The newest M4YV FREEBIE is a 2-page PDF designed to help students practice string crossings. The recent Oh Danny Boy FREEBIE inspired this resource with its beautiful opening made treacherous by a string crossing.
These worksheets help guide a curriculum to master technical elements like this and can be used independently to help with other repertoire.
Let's talk about string crossings. To do this, we must go back into history and remember what made the violin so special. Countless stringed instruments in multiple cultures were strung on resonating chambers, such as the lute, guitar, hammered dulcimer and more (Wikipedia has a nice list if you are curious).
However, with the addition of the bow to a stringed instrument with a resonating chamber, we then had a string instrument that could imitate the human voice with sustained notes that are shaped and connected. I believe this is our goal as violinists - to imitate the beauty of the human voice with our *bowing. It is a lifelong pursuit, and the art of crossing strings while maintaining a connected sound is particularly challenging. I tell my students that if someone was closing their eyes and listening to them play, it should sound like it is all being played on a single string.
*Specifically for lyrical music, not for specific genres that emphasize other qualities of the violin.
So, how do we cross strings with finesse and sonically hide the gaps our bows have to encounter? Working with a skilled teacher will guide a student toward this skill; like many things in our work, it does not compact nicely into a blog post. However, concepts include:
1- Raising & lowering the bow arm to the plain of the string.
2- Anticipating the coming string by changing the angle of the preceding note.
3- Practicing passages with as many bowing combinations as possible to synthesize a connected sound.
This last point is where these worksheets are useful. They extract 3 notes in 3 locations of the bow and offer 24 different ways to practice these 3 pitches to develop elegant and singing string crossings. These worksheets were inspired by the opening of Oh Danny Boy (get PDFs of this piece here) but apply to any beginner-intermediate level student seeking support for mastering the skills of smoother string crossings.
Can you just teach this concept to students without a worksheet?
Absolutely; however, sometimes, a student makes the best use of their practice time with a visual guide. I am always curious to know your thoughts in the comments - how do you teach string crossings?
Every purchase from the M4YV digital store gets a thank you card in the mail from yours truly and some super cute violin stickers. It's a digital world, but I love to also connect in the physical world and have so much fun writing everyone and showing up in your snail mail. I also have a lot of fun decorating the envelopes with these stickers (see below for mail going out today).
The annual back-to-school sale is still going on for 10 more days, and all sheet music collections are available at 50% off regular prices. Everything (including the Bonus Bundles) is 50% off from today through the end of September.
Stock up on Holiday Music, Scales, and more!!!
PS - If you want to make your own snazzy violin stickers for your students (which I am sure they would love), I get my custom stickers from Sticker Mule and can recommend their service.
Enjoy some PDFs of the classic lament Oh Danny Boy in the keys of F, G & D Major. Perfect for beginning-intermediate level violinists.
If you are interested in learning more about this iconic tune, there are plenty of articles on the World Wide Web to share its history, the lyrics and famous renditions.
I have long believed that beauty tells its own truth, and our hearts understand messages like these and that sometimes involving the brain breaks this sacred communication pathway, so I will refrain from sharing any historical data about this piece here. I will, however, share a beautiful version of this tune below.
Sometimes, you don't need a full-scale book, 4 octaves of notes, multiple fingering options and all the extras like relative minor and chromatic scales (though these are all fantastic and have a vital place in pedagogy).
Sometimes, you only need a simple scale sheet to teach a simple concept. These G & C major scale sheets are just that - simple.
I created them to help a student work on their marching, as a visual guide and to provide basic repetitions to integrate marching while playing, but they can be used for a multitude of beginning-level violin skills.
Eeek! High 3rd Fingers (or Low 4th Fingers) - New FREEBIEs
The time has come, and a beginning violinist has just encountered a piece with a new geographical location for the 3rd finger - what do we do?
First of all, congratulations! This is so exciting and takes a little support, but soon you will feel comfortable with this new technique and thrilled to play this new tune that has enticed you.
Next, we want to take the old and add the new. What does this mean?
Keep scrolling to learn.
Whether you are a student or a teacher, it is really important to implement this concept of using an existing aural template (or physical technique) and augmenting it with the new technique to make learning natural. While it will still be challenging, we can avoid defeat by working like this.
My student recently shared a super neat piece she wants to learn - it's in the key of G Major (1 sharp, a very standard key for us violinists), with G#s and D#s (requiring either high 3rds or low 4ths) all over the place - WOW, this is taking it to a new level!
