The future of music

How to Play Violin: Ultimate Guide to Learning Violin

August 4, 2023
how to play violin

If you’ve decided to learn how to play violin, building a solid foundation is crucial.

And our ultimate guide to learning violin will help you master the basics – from buying your first violin to learning important terms and techniques.

More importantly, we will show you how to keep practicing violin to achieve the results you want.

Table of Contents

PART 1 – Starting Out 

Chapter 1: Things to Keep in Mind 

1.1. Benefits of Learning How To Play the Violin – 7 Reasons 

The violin is known for its beautiful, emotional sound. But it’s not only used in classical music – the violin became an integral part of many music genres and styles. 

But if you’re still not sure whether the violin is the right instrument for you, we’ve gathered some violin facts that might affect your decision.

man playing violin

Reason #1 Learning the Violin Develops Fine Motor Skills

Learning to play a stringed instrument is great for developing fine motor skills in children. 

Reason #2: It Builds Upper Body Strength

Playing the violin is a physical activity, and violin lessons can indeed help build upper body strength.

Practicing the violin also increases finger strength and dexterity.

Reason #3: It Improves Coordination

Playing the violin requires you to think about several things at a time, and it will ultimately improve your hand-eye coordination. 

Reason #4: Playing the Violin Boosts the Mood

Besides being good for your body, the violin is also good for your mind – playing the instrument has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Reason #5: It’s Good for Your Confidence

Playing the violin is indeed good for your mental health. 

Learning how to play the violin will ultimately make you more confident – you’ll get a sense of accomplishment, but you’ll also be able to focus on gaining specific, complex skills. 

Reason #6: It Develops Musicality and Creativity

Just like any other instrument, the violin is a delicate instrument that will introduce you to the world of music.

If you learn how to play the violin, you’ll undeniably improve your creativity as well as musicality, and that can ultimately help you learn any other instrument more easily. 

Reason #7: Playing the Violin Is Healthy

As we’ve already mentioned, the violin is good for your body’s strength and coordination. But it’s also good for your posture and focus.

Moreover, playing the violin will improve your memory and cognitive skills.

All things considered, taking violin lessons will ultimately make you more creative, focused, and organized, but it will also be beneficial to your overall health. 

black and white woman playing violin

Are There Any Disadvantages to Learning Violin?

Although learning the violin comes with many benefits, there are also some drawbacks you should be aware of.

1. It’s a long process

First of all, learning how to play the violin well requires a lot of time and patience. Unlike the piano, it will take you a while until you’re able to produce a good tone on the violin.

Moreover, if you want to reach advanced levels, you’ll have to practice regularly and consistently.

Of course, that’s the case with all instruments. But the violin just requires a little more effort compared to some others. 

2. It might be pricey 

Violin learning can also be a bit pricey, especially if you want to purchase a high-quality instrument. 

There are also some recurrent costs you should take into account, such as strings, bow rehairs, and so on.

1.2. What to Expect 

If you’re worried about the disadvantages of learning the violin, let us tell you what to expect from the whole learning journey.

At the end of the day, every music learning process has its drawbacks, but it’s also very rewarding – and violin is no different. 

Once you play the song you’ve always wanted to learn, it will all be worth it. But if you have the right learning source, you’ll also be able to enjoy the process of getting there – as everyone should.

Is the Violin Expensive?

One of the biggest concerns of people who are thinking about starting a violin is the price. And that’s understandable – the violin has a reputation for being very pricey.

As a beginner, you don’t have to opt for a high-end model. On the other hand, it’s better to spend an extra $100 for a better-quality instrument.

Generally, a good beginner violin costs about $500. And a professional violin may cost anything between $5,000 and $50,000.

So, it all depends on your level, budget, and goals. Either way, it’s important to explore all the possibilities and conduct thorough research before purchasing anything.

brown wooden violin

Another expense you have to take into account are your violin lessons. Lessons with a violin teacher can cost anywhere from $20 to $100+ per hour. But there are also online learning websites that offer affordable lessons. And violin-earning apps and online programs are probably the cheapest option.

We’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of online and in-person violin lessons in our Violin Buying Guide down below.

By the way, violin accessories are another thing to consider – essentials like rosin, duster cloth, shoulder rest, a case, and so on…

All in all, violin playing isn’t cheap, but there’s also a way of saving some money (learning to play the violin online, for example.) Plus, the biggest expense is the instrument itself – so once you purchase it, you won’t have to think about it for a while.

How Much Practice Does the Violin Require?

Another question that many people interested in violin ask is: how much do I need to practice?

If you want to master the basics and learn how to play easy songs on the violin, you’ll be able to reach your goal within months. And if you want to become a skilled violinist, you’ll have to wait a couple of years (or more.)

In any case, you’ll have to practice regularly and consistently. Dedicated violinists practice every day for hours. 

Ideally, you should practice 30 minutes a day. Even a 15-minute practice session will do you good – that way, you can easily incorporate your violin practice into your daily routine, but you’ll also be able to see the results rather quickly.  

1.3. What Age Is The Best To Learn Violin?

And if you’re wondering what is the best age to start learning violin, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s never too late to start. 

Yes, learning the violin at a young age is great, but adult learners also have their advantages. At the end of the day, it all depends on your goals and wishes. 

Learning Violin as an Adult

As an adult beginner, you might not get to be a part of the national orchestra, but you can definitely reach advanced levels.

First of all, as an adult, you’re used to having responsibilities, so sticking to your practice schedule probably won’t be that difficult.

You also probably have a strong inner motivation – and that’s crucial for every violin learner. If you’re dedicated and persistent, you’ll undoubtedly be able to become good at playing the violin.

Finally, you probably have some music skills, even if you don’t necessarily see it that way. For instance, being familiar with the music you want to play and having a sense of rhythm or, even better, having an experience of playing any other instrument is a huge advantage when starting violin.

curly hair playing violin

Learning Violin as a Child 

If kids are interested in music and it’s motivated to learn, they can start learning violin at the age of 5 or even earlier. But the best period to start violin training is probably around 6 or 7 years old.

Either way, kids are great learners – and they’re usually less afraid than adults, as adults tend to be more conscious of what people think.

Moreover, learning the violin as a child comes with many benefits. Violin training can enhance memory, cognitive skills, fine motor skills, concentration, and even social skills. 

Finally, people who learn how to play violin in childhood are more likely to become great violinists in adulthood. Most professional violinists started to play at an early age. 

Chapter 2: Violin Buying Guide

2.1. Buying Your First Violin

Buying a violin can be a bit daunting for beginners. With so many options out there, it’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed.

However, buying your first violin is also exciting – and if you know what you’re looking for, it will also be smooth.

For starters, we suggest asking yourself the following questions:

What is my budget?

First, you need to determine your price range. That way, you’ll narrow down the choices and you’ll be able to make a purchase in a quicker and more efficient way.

This is important to establish due to the wide price range of the violins. As we’ve already mentioned, you can get a violin for a couple of hundred and a couple of thousand dollars.

What type of violin do I want?

Next, decide what type of violin is the best for you. For example, you can choose from semi-acoustic violins, electric violins, and silent violins.

Electric and silent violins allow you to practice at home without disturbing anyone. They are also good for exploring different genres and styles.

On the other hand, acoustic violins provide the best sound.

Who will play the violin?

You should also think about who’s going to use the instrument you’re buying. Will your children also play with it? If you’re a beginner, do you want to buy an entry-level violin and upgrade later on?

via GIPHY

Rent or buy?

If you’re uncertain if you’ll continue with your violin lessons, you can go for a violin renting option. Check out what kind of violins you can get in your area and if they fit your expectations.

Research the brands!

Finally, before heading to a music store or violin-buying websites, conduct a little research about the most popular violin brands. Every company has its own values and target customers, so make sure the brand you’re purchasing aligns with your goals and abilities.

See also: Best Electric Violins and Best Violin Brands 

Features to Look for in a Violin 

Once you know what you’re looking for, it will be easier for you to make the right choice. 

When buying a violin, it’s crucial that the instrument is well-maintained. It wouldn’t hurt to check the return policy before making a purchase.

Playability and good sound are also essential – and that’s why we recommend playing it first. The salesman can help you check the instruments, or you can bring a friend who has experience with violins.

Also, make sure it’s well-constructed and made of quality materials. Beginner violins should be made of spruce, maple, and other quality woods. 

Useful Violin Buying Resources 

If you’re looking for a more detailed violin-buying guide, you can check out the following sites:

2.2. Violin Accessories

Once you buy your first violin, we recommend investing in a few useful violin accessories. 

Most of these essential accessories will make your violin learning journey more enjoyable.

Rosin

Rosin is a solid form of resin (a sticky substance that comes from trees) that helps create friction between the bow hair and strings. 

