Houston’s Cy-Fair Music and Arts has a fantastic violin program with talented, highly qualified instructors who are ecited to teach students the music they want to learn. We think you might be surprised to learn just how versatile the violin is!
Originally created in the 16th century, the violin has enjoyed a special popularity because the possibilities are almost endless. In this post, we’ll explore some of the classical and contemporary genres featuring violin and give you some tips on how to support your children in violin lessons.
The Violin is Not an Easy Instrument … at First
If your child has recently started taking violin lessons, you already know that the violin can be a tricky instrument to learn. Unlike the piano, where a beginning student can pick out a simple tune rather quickly, learning to play the violin involves a lot of practicing before music can be made.
That said, some children are especially drawn to the violin. As anyone who has stuck with the violin will tell you, it’s well worth the effort.
Exposure to Violinists is Inspirational!
Watching accomplished performers play the instrument you'd like to learn can be inspirational. It also exposes students to a wide variety of styles, opening new windows into the exciting world of musical opportunity.
The violin is most often used in classical, bluegrass, and jazz. Below you'll find links to recordings by some of the exemplary players below. Please sample them with your budding violinist. Then, take it from there!
The Violin in Jazz
Let’s start with jazz to break some stereotypes right off. There are many excellent and well-known jazz violinists. Among these are Regina Carter and Stephane Grappeli.
Regina Carter (1966) is a contemporary American jazz violinist whose music is deeply rooted in the African American experience. Her music has a strong foundation in the American Blues. Watch her play the violin here.
Stephane Grappelli (1908-1977) was an international jazz favorite known for his Gypsy Jazz style. His violin music makes you dance!
The Violin in Bluegrass
Perhaps your child prefers the term ‘fiddle’ over ‘violin’? It’s essentially the same instrument but the way they’re played – and the music played – can be so far apart you’d never guess.
Bluegrass is closer to America’s country or folk, and musicians who play bluegrass refer to the violin as a fiddle.
Mark O’Connor (born 1961) is an exciting American fiddler. Take a listen to Mark fiddling an early African American tune called “Boil 'em Cabbage Down”
Craig Duncan (1954) is an active Nashville violinist/fiddler fluid in both country and classical styles. That’s not a typical mix of genre, and you can hear the surprising combination in much of his music. Check out this clip.
The Violin in Classical Music
Hilary Hahn (1979) is regarded as one of the greatest violinists of her generation. Her music is an exquisite combination of creativity and personal expression. Take a listen.
Frank Peter Zimmermann (German, born 1965) had an almost meteoric rise to fame and is considered to be one of the finest living violinists. His 2011 recording Beethoven: String Trios / Zimmermann, Tamestit, Poltera might give your young violinist some new ideas about classical.
Other Ways to Support Your Children in Violin Lessons
There are many other ways you can help ensure your children’s success in violin lessons, including selecting or setting up an appropriate practice space and teaming with your student to set a realistic practice schedule.
Practicing the Violin Makes Perfect!
As mentioned earlier, the violin takes a lot of practice before it begins to sound like music. But if you and your children are prepared for this, you’ll be able to persevere.
So, knowing that practice is especially important here, team up with your student to set a practice schedule that feels realistic to both of you. Consider all of your family’s other activities, homework requirements, and general life necessities.
Then add in some down time. If you find there’s not enough time left for consistent practicing, consider this new commitment your child has made. What can you reduce to make time for it? Learning the violin requires (as does learning just about anything) consistent practicing. So, here we are again! Consistency is another great life skill that needs to be developed.
The Perfect Practice Space (especially for a Beginning Violinist)
Consider a space that’s away from the normal family chaos, free of clutter, and conducive to perseverance. Enlist your child in choosing the space -- a feeling of camaraderie goes a long way towards success.
The violin teachers at Cy-Fair Music and Arts will do everything within their power to help make your family’s musical journey a success. The wonderful world of violin awaits, and it would be our pleasure to help your child explore it!
If you have any questions or would like to sign up for violin lessons, call us at: