Saturday, July 15, 2017

How to Practice Violin with a Healing Collarbone



     I had a mother of a young boy come to me the other day very concerned because her son had broken his left collarbone while on vacation and the doctor said that it would take months to heal. She is concerned about her son starting to play the violin while the bone heals.

It is easy to take a break from practicing an instrument but a lot harder to start back up again.  If learning music is something that you want to be a part of your education than avoid breaks.  

These kind of situations are great to build an attitude of perseverance and creativity because it is easy to just stop, take the easy way out.

So here are some tips that will help you keep practicing during the healing process:

1. Theory: flash cards are a good option to review and master the terms that a part of the pieces of music you are studying.  I recommend 2-3 minutes per practice. 

2. Sing: sing the fingerings or note names of the song. You may not think you have a good voice so it is uncomfortable to sing.  The important point to remember is that trying to sing will build intonation, rhythm, and tempo. 

Note to parents: your attitude to sing along with your child is crucial here, let them see you try to sing along with them. Your child may wait to hear you sing through the song before even attempting.

3. Sing & Clap: after singing through the song, add clapping.  Sing and clap the notes of the songs.

4. Violin with No Bow: finger the notes (play the violin without the bow) as you say the fingers or note names.  You may want to first play the violin like a guitar in rest position, pluck the strings over the fingerboard.  

6. Playing Position: go from rest position to playing position 3 times, gently placing the violin on the shoulder. You may want to get a small towel to place on the shoulder to cushion the violin along with the shoulder rest.

7. Bow Exercises: do bow exercises without the violin to work on the violin hand.  Here are some bow exercises to get you started if you do not have a list yet.

8. Bowing: play songs with just the bow, no violin, saying the fingerings or notes to improve your bow skills.