If you’re an amateur violinist, and you’re comparing yourself versus a professional, you’re doing yourself a disservice. While it’s true that like most things in life, the more you play your violin the better your performance will be, improvement is not as simple as logging playing hours. You want to work smarter, not harder, right? In the case of mastering the violin, maximizing your approach to improvement and how you embrace practice time before reaching the point of diminishing returns is ideal.
Path to Mastery
Regardless of age, if you are brand new to the violin you don’t want to practice too much early on. Your body in particular will need time to adjust, so it’s important to play with good posture. Sit up straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your chin level even with your strings. Your bow arm should be relaxed, which will help control your bow movements and avoid pain in your elbow. Your arm holding the violin neck should also be loose. Without good posture, not only are you at risk for injury, you are less likely to play in tune. It’s also worth noting that if you play too much early on, your fingers might give you fits as they need time to develop calluses.
For most amateur performers, playing 30-45 minutes a day on average, is plenty early on. Intermediate players may practice as much as two hours per day. For professionals, in addition to performances, they may rehearse three to eight hours a day. In addition to your experience level, you should base the amount of time you practice or rehearse on your ability to focus and improve. If your brain goes to mush after two hours, squeezing in that third hour of practice time may not do much to advance your skills.
Almost as important to how long to you should practice is when you should practice. Pay attention to your body to set yourself up for success. Many players do well starting their day with practice time, others may play sharper in the afternoon or evening. Figure out when you are at your best, and then adjust your schedule accordingly to maximize your opportunities. If you live in a cramped space where privacy is a concern, look into getting a practice mute or try and work with your roommates or neighbors to find a time or space that serves your needs without messing up their plans.
Being regular and deliberate is key, helping you develop and maintain good habits that will serve you well into the future. If you take a vacation and miss some practice time, don’t beat yourself up over losing a couple days of work. Just pick up your violin and start playing again, as soon as possible.
How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Professional Violinist?
While talent and hard work are important, repetition is critical to becoming a professional violinist. Some suggest that to become a master of any kind of art, including the violin, 10,000 hours of playing must be achieved. If that’s the case, if you play roughly 2.7 hours per day you can reach master level after 10 years.
But is it that simple, playing upward of three hours a day on a recurring basis to advance your skill set? Of course not. Quality of practice time is also significant, and you want to make sure you’re constantly challenging yourself so you can gradually improve. However, 10 years is probably pretty accurate for many violinists. For example, if you play every year from middle school through undergraduate studies, that’s 11 years of playing time.
Play Using a Bow Which Matches Your Dedication
Make the most of your practice and rehearsal time with CodaBow. The award-winning carbon fiber bows we produce allow each violinist to always give their best performance — regardless of skill level. If you are a beginner, the Prodigy bow is a staple for developing musicians, as its durability and premium quality allow for confident playing. For more advanced players, CodaBow features a range of performance bows that are certain to meet the needs of all playing styles and aspirations.