Ready for your first violin lesson?

Are you getting bored sitting at home, watching new series on Netflix?

Think it’s your time to start something new?

To be honest, as a private violin tutor who gives the priority on beautiful tone and relaxed posture from my students, I was slightly suspicious to move on to online lessons when the first lockdown started in Spring 2020.

However, I am now more and more convinced, after 10months of experience and positive feedbacks from my students, it is totally possible to have a good start from scratch (literary, it will sound scratchy in beginning!), and to gain good basics through online lessons as well.

Of course it is strongly advised to find the teacher who is local to you, so you could visit your teacher when you have issues with your instrument, and when the restriction is lifted, try face-to-face lessons. Some things are only possible to carry out in face-to-face lessons; i.e. Teacher cannot accompany you on piano in online lessons due to the sound latency.

from the class concert

About Pros/Cons of online lessons, I will write in the another blog.

Today, I would like to write here more essential and useful tips for you to start!

What do you need before the first lesson?

  1. Choose and buy or rent your instrument.

If you search online ‘violin full-size’ or ‘violin4/4’ you will easily get results of budget violin outfits with bow and case, and you can order online. They are durable and enough playable if you pay, let’s say, £100+.

Top 2 popular brands are Stentor and Primavera, both have three ranges in price (ca.£90 -£150);

  • Stentor Student Standard/Student I/Student II
  • Primavera 90/100/200

Both are really similar and have good reviews in general. However, in my experience, a few pupils of mine who came with Stentor Standard had minor issues with pegs (to tune your strings) or original strings they put on at the factory. Some of my student had to visit violin workshop to set it up properly, or to change to better strings. So I would recommend you, if your budget allowed, go one step up to Stentor Student I or Primavera 100.

There are warehouse/shops that you could try out those violins. So if you would like to be sure for the quality and setting, I would advise you to visit them, and get their advice. Also when you purchase, they may help you tune the strings (I will write about tuning problem below…)

Or there is the option for Violin Rental, such as Millers or duetshop, where you can pay monthly to rent instruments. It is great for young learners with smaller size violins, since you could simply return when they grow out the size. Also it is less likely to receive faulty product. The shops will check the instrument, tune the strings and possibly put the rosin on the bow before they send to you.

Here is one more, and possibly very useful tip for you to find your violin…

Check Facebook Market!!

Facebook Market function developed significantly these days, so you could easily search local sellers in your area for used violins. Especially before the new semester starts, many parents sell the instruments their children used last year.

I always recommend my students to first search for used (second-hand)violins;

First of all, if they are already played for some times, the sound of instruments are opened up, and easy to ring.

Plus, you may get a bonus of all the essential accessories, such as a rosin, a shoulder rest and sometimes even a starter books or a music stand with them.

When you decide to buy used one from local sellers, a few things to check and ask them before you commit;

  • All 4 strings are not missing, and they are not completely rusted.
  • Bridge* is not missing.
  • Bow is not missing
  • Bow hair is not completely black and filthy! (It is normal that very front edge of bow hair gets black when it’s used over a year. but if whole hair is already black or stuck together because of rosin, or lots of hair spread out from stick, then you have to ‘rehairing‘ the bow or have to get a new one (if it’s children’s violin, often it’s cheaper to buy a new bow separately than ask professionals to rehair.)

If you are not sure for the ones you found on market, always ask your teacher for advice before you purchase!

2. What else do I need before the first lesson?

  • Rosin — Rosin is a solid form of resin, the sticky substance that comes from trees that is not unlike sap. Your bow hair, especially the new one, will be very slippery and almost impossible to make any sound without rosin. Rub cakes or blocks of rosin on your bow hair so it can grip the strings and make them speak, or vibrate clearly. Rosin is usually included in your violin outfit, however those ones are often quite rubbish… So I recommend you to order better ones online. The kinds and ranges are again very much differ, but you do not have to go up to the top quality or special mix of meteoric iron or gold (!). Something like Hidersine (6V, ca. £5) to Pirastro (Gold ca. £12) does good job. I would say do not go under £5!
  • Tuner or Tuning App. — It is so essential to tune your violin well before you start playing, but it is quite scary and complex process for total beginners. Of course you can find Youtube Tutorials like this one; to guide you through. But if you would like to avoid any nightmare of breaking strings right away by turning pegs* too strong, I recommend you to bring it to your teacher or local violin shop to help you first. Though we only carry out online lessons for now (I’m posting this on January 2021 in UK), you are still able to visit your teacher at the door and let them tune your instrument while keeping good social-distances. It won’t take more than 5 minutes for us to tune, but for you, for the first time, it may take ages. Once strings are roughly tuned to where the notes should be (G-D-A-E from bottom to top) by turning pegs, it is very easy for you to tune it by fine tuners* on the tailpiece. This point you will need your own tuner to guid you.

