Violin and viola are amazing instruments, but have the reputation of being extremely difficult to play. While few skills are easily mastered, many of the challenges associated with these instruments are exaggerated. Given the right instruction, anyone can learn to play well.
Most students don't become frustrated because they lack talent or interest, but because they are have the wrong set up and poor posture. Improperly fitted chin and shoulder rests lead to slow progress, unnecessary tension, and discouragement.
Each and every student is physically unique from all others, requiring a unique instrument arrangement. The combination of a properly fitted chinrest and shoulder rest will result in comfort and freedom, without unnatural twisting or tightening.
Most string students cannot play in tune reliably. This is because their left hand is not properly trained. Perfect intonation and remarkable agility are the natural results of a correct left hand position and action.
A natural bow hold is the foundation of all tone, color, brilliance, and virtuosity. Most students push and destroy the sound, being unable to play cleanly and beautifully.
Everyone has fast fingers, and those fingers can be trained to play the violin or viola. Mastery is a matter of process, not talent.
Pieces will never produce technique. A fine left and right-hand technique is, and has always been, the only reliable foundation of virtuosic string playing. Building technique first will enable students to play anything.
I have worked with hundreds of students over my decades of teaching experience, and I have found that proper understanding and development in these areas always produces fabulous results:
© 2013 Valerie Gardner