The thing is, cheap rosin can affect the sound negatively. So if your kit comes with cheap rosin, it would be best to spend a few extra dollars to upgrade your rosin. 

Violin Case 

To keep your instrument safe between use, you should also get a case. 

A good violin case will also protect your instrument from weather conditions and scratches while traveling. 

Shoulder Rest

A shoulder rest helps your violin stay up comfortably on your shoulder.

You can get flexible metal shoulder rests or pre-shaped pad rests, depending on your preferences. 

Music Stand 

Getting a music stand (for sheet music) is optional, but it will make your practice so much easier. 

Violin Maintenance 

Just like any other instrument, the violin requires maintenance and care. 

To clean your violin, you can use a microfiber cloth or duster. You can simply wipe down your instrument and strings with a dry cloth after each session.

You will also have to occasionally change your strings and rehair or clean the hair of your bow.

And since the violin is a valuable instrument, we recommend taking your instrument to a general check-up once a year. 

wooden violins hanging

2.3. How to Find Violin Lessons

See also: Best Online Violin Lessons 

If you’re thinking about learning violin, you also need to find a reliable learning source. 

Luckily, you have so many options at your disposal; but that can also be confusing. The most important thing is to find a program that fits your needs. That being said, after you find out more about each option (and what’s accessible to you), you’ll be able to make an informed decision. 

If you want to learn how to play the violin by yourself, online violin programs and learning apps are good options for you. They’re convenient, affordable, and efficient. But they also come with some drawbacks. 

That being said, many would agree that nothing beats in-person lessons. And that might be true to some degree – a teacher can provide you with valuable feedback, it can demonstrate complex techniques, and generally lead you through the whole process. 

On the other hand, online lessons will provide you with flexibility and the freedom to learn at your own pace and choose your own learning material. 

So, let’s summarize the pros and cons of the most popular ways of learning violin.

In-Person Lessons

Pros:

  • direct feedback
  • clear guidance
  • professional teaching methods 

Cons:

  • pricey
  • lack of flexibility

Violin Learning Apps 

Pros:

  • affordable
  • fun and engaging 
  • you can choose your learning material
  • extensive song libraries 

Cons:

  • lack of quality feedback
  • potential lack of advanced lessons

Online Violin Lessons

Pros:

  • affordable
  • convenient 
  • flexible 

Cons:

  • lack of quality feedback

Combination of Methods 

If that seems more convenient for you, you can also combine learning methods. For example, you can meet with a violin teacher once a month, and practice with an app or an online program in the meantime.

Either way, it’s important to establish a routine – you might feel overwhelmed or a bit lost otherwise. 

By the way, online violin programs are a great source because they usually offer structured learning. Lessons are usually linear, and you can move forward once you complete them. 

2.4. Other Methods 

As you can see, there are different ways you can approach your violin learning. So why not take advantage of that?

Of course, it all depends on your unique learning habits. And luckily, there’s no single best way to learn violin for beginners. 

Traditional methods might be more expensive, but they will provide you with quality learning and clear guidance. 

Modern methods, on the other hand, turned out to be quite effective. Online music programs and apps are designed to teach you in a quick and easy way. And you’ll probably have a lot of fun in the process.

New technologies also allow us to learn in a productive as well as cost-effective way. But many people still opt for traditional methods.

Whatever you choose, make sure you set realistic goals. That way, you won’t feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Learning violin is a long process – you won’t get there overnight. But it’s also a rewarding one, and we promise it will be worthwhile. 

guy playing violin outside

PART 2 – Mastering the Fundamentals 

Now that you know what to expect from your violin learning journey and how to find the right instrument for you, let’s start with your first lesson! 

Chapter 3: First Steps 

3.1. How to Hold a Violin

One of the first things you should learn as a violin beginner is how to hold your violin properly.

First of all, the violin should rest on your collarbone and be supported by your left hand and your shoulder. Make sure your neck is relaxed. 

Now place your chin gently on the chin rest and angle your head accordingly, and then pivot the violin slightly towards the center. 

Try to keep the angle of the violin relatively steady while playing. Of course, the violin will move a bit (depending on the intensity of your playing though), but maintaining the right posture is important. That way, you’ll avoid developing bad habits, and you’ll feel comfortable during your practice or performance.

Next, you need to place your left hand at the end of the violin’s neck and curl your forefinger onto the top of the neck. Finally, you need to hold the bow with your right thumb and fingers. 

And that’s it – you’re ready to play! 

