Hello, I'm Monica.
I'm a violin teacher at Planet Drum and in this article I would like to introduce you to the violin and talk about my experience with this fascinating instrument.
Firstly, let me tell you a little bit about my beginnings in the world of music. When I was 7 years old my parents enrolled me in music school in Gran Canaria and even though I struggled with the mathematical side of things, I remember loving the music theory classes and having plenty of fun learning. When it was time to choose an instrument my mum was leaning towards the piano, but the director of the school told her that it was a solitary instrument and that I should perhaps try the violin. He got his son (who later became my teacher) to play a piece for her and my mum instantly fell in love with the sounds of the instrument. This is how my journey began with the violin.
Thanks to learning this instrument I have acquired long term skills such as patience, discipline and determination. I had to go through long and arduous periods of practice where to play only a single note in tune required a huge effort. Preparing a whole piece was a difficult process and the more that I progressed, the harder practicing became! But contrary to many popular beliefs, the violin doesn’t belong exclusively to the academic world of classical music and is not solely about hard-work and hours of practice. Learning this amazing instrument has allowed me to be a part of a variety of musical projects such as orchestras, quartets, indie bands and even accompany singer songwriters.
For a decade I played in 'The Bela Bartok' orchestra where we travelled with our music and had so much fun sharing it with many people we played for. I also had the fortune to be a part of the Dr. Dre orchestral rendition travelling across Europe playing violin to hip hop grooves and making people dance. The feeling of playing in an orchestra is incredibly unique, because you are completely and entirely surrounded by the music. Recently, I have joined the 'Comedy String Quartet Graffiti Classics' where I get to sing, dance and goof around whilst playing.
The violin is an extremely versatile instrument and grants you the opportunity to play in so many different settings. It’s also an instrument that allows you to perform with others, which I believe is the most beautiful aspect about music - not only sharing it with the audience, but connecting with those you are playing with. Someone once said to me that any song sounds better if you add a bit of violin, and in my experience, these words have always held true.
Drum tips for beginner drummers
Always go into a practice session with a plan
Practicing is the key to improving your drum skills, but it is important to pre-plan what you are going to practice. Making time to practice is hard enough in everybody's busy day-to-day lives. Pre-thinking about what you will recap and study will help to maximize and get the most out of your practice session, even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes!
Practice with a metronome
There is a common misconception that having a steady pulse and solid sense of time is something that’s innate and can’t be taught. This is of course absolutely not true, and while some people do have a more natural sense of pulse than others, time is something that everybody should devote a large portion of time to practicing, no matter how natural a player they might be.
Go back to basics
Drummers often try to run before they can walk, which can lead to bad habits and gaps appearing in ability. Mastering the drumming basics is the best way to build a solid foundation upon which to develop your playing. We recommend focussing at least some of your practice time on improving single and double strokes, and polishing key rudiments like the paradiddle and five-stroke roll. Once you can execute these drumming fundamentals with consistency, dynamics and solid time, you will be fully prepared to take your playing to the next level.
Play with Other People
Despite the fact that there are tons of videos of drummers alone in their practice rooms on the internet, you should go find some like-minded people to play music with. Music is a team sport for the most part, and you’ll learn a lot by getting yourself into bands early on in your development. Don’t skip this step; it’s crucial.
Look for role models
They will shape your playing, as their drumming style and ability level helps you to measure progress in your own performance. If you need some inspiration, you can check out our Legendary Drummers playlist on YouTube.
Don’t Hold Your Drum Sticks Too Tight
The most common and grip technique is called ‘matched grip,’ and this is what I teach to my students. You will use your left and right hands to hold the drum sticks in the same way. The main area of grip is between the thumb and the second knuckle of the index finger, and the remaining fingers wrap around the stick.It’s key that you don’t hold the drum sticks too tight. The drum sticks should be allowed to bounce after striking a drum head, and this rebound will help you out significantly to achieve fast speeds. This rebound is a pivotal part of drumming and becomes a large part of your ‘playing feel’ as you develop as a drummer. You will naturally learn to feel when to begin the motion of striking a drum head and anticipate the rebound.
Realize that skill takes a long time to build. Becoming a great musician can take years. Be patient, do the work and you’ll become good. Focused practice under good guidance will take you there.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.