So as a wrap, you do NOT have to tune your violin by yourself right out from box. But you will need Tuner or Tuning app on your smartphone. And ask your teacher how to use them, and how to tune the instrument properly.

3. Shoulder rest or not?

If you are an adult beginner, you may feel comfortable to use standard shoulder rest from beginning.

Standard ones, such as this one will let the instrument sit well on your shoulder.

However, some people, include me who has rather short neck, only need simple shoulder pad or sponge. And it gives you more flexibility around your shoulder and collar bone area. I use this one.

So I would wait for the first lesson that your teacher will advise you which kind of shoulder rest would fit you the best.

For young children, they often do not need shoulder rest for first some months, and enough to use a sponge with elastic band.

4. I cannot read music!

Many new students come with worries in beginning that they never read the music score before.

It is totally, utterly, no problem.

I have experienced many different types of students; A student who wishes to learn how to read music combined with learning violin technique. A student who doesn’t want to learn how to read and wants to learn only from ear. A very young student who doesn’t know yet ABC or 123 well either…

It really varies what the students’ needs and their strength. We have to find out together through the lessons. Some have keen ear to catch and copy from teacher’s demonstration. Some are good at understanding logics on written music and get well with it, some using Tab score (only with finger numbers) first and slowly move into music notation.

It is our job to find the best tailored method for each students. So what you need for the first lesson is to be just honest and relax. And through our journey of weekly lessons, we can find out what’s the best way for you to learn quickly and stress-free.

Please find out more about my violin lesson, please click here !

Hope it helps a bit for you ! I will write more about Shoulder rest or Not? And To read or not to read music? in another blogs soon!

*To learn the names of parts of violin, check the link here.


Fringe Concert Tour in 2014

My summer 2014 beautifully ended just a few days ago with the closing of the world biggest early music Festival, the Utrecht Oude Muziek Festival and the great news from them that my group Fons Harmonicus was chosen for the Fringe Public Prize 2014.

Herewith, I would like to record the memory with some nice pictures from the festivals I participated this summer in Utrecht and Brugge.

These were such exciting days, meeting with early music stars, up and coming ensembles and many early music friends from all over the europe just every corner of the city (literally!).

The highlight must have been the Fabulous Fringe with Seconda Pratica, having just completed our residency in Ambronay 2014, on 31st August at the newly reopened Tivoli Vredenburg.

The Grotezaal where we performed kept its amazing acoustic and warm atmosphere with wooden materials after 7 long years reconstruction. (Well, actually when I came to this country, they had already started reconstruction, so I hadn’t known how amazing it was. But many of my colleagues assumed it was finely kept after the reconstruction against their worries).


Grotezaal of Tivoli Vredenburg

Our program ‘Nova Europa’ was received nicely by the ‘Uitverkocht (sold-out = full-house)’ audiences and Next morning, we were surprised with good review on the first page of daily issue by the festival! > go to the link!



Trace back to the beginning of August, my fringe tour started in Brugge with my ensemble Fons Harmonicus.

We were honored to be invited to the fringe concert at MA festival Brugge 2014, one of the oldest early music festival, and performed on 8th August at Provinciaal Hof.

Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 18.55.58

Even as a young ensemble, we are not immune from financial pressures, and needed to go through some struggle about financial issue before we decide to come, honestly. Especially in mid of summer, travel cost is suffering.

However, we got strong and kind financial support from Leeds Baroque Friends and Ms. van Lingen which made us possible to travel to this beautiful old city. I would like to thank them again here from bottom of my heart!

Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 19.00.46Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 19.01.25Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 20.41.24Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 20.39.36 The faces of audiences captured by Arne Kelders/MA Festival tell enough what a wonderful time we had during the concert.

Fons Harmonicus appeared on the Fringe concert of Utrecht Early Music Festival as well.

In this enormous festival, with hundreds of performances at all hours of the day, musicians always never know which kind of venue you get. It could be a cafe, could be a movie theater, could be a museum  and could be an observatory!

We performed on 1st September at Sonnenborgh (Zonnenburg), the observatory on a small green hill in the very quiet area of Utrecht. The concert was held in the old and impressive courtyard, built on a part of the 16th century bastion.

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Luckily, we had a beautiful blue sky above us the whole time during our concert. It was beautiful to see the colorful sunbeams through the glass-roof which changes the expression of shadow and light all the time. It seemed like to be linked with the contrasting and dramatic 17th century music we performed (Rognoni, Schmelzer, Stradella, Biber and Lonati from the program ‘Il Vento da Transalpina’) and reminded us of the essential ‘baroque’ concept, contrast of human expression and chiaroscuro.

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I remember still, now, after a week how we were inspired by the venue and also from enthusiastic ‘early birds’ audiences who came for this Monday morning concert on the first day of the month (!). It was an unforgettable experience, a kind of groove and many special moments we shared during our performance.

And it was proved by the news as I wrote above, that we were chosen for the Fringe Public Prize thanks to all the votes the audiences made for us. The prize promised us our appearance in Fabulous Fringe concert in next edition of Utrecht Oude Muziek Festival.

I should not forget to mention about one more up-and-coming ensemble, the Amsterdam Corelli Collective, formed by students of Amsterdam Conservatory, with whom I could share great time in both Fringes concerts in Brugge and Utrecht.

Amsterdam Corelli Collective at Herz in TivoliVredenburg

Amsterdam Corelli Collective at Herz in TivoliVredenburg



My beautiful summer is ended and many new exciting projects with Seconda Pratica, Fons Harmonicus and Amsterdam Corelli Collective is waiting  in the coming months and we are already moving on to the new endeavors…








This is a competition of Encounter and Communication..

The end of April 2013, I visited the very old, beautiful monastry in St.Florian bei Linz, which they call ‘Augstiner Choreherren Stift St. Florian’.

The monastery was first documented in 819. The mysterious atmosphere of this historical building, old monks in black coat, young boys who live there for traditional choreherren, reminded me immediately my most favorite book ‘Narcissus and Goldmund’ by H.Hesse.

This beautiful building holds amazing library (unfortunately they lost most of 17c. music manuscript..), and Anton Bruckner is sleeping in the grave there.library st.florian


Every two years, this monastery gives kind contribution for the most relax and innovative music competition, H.I.F.Biber Wettbewerb.

The committee and the organizer, known as  most knowledgeable violinist of Austrian baroque repertoire, Gunar Letzbor, said

” This is a competition of Encounter and Communication.”

This lovely statement was reflected everywhere during the days of competition.

I met many nice young colleagues from all over the Europe, and share great time and music.

Biberwettbewerb3Thanks to such a relaxed ambiance and great acoustic in the hall, Sommerrefektrium, I enjoyed my performance, and fortunately received Romanus Weichlein Prize, shared with Girandole Armoniche.

Of course, it was also due to my great accompanist Panos Iliopoulos, the harpsichordist and composer.


I was also invited to the Resonanza Festival in Vienna in January 2014! I will update further details as soon as possible!

And part of the recording from my performance in the Prizewinner Concert on 1st May, is coming up on this website soon!

il Tempo dell’Affetto meets Kohnstammhuis

il tempo dell'Affetto photo

Il Tempo dell’Affetto ‘s next concert is coming on 2nd April Tuesday !

at Kohnstammhuis in Hoogeschool van Amsterdam 9th floor (Wibeautstraat 2-4)

from 13:00-14:00, free of Charge!

The program is all about French Baroque Chamber Music.

We especially focus on François Couperin (grand Couperin)’s master wrok <Les Nation>in this program and put our own instrument arrangement for this trio!


François Couperin: <Huitiéme concert dans le gout théatral> from Les Goûts-réunis”    (1724,Paris)

François Couperin: <La Françoise> from “Les Nation” (1726, Paris)

Jean Baptiste Antoine Forqueray: <La Silva> , <La Montigni> Suite V   *harpsichord solo

Jean Féry Rebel: <Les Caractéres de la Danse> (1715, Paris)

il Tempo dell’Affetto

is established by five young, promising musicians since 2012, who met each other during their study in Conservatorium van Amsterdam.

The combination of flute traverse/á bec, baroque oboe, baroque violin, baroque bassoon and harpsichord create boundless color on sound and transformative possibilities in the realm of 17th and 18th century repertoire.

Belén Nieto Galán…flute traverse

Yongcheon Shin…baroque oboe

Asuka Sumi… baroque violin

Takako Kunugi…baroque bassoon

Asís Márquez González…harpsichord

Lunch Time Concert with Trio Nocturno

Trio Nocturno is going to offer you a joyful afternoon on coming Friday!

Lunch Time Concert on Friday, 15th February, 12:30-13:00

at Sweelinkzaal, Conservatorium van Amsterdam.  ( Free of charge!)

We are preparing Trio from our beloved composer, Luigi Boccherini!

     Trio for two violins and violoncello op.6 (ca.1771, Madrid)

     No.2 Cmajor, No.3 gminor.

L.Boccherini is eminent cello master, born in Lucca in 1743, Italy and died in Madrid, Spain in 1805.

Compared to his quintet with two violoncelli or cello concerti, those trio works  for 2vns and vc are hardly performed..

However! He actually published 5 sets of music for this trio setting (op.1,4,6,34 and 54) and all of them has amazing variety of colors and astonishing sonority as same as quintet or orchestral works!

Op.6 was written after he came to Madrid, so you can hear the influence of  Spanish sound both in rhythm and harmony.

We found the Manuscript by himself and 4 different facsimiles..

Manuscript might be written around 1769, soon after he came to Madrid.

So first publication was in Madrid on 1771.

Probably the same year from Paris, Venier who already published his symphonies and trio op.4 as well. However, in this Paris edition, we found so many discrepancies from his manuscript. Many decision for slurs and dynamics were moderate in this edition. And top of it, some bars of sequence motions (which is Boccherini’s trademark we could say) were just eliminated!

We are not sure if this modification have been done by Boccherini himslef or at least under his control or all by someone else.

Manuscript of Op.6 No.2 1st page

Manuscript of Op.6 No.2 1st page

The other 2 editions, one in Venice and one in London. Those are pirates edition so to say..Venice from Madrid, London from Paris.

Hence, this time we use his Madrid edition with reference of  the Manuscript and try to come close to his original idea.

We are looking forward to see many of you there on Friday!


Dromen over feest at Lagedijk


Such a wonderful time thanks to perfect care and organize by Mr&Mrs Bouman!!lagedijk7





 16th December (Sat.)

 “Dromen over feest” at Lagedijk.

Our performance will be held 3times between 14:00-17:00 

at Mr.Bouman’s house (Lagedijk 100, 1544 BJ, Zaandijk).

We performed Luigi Boccherini’s trio from his first publication, op.1 (1767) 

no.1 Fmajor and no.4. Dmajor!

It was written around 1760, so  Boccherini was only 17years old (!), for 2violins and violoncello!

And G.P. Telemann’s Trietti Methodici e Scherzi  from his hand-writing score 🙂



Krommenie on 20th January 2013

Il Tempo dell’Affetto will perform on

20th January 2013, -15:00-17:00 at Schuilkerk in Krommenie!

Here is our accomplished program.

First half, we introduce “musique de chambre” written for the LoisXIV’s court in 18th century in France.
You will find quite some influence from Italy in Couperin trio and Rebel’s dance suite, but it is combined well with full of french ‘esprit’!

We made special arrangement for our unique instruments combination!

Second half is focused on Telemann and C.P.E.Bach, both important for establishment of galant style in 18th century Germany influenced after french Rococo.

On Telemann’s famous ’Quatour’ from Tafelmusik, you will find how he was genius to bring out each character of instruments and harmonized them into one.

Special guest player; Gudrun Waldek as Oboe!!

I.Musique de la Chambre de Roy

Marin Marais

Prelude uit Suite I in C

uit “Piece en Trio pour flutes, violons & dessus de viole ” (1692, Paris)

François Couperin

<La Françoise> uit “Les Nation” (1726, Paris)

Jean Baptiste Antoine Forqueray

<La Silva> en <La Montigni> uit Suite V uit “Pièces de viole composées par Mr. Forqueray le

    Pere mises en pièces de clavecin”  (1747, Paris) *harpsichord solo

Jean Féry Rebel

<Les Caractéres de la Danse> (1715, Paris)

II. Rococo en Galant in Duitsland

Georg Philipp Telemann

Ouverture en sol mineur pour Hautbois TWV41:g4

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Duette für eine Flöte und eine Violine in e uit “Musikalisches Vielerley” (1770, Hamburg)

Georg Philipp Telemann

    Quatuor en sol majeur  uit “Tafelmusik ou Musique de Table” premiere production

    (1733, Hamburg)

Il Tempo dell’Affetto (Dutch Bio)

Il Tempo dell’Affetto, een pas opgericht kamermuziekensemble, combineert traverso /blokfluit, barokviool, barokfagot en klavecimbel tot eindeloos diverse klankkleuren om zo steeds een nieuw licht te werpen op het repertoire uit de 17de en 18de eeuw.

De naam van de groep is afgeleid van “Lamento della Ninfa”, het belangrijkste meesterwerk van Monteverdi. Voor dit madrigaal schrijft de componist “al tempo dell’affetto, dell’animo, e non a quello della mano” voor. Het stuk moet worden uitgevoerd in “een tempo dat ontroert en bezielt, niet in het tempo vast ligt”. Deze sterke (tempo)aanduiding had grote gevolgen voor de nieuwe muziekstijl van deze periode. Niet langer werd strikt vastgehouden aan de vorm en gewoonte, maar werd het menselijk gevoel gevolgd. Het doel van Il Tempo dell’Affetto is om het publiek aan te spreken met de energie, passie en eerlijkheid van duidelijke en heldere interpretaties van authentiek repertoire.

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