Five Fun Facts About The Violin

The violin is perhaps one of the most requested instruments for private music lessons.  It is also one of the more requested instruments for our younger students.  This is not surprising because the violin is a small, intuitive instrument that students love to play, and parents love to hear.  Here are a few fun facts to learn before starting your local violin lessons.

1.Violins come in many different sizes.

Typically, children do not start out with a full sized violin.  If the student is very young, they may start out with a 1/16, 1/10, or 1/8 size violin.  They will then graduate to a 1/4 size.  The student can reach a full sized violin by the time they are 11 or 12.  Parents will often rent violins for their young ones instead of buying them because they need to change sizes too often!  Ask you local violin lessons teacher which size is right for your student.

2. Playing the violin burns 170 calories per hour!

I often compare practicing an instrument to going to the gym.  This is because when you are practicing, you are actually building muscles and training your body to be able to play at its greatest potential.  Music can be very physical and it is crucially important to maintain proper posture and technique while practicing.  A player may find themselves with serious physical ailments when practicing for too long with poor technique.  I never thought about actually burning calories while practicing!  I wonder how many you burn when practicing drum set…

3. The wood used to make violins improve with age.

Violins are typically made out of spruce or maple.  This wood makes up the main part of the violin, often referred to as the soundboard, top plate, or belly.  After time, this wood actually begins to sound better.  The varnish that coats the outside surface of violins also improve with age.  Save those old violins!  Older violins are very sought-after and can be worth a lot more money over time.

4. Strings used to be made of sheep gut.

And some still are!  However, this is not as common these days.  This gut was stretched out, dried, and twisted to create the strings for many different kinds of string instruments including violins, cellos, and harps.  This sheep gut (also referred to as catgut) used to also be used for the heads of marching snare drums.  Today, violin strings are usually made of solid steel, stranded steel, or various synthetic materials.  Strings have a limited lifetime and need to be changed often.  You will hear when the strings no longer keep a tune.  Ask you local violin lessons teacher for assistance with changing the strings on your violin.

5. The violin is used in many different styles of music.

The violin is not just great in an orchestral setting.  The violin is a very versatile instrument that is applicable across many genres.  The instrument has been one of the most important instruments in classical music since the Baroque era.  If classical music is what you enjoy listening to and playing, the violin is a fantastic instrument for you.  However, the violin can also be used in a jazz setting.  Many musicians have used the violin as an improvisational tool in this genre.  The violin is also a very important instrument in the folk/bluegrass world.  In this genre, the instrument is very often referred to as a fiddle, though there is no physical difference between a violin and a fiddle.  With the introduction of electronic violins, violins can be used in modern electronic and dance music.  No matter what music you enjoy listening and playing, the violin is a great go-to instrument.

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