Find a private area with a straight-back chair and a music stand.
- Take the violin out of its case and place the instrument base on your lap.
- Pluck each string using your right or left thumb to test its tension and hear its pitch.
- Use a pitch pipe or a piano to tune your violin to G - D - A - E. ("E" is the top space on the treble clef on your sheet music. "G" is below the second ledger line of the treble clef.)
- Wrap your left hand around the upper body where the neck and fingerboard extend from the instrument.
- Place the base of the violin and the black chin rest below your chin.
- Bring your left shoulder around so it's under the chin rest and forms a support from below.
- Keep the violin level using your left hand. Your shoulder and chin provide firm, but easy contact and support.
- Be comfortable and relaxed.
- Place your right thumb at the corner of the fingerboard nearest the bridge.
|- Put the pad of your index finger on top of the "G" string.
- Apply slight pressure so that your finger lands on the neighboring "D" string. This is "plucking" and is called playing "pizzicato."
- Pluck the "G" string four times in a steady rhythm. Use no fingernails.
- Repeat on the "D", "A" and "E" strings. Count with a steady beat or use a metronome.
- Say the names of the strings each time you pluck to make a sound.
- Mix the sequence and keep the tempo at a slow rate. Focus on accuracy.
- Identify the location of the "D" and "A" quarter notes on the treble clef of your sheet music. "D" hangs just below the bottom line. "A" occupies the second space.
|Using the Bow
- Tighten the bow hair so there is a 3/4-inch space between the hair and the bow at the closest point.
- Place your right thumb on the inside part of the bow where the frog creeps forward and back.
- Lay your three middle fingers on the outside of the bow. Place your pinkie on top, near the adjustment screw.
- Rest the side of your index finger (just above its second joint) on top of the bow stick.
- Place the frog end of the bow hair on top of the "G" string halfway between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge.
- Allow your hand to fall naturally from your arm at the point of your wrist.
- Apply a slight bit of pressure on the bow and draw a straight line while vibrating the string. Stop near the bow tip. This is a "down bow."
- Reverse the direction and move the bow on the string from the tip to the frog. This is an "up bow."
- Move the bow at a medium-slow and regular speed.
- Focus on producing a steady and pleasant-sounding tone.
- Place your left thumb under the violin's neck about 1 1/2 inches below the nut.
- Play two pizzicato notes on the open (no fingering) "G" string.
- Keep your index finger arched and press down firmly on the "G" string with the pad of your fingertip.
- Play two pizzicato notes on this same string. This produces the note "A" - eight notes (an octave) lower than the open "A" string above.
- Play this low "A" with your index finger on the "G" string. Then play the high "A" on the open string above. Listen to how they match in pitch.
- Adjust your finger placement on the "G" string to make the "lower A" pitch match the upper.
- Put your middle finger on the "G" string one inch closer to the bridge.
- Pluck the string. This note is "B" - two whole steps above the "G" string.
- Play B - A - G - A - B - B - B and you've played your first tune, "Mary Had a Little Lamb."