The TMX Art of String and Violin Selection for Students and Beginners

Many consider the process of choosing a violin or string selection to be a very difficult one. We, here at the TMX Gallery, are happy to simplify it for you! ‘Hear-it’ for yourself. We are masters of this process, so very happy to help you. In this brief Master Luthier Article and a TMX Insights Guide for students and beginners, Master Luthier Tong Ming Xi turns his personal insights and expertise into simple and elegant advice distilled just for you, the string player. Read on for more information and advice for more finely-sharpened string-playing adventures. We trust that with us you will find the perfect violin and set off on the perfect trajectory and musical journey with us!

If you are just a new or intermediate violin student – a complete beginner, adult, or child starting out on, beginning, or even mid-way through a violin or string playing journey – everything can seem new, daunting, a challenge, and an adventure. You may find it difficult to control or to steady your bow, to produce a warm enough sound, to project your sound, or even to produce a good and even tone from your violin. Everything that expert violinists appear naturally to evince is a discouragement to or challenge for you. This might not be your fault – it well may be the violin’s! A good or even better violin can assist your musical education, development, and progress in this regard. Tong Ming Xi

Choosing Violins for Graded Examinations (Grades One – Eight), Music Examination (IB, O- and A-levels), Music Ensembles, Recitals, and Competitions

As a student and/or beginner, you may need to think about the impact of your violin or instrument on your graded examinations or school music performances and examinations. Sometimes, a faulty or poorly fitted instrument, (such as one which is too big for a small student), can really hamper or hinder a student’s string playing growth and development. Also, a better instrument can help you to overcome any specific obstacles, challenges, or difficulties associated with playing in a solo recital, ensemble, concert hall, or even competition setting. You may really want to bear in mind the type of musical or acoustic profile and strength that you in playing, either for leisure or more ensemble and even solo examinations and performances.

Be in Possession of the Right Instrument

Therefore, the possession of a good or ‘right’ instrument for your point in this journey can really be instrumental in sparking the necessary fire that will advance and ignite your musical playing and take it to a whole new level. Here, at the TMX gallery, while we understand that some younger or beginner players may be especially sensitive to price, we nevertheless do realise that they do need a good instrument that will help them to advance and to cross certain musical hurdles that were before an imposition due to the possession of a poor instrument. We have some of the excellent mid-range violins that we have on offer and sale for this purpose, and we highly encourage you to come down to the violin gallery to hear, first- hand, these European, American, and even workshop violins and affordable string instruments that we have on hand at the TMX Gallery. We may just be in possession of ‘The One’ for you!

Come With A Parent, Teacher, or Friend

If you are a student or adult-beginner, do feel free to come down to the violin gallery with trusted friend, parent, teacher, or even a third-party player and evaluator. As you are newly maturing, you may not yet be able to discern what some good or desirable qualities of a violin are. Thus, while violin selection is an immensely subjective process, it is always good to have alongside you a fine, balanced, and objective counterbalancing opinion and ear. Also, if you are not able to tackle some of the passages required to test a violin by yourself, you may need a friend to help you. Try to get your friend to listen to what the violin sounds like at some distance from the music that you are projecting also to and from yourself, as you need to evaluate the acoustic effects at the very edge of the room that you are in. You are looking for an instrument that is playable, with the sort of voice, clarity, responsiveness, and evenness that you yourself like. No two players are alike, and no two violins likewise. We are looking for the most perfect and perfectly suitable match between both and for you.

Come Prepared With Scales or A Simple Test Passage

A string player should come prepared to play through a number of violins a few times each, as it is difficult to find a perfect match almost immediately. If a player is not very confident and is hence unable to play the 8 bar passages of contrastingly fast and slow passages as earlier advised, the violinist can also play just simple tunes or even pieces such as scales. If a player come in unprepared, I suggest that he or she can choose to play scales and in different variations.

  • Scales with long bows, slowly and steadily.
  • Scales with short bows, but with each note played twice. Ex. GG, AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, F#F#, GG
  • Scales with fast and short bow, constrastively, but this time, scales played 4 times. Ex. GGGG, AAAA, BBBB, CCCC, DDDD, EEEE, F#F#F#F#, GGGG.

The purpose, here, is to establish an instrument that a player can control the sound of and work with on a prolonged basis. It is pivotal that the violinist plays the passages slowly and then quickly to evaluate how responsive, playable, and even the violin is, and the kind of tone or voice that the violin produces.

Carefully Observe the Sound; Also, Consider Violins With Deeper, Darker, Warmer Tones

As a young or intermediate string player or performer, you will need an instrument that is warm, encouraging, engaging, and playable. As some of the most bright, brilliant, and also penetrating violins also show up the harshest and most obvious mistakes, they may not be the best ‘voice’ or acoustic profile you may be looking for, at this stage in your musical career and violin-playing development.

Instead, you may be looking for a violin that is playable, responsive, even in tone, and also of a darker, warmer, and more inviting tone. It is essential that you be encouraged to practice and to play more, something made possible when you are in possession of a violin with a more encouraging response and sound. Instead, you may be looking for a violin that is playable, responsive, even in tone, and also of a darker, warmer, and more inviting tone. It is essential that you be encouraged to practice and to play more, something made possible when you are in possession of a violin with a more encouraging response and sound.

Here, at the TMX Gallery, we wish all young and maturing violinists the best on their violin playing advancement and journey!

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