Don't Forget to Check Your Checklist!

Updated: August 31, 2021

Don't Forget to Check Your Checklist!

One of the things you’ll always hear us say as we start people off on the violin for the first time – especially in our Violin Fundamentals classes - is "check your checklists"!

This is because checklists are superb tools for remembering complex sequences of tasks. And there are few things that require more complex sequences of tasks than playing the violin!

Even if you completed a set of actions many times before, what you do will be significantly more secure and reliable if you use a checklist – even if you’ve done the task thousands of times before!

Novice or Expert - Eliminate More Mistakes!

A classic example of this is how pilots use checklists to manage complex sequences of tasks when flying planes.

It doesn’t matter how experienced the pilot is – they still use a checklist. It just eliminates the possibility of being distracted for a moment, and accidentally missing a step.

(If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, we highly recommend The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande).

Handle Complex Tasks With Ease

When playing the violin, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, you are dealing with a lot of simultaneous complexities.

For this reason, checklists are a useful – perhaps even essential! – tool for ensuring that your technique is balanced and consistent at all times.

Here are two checklists we use almost every week at ViolinSchool, to help learners build up consistency and reliability in their violin playing technique:

The Body Checklist (for good posture)

This list is a reminder of how your body should be, before you pick up the violin.

Take a moment to think through each part of the body, to make sure that it is positioned exactly how it needs to be, and that it is relaxed and free.

Do you have good body posture, before you pick up the violin?

The Right Arm/Hand Checklist

This checklist is a reminder of how you need to be positioning your bow arm and hand, in order to give yourself the best chance of creating a smooth, clear and beautiful sound at all times.

The technical topics that are necessary to make best use of checklists include the core bow strokes, bowing technique, and tone production.

They're covered in detail in our Violin Fundamentals program for beginner violinists.

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