During my first semester of high school, I was in the school’s orchestral strings class. At the beginning of the semester, I hadn’t played the violin at all before. After five months in the class, I feel like I’ve made some progress from the beginning of the school year, and this blog post I’ll share most of the things that happened while I was learning how to play the instrument.
One of the first things that the music teacher wanted to teach the new students was how to take care of the instrument such as how to store the instrument and how you’re supposed to maintain the different parts. Maintenence for a violin is much more different than for a guitar which is what I’m used to. With a guitar, the only thing you really have to do is make sure you change the strings every once in a while and don’t let the wood get too dry. However, with a violin, every time you want to play you have to make sure that you’re bow has the right amount of rosin on it and is tightened to an appropriate amount. You also have to wipe down your strings after you play and should keep it stored inside its case most when you’re not playing.
In terms of playing, the violin was really difficult to get used to because I wasn’t really familiar with using something like a bow to play. Even now I still have trouble keeping the bow straight properly, but it’s definitely better than when I first started. For now, I’ve only learned how to play the basic scales like G, D, A, and C major which is generally what is expected by the end of the course. For the duration of the course, the beginner students including myself have only been playing in first position which is where your left hand is at the very end of the fingerboard on the violin. I plan on taking the course again next year, so hopefully, I’ll be able to improve my playing ability.
Additionally, I learned a little bit of theory during the course since usually I just use tablature for guitar. For our written exam, we had to have a certain amount of knowledge with intervals, key signatures, and scales which I was able to pick up relatively well by the end of the semester. I think that the theory element of the course is where I ended up having to practice the most because I’ve never really had to look at key signatures when playing on my own.
Overall, I think that I ended up progressing quite a lot by the end of the semester and the teacher thinks that I have too. I’m most likely going to take the course again next year, and since we’ve been allowed to keep the instruments until the end of the school year I have a chance to keep practicing. However, I feel like the violin will just end up sitting in its case most of the time.