Violin Classes - FAQ

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What purpose do violin classes serve?
Violin classes serve at least three vital purposes: (1) They build your comfort, confidence, and proficiency with playing in an ensemble; they especially help you learn how to cope with stage fright, teaching you to redirect your nervousness into useful energy, and reminding you your nervousness is a healthy sign that you care about your performance. (2) They initiate you into the competitive element in violin play, emphasizing the importance of skillfully playing your part for the sake of the group's performance, simultaneously showing you how to compete for and perform leading parts and solos. And (3) violin classes emphasize the importance of rhythm. During your practice sessions, you can cheat on the metronome; during your lessons, you must count and keep time or invite the conductor's and your classmates' unbridled scorn and rage. Most apprentice violinists learn how one good in-class embarrassment proves the importance of tapping your foot and keeping the rhythm while you play.

What do I get from classes that I will not get from my tutor and teacher?
Your tutor lets you get away with mistakes and avoidance. Most apprentice violinists prefer to keep practicing the parts of their tutorials that feel and sound good, skipping the awkward, difficult, discouraging parts. Among all a master violinist's essential skills and attributes, self-discipline and willingness to stick with the rough stuff develop slowest and latest. But a step by step learning method encourage disciplined practice, showing exactly how the quality of your practice determines the quality of your public performance.

Your master violin teacher typically invests her time, patience, and undivided attention in your development, showing you exactly how to play each note in each piece, emphasizing proper bow technique, fingering, and vibrato. The best teachers go over and over difficult skills and challenging pieces until you get them; then, they go over them one more time, showing you how to nail them. In your classes, however, urgency replaces patience. Unwilling to give-up their valuable performance time, the group demands you learn your part quickly and play it well. Unlike your teacher, the class will go on without you.

Do violin classes really prepare me for better performance?
Yes. In class, you generally will feel healthy peer pressure to perform your best. Friendly rivalries develop, bringing out the best in your motivation and performance. The conductor expects your undivided attention and best play, and you naturally play better simply because the conductor has his eyes and ears tuned to your frequency. Most of all, however, they contribute to your motivation, reminding you playing the violin is not a desolate, lonely enterprise; your class breaks-up the monotony of daily practice, showing you how you your place in a community of emerging violinists, returning you to your practice sessions with renewed enthusiasm and stronger desire to learn and grow.

What if we seem to waste a lot of time in my violin classes?
Let your fingers do the walking or your search engine do the scouting. If you feel genuinely dissatisfied with your class and your entire personal pit crew agrees it does not seem to contribute much to your development, then you should shop around for another one. Although every violin class includes elements of dread and fear, because you must play in front of other people, violin classes ultimately are supposed to be fun. In classes as in most things violin, if it is not ultimately fun, then you should not keep doing it. You signed-up for violin, not torture.

Does it make sense to take classes with the same teacher who gives me private lessons?
Ask a dozen different violinists and their teachers, get twenty-four different answers. Some argue different instructors build different kinds of skills and attitudes in apprentice violinists, stressing the value of diverse emphases and methods. Others argue loyalty and devotion translate to sustained motivation, and continuity from private instruction to public performance helps each element in the process make more sense. You face essentially the same kind of dilemma as "paper or plastic?" Your own conscience and preference empower your choice.

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Hailey Alton has 1 articles online

Hailey Alton is a violin performer, music lover and teacher. For your free mini course and more great tips on Violin Classes please visit

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Violin Classes - FAQ

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This article was published on 2010/04/01