Violins are among the most beautiful instruments that produce equally beautiful sounds when played, making them the pride of many musicians. However, there are some peculiarities that violinists must put up with that, despite these, still make the violin worth it. As a violinist, you may understand these more than any other type of musician out there, but they are part of what makes violinists feel like they’re a part of an exclusive, special club. The following are some specific unpleasant realities that you’re likely to face as a violinist.
There is no such thing as an ambidextrous violinist.
Violinists may want to practice versatility when playing, but it generally seems like the hand used to finger the violin’s strings is the only useful hand. If you have a tendency to use your left hand on the strings, it can get to the point where your right hand seems almost useless altogether. Even when you’re not using the instrument, you might find yourself going from right-handed to left-handed in just about everything you do. While they say the violin is an instrument that requires the use of both hands, you’re bound to depend on one more than the other.
Rosin is a pain that you can’t easily avoid.
Unfortunately, you need rosin to be able to play the violin. It would be nice if there was another cleaner substance you could use to create the friction needed to play, but there just doesn’t seem to be an alternative. Rosin has the innate ability to get everywhere—on you, your case, and seemingly anywhere in the vicinity of your violin. This wouldn’t be as annoying as it is if it were easy to clean, but it’s always a challenge to deal with the sticky mess it leaves behind. At some point, you may be able to find a way to effectively manage your rosin mess, but in the meantime, it’s a never-ending hassle that comes with the territory.
It’s impossible to play with long nails.
If you want to have long nails and play the violin, good luck trying to do so. To be able to play with ease, you need to have clean and short nails and keep them that way. Otherwise, long nails will prevent you from getting a good grip on the neck and strings as you fumble while playing. Unless you plan on taking a break from playing and want to focus on beauty, say goodbye to long nails.
You never put your shoulder rest on the right way.
There’s much debate over whether you need a shoulder rest when playing the violin. While it’s often advisable to use one for practical reasons, it can come with its own challenges that make you want to ditch it altogether. Regardless of how long you’ve been playing, you likely put your shoulder rest on backward all the time. Not only that, but you also inevitably act surprised as though you had gotten it right just a few days earlier. Keep telling yourself that you’ll get it right, and eventually you might.
You must protect your violin at all costs.
One of the minor nuisances that come with playing the violin is the sudden surge of requests from friends and family to “try it out.” While they might expect you to simply reply, “Yeah, sure,” and throw it their way to tinker with it, you likely find that it’s like handing them a newborn child. You’ll want to protect that instrument from any potential harm that comes its way, and you might be reluctant to hand it over to even the most trustworthy people. After all, who’s to say they won’t mishandle the bow or scratch the wood? They might drop it on the floor and inadvertently smash it. The thought can be too horrifying to risk letting other people play it. Even if you let them touch and play it, you keep a close eye on them at all times to make sure they’re treating it right.
You’ve come to embrace the “orchestra face.”
The initially dreaded “orchestra face” is nothing to be ashamed of while playing. You might want to avoid looking ridiculously solemn as you practice and perform, but you know that when your face develops that stone-cold glare, this means you’re truly in the zone. If you view videos of your playing and see your face taking on that deadpan expression, you’re focused and likely doing your best.
Merely sitting and playing can quickly become painful.
As a violinist, you likely understand that there are right and wrong ways to play your instrument when it comes to posture. When just starting out, you may find that your arm isn’t positioned the right way or that your neck and jaw bend a certain way, as your instructor points out to you. As you adapt to the proper playing position, you experience certain pains that you didn’t think were possible from playing such a pleasant instrument. However, over time, you quickly learn the back, arm, and neck positions needed to avoid this pain, which you find apply to other ordinary daily tasks. You may even have the mark of the violinist’s neck serving as a badge of pain you proudly wear.
Adapting new fingerings comes with its own kind of pain.
So, you’re finally getting used to the fingerings you’ve learned on your beloved instrument and feel comfortable playing. Then while performing, the conductor suggests new uncomfortable fingerings you really don’t want to use. Of course, you have to use them and so does everyone else as you struggle to adapt.
All of these pains are unique to violinists, but despite them, you enjoy playing the violin and have come to call this “your” instrument. The violin can be a rewarding instrument that makes it easier to put up with the struggles you might face as you learn it. If you’re considering taking violin lessons or want to learn another instrument, reach out to Grace Music School today.