3.2. How to Tune Your Violin

Truth be told, tuning a violin can be challenging even for experienced players. So if you want to make sure your instrument is tuned well, we recommend taking it to a professional.

Violin strings are very fragile, which makes violin tuning a tricky job. 

But you can try to do it nevertheless. And with a little practice, you might be able to turn into an expert.

Using a chromatic violin tuner is arguably the easiest way to tune a violin. Besides electric tuners, there are tuning apps and online violin tuners that can help you out. 

Alternatively, you can find a reference note by playing it on another instrument. Tune your violin until it matches, and do it slowly and carefully. 

Chapter 4: Basic Skills 

4.1. Violin Strings

Before playing your first notes on the violin, you need to become familiar with the violin string names. 

The strings on the violin are E, A, D, and G. So, G is the lowest, deepest sound and E is the highest sound. 

The G is also the thickest string on the violin.

To memorize the names of violin strings, you can use good old mnemonics. There are several popular mnemonics for violin strings – “Every Ant Digs in the Ground”, for example. 

brown violin chords

If you hear the word “interval”, the term refers to the space between certain sounds. The interval between each of the violin’s strings is a perfect fifth – so like violas and cellos, violins use the interval of a perfect fifth to tune their open strings. 

4.2. Violin Notes 

Another thing every beginner violinist has to memorize is the violin notes. 

There are twelve notes on a violin: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#. The lowest note on the violin is a G3 and the highest note on the violin is an A7.

Basically, music notation consists of the first seven letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. These are the 7 notes on which all music is based.

A sharp note (#) indicates that a note should be played half a step higher than it is normally played. Positions of the sharp (#) or flat (b) signs tell us which notes need to be raised by a semitone or lowered (flattened) by a semitone. 

So, if there’s an F# in the key signature, all Fs are made into F#s. But we’ll tell you more about key signatures later on. 

Finally, the notes of the violin strings without any fingers pressed down (G, D, A, and E) are known as open strings.  

As a beginner, you should practice open strings first. That will help you learn how to bow smoothly on the violin.

4.3. Fingering

Before moving on to playing notes, let’s clarify how violin fingering works. 

In violin playing, a number is assigned to each of the fingers of the left hand that press the strings. 

And it’s quite simple to memorize: 

  • index finger – number 1
  • middle finger – number 2
  • ring finger – number 3
  • pinky finger – number 4

4.4. Violin Positions

So how do you actually play notes on the violin?

Well, first you need to understand that there are several hand positions in violin playing. These specific left-hand locations allow violinists to find accurate pitches.

The first position you’ll encounter as a beginner is the first position. 

animated violin with hand

The first position is the fundamental violin position. It’s called the 1st position because it aligns your index finger over the first stop on the fingerboard. That way, you can play A on the G string, E on the D string, B on the A string, and F# on the E string.

In other words, your first finger needs to hover over the place on the fingerboard that will produce these pitches. 

So for example, on the A string in the first position (depending on the key), your fingers will be positioned like this: 

  • index finger right above the pitch of B
  • second finger above C or C♯
  • third finger above D or D♯
  • fourth finger above E

There are other violin positions you’ll come across in your violin learning process, but you’ll play in the 1st position for the most part, especially in the beginning. 

4.5. Playing Scales 

And a large portion of your beginner violin practice should revolve around playing scales

In essence, a scale is a series of notes arranged in ascending or descending order. 

Scales have a reputation for being daunting and boring, but they are actually your ally. With the knowledge of scales, you’ll be able to make progress in an easier and faster way.

Learning violin scales is essential because it will ultimately help you improve your technique. It will help you develop the correct finger and arm muscle memory, and it will allow you to naturally become familiar with the notes. 

So, how to play scales on a violin?

To help you understand how scales work, let us show you how to play the most common violin scale. 

A Major Violin Scale

One of the first scales you’ll learn as a violin student is the A Major scale.

This common beginner violin scale is played in the first position, and it includes the following violin notes: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, and G#.

The A Major scale on the violin follows the Major scale pattern of whole and half steps. And the key signature here indicates 3 sharps.

music note and three number sign

To play the A Major scale on the violin, you need to start with the open A string. Then you need to continue with the B by placing your first finger on the A string, your second finger to play the C#, and your third finger close to the second to play D. 

Now repeat the same pattern on the string E to play E, F#, G#, and A notes.

And that’s it! Since this is a popular scale, you’ll notice if you’ve played something wrong. But the fingering pattern is quite easy, and with enough practice, you’ll play it effortlessly in no time. Just don’t rush – play it slowly first.

Besides the A Major scale, other scales you’ll probably come across during your first violin lessons include the G Major violin scale, the D Major scale, the C Major scale, and the B-Flat Major violin scale.

4.6. How to Bow the Violin Correctly

The way you bow your violin will affect your sound and overall performance. So if you want to be able to play violin scales smoothly, you need to work on your bowing technique.

Your bow helps you articulate music, and that’s why you need to use it in the right way.

First of all, make sure you hold the bow correctly. You should find your natural grip, and it needs to be comfortable. Also, keep your bow in the middle, and pay attention to your elbow (keep it at the right angle.)

When you reach a certain level, there are various bowing strokes for you to learn. And you’ll soon realize that a violin bow is kind of like a magic wand – you can produce all sorts of sounds with it!

woman in white dress play violin

PART 3 – Music Theory & Practice 

If you want to become a skilled violinist, you’ll have to dedicate some time to music theory.

Studying music theory won’t only help you improve your violin skills – it will also help you understand how music works. 

Chapter 5: Music Notation

5.1. How to Read Violin Sheet Music 

Learning how to read sheet music is generally a very useful skill. And although it might look intimidating at first, once you learn basic symbols and elements, everything will make much more sense.

The Stave

In violin sheet music, the stave (or staff) is a set of five horizontal lines. And each line or space represents one of the notes. 

Since it indicates the pitch of musical notes, the stave is the basis of music notation. 

Clef 

The stave, however, doesn’t make sense without a clef. You can spot a clef at the beginning of any piece of violin sheet music. 

The clef (from French: clef ‘key’) defines the appropriate pitch range. In other words, it determines the pitch of a particular line of the stave. 

The violin music is predominantly written in treble clef (G clef), which is generally the most used clef in Western music notation. 

Key Signature 

A key signature is the set of accidentals, sharps (♯), and flats (♭), placed next to the clef in sheet music. 

So, a key signature will tell you which notes to play sharp or flat in a music piece. 

Now, the bar lines divide the staff into measures (or bars), so they help musicians keep the right time. Which takes us to understand timing and rhythm… 

Time Signature 

To understand how timing works, you need to become familiar with time signatures. 

Generally, a time signature consists of two numbers. The upper number tells you many beats there are per measure, and the bottom number tells you what note value takes one beat. The measure refers to the section of music enclosed by bar lines.

So, the 4/4 time signature would translate to four quarter notes per measure.

note time signature

Note Lengths

The next thing you need to learn to understand the rhythm is note lengths.

In sheet music, you can find out ‘how long’ the note is going to last based on how it looks. 

For example, an ‘empty’ note without a straight stem has 4 beats. And if we’re talking about a 4/4 time signature, this note will last 4 beats. Therefore, this is also called the whole note.

Besides whole notes, there are half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes

music notes and description

Bowing Symbols 

In violin sheet music, you will notice that some notes are marked with special markings. These symbols indicate which bowing technique to use.

Some of the most common bow markings in sheet music include:

Legato bow stroke – tells you to play the notes smoothly and connected

legato bow stroke

Martelé bow stroke – this stroke has a strong accent or bite at the beginning of the note

Martelé bow stroke

Up-bow & Down-bow Staccato – indicates multiple short and detached notes that start with a bite or accents

up bow and down bow staccato

Dynamics

Besides different bowing techniques, your performance will also be determined by dynamic markings. 

In standard notation, dynamic markings are written as shortened Italian terms. For example, one of the most common markings is p (for ‘piano’), meaning soft and quiet.

Some of the other common dynamic markings you’ll come across include:

  • Forte (f) – loud
  • Mezzo forte (mf) – moderately loud
  • Mezzo piano (mp) – moderately soft
  • Fortissimo (ff) – very loud
  • Pianissimo (pp) – very soft
  • Crescendo – gradually gets louder
  • Decrescendo – gradually get softer

5.2. Why Should You Learn to Read Music?

Trying to read violin sheet music might be confusing at first, but once you get a hang of it, you’ll realize it’s not that hard. It’s actually pretty logical.

And once you improve your sight reading skills, you’ll be able to pick up any new song without hassle. And that’s probably the most rewarding part of your learning journey – being able to play a completely new piece of music effortlessly.

Of course, developing sight reading skills takes time and practice. And even experienced musicians don’t play a new piece smoothly the first time. 

