5 Things I Wish I Knew before Starting the Violin (story time) | Violin Lounge TV #416

by | Apr 21, 2021 | Start to Play | 22 comments

Probably I would be a better violinist if I knew these things when learning the violin

Learn from my stories and regrets:

When you do these things right as you start playing the violin, you’ll save a LOT of pain and frustration:

#1 Learning mindset vs fixed mindset

I’ve spent too much time comparing myself to others who were better or more experienced in violin playing. Run your own race. Approach everything with curiosity. When you can’t do something yet, don’t judge yourself or think you lack talent. Instead just wonder ‘how can I learn this?’.

#2 Learn to play by ear, by heart and improvise

Sometimes just play for fun. Don’t stick to your sheet music too much, although it’s also important to become a good reader. Don’t try to play properly all the time.

#3 Practice with metronome

If you learn to practice with a metronome right when you start playing the violin, you’ll benefit a lot more from it. I started too late and for me the metronome has always been a friend and an enemy. It feels forced and unnatural: the rhythm comes from the outside when I practice with a metronome, although it does help me to clean up my rhythm. When you start earlier on, playing with a metronome will feel more natural.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

#4 Find a good teacher

In my violin journey, two teachers really ruined my confidence and cost me years of progress. Listen to my story in the video above.

#5 Flexible pinkies!

So easy to skip when you begin learning the violin and so hard to correct at a later stage. I show you the difference in the video above.

#6 Drop your stories about what a ‘real violinist’ should do

I stayed way to long in orchestra jobs and teaching positions that drained or bored me. Only in the last few years I’ve found a fulfilling career as a violinist. Choose what inspires you!

You need to make mistakes to make progress

Nobody can do everything right from the start. Don’t let that frustrate you. See your mistakes as learning opportunities. All our journeys are different. Focus on your own progress. Become a better violinist than you were yesterday!

What’s a thing you wish you knew when you started playing the violin?

Share it in the comments below! It might just make a big difference for a fellow violin learner.

Violin Lesson #38 Allegretto op 22E by Elgar EASY TUTORIAL Violin Lesson #39 Rieding EASY CONCERTO op 35 2nd movement

22 Comments

  1. Susan

    I like this style of video!

    Reply
    • Zlata

      I’m happy you do, Susan!

      Reply
    • Manoj

      Good teachers are rare. Those who bring fun into the learning process are rarer still. You are a gem as a mom and as a teacher. I am amazed at the way you have merged and balanced life and work. Glad to have found you. Gifted myself a violin at 51, to see what I could do with it.. 4 years, 2 teachers, once a, week sessions, and I was getting tired of myself, with half a tune, first position on 2 strings, and scratching away to the misery of all around, wondering which hilltop to get away to practice, and not knowing why I can’t get better. Then in a desperate attempt to gather skills, I got Lost in the sea of you tube videos.. Took a plunge into Julia’s Academy 5 months, ago, found a structure, which gave me some small milestones to cross.. I practice daily, and make some small progress in bits and pieces. Bunch of notes, I can manage. To make music, I need help. I found you then. I find your bowing lessons extremely helpful. And love the way you say “try something like that”…show the way, and leave the student to experiment…great method. I am a surgeon. Hand is my best tool. And now I hope to make good music with them. I need some more self study before I get into your personal program. Meanwhile have fun, and keep up the good work. Sorry for the long post. Felt I was speaking to my sister. Take care.

      Reply
      • Zlata

        Wow, thank you, Manoj, I’m sure as a surgeon there’s nothing wrong with your fine motor skills and you’ll be able to learn the violin quickly :).

  2. Albert

    Obviously, I keep on being able to play the violin now in 2021. I recently replaced my chin rest for a new one.
    By the way, can interested parties only make a donation through your YouTube channel? I want to make a donation soon.

    Reply
  3. Liga Verhoeven

    Very inspiring

    Reply
    • Zlata

      I’m glad it is, Liga!

      Reply
  4. Jill

    This is good. I want to be able to enjoy playing the violin without feeling bad thinking I should practice everything that I need to improve on at once. For me, I shall focus on one area of playing when I pick up the violin and not feel bad if I don’t practice everything each time I play. I think I xs hall find it more beneficial and enjoy the practice session more.

    Reply
    • Zlata

      Exactly, Jill, that’s much more effective.

      Reply
  5. Julie

    Really great honest video, emphasising that you must enjoy your own violin progress and journey your way.
    ” I did it My Way ” – Everyone is individual. Given me courage to carry on as basic learner at moment.
    Thank you, much love to you and your beautiful family.

    Reply
    • Zlata

      Love to you and yours, Julie 🙂

      Reply
  6. Sylvia

    Thanks for your video. Congratulations on the birth of your son. I’ve been practicing just under a year but find playing with the metronome difficult unless I change speed down to 50-60. Can’t play faster than that. Anything else I should do? Your advice is always helpful.

    Reply
    • Zlata

      If faster makes it sloppy, keep it at the slow tempo. Lots of students practice in a high tempo and their playing gets sloppy because of it. Take your time and build it up gradually.

      Reply
  7. Sarah Rose

    Thank you for your words of wisdom! I have been struggling to find where I am with my violin after a 50 year absence! I am eager to play at least at my previous level which was better than average (whatever that is) and it is not happening overnight!! I need to be patient and enjoy my daily practices. Returning to the violin is truly a joy.

    Reply
    • Zlata

      Oh yes, the violin is such a good teacher of patience.

      Reply
  8. Mon

    Thanks, Zlata, what a lovely video! It’s easy to forget to just relax about it and take it at its natural pace and enjoy the journey.

    Reply
    • Zlata

      Exactly! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Gerard

    Thank you Zlata for doing this , very helpful and very well done.

    Reply
    • Zlata

      I’m happy you like it, Gerard!

      Reply
  10. Nadeline

    So recognizable! I started lessons at age 7 and quit at age 7, after I had seen a three year old play on stage with André Rieu. I felt I was already too far behind and would never be a soloist. Now in my thirties I love to practice here and there when I have time. My goal is to learn a good vibrato before I’m eighty. Haha As long as it brings me joy.

    Reply
    • Zlata

      That’s the spirit, Nadeline, I’m sure you’ll manage a lot sooner 😉

      Reply

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