Among the stringed instruments, the violin is probably the most popular one, despite the fact that its popularity only increased quite recently compared to the other stringed instruments of the same family! The violin is a soprano instrument and its sound is produced by rubbing a bow made of horsehair onto the violin strings! It is not clear yet what the origin of the violin is. Some researchers argue that it originates from the viola and others argue that it was created from scratch. Even the etymology of the Italian word violino which means little viola does not constitute a strong enough argument to support its origin. What is certain is that many cultures have stringed instruments such as the Chinese voutien, the African rubab and the Indian ravanastron which is one of the oldest musical instruments of this kind. Since its appearance in the 16th century the violin was either used within the musical environment of the nobles, or in the context of the working class folk music. The violin in the form that we know it today was developed in Italy in the middle of the 16th century. Until the late 18th century Italy was the main violin production centre thanks to three families, the Amati, the Guarneri and the Stradivari. The position from which the violin is played (upper left shoulder) was only established in the 19th century!
There are different kinds of violin. In modern times however we can distinguish them between the ‘classical’ and the ‘electronic’ violin. The cello, the double bass and the viola also belong in the same family as the violin. The violin can be used in almost all kinds of music! It was originally intended to perform classical pieces as well as traditional music. Nowadays though, with the new kinds of music and different musical experimentations the violin is used successfully in dissimilar musical contexts such as jazz, rock, American country and pop!
There are four different violin sizes facilitating thus learning for both children and adults of all ages. The violin is made in fractional sizes, such as 4/4, 3/4, 1/2, ¼, and the smaller sizes are perfect for 5 year old students! This varies according to the maturity and musical perception a child has developed until that moment. The child’s body type also plays an important role because the student’s little fingers must be able to strongly ‘embrace’ the chords to produce better sound. As with almost all musical instruments, the lessons start by learning the notes, values and short easy pieces. It is recommended that if a child finds it difficult to start learning the violin, he/she could start taking piano lessons for about 6-12 months.
The violin is considered to be one of the most difficult musical instruments for a student to learn! The violin, to a greater degree than other musical instruments, is closely linked with the feelings the musician develops while playing. It is said that the violin is the extension of the soul! Students will be able to play short musical pieces by the end of the first year and their progress solely depends on them. The personal interest, the study hours and the love for the violin are elements that if combined together can turn someone from a beginner violin player to a good violinist in a very short time!
Violin lessons, as all musical instrument lessons, are conducted on a private basis. That is, the lessons are conducted with the teacher and one student only. This enables the teacher to give all his/her attention to the student for the best possible results. The duration of the lessons varies according to the level of each student. Since the lessons are private there is flexibility in terms of the day and time a lesson can be arranged. The exact days and hours are jointly agreed upon by the student and the teacher before the beginning of the academic year. As time passes by and as the student progresses, additional hours might be added in a classroom with students of other musical instruments in order to create small orchestras, ultimately aiming to familiarize themselves and coexist with other musical instruments.
The school offers recognized examinations for all of its departments. The majority of the examinations are from foreign universities and schools and especially from the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. The classical violin examinations offered by the school are from the ABRSM (Royal School of Music), the Trinity College and the Conservatory of the Czech Republic. The traditional violin on the other hand, due to its Greek and Cypriot origin, is not tested by the aforementioned institutions, which do not even offer this kind of examination! For this reason the school cooperates with recognized institutions from Greece, and conductors – examiners perform examinations for traditional musical instruments and by extension traditional violin exams twice a year. All diplomas are recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture as well as by all universities abroad. Therefore, regardless of what musical instrument one plays and the levels completed, the school diplomas can be used as additional qualifications for admission in overseas universities!
The first great violin maestros emerged in Italy in the early 17th century. Some of which are Nicola Matteis, Arcangelo Corelli, who is considered to be the creator of modern violin technique, as well as Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern. Yehudi Menuhin’s performance of the ‘Violin Concerto op.61’ in 1932 remains unforgettable until today. However, the most famous among the first violinists is Niccolò Paganini who is commonly considered to be the best one ever! Vanessa Mae is one of the contemporary violin virtuosos. She is a musician whose flexibility has allowed her to perform songs by both Vivaldi and the Beatles with her electrical violin! In addition, the Russian Alexey Igudesman with his violin as a ‘weapon’ and Richard Hyun-Ki Joo as his pianist ally, managed to successfully introduce comic elements in the performance of famous classical pieces by changing the tonalities, combining them with famous popular songs and playing them in unorthodox ways!