The free PDF downloads above will help you tackle a situation like this. We will use your existing knowledge and aural template of major keys, beginning scales and easy tunes. It seems like a lot with 6 pages in total, but simplicity will emerge after you peek at it. It should all sound familiar - these are simplified 5-note major scales and easy pieces Twinkle & Mary Had a Little Lamb, but with new, fancy, sophisticated high 3rds (and then the same music but with using low 4ths).
"Hey, wait a second. I need some clarification. Why is this all in the key signature of G major?"
Great question; these study sheets are all with only one sharp because this is often what we encounter with our actual sheet music when we get new repertoire with accidentals.
"What's an accidental? Sounds like the word accident, which is not what I am going for in my music."
Accidental is a term for a note (aka pitch) that is outside the key signature. For example, if we have a piece in the key of C major (which has no inherent sharps or flats), a G# would be an accidental for this key. The world of music making, especially violin playing, is full of misnomers, and I have written about 3 common ones here (and the comments share more food for thought).
How to use these study guides?
Some students must use the "guitar position" (sitting with the violin on the lap) and pluck the exercises before doing as written with the bow. This is especially important for violinists like me and prone to excess tension in the left hand or violinists who struggle with proper left-hand technique due to recently sizing up to a new instrument or where they are in their development.
There is inherent repetition within these sheets; some students will need to do all the exercises daily for a month, and some will be able to grasp the concept by just utilizing one portion. We are all unique, and these guides can be tailored to where a violinist is at in their development.
Catch a mistake? To error is human; I always double-check my work, sleep on it and then check it again, but from time to time, I make a mistake. Gold stars to anyone who catches a mistake and sends me a friendly email to fix it. This project is a labor of love, and your help is appreciated! Also, please reach out in the comments below to share your innovative ideas for approaching this issue with your teaching and practicing.
HAPPY NATIONAL TEACHER'S DAY!
Disclaimer: If you are seeing this and not a teacher, consider forwarding this to your teacher so they can continue offering their amazing gifts to the world. They work hard behind the scenes, are often underpaid and deserve all our support to thrive.
Download 7 Steps to Attract More Students & Grow Your Violin Studio (What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Studio 10 Years Ago) free for the next 48 hours.
"How do I get more students?"
So many teachers emailed me this question privately that it was time to share my responses with a greater community. This led to creating 7 Steps to Attract More Students & Grow Your Violin Studio (What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Studio 10 Years Ago), a resource for teachers to get the support they deserve for building a sustainable career in an ever-changing world.
The culmination of insights and actionable tasks in 7 Steps to Attract More Students & Grow Your Violin Studio (What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Studio 10 Years Ago) results from my trials and errors in building a violin studio. It was slow to develop, and I paid the price for my lack of the knowledge I share in this handbook by having a low income and frustration for quite some time.
But you can avoid making the same mistakes I did!
This resource is for teachers growing their teaching studios and established teachers who want to maintain their success. Learn more HERE.
P & A is short for Praeludium & Allegro - the awesome violin showpiece by Fritz Kreisler.
Today's Flash FREEBIE is the Practice Exercises for Praeludium and Allegro, by Fritz Kreisler, and is available for only 24 hours. This 5-page PDF download gives students a sequential practice curriculum for mastering the dazzling measures 66-83 in the Allegro portion of this composition.
Click HERE to access it for the next 24 hours.
Also, feel free to comment below and let me know your favorite recording of this awesome showpiece?
In this post you will learn what a double-stop for the violin is, the top 5 benefits of using double-stops and be able to download free double-stop PDF printables for beginner-advanced level violin.
Double-stops on the violin are when two notes are played simultaneously and part of what makes the violin repertoire so thrilling, gorgeous, and sublime. See the image below for an example of how this would appear in a score.
The term "double-stop" is a bit of a misnomer and can be confusing because nothing is actually stopping in the verb sense of the word stop (i.e., to cease or end). The term double-stop makes more sense when we think of "stop" as a noun referring to a location such as a bus stop. For violinists, the location refers to pitches on the fingerboard.
When a request for more double-stop content from the M4YV project came to my inbox, I was an instant YES due to my captivation with this aspect of violin playing. I love double-stops so much that they are one of the reasons I play the violin!
