With any new skill, mistakes and goof-ups are inevitable. Some of these turn out to be invaluable learning experiences, but others are just hassles. There are plenty of mistakes to make with the violin, but these are some of the most common for the beginner violinist, and forewarned is forearmed!
1. Limp Wrist
Resist the urge to bring your left wrist up to support the neck. When you hold your hand like that, it's impossible to curve your fingers as much as you should (go on, you can experiment with your own hand). The violin will remain upright and in its place without cradling the neck in your hand, so remember to drop the wrist.
2. Rosin! Rosin! Rosin!
Rosin is used to increase friction between the bow and the strings. Without enough friction, you don't get much vibration of the string and therefore not a lot of sound. That being said, don't go overboard with rosining your bow. You will be able to tell when you need to add more: you'll only be getting a whisper of sound out of your instrument. Too much rosin will create too much friction between the bow and the string, which results in poor tone quality. Don't worry, you'll be able to tell when you need to add more rosin-the sound from your violin will drop to a whisper.
3. Where's Your Bow?
Where you put the bow on the string also affects the quality and volume of your sound. If you've ever gone to an elementary school string concert, you can see some of them with their bow way up on the neck, or way down by the bridge (the wooden part perpendicular to the body that holds up the strings). Needless to say, this is not the example you want to follow. Think of the bridge and the neck as walls or boundaries that your bow should never cross, and the parts of the string nearest them as dangerous territory. The bow should stay in the middle.
4. Elbows Out
Leaning your elbow against your body puts your violin at a bad angle and negatively affects the quality and volume of your sound. If your arm is so tired that you can't hold the violin up, call it quits for the time being.
At first, you might not progress as quickly as you had hoped. Don't get discouraged! You're not going to become an expert overnight. The only way you'll improve is by playing more, so keep on keeping on, and you'll see the payoff soon enough.
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