Category: Violin Video Tutorials by Mimi Zweig
Vol. 1A, No. 1: GETTING THE VIOLIN READY
The core points of this video are:
Sizing the violin, placing the fingerboard lines, shoulder pad, chinrest, parts of the violin, care of the violin
GETTING THE VIOLIN READY SETTING UP THE VIOLIN:
It is important for every string teacher to establish a good working relationship with the parents of their students. Talk to the parents about the program commitments, clearly specifying the expectations. In the String Academy, the parents are required to attend two weekly private lessons and a group lesson, and to supervise daily home practice. The progress of the child is directly proportionate to the parents' commitment and involvement. VIOLIN SIZE AND SET-UP: When deciding the correct violin size, the left arm of the child should be able to curve around the scroll. It is better to choose a violin that is a little too small rather than one that is too large. This is to ensure that the child will be able to maintain the proper position. The bow can also be measured. Make sure that the student can easily extend the forearm at the tip of the bow. If this is not possible, either use a smaller bow, or mark this "new tip" with a piece of tape. • High Dot -- placed at the octave harmonic. This divides the string into equal halves. • Finger Lines are placed at the first and third finger spots. This provides a visual division of the fingerboard. When the student begins to use the fourth finger, a fourth finger tape may be added. Occasionally, with the very young child, the teacher may choose to place a second finger tape. However, this should be the exception rather than the rule. • Shoulder Pads: It is best to use foam rubber sponges with young students. This keeps the violin from slipping off the shoulder and eliminates unnecessary gripping with the neck and shoulder. (Foam rubber can be purchased at local fabric stores in varying heights and can be cut to size.) For older students, *Playonair's have proven acceptable. The violin is balanced on the collarbone, using the left arm and the head. Balancing the instrument becomes a give and take between the left arm support and the cantilever effect of the head resting on the chin rest. Thus the String Academy advocates against using shoulder rests with inflexible metal frames. These "Brooklyn Bridges" lock the shoulder muscles into one position, and any muscle that is not moving becomes tight. Providing for and promoting a dynamic rather than static violin hold is crucial. (for more discussion, see Part 2 - The Issue of Balance) • Chinrests: *Chinrests come in many different shapes and sizes. Teachers must search far and wide for the appropriate chinrest suitable for each student. The Guarneri model and Teka model have proven the most useful for full size violin players. Low, round plastic chinrests work well for the small size violins. Parts of the violin: Learn the names of the parts of the violin: back, front (belly), ribs, neck, fingerboard, scroll, peg box, pegs, strings, bridge, tailpiece, chinrest, end button, f holes, and sound post. Care of the violin: Instruct students in the proper care of the violin: • Keep a soft cloth in the violin case to clean the rosin off the violin and strings. • Always loosen the bow • Be aware that strings need changing at least once a year. • Check that the bridge is perpendicular to the belly. • The violin, the car and the weather...extra precautions o Do not leave the violin in a hot car-the varnish on the violin will blister. o Do not leave the violin in a cold car-the varnish or the wood may crack when brought into a warm house. o Do not leave the violin in the car because someone else may want it.
The video and the text were provided by courtesy of Mimi Zweig, Professor of Music (Violin, Viola); Director, Pre-College Strings Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University Bloomington, USA Further information can be found at: