Philadelphia has always been known for its well-documented musical heritage. Philly’s musical institutions have been an important part of music throughout Pennsylvania and the country.
One of Philly’s best-known musicians is Leopold Stokowski. He was Philadelphia Orchestra's third conductor as well as a champion of classical music in the 20th century. With Stokowski’s influence, the music scene in Philly has kept growing through the centuries. Philly has been able to incorporate classical music as well as opera, R&B, jazz and soul into its culture.
With such deep roots, anyone in Philly has numerous options if they decide to take a dive into music education. Classical music classes are in abundance in Philly, especially for a violinist.
Joining a music program or taking lessons from a private teacher can help you prepare for auditions for a symphony orchestra or a conservatory. With dedication and persistence, you will soon be playing the melodies of great composers like Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach.
Violin Lessons in Philadelphia
Once you have decided to take up the violin, you might ask yourself, well how do I learn? Where can I take lessons?
Philadelphia has multiple answers for those questions. Just like in Chicago, there are schools of music you can attend, private violin instructors you can hire, and even online tutorials. Each of these can help you progress in your skills as a violinist.
The most common way of beginning to learn an instrument is to attend a music school or program. These are usually designed for younger children and can sometimes even be integrated into their school activities.
For example, the Settlement Music School in Philly holds easy childhood classes like their Suzuki method for violinists or ensemble lessons for children and teens. The musical training includes learning to read music, improvisation, ear training and practice for a recital at the end of the program.
Another option is to inquire about private violin lessons. If you are beginning your violin lessons as an adult, this is the most practical solution for you. A violin teacher can be found online with one quick search on Google, or you can check out the music tutors right here on Superprof. Private lessons will allow you to learn the instrument at your own pace and with careful attention from the tutor.
Choosing private lessons will also allow you to decide what pedagogy you would like your tutor to use. Most will either teach with traditional music methods or the Suzuki method. You can also cater your lessons to the musical styles you prefer. You can choose anywhere from Baroque classical music to more contemporary music.
There is also the digital option, if you aren’t able to find private lessons in person that fit your needs, you should try out online lessons. Online lessons with music teachers can be more affordable and convenient for everyone from beginner to advanced players. It can be as easy as signing in to your webcam.
Parts of a Violin
Before your first music lesson, it is important to first get to know the body of the instrument. A violin is a beautifully crafted musical instrument that creates deep and harmonic sounds. They are able to do so because of the shape and structure of the wood pieces that come together in the instrument.
The body of the violin is the largest part and it’s the hollow wooden body. The first function of the body is to amplify the sound created by stroking the strings with a bow.
The neck and the fingerboard extend from the body of the instrument. This flat surface is used for you to place your fingers-tips and lets you adjust the pressure on the strings to create different notes. More advanced students will use the lower part of the neck to reach different notes.
The pegbox is at the top of the neck where the pegs are placed to hold the strings in place. You can tune your instrument by adjusting and tightening the strings through the pegs located in the peg box.
The F-Holes are on each side of the violin carved right into the frame of the body. A variation in the size of the F-holes changes the sounds of the violin.
The bridge is the small wooden piece that holds the strings from the body of the violin. The bridge allows the vibrations of the strings to travel to the body to make a sound.
The chin rest is just as it sounds, it is the part of the violin where you would place your chin to be able to hold it down.
Lastly, there are the strings. A violin has 4 strings which are tuned to be a fifth apart representing the G, D, A, and E notes.
A new student should be aware of the parts of the violin and its functions before beginning their first class. Students in New York and San Antonio can
Equipment Needed to Play the Violin
Like with any other hobby, music students learning the violin will require different tools. Apart from the violin itself, there are a couple of other accessories that you should be aware of when starting your exploration of this incredible instrument.
Here is a couple of items that you will need and an explanation of what they are used for:
- Shoulder rest: In order to hold the violin between your chin and shoulder you will need a shoulder rest. Your shoulder rest will keep your violin from slipping and keep you conformable while playing. Shoulder rests come in different sizes and needs to be measured to the size of your violin.
- Music stand: When playing the violin, you are going to be looking at sheet music. So where does this sheet music go? Right on the music stand of course. Collapsible music stands are available for easy travel to lessons and recitals but sturdier ones are best to keep at home for practice.
- Tuner: A tuner for your strings will be necessary until you develop the ear to tune your instrument on your own. A tuner will tell you if your strings are at a higher or lower pitch than they should be
- Rosin: This is used for your violin bow. It creates friction between the strings and the bow hairs in order to create better sounds.
- Violin case: Most violins come with a case but it is important to ensure that you have one; it will help keep your delicate instrument in good condition.
These are all tools that will most likely be required by your music teacher beginning in the first lesson. They are essential to the care and use of your fiddle. They are all reasonable investments as you will be using them in all of your music lessons and performances.
Learn how to choose the right violin for you here.
Ideal Practice Routine
Practice only on the days you eat. - Shinichi Suzuki
Suzuki, like many others, believed that consistent practice is the only way to improve your musical skills. By creating space in your schedule for daily practice, you will be able to see your skills flourish in no time.
Scheduling a consistent routine helps you stay on track. Here are some of the best tips for setting a routine that works for you, helping you reach your musical goals:
- Make practicing at the same time each day a priority. If your practice time is part of our daily schedule, you’ll be less prone to saying you don’t have the time;
- Try using an app. Music Journal or Practice Center help track your practice and growth;
- Tuning your violin at the begging of a session is crucial. You can find instructional tuning videos online or get help from tuning apps such as Cleartune or Tuner Lite;
- Keep your violin sheet music organized. In order to make your practice sessions as efficient as possible, make sure you have all of the sheet music you need in one place;
- Make sure that you also have a pencil on hand to mark up music sheets on the sections that you need to continue to work on;
- Practice with good technique. In order to truly excellent you not only need to practice consistently, but you need to practice well. Make sure track of your posture and hand placements on both the bow and the neck.
Whether you are a part string academy, orchestra or conservatory, or just learning for yourself, it is crucial that you practice. Even 15 minutes of practice a day is better than no practice at all. A small amount of consistent work can make for great improvement in your musicianship.