Double-stops are not hard, but they are different than playing on a single string. For some of the players here, it will be a new technique, which makes this the perfect time to remind us that new does not equal difficult, but without the proper mindset, new can be interpreted as feeling difficult.
Keep reading to learn the 5 benefits of double-stops on the violin.
The Top 5 Benefits of Double-Stops on Violin:
1- Improved intonation:
Double stops help to hear pitches in relationship to each other, and this process leads to better intonation because intervals are more evident in the ear.
2- Learning block fingerings:
Double-stops require using "block fingerings," where two fingers are placed on the fingerboard simultaneously. Block fingerings are more sophisticated than using a single finger at a time and help to develop skill.
3- Better understanding of whole & half steps:
Double-stops fortify an understanding of whole and half steps because when using block fingerings, the fingers will feel the proportions of a whole and half step in relation to each other.
4- Advanced bow control:
In the same way that double-stops require the left hand to use two fingers at a time, the right hand also needs to double it's playing requirements by refining it's control over two strings simultaneously. When we begin playing the violin, we work with focus to play just a single string at a time. When we start learning double stops, we exert focus to play two strings together with control and precision.
5- Advanced repertoire:
The most magnificent repertoire composed for the violin uses double-stops, including but not limited to: J.S. Bach's 6 Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin, concerto cadenzas, and mesmerizing fiddle playing. Check out the videos below for some amazing examples of double-stops in violin repertoire.
Scroll down a bit on the page to find these FREEBIES to help learn and play double-stops.
What are your favorite double-stop compositions?
Please share in the comments below.
It has been on my agenda for a long time to fix the double stops resource because the second was not properly demonstrated when these were initially created. I'm human and hope I got this right the second time (pun intended). Scroll down to download the updated versions.
Sorry you missed the flash FREEBIE. There will be more in the future, please sign up on the mailing list by ordering the free Welcome Packet and you will be notified the next time this happen. Thanks! Heather
Enjoy another Friday flash FREEBIE fiddle tune posted on the M4YV blog (scroll down to access the file & a slow, practice video)
This will only be up for 24 hours and was taken from the Fiddle Duets sheet music collection. Friendly reminder that the 50% Fiddle Music and Fun Stuff Sale is almost done and will be going on thru February.
Happy music making!
Playing music is one of the ultimate experiences because we merge all 3 parts of our being. We use our mind to control our body to express our soul.
What is a technical?
A "technical" is termed as such because it works on technique, extracting just the mind-body connection involved in playing music. They are fun to do in themselves, and anyone serious about pedagogy knows how important it is to break things down into their smallest component, using technicals for step-by-step mastery.
I like to use the metaphor that technicals give us more colors in our palette to paint with, leading to more personalized expressions when we then apply them to our music-making.
#1- FINGER PATTERNS:
1 & 2
2 & 3
3 & 4
1 & 2 + 3 & 4
How to teach?
Finger patterns help make music theory applicable to violin playing and aid in learning repertoire faster.
#2- BASE JOINTS:
The anatomical term for these finger bones is proximal phalanges, but we will refrain from Latin terms and call them the base joints.
The base word is familiar in the word "basement," and etymologically, this refers to the foundation, which is appropriate since utilizing this portion of our body provides a solid foundation for playing the violin and, when mastered, creates highly articulate playing and fingers capable of fast playing. We will use this concept in the next technical presented here in this series, and it can also be taught independently.
How to teach?
The eye sees the hand covered in skin, does not identify the proximal phalanges bones, and then tends only to use what it sees, not taking advantage of the power the base joints offer. Using base joints to deliver the fingers on the instrument leads to clean, articulate playing.
#3- HOOK BACK FINGER:
How often does a violinist contort the entire hand to get the 1st finger into what we often refer to as a "low" position? (or flat), because we have not isolated the finger from procuring this motion
How to teach?
Students will be able to find notes requiring this, but in my decades of teaching experience, I find that they are not likely to use a hook back and will contort their hands. While improper hand shape is usable with beginning-intermediate level repertoire, ultimately, it will prevent from playing more advanced and fast-paced repertoire.
Two key concepts can be implemented to start learning vibrato ergonomically and easily. By removing the asymmetry and gravity-defying elements of violin playing and replacing these with "cello position." Once we take out these 2 elements, vibrato is clear to understand and easy to learn.
How to teach?
Not only will this approach streamline learning vibrato, but it helps both the player and teacher hone in on the elements of violin playing (asymmetry and going against gravity) that tend to make learning many new techniques difficult, providing a learning template for moving forward.
Shifting is simple: the arm abducts and adducts. This is all that shifting is:
Moving the arm up closer to the body by adducting it and moving the arm farther from the body by abducting it.
How to teach?
Anyone who has ever worked on an advanced repertoire may feel this because shifting can feel difficult, but it is a very simple motion. Identifying this, feeling the arm (so the hand shape does not overcompensate).
Correlating Downloads for 5 Technicals for Left Hand:
Scroll down to download the file for the next 24-hours.
On September 11, 2001, I was scheduled for my 1st day of teaching at the Levine School of Music in Arlington, Virginia. Earlier that day, I was at a faculty meeting for a different school when the news of the planes flying into the Twin Towers hit. I remember a colleague brushing it off but intuitively knew something was not right.
As I headed from that meeting towards what was supposed to be my 1st-day teaching, another plane hit the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, and all plans for normalcy were suspended indefinitely. I headed back to my apartment in Maryland and bought a TV to watch the news and understand what was happening.
That was 20 years ago and a defining moment in our nation's history.
The Flash FREEBIE being shared today is titled Annabelle and Toby. It was composed from this period in my teaching career and comes from the Music for 4 Violin, Volume 1 collection. It's a neat piece because it combines multiple playing levels, features an accessible 3rd position part (fun for the player new to this skill), flashy technique (like left-hand pizzicato), and is easy to memorize.
Students absolutely LOVE THIS PIECE!
Sorry, you missed this flash FREEBIE, but there are tons of other FREEBIES on this page:
Violin playing is a dynamic and complex learning process that can be cumbersome when the syntax is not built upon existing concepts.
Learn 3 misnomers in violin teaching and how to upgrade your languaging for better results.
Down Bows & Up Bows:
Since the bow moves in lateral directions, left and right, the actual words "up" and "down" do not correlate with the motions and can confuse both young violinists and their parents during home practice.
For violin players having difficulty integrating the words "down" and "up" into their playing, consider substituting the words "open" for down bows and "close" for up bows. Open refers to the arm opening up straight for what is termed the down bow, and close refers to abducting the forearm in what is termed an up bow.
I always told my students that if I could go back in time, I would change the term "chinrest" to "jawrest" since it's a misnomer. In reality, the chin is not involved in violin placement, and it is the jaw that contacts the face of the violin. This terminology has befuddled more than one student in my career, and they tried defeatedly to place their chin there. It is useful to point out this discrepancy so that the violin posture is not inadvertently misinterpreted during home practice.
Learn about my favorite type of "chinrest" HERE.
High and Low Fingers:
Words like "high" & "low" are confusing to beginning violin students while still learning how to play the instrument because these words are associated literally and do not yet connect with pitch vibrations.
Consider altering your instruction to be a description location like "closer to the bridge (or nose)" and "closer to the scroll" instead for more efficient results in the initial stages of learning these distinctions.
Learn a neat trick for teaching "low" 1st fingers HERE.
Have a languaging teaching tip?
Please share in the comments below.
Have you ever crossed out so much content and advanced fingerings in a scale book for your students that the sheet music looks like a football play drawing?
Young students deserve better resources that are clear to read and appropriate for their level and let them be successful in their home practice.
Teachers deserve resources that maximize every second of a 30-minute violin lesson.
Like all of my materials, I developed the One Octave Scales and Arpeggios for Violin out of a need for my studio and to fill a void in the existing resources available for beginning-intermediate-level violinists. I was frustrated that my students did not have an easy-to-read version of foundational content and tired of having to cross out octave ranges and fingerings in the existing scale collections.
Click on this link to learn about the One Octave Scales and Arpeggios for Violin. This resource is still on sale for 50% off until the end of the month. A version for viola is also available.
This flash FREEBIE will only be available for 24-hours and is the G Major portion of the One Octave Scales and Arpeggios for Violin 31-page *eBook (scroll down to access).
The One Octave Scales and Arpeggios for Violin has been one of my most popular resources, and the features include:
Like all of my materials, I developed the One Octave Scales and Arpeggios for Violin out of a need for my studio and to fill a void in the existing resources available for beginning-intermediate-level violinists.
I was frustrated that my students did not have an easy-to-read version of foundational content and tired of having to cross out octave ranges and fingerings in the existing scale collections. Not having proper resources for the beginner-intermediate level student led to them inadvertently making errors when practicing at home. Once we started using the One Octave Scales and Arpeggios for Violin, concepts were clear, easy to read, and quickly mastered.
The entire collection will be on sale at 50% off thru June 30, 2022.
Here is what other violinists and teachers are saying about the One Octave Scales and Arpeggios for Violin resource:
"Wonderful resource for my beginning violin classes. Thank you, Heather, for compiling such a clean, organized collection that is easy to use and easy for my students to read."
- S. K.
"I really love having sheet music in crystal clear large print. I think it will help my 6-year-old overcome his aversion to reading sheet music, and it is much easier on my own eyes, too."
- Angela S.
"This product is EXACTLY what I needed! Clear and concise, especially for us old guys. I need a good reference for scales and especially, arpeggios and it filled the bill right up front. Thanks Music for Young Violinists!! GREAT JOB!!!"
"I think is a fantastic resource for beginners learning scales. The notes are large and very readable. I really love having it because when students play in competitions, they are expected to know a lot of scales to play by memory, and this is a fundamental resource."
- Kate B.
"Immediately delivered PDF access. Very easy to download, open, print, and save. Well documented, easy to read. Perfect for any beginner or intermediate player for learning for practicing."
- Sandra C.B.
We live in a world of great contrast, and the only fair thing is that everyone gets 24-hours a day. What we do with these hours makes the biggest difference in our lives, and I have created habits, which include auditing how I use my time, that help me set my life up for accomplishing my dreams and staying focused.
Download the 15 Minute Time Tracker (Free Printable) below and access a previous version on the FREEBIES page.
I recently had an eventful four months: getting COVID-19, finishing my Bachelors of Science in Nursing (Summa Cum Laude), applying to *Doctoral programs, having surgery (again), and moving to a new apartment which was accompanied by some significant life changes and losses. This period of time was surrounded by grace, but it was intense and difficult to stay on course. One tool that helped me was this 15-Minute Time Tracker to help me stay focused and ensure that my use of time aligned with my goals. For those of you who are new to the M4YV project, you may not know that I have a long-term dream to combine the arts with healing and plan to bridge my decades of experience with music with medicine.
I do not use this time tracker every day, but at least 2-3 days a week, it helps me stay on track. I use the "Top 3 Goals" section to list the tasks I hope to accomplish but are not my favorite but need to get done. This usually includes following up with insurance to pay medical bills, getting my computer fixed, and making a dental appointment. The other parts I use to stay organized. I will then list the scheduled parts of the day and create a draft of what my day will look like. Rarely the day sticks precisely to this draft, and occasionally, I use the same sheet for 2-3 days at a time. However, it helps create a framework to stay on task and work towards my dreams. Overall, this simple tool has been very useful for me, and somewhere I once heard a quote that stated something to the effect of "we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade." This rings true for me, my days are ambitious with what I hope to fill them with (I am a lover of learning), but when I review what I have accomplished these past 10-years, it astounds me.
*I am honored and excited to begin at Frontier Nursing University in the fall of 2022 to work towards my Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree. Stay tuned for how this unfolds, and thank you for your support.
One of my teachers shared with me long ago that the body is the first instrument. After spending decades teaching and spending hours every day watching how the body's posture impacts the instrument's sound, I agree.
When we play the violin, both shoulders tend to tighten up and cause negative issues in our playing. Here are 3 tips to help violinists gain awareness in their shoulders and keep their violin playing healthy.
1- PRACTICE LAYING DOWN
This is silly and awkward BUT highly effective.
The laws of gravity will help a violinist feel a naturally aligned state in their body when they play laying down. Laying down while playing the violin is an incredible tool for the following three techniques:
1-Teaching the neck to release tension.
2- Supporting the shoulders in finding the base of their sockets.
3- Getting the knees to soften up.
Young children love this because it feels like a novelty, however, this practice technique is appropriate for players of all ages and levels. Laying down while playing the violin will create a very unnatural feeling in the bow arm and compromise the sound, but the long-term results of alignment and awareness are more than worth the short-term compromises.
2- TIGHTEN UP:
Go to the extreme to build awareness. Tighten up the shoulders as much as possible for 5 seconds and release. I use this verbal cue: "put your shoulders in your ears."
After this intense use of muscles, the shoulders will respond with fatigue and rest by staying down in the bottom of their sockets. They may not always stay down for the rest of the lesson or practice session, but this exercise helps develop the necessary awareness to address tight shoulders and fix this problem in violin playing.
In addition to creating muscle fatigue and natural inclination to release, this tip will also help a violinist realize the extreme of their range of motion so that they have more control in choosing where their shoulders go when playing.
3- EVALUATE THE CHIN REST AND SHOULDER PAD SET-UP:
When was the last time you changed your *chin rest or shoulder pad? Young students with growing bodies have different proportions in their neck-shoulder-arms approximately every six months and, their playing needs are also growing. Chin rests and shoulder pads need to be re-evaluated for younger players on a regular basis because of this continual physical and musical growth.
Most of us do not live in a major metropolitan area with a large string supply store to experiment with a variety of gear for our violins. Instead of this, stay up to date and informed of the variety of chin rests and shoulder pads by subscribing to string catalogs (links below).
Also, consider the Poly-Pad which I have featured on the “Things I Love” page. This economical shoulder sponge has extra curves than competitors pads and is one of my favorites. When I moved to Oregon 11 years ago I purchased a Poly-Pad in each size and it really helped me individually fit all of my students.
Interested in more tips for playing the violin? Here are 3 M4YV tutorial videos on vibrato, pizzicato and bow hold "bunny flips" that share ideas to help you bring out the best in your music making!
How do you help your student keep their shoulders relaxed when they play the violin?
This tune will be taken down in 24 hours. Please scroll down to access.
Enjoy a flash FREEBIE of this great fiddle tune arranged for 2 violins & beginning level. This duet is one of the selections in the Fiddle Duets collection available from M4YV.
Click HERE to view the entire collection and see the advanced arrangement of this tune.
The Best of the FREEBIES is the newest offering from the Music for Young Violinists project and is a 30 page eBook collection created to celebrate the most popular M4YV FREEBIES featuring 25 pages of music and teaching materials to help you bring out the best in your music making!
Even though we may never meet in person, it thrills me to connect here with our shared love of music and all things violin. Every day the M4YV project connects musicians from all over the globe:
Australia, Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, England, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, United States & More!
I feel so grateful to do this because my biggest passion is to help bring more music into this world. I currently work full-time as a registered nurse, and I created the M4YV project to celebrate and archive this special part of my life. I hope that sharing my 25 years of teaching experience with you will help you advance your violin skills, support your young musician(s), and deepen your knowledge of violin pedagogy.
When writing this (December 23, 2021), this project hosts:
If you are ordering this collection on the M4YV store, you will be signed up for the newsletter, will be the first to know when a new FREEBIE is posted, and on a special email list that gets announcements about flash sales. You will also be notified of innovative teaching and practice tips available on both my blog and video series to help keep your music-making inspired so you can reach your goals!
Happy Music Making in 2022!!!
Music for Young Violinists is hosting a sale from now thru the end of the month. Use coupon code: EADGC to get 50% off orders + receive a $20 *gift certificate with each order.
*The Fine Print:
The gift certificate is limited to one per customer, is eligible for all sheet music in the M4YV online store, and is valid from December 2-31, 2021.
We have 2 more versions of the Jig for Fun:
D Major for Violin & Da Major Viola (+ a *duet coming soon)
Thank you to an awesome violin teacher in Perth, Australia, for suggesting this. I love hearing from you, and when time permits, I am so happy to honor requests such as this one to transcribe the Jig for Fun. Thanks for the encouragement and for making more music in this world!!!
Are you interested in more fiddle music?
I have many collections of sheet music HERE and will share some of my fiddle tutorial videos below.
Even More Fiddle Fun:
Learning the violin, or any instrument for that matter, can be challenging for young children. However, many young children flourish when learning a musical instrument at a young age.
By guest writer Nicole McCray.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know when the best age or time you should enroll your child in lessons. While there is no honest definite answer for a specific age, there are some ways you can work to detect signs in your child that they are interested in learning to play the violin.
Music lessons and education provide excellent benefits for children, from improved social skills to expressing emotions and higher academics. So if you notice that you have a child expressing interest in playing the violin, there are some steps that you can take to help foster and encourage them into learning how to play.
#1- SIGN: THEY SHOW INTEREST IN THE VIOLIN
Children have an innate interest in music with exposure since infancy, from nursery rhymes to lullabies. Sometimes children will show you how interested they are by explicitly asking for violin lessons.
