The Technical vs. Musical Violinist – Which One Are You?

There are three areas of violin learning that I want you to be aware of.

The technical side, the musical side, and the mental side.

By managing each of these three areas, you will be in a position to improve most efficiently on the violin AND be in a state of happiness with playing your violin.

I see students deal with many inhibitors with these three groups and they directly relate to them quitting the violin or becoming so passionate about learning that the violin becomes a part of not just what they do, but who they are.

Let’s first see how you score in each of these areas, and then I’ll give you an evaluation based on your score.

The Technical Side of Violin Playing – What’s your Score?

Give yourself one point if you can say “yes” to any of the five positive traits of being a technical player below:

In the past week, you have…
1. Worked on violin scales/drills for at least 30 minutes, or 1/3 of your total practice sessions.
2. Practiced exercises at least three times, to improve a bad habit.
3. Taken a challenging part in your violin music and worked on it slowly.
4. Worked on rhythm by slowing down or using a metronome.
5. Practiced articulation SLOWLY in your music (slurs, staccato, spiccato).

Give yourself one point if you can say “yes” to any of the five positive traits of being a musical player below.

In the past week, you have…
1. Practiced multiple songs/pieces.
2. Played for any other human being, not including your teacher.
3. Listened to an inspirational violin/fiddle song.
4. Practiced preparing for a performance of any kind.
5. Worked on playing a piece from the heart, and not thinking about technique.

Give yourself one point if you can say “yes” to any of the five negative traits below.

In the past week, you have…
1. Been overwhelmed with how much progress you are making on the violin.
2. Been frustrated with the amount of time you are not spending with the violin.
3. Decided to not practice violin because of some mental inhibitor (overwhelm, discouragement, lack of knowledge, etc.).
4. Felt like you are not sure where you are going with the violin and practicing has felt like a drag.
5. Not felt any inspiration of any kind.

Evaluating your Scores

First, I want you to know that some weeks are better than others with playing the violin.

Don’t be critical of yourself if this week has just been bad.

If that is the case, give yourself scores based in general what you would say “yes” to, although this scoring system does help you identify positive health with progressing on the violin on a week-to-week basis as well.

**Take your first two scores and put them together and subtract it from the last score.**

In my opinion, here is what each score means for you.
-5 : It is highly likely you will quit the violin soon, or never practice.

-4 to -1 : You are very discouraged with the violin and combined with the fact you are not doing the right things, this will lead to negative progress, discouragement and likely you will quit if you don’t get help.

0 : With not practicing correctly and being overwhelmed, you are not likely to quit, but to see positive results, I recommend improving any of the areas to start feeling happier about violin playing (and to see better results).

1-4 : This is a standard range. I would say you have inhibitors to progressing or staying motivated, but you might just be having a bad week/month. Try to improve, and you’ll start accelerating your progress and find more joy in violin playing.

5-9 : This is a healthy range where you will see decent progress over-time, and don’t have enough mental inhibitors to make you degress. Still, try to find ways to improve to become an even happier violin player and see better progress/happiness.

10-14 : You are probably feeling “in the zone” with violin playing and are excited to see ways to improve. There are no issues, just ways to continue to grow and become even better.

15 : This is the utopia. You are in the best possible state of mind to improve and are a balanced musical/technical player. Keep it up, and you will only see dramatic results on the violin.

If you want detailed help on how to establish solid technique on the violin, I highly recommend my Perfect Vibrato course which covers foundations of setting up the left hand, right hand and detailed steps on how to improve your sound.

This course covers how to improve vibrato, and also is an excellent four-week study of how to get rid of many bad habits you may have currently when playing the violin (learn more here). It is appropriate for beginners as well as anyone under fifteen years of experience who wants to improve their sound.

3 replies
  1. Bonnie Short
    Bonnie Short says:

    Hi Michael,
    Being a member of ViolinShack has been a fantastic journey for me. Your blogs, webinars and personal tips and suggestions are so inspirational and encouraging to me. You have developed very easily understood lesson plans and helpful hints for violin improvement. You have helped me move from being a frustrated violin player not knowing what I was doing wrong onto the correct path leading to improvements and a more enjoyable experience with my violin. I look forward to watching, hearing and learning from all that you have included in your membership plan. Thanks Michael!

  2. Connie Adkins
    Connie Adkins says:

    I am so new to The Community but can feel the energy Michael has for his students and their progress. Truly looking forward to improving my technical skills and the fellowship with violin enthusiasts.

  3. Alexandra Siwek
    Alexandra Siwek says:

    I absolutely love violin and fiddle. I wish I had more time to play. I listen as often as I can to both fiddle and violin.


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