3 Practice Aids That Are Worth Your Money (and 2 that aren’t) | Online Violin Lessons

3 Practice Aids That Are Worth Your Money (and 2 that aren’t) | Online Violin Lessons

 

 

Do a quick google search on “violin learning aids” and you’ll find lots of results for all sorts of accessories you can purchase to help you with your violin technique. While some of these aids definitely have their place in learning the violin, there are many that I think are probably not worth your money. Here are three learning aids that I think are worth your money and two that aren’t (with cheaper alternatives).

 

Worth Your Money – Finger Tapes

Having finger tapes placed in 1st position on your violin is really helpful when you’re first establishing your left hand position. Violin finger tape is essentially really skinny electrical tape, and it is safe to use on your instrument. This is one of the accessories I always use when teaching beginner violinists where to place their fingers. I like to use black colored tape that blends in with the fingerboard to encourage students not to rely on the tapes too much, but any color will work.

 

Worth Your Money – Bow Tape

In addition to finger tapes, I also put bow tape on beginner violinists’ bows. Having those visuals can be really helpful when learning proper bow distribution. I use this white sealing tape from Amazon, but many types of tape could work. I put three tapes on the bow stick: one in the middle of the bow, one a few inches away from the tip, and one a few inches away from the frog.

 

Worth Your Money – Bow Buddy Wraps

Bow buddy wraps can be really useful for learning bow distribution. One of the biggest issues I see with beginner violinists is playing too much in the upper half of the bow and not enough in the lower half. When this happens, I like to put a silicone bow wrap on about 4 inches away from the tip to encourage students to not use their bows past that point.

 

NOT Worth Your Money – Pinky Holder

A pinky holder is an accessory made for the bow that teaches you how to keep your pinky curved on top of the bow stick. This is one tool that I don’t think is completely necessary (although I don’t think it will ruin your technique, either). Using one may teach you to rely on the accessory rather than strengthening the pinky enough to do the bow hold correctly without one.

What to use instead: hole reinforcement stickers. Using a sticker can serve as a guide point on where to place your pinky while avoiding excessive reliance on an accessory. Place the sticker on top of the bow stick next to the screw to teach proper pinky placement.

 

NOT Worth Your Money – Bow Force

A bow force is a teaching aid that enforces playing in the correct bow lane. Again, I think this can teach excessive reliance on the tool and may not work once the aid is taken off the instrument.

What to use instead: plastic straws. If a student is having a hard time keeping his/her bow in the correct bow lane, I place a straw in the circle of each sound hole to guide the bow away from the fingerboard. I’ve found that straws work just as well as something like a bow force (and are much cheaper). I use plastic straws, but you could also use reusable silicone straws.

 

Looking for more practice tips? Read about how to motivate your practice sessions here!

 

Heather

 

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