If they’ve asked for many things or you feel that maybe they are still too young to begin, give them some time, and see if they show a genuine interest or passion for playing before you decide to enroll them in lessons. It can take some time and continuous asking before you want to recognize their desire.
HOW TO FOSTER: ENROLLING THEM IN VIOLIN LESSONS
If they continually ask for lessons and you can detect that they are expressing strong interest, you might consider it an excellent time to enroll since they are still interested. In addition, enrolling your child in lessons is a great way to help encourage their learning to play, and they can work with a professional to help them advance in their skills.
When you begin to look for a violin instructor, keep their age in mind. Platforms such as Music to Your Home teaches violin lesson for children starting at a very young age. Music teachers take a keen interest in being creative, developing fine motor skills, and the children's creative skills. You also want to ensure that the instructors have experience working with younger children.
#2- SIGN: THEY FOCUS WELL ON THE TASK AT HAND
Learning the violin requires dedication, practice, and patience to know that it will take time to develop. It also needs a student who is focused and can concentrate on improving. If you have a child that you can see focuses well on one activity at a time, this is an excellent sign that they could stay focused on learning the violin.
An example might be if they are playing a game or working with a toy. You notice that they exercise patience in figuring it out, and even if they struggle, they still work through it till the end. These are excellent skills to have when learning the violin.
HOW TO FOSTER: HELP THEM TO SET UP A PRACTICE SCHEDULE
When your child starts to take violin lessons, they may become overwhelmed with all of the practice time necessary to learn to play well. As a result, they might begin to view playing the violin as more work than fun. It can help you encourage your child to find a way to consider practicing the violin as something that they want to do, rather than something they have to do.
Help your child take control of themselves by setting up a practice schedule. Children are used to parents forcing them to do homework and chores, but letting them take the reigns for their violin practice will help encourage the want to play. And, if they set up the schedule themselves, they will also be more likely to stick with it.
#3- SIGN: THEY LOVE MUSIC
It may seem obvious, but to play any instrument, your child should love music. Of course, most children enjoy music, but if you can sense that your child has a real knack for singing in tune or loves to pick up that toy instrument and play to their heart's content, this is a good sign that they will want to learn to play.
You might also notice your child has a talent when it comes to learning and applying music in such a way that you will feel compelled to enroll them in violin lessons. However, sometimes children have an aptitude for creating and understanding music, so that they even develop the skills to create their own music in a short time.
HOW TO FOSTER: KEEP ENCOURAGING A LOVE OF MUSIC
Children who listen to music and enjoy it with their parents will create an incredible bond and strengthen their relationships. So, think about incorporating music in fun ways, such as dancing and singing together at home, so that you can not only demonstrate the fun that music brings but help create a fun bonding time for you and your child.
You can find other creative ways to encourage and foster their love of music. For example, bring your child to a concert, musical, or orchestral performance where they can hear the beauty of the violin or watch a performance together on television. Seeing the instrument being played can provide significant motivation for your child to aspire to improve their playing skills.
#4- SIGN: THEY UNDERSTAND LETTERS AND NUMBER
Some people believe that it can be more beneficial for children to start learning instruments before talking. While this can happen, a more detectable sign for you to know is that music is very technical.
If your child can understand the alphabet, at least from the letters A to G (for notes), and counting to the number eight or ten, this is helpful when they start to learn the violin. Since reading music is an essential aspect of their playing, notes and letters will be a large part of their musical learning.
HOW TO FOSTER: HELP THEM WITH MUSIC THEORY
Music theory is a fundamental building block for learning how to play music. If you have any musical knowledge, you can help jumpstart their learning by ensuring that they understand those letters and numbers and how they apply to sheet music.
You can even help them learn to count by giving them simple rhythms to bang out on some pots and pans, just as a fun exercise. Rhythms and beats are also an essential aspect of learning the violin, so helping them learn some fun and simple patterns will be an excellent tool for them when they begin their music lessons.
#5- SIGN: THEY FIT THE INSTRUMENT
There aren't very many instruments that are fit for young children, but sometimes you can access different-sized instruments to cater to younger children until they grow to require the average-sized ones. The advantage of the violin is that it is made in multiple sizes, so even if they are young when they show interest, it is not too early to start them learning how to play.
HOW TO FOSTER: ADJUST THEIR SIZE AS THEY GROW
Ensure that you research the best violins for children at the appropriate age since they differ in size. You can also consult with their violin teacher to decide what size will fit them best when they start and when to update and buy a new one as they grow and learn the instrument.
#6- SIGN: THEY ARE FAST LEARNER
Sometimes children are more independent and pick up the hang of things or activities quickly. If your child has an aptitude for moving at a faster pace or having better control over events and situations, this is a good sign that they will learn the violin.
Since learning the instrument requires a lot of effort and practice, your child must have patience and have the stamina to learn something new without feeling frustrated or giving up too easily. Commitment is also a vital trait that they should possess.
HOW TO FOSTER: HELP THEM ENJOY TO LEARN
Naturally, as parents, we want our children to find the violin exciting and foster their talent, but sometimes children will play for a while and then seem to become less interested as time passes. Encouraging that commitment to stay with it when music pieces become challenging or they start to become less interested can help them push through that rough patch.
As long as your child finds the violin fun, they won't usually view their practice time as tedious. But, you can still help ensure that they are enjoying themselves by finding ways to make their practice time more fun, such as creating fun, musical games out of their music theory terms or asking them to play through their piece for you and giving them a lot of praise for their hard work.
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS TO FOSTER YOUR CHILD’S TALENT
While there may be many instances where your child is inclined to learn the violin, it will always come down to whether you are ready as a parent to enroll them in lessons. However, there are some things that you can begin teaching and helping your child to understand ahead of time if you sense their inclination to learn the violin.
A great violin teacher can sometimes make all of the difference between having your child love learning their instrument. So, it is a big part of your job to ensure that you are locating the best teacher to help your child learn and that they can cater to your child's needs when it comes to learning to play.
Other helpful tips to consider when encouraging and cultivating your child’s talents include:
Ultimately it is up to you as the parent to decide when your child is ready to begin violin lessons and learn how to play. However, it is just as vital for you to be prepared to be there to help encourage them along in their journey. Any time you can take to help them practice, find the best teacher, and understand the financial cost of putting your child in violin lessons are also part of the process.
While it can be stressful and challenging for your child, learning the violin can bring them some fantastic benefits and advantages to apply to their lives as they grow and develop.
A special thanks to our guest writer Nicole McCray for sharing this piece with the Music for Young Violinists audience. As always, we love hearing from you, and if you are inspired to share something, please write in the comments below. Thanks!
It was one of those weekends where I was going to post this three days ago (and the day got busy), then two days ago (again, a busy day), and then one day ago - phew, ever have one of those experiences?
Forgive me in advance if I missed typos or do some weird grammar; I decided that done is better than perfect and gave myself a 15-minute challenge to get this posted and out to you. This Flash FREEBIE is a fiddle tune - yay, and can be downloaded below for the next 24 hours.
You can also check out the store to take advantage of the final days of the annual Back to School Sale, where all sheet music is 50% off regular prices.
Happy Music Making!
PS - If you missed it, here is the last post that shares my puppy and the gift I send in the mail with w/every order.
It's true; everyone who purchases from the Music for Young Violinists store gets some personalized Mail JOY from me (aka "snail mail").
Keep scrolling to see what this is and meet my 14-month old Great Dane puppy.
It's also true that I love purchasing hard copies of music on thick paper, bound in a collection (raise your hand if you love this too).
In a perfect world, we would all live next to an amazing sheet music store and could pop by anytime we want to get specific materials for beginning-intermediate level violin players. It's neat to envision that, but until this is available, it's my honor to share downloadable sheet music resources with you. These collections came from my direct experience teaching beginning-intermediate level violin players these past 25+ years and were all inspired to fill a void in the existing materials as well as celebrate advancing skill levels.
Since I love the traditional hard copies of sheet music printed on durable paper, I send every patron a piece of mini-music and some fantastic violin-themed stickers. Make a purchase at the annual 50% off Back to School Sale, going on thru the end of the month, to have these *mementos of joy show up in your mailbox.
*Puppy not included.
Every once in a blue moon, I turn on a computer that sits in a drawer and is so old and broken it doesn't do much but serve as a net for my old ideas. I found one, played around with it and the FREEBIES page now has a new Jig called Jig for Fun (if you have a better idea for a name, please let me know).
This new FREEBIE is indeed fun, easy to play, easy to memorize, and perfect for beginning-intermediate level players. All bowings are just suggestions, so play around to find what works best for your style.
The Jig for Fun is waaaaaay down on the FREEBIES page, so pour yourself a cup of tea and get ready to scroll to find it HERE:)
Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!