Another October has arrived, and a new group of eager beginners have been learning all about violins! They can tell you many interesting facts about the instrument and how sounds are produced. They have had an “up close” look at a real violin and bow, and they have learned how to hold their practice bows: make a bunny with the middle fingers of your right hand touching your thumb, then give it nice round floppy ears with your pinky and index finger. Sounds easy, but there are 4 fingers and a thumb to take care of and each has a special job to do on the bow in order to produce a good sound on the violin, so it’s important to pay attention to each one to get it “just right” so that it will become a good habit.
They have spent their last 2 sessions assembling cardboard box violins so that they learn the parts of the instrument. They have learned how to hold their box in rest and play positions so that they will know how to look after a real violin.
Getting the equipment in the correct hand is the first challenge, and then getting control of the bow hand while holding the violin is also tricky. As with sports, or handwriting, or learning math facts, lots of practice of the basic skills will help us to become better players.
Fortunately, we have some amazing volunteers and student mentors who play the violin and will be working with the beginners each week to help them with their skills. We need usually a month to work with the boxes and dowel stick practice bows before we move to the “real” violins (although they are already asking, of course!). Parents will be notified before the Big Day approaches; it’s a very special occasion!
- posted by Deborah Henderson