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Can someone suggest to me what kind of pre-requisites I should need in order to start learning violin by myself or with help of a tutor please.

I'm a new learner with not much musical knowledge, (either vocal or instrumental) but I want to learn violin.

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4 Answers

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As an adult beginner who started cello a little over a year ago, I have the following advice:

1) Find a teacher. You can learn music theory through the Internet or a book, and you can do ear-training exercises through software. However, you cannot learn to play a string instrument with any reasonable level of proficiency without taking lessons.

2) Take the time to find the best teacher you can. Some teachers will have good personality. Other teachers will be convenient. Neither means they're a good teacher. Look for someone with a proper pedigree. That means they went to school for your instrument, and preferably have an advanced degree. Also they should perform regularly on your instrument. That means they play in a professional orchestra or a high-end community orchestra or do studio work, or play in church, etc. Once you've assembled a couple people who meet these criteria, take a sample lesson from each one and see which one fits you the best.

This is not to say there aren't people who lack formal training but happen to be great teachers. I'm sure they exist. It also doesn't mean that someone with great credentials can't be a terrible teacher. However, your chances of finding a teacher that really knows their stuff increases dramatically if they've had to go the years and years of training necessary to get a degree.

Logistics may dictate that you take someone not at the top of the list. However, be sure you really have no other choice. A year of lessons from a top-flight teacher is worth three years of lessons from a mediocre teacher. If you have to drive an hour to get to the top-flight teacher, it's still worth it.

3) From the beginning, resist the urge to mark your progression by how many Suzuki books (or any other kind) you've completed. Mark your progression by how well you're mastering intonation, rhythms, counting and bow strokes. In other words, the fundamentals. If you try to move too fast, you'll eventually get to the point where the material is too difficult for you, and you'll be stuck trying to fix the fundamentals before you can move forward.

4) Do not watch tutorial videos on the Internet unless you've discussed them with your instructor. The Internet is full of videos from "experts" with HORRIBLE technique. There are some good ones out there which are fine, but you have to learn which ones are good and which ones are bad.

5) Be patient. String instruments are not easy. But the accomplishment of becoming proficient on one is something of which you will one day be extremely proud.

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Thank you very much for your answer. I really appreciate your effort for answering. –  user136771 May 31 '12 at 23:11
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I don't agree with the stress on finding a top-flight teacher for a beginner musician. Beginner technique does not need that level of expertise; anybody with a degree in performance or education in that instrument would be overqualified. You could get the same instruction for cheaper by hiring college students. Experts are expensive because their knowledge is both physical and theoretical. As a beginner, paying for a musical expert would be like hiring einstein for arithmetic lessons; they're overqualified, and their real skill is only tangentially related to what you need right now. –  Babu Jun 1 '12 at 3:20
    
That being said, you have to find a teacher that you like, and who is capable of actually teaching. If you don't find a compatible and capable teacher (which is not the same as a decorated or award-winning teacher), you won't be able to learn, and you'll probably not have the opportunity to grow as a musician before you quit. –  Babu Jun 1 '12 at 3:24
    
@Babu, depends on the situation. I don't necessarily mean finding the top instructor who teaches all the virtuosos. They probably don't take beginners anyhow. But finding the best you can who is well-qualified. It is true that anyone can teach things to a beginner, but working with a great teacher from the start will equal better technique more quickly. If you start with a mediocre teacher and move to a great teacher later, you'll be kicking yourself at how much farther along you could have been had you started with the great teacher from day 1. –  wadesworld Jun 1 '12 at 15:42
    
@Babu, Additionally, I've not found that experienced teachers are significantly more expensive than college students. Most everyone uses fairly standard rates. I do agree that there's no point in going to a teacher with whom you're not compatible, not matter how qualified they are. That's why I suggested trying out several and choosing the one that feels the most compatible. –  wadesworld Jun 1 '12 at 15:45
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The only true necessities are a violin, a violin teacher, and patience. It will be a very slow process, especially if you are older than 10-15. The physical coordination and relaxation will likely be the most difficult, as few other things require you to be so completely tension-free.

Good things to have in addition to this: time. Ideally lots of it, although you can get by on half an hour a day, you just won't progress as quickly.

I would also think through your goals for this new skill. Do you eventually want to play in a good ensemble? Do you want to start a string quartet with friends? Do you primarily just want to play for personal enjoyment? What is it about the violin that so entices you? The answers to these questions will help guide who you get to teach you, how much time you put in, and how much of a perfectionist you are. If you really "get into it," I would try to pick up an inexpensive keyboard, and learn a little bit of piano. It'll help cement your skills on the violin, and the overall music theory. In my opinion, it'll help especially if you are older than 10-15, as you can visualize the notes more easily, and it's less dependent on muscle memory. (At least in the beginning.)

Good luck! It's a never-ending journey, but one that will bring you a lifetime of happiness!

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Thanks a lot for your answer. I'm completely new to the world of music. I'm very enthusiastic towards learning it. I'd want to play violin for my personal enjoyment. Thanks again! –  user136771 May 30 '12 at 18:58
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Arguably the most important requisite is a location where nobody can hear you. Without the ruthlessness of a child, you will not otherwise practice enough and/or enjoy it. A piano does not have wrong notes, a guitar may be badly tuned and produce snaring and dulled tones. But the variation of beauty in sound that a violin can produce, in particular for values of beauty close to minus infinity, is unparalleled.

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Well, thanks!! Initially I shall do that but later-on with that enthusiasm that I have towards learning it would definitely produce beautiful tunes. –  user136771 May 30 '12 at 21:10
    
Wow, i can't believe that nobody else suggested this! Especially when you're first developing your intonation (ability to hit real notes instead of falling in-between), you do not want to subject your loved ones to those first screeches. Hell, beginning pianists have that problem, and it's literally impossible for them to make a bad sound! –  Babu Jun 1 '12 at 3:27
    
+1 That's a great point! I'm not sure it's the most important though, since if you don't have a violin, there's nothing to make terrible noises… :) –  Josh Fields Jun 1 '12 at 14:10
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One of the biggest challenges you'll face is the triple demand on your your brain to:

  1. read the music
  2. interpret what you're reading
  3. co-ordinate your body to make the necessary movements

Add in the fact that it will be some time before your muscle memory develops, and you have a lot of work to do.

Fortunately, you can get plenty of preparation before your first violin lesson. If you learn the basics of musicianship from a teacher, such as keeping a beat, working with rhythm, learning to distinguish between different pitches etc., you'll have a musical framework in place to support the overlying demands. This preparation will help you play the violin by ear, so you don't always need music and can just mess around, improvise and have fun as well your more formal practice. You could also learn some basic music reading skills, so that when you see notes on a stave you'll understand them straight away and can immediately move your arms and fingers as needed, without slowing down by struggling to understand what you're reading.

This might sound a bit daunting, but actually I would say that learning to read music is a lot easier than learning to read English because there are no weird exceptions to rules.

As an extra, singing with an inclusive community choir is a very good way to develop your musicianship, and will have a great pay off in your ability to feel the shape of a piece.

For musicianship training, look online for your localy Kodaly Academy, which can provide courses. There's a great site called musictheory.net recommended elsewhere on this site that will help you get started with reading music.

Best of luck.

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Thank you for your suggestion :) –  user136771 May 31 '12 at 23:06
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