Beginning students should come to this page often to get help with their practicing at home. New things will be added here frequently, so keep checking back for useful resources.
Examples of Good Hand Positions
Recordings of Suzuki Volumes 1 & 2
The latest recordings of the music published in the Suzuki books for violin and viola have been performed by William Preucil and by David Cerone, which Wes recommends. If you buy the Suzuki books with the CD included, you probably already have the William Preucil recordings. You can purchase them through the following links on Amazon.com or through iTunes. The CD’s are also for sale at Kennelly Keys.
These recordings are excellent examples of the music in the books well played.
Suzuki Violin Practice Videos
To help you with your practicing in between lessons, finding help online can be really helpful. A very good one is Allyson’s Violin Studio on YouTube. Once there, you can search her videos for the violin pieces in the Suzuki books that you are working on. Some of her videos break down the notes into little chunks to help you learn how to do them, which can be very helpful.
How Much Should I Practice?
It is very important to practice every day. Practicing every day helps you to learn quicker and better.
The question is not how much you practice. What is important is how well you practice.
Learn how to figure out what needs to happen in the piece you are learning. Try to tell if you are doing what needs to happen or not. Take just a few notes at a time and make sure you know how to get from one note to the next.
Practice your violin the way you would solve a puzzle—not only will it be more fun, but you will learn much quicker!
If you are figuring out how to do the pieces you worked on in your lesson, then you are practicing enough. If not, you not only need to spend more time practicing, but you also need to ask yourself whether you are practicing correctly.
Splitting up your practice time is good. Practice only as long as you can actually concentrate. If your mind is wandering, take a break and come back to your violin later on.
It is also very important to practice all the pieces that you are assigned. If you do that the way described here, you will find yourself improving. And that’s fun!
Have Good Posture
When you play your instrument, make sure that you stand or sit straight. This will help you to improve much more easily.
Use a Music Stand
Using a music stand will not only hold your music where you can read it easily, but it will also help you to hold your instrument correctly.
Practice in Front of a Mirror
Ask your parents to help you find a place to practice every day that has a mirror big enough for you to see yourself and your violin (not in the bathroom!).
Stand or sit so that your violin is parallel to the mirror. This lets you tell if your bow is straight and if your hand and arm positions are correct.
Use a Metronome
Using a metronome while you practice helps you to keep a steady beat and play rhythms better. You can get an inexpensive one that will work well, preferably one with a round dial on it, which is easier to use than the kind that has digital numbers.
You can also find free metronomes online if you do a search. Here is one that is easy to use.
To learn how to use one, pretend that the metronome is a drum. Listen to some songs that have drums in them to hear what that sounds like. Now turn on your metronome and play your piece along with it. Turn the metronome to a slow speed until you can play the notes, then you can set it faster once you know the piece better.