not leave a stringed instrument in an automobile. The inside temperature of an automobile can easily reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This would be hot enough to melt or bubble most varnishes. If the instrument is in cold temperatures and it is frozen do not take it out of its case right away. Allow the temperature to stabilize for a few hours before removing it. This will allow it to thaw slowly, reducing the chance of seams opening and condensation formation.
Wipe the rosin from the instrument and bow stick before putting them away after playing. A soft clean cotton flannel cloth is ideal for this purpose. Cleaning cloths are usually provided with rental instruments. A polish can be applied to the instrument. Use only a dedicated violin polish.