If you don’t have a teacher, or are practicing at home, it is essential that you have a wall or floor mirror to watch yourself practice.
A mirror can be a “silent teacher”, even better than a video recording of yourself playing, because it gives immediate feedback. It allows you to NOT have to scrunch your eyes, head and neck to observe yourself, which often leads to unnatural tension and playing mistakes. You can more easily observe if you are tightening up or tensing and immediately correct it. You can easily observe you instrument’s position, your left hand and arm positioning, bow hold and stroking, and your general body posture. Observing all of this allows you to make adjustments on the fly.
This is the mirror I bought and use during practice.
How can you tell if you are doing something wrong if you can’t see yourself? Well, of course the scratching noise is a dead giveaway, but I’m talking about proper form. One of the first things I discovered when I started using a mirror was I was holding my violin at almost a 90 degree angle to my body instead of a 45 degree angle, and I had no clue I was doing this before I started using a mirror. It became easier for me to hold my violin, reduced stress in my left arm and hand, gave me more leverage on the bow and allowed for smoother bowing strokes.
Take a look at this quick video. These are some of the mistakes I was totally unaware I was making before I started using a mirror during my practices.
Do you practice in front of a mirror? How has it helped you?
Here is the mirror I bought from Amazon. If you need a mirror and decide to buy one and you enjoy this website, please consider using my link below. Whatever small commission I make goes directly back into maintaining this website. Thank you.