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Fiddling Around – 5 Things Violin Players Can Do to Tune Up Their Performance

Since most violin players are – as far as I know – classically trained, it takes some re-programming to ‘de-class’ you. You’ll still be classy of course…I just want to take away the formality if you’re playing anything other than classical music.

First of all, experiment with the way you hold onto your fiddle and bow when you’re not playing to avoid looking too stiff. Use your bow to point at the crowd or wave in the air on an energetic song, and try holding your instrument by the neck but down below your waist. If it’s a shorter time between playing sections, this might not be possible, but take the time during the longer rests to relax like this and get loose!

It’s imperative for you to get wireless. There’s no way you can move much, attached to a cord draped over your shoulder. The freedom this will give you is HUGE. Once wireless, practice walking and playing – at least enough to get you someplace else on stage to land and remain while you complete your solo. It’s a thrill for the group of people you land in front of, to watch you ‘up-close-abd-personal’.

Play with your stance when you’re stationary. When you play something grand, big or aggressive, your stance should be big, with legs further apart. This shows power and strength. But if the music is sweet or soft, you’d want to match that with a shallow or close stance. The key is to match the vibe of what the audience is hearing. Your audience will feel the impact!

Something that may not seem like a big deal but will add a little flourish to your performance, is to try following through with your arm movement…flying off of the strings with your bow arm at the end of a phrase or section, will add to the dynamic of the moment. Kind of like saying ‘ta-DA’! or ‘How did you like THAT!’

Try thinking out-of-the-box with your sound. If you are playing country, rock, or maybe even Celtic or bluegrass, experiment with effects. Think like a guitar player when soloing and hit a distortion pedal, or play with some unexpected tones.

This is just a start of course, but should give you some things to work on right away. All of this will contribute to creating your own style, sound and persona. Don’t get stuck in a pre-conceived idea of what you ‘should’ look or sound like…get creative and bust out!

I’d love to get some feedback on how these things work for you, or what else you’re doing live that audiences respond to.

Amy Wolter

As a trained Live Music Producer for Tom Jackson Productions, Amy Wolter brings her years onstage as a lead singer & keyboardist - along with her experience as a producer, arranger, and songwriter - to singers and bands who won’t settle for ‘good enough’. She’s worked with artists at all levels, and genres ranging from Rock to Celtic, empowering them to have confidence and authority onstage, and put on memorable live shows, a few of whom have been on two of the largest US tours in recent history. Some of her clients include Grammy award winners The Band Perry & Lacrae, CMA and ACM –winning country acts, Gloriana & Thompson Square, 2016 The Voice contestant Mary Sarah, CCMA (Canada) winners High Valley, Jess Moskaluke & Chad Brownlee, and Winter Jam Tour veterans Sidewalk Prophets & Love and The Outcome.

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