Everyone says that stringed instruments can be the hardest to play, and in some cases that’s true, but if you pick the right one and are eager to learn then it’s really not all that hard. It’s the same for all instruments really.

 A Violin holds four strings and is played at the shoulder in an upright position; it can create higher sounds with an E string and low sounds with a G String. The more upright the violin is played the better the sound will be projected. There are many types and sizes of Violin, there’s 1/8, ¼, 1/2, ¾ and 4/4 (full size).  You can also buy an electric Violin, all this means is that you can plug it into an amp to make it sound louder. A Violin bow can be made out of many different materials typically it tends to be horse hair or nylon; they also use about 150-200 hairs per bow. The name Violin comes from the Latin word Vitula which means stringed instrument.

 There are two ways to tell what size instrument is best for you, one is to measure your arm and then the instrument, the second is to place the Violin on your shoulder and stretch your hand out underneath it, your hand should just be able to wrap around the end to hold it in place. If your hand doesn’t reach the end you need a smaller Violin, and if your hand reaches all the way aver the top the Violin then you need the next size up.

In the olden days Violins were known as fiddles, this was because they were played pointing to the ground and commonly played folk music. Of course we still play folk music now but in upright position, this therefore only affects the sound. Violins/fiddles use to be played by the lower class people, now they are seen as a respected instrument that can be difficult to play.

 If you already play an instrument or can read treble clef then the violin can be quite easy to play once you’ve mastered hand and bowing techniques. There are so many books that can be brought to help teach you or buy a teacher the Violin. The fiddle time collections are a good start for kids; they start from the beginning and work up teaching the important rules as you go along. They also have fiddle time scale books that give you the notes and the fingerings for each of the scales. There are also grade books that you can work through and some people like to jump right in there, but in my opinion its best to start at easier level and work up to the grades.

Poppy Kesgrave High School (work experience week July 2014)

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