Nevertheless, learning how to read sheet music will allow you to explore different genres and styles, and it will ultimately help you become a better violinist.

Chapter 6: Playing Easy Songs on Violin

Once you master the fundamentals, you can start with the most rewarding part of the violin learning journey – playing songs!

Needless to say, you should start with easy, beginner-friendly songs. That way, you won’t come across techniques that are too demanding for your level. 

As you progress, you can’t choose songs that are slightly above your level. That way, you’ll be able to learn new things and challenge yourself.

To help you get started, here are some of the easy songs you can play on the violin:

1. “Jingle Bells”

If you want to surprise your friends and family next Christmas, why not start with “Jingle Bells”?

This Christmas classic is very easy to play, and since you already know the melody by heart, you’ll be able to get a grasp of it in no time.

2. “Concerning Hobbits”

And if you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, you can also start with this beloved melody.

“Concerning Hobbits” is a gentle, slow-paced song that you can easily play on the violin. 

3. “Game of Thrones”

Another popular theme song you can learn on the violin is the “Game of Thrones” theme song.

You can try the easy version of the song, and add more nuance to your performance once you reach more advanced levels.

4. “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven 

And if you want to add classical music pieces to your beginner repertoire, we recommend learning “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven.

This familiar melody will help you improve your technique and rhythm. 

And the tempo seems too fast, you can play it at a reduced speed first.

5. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen 

“Hallelujah” is suitable for beginners because it’s not too fast and it doesn’t involve any complex techniques.

Plus, you’re surely familiar with the melody, which ultimately makes this song relatively easy to learn and memorize. 

See also: Easy Violin Songs for Beginners 

Chapter 7: Violin Practice 

To be able to learn new songs without hassle, you’ll need to practice. More importantly, you’ll have to establish a practice routine.

If you want to reach your goals, you have to practice consistently. Consistency is always the key.

However, it’s not only about how long you practice every day but also how. If you’re a beginner, you should follow the suggested learning path and structure your practice in an efficient way. 

Finally, you should set a schedule according to your goals. It all comes down to your reasons for wanting to learn violin. 

But even if you only want to learn the violin basics to play your favorite songs, you’ll have to approach your practice in the right way. Once you develop bad habits, it’s not easy to go back – therefore, start practicing in the right way from the very start.

white shirt man playing violin

7.1. Establishing a Practice Routine 

How long should I practice every day?

If you want to learn how to play the violin well, you should practice for at least 30 minutes each day. As you progress, you can prolong your sessions and practice for an hour; especially if you want to eventually reach advanced levels.

How often should I practice violin?

You should practice as often as you can. Either way, it’s better to practice 20 minutes a day than for 3 hours once a week. 

When to practice violin?

That depends on your learning habits. But if you’re playing an acoustic violin, it can get pretty loud, so make sure you can practice without worrying you’re bothering anyone. 

You should feel free to practice and play the violin without any restrictions, so find a practice time that allows you to be as loud as you need to be. 

Where to practice violin?

This is also highly individual. But as we just mentioned, it’s important to have a safe space where you can do your practice without any distractions.

7.2. Before Your Practice Session

So what are you supposed to do before your violin practice session?

Well, if you’re practicing at home, make sure to remove all the distractions. You can even mute your phone – whatever helps you concentrate.

If you keep your focus during your session, you’ll be able to accomplish so much more.

7.3 Structuring Each Session

Your practice session should start with a warm-up. There are many warm-up exercises for you to explore – find the one that suits you best and incorporate it into your session.

You can then continue with the new musical concepts, scales, or bowing techniques. In this part of the practice, you should focus on your technique. You can start by repeating the things you know and moving on to new stuff. This part can also involve sight reading exercises.

The next part is probably the most fun – working on your pieces. You can start by playing the sections you know and moving on to new parts of the song.

violin and paper on the table

7.4 How to Avoid Common Mistakes

Every violin learner has their own learning habits, and some things that work for others might not work for you. However, there are some things you should keep in mind nevertheless.

And one of the ways to make the most out of your beginner violin lessons is to be aware of the common mistakes violin students make. 

To avoid the common beginner mistakes, try to remember the following tips:

  • make sure your violin is tuned properly
  • practice consistently 
  • warm-up first
  • don’t skip theory lessons 
  • memorize the music in small chunks
  • maintain good posture

7.5. Violin Goals and Motivation

Maintaining regular violin practice is important. But of course, how often you need to practice also depends on your goals.

If you just want to learn how to play simple songs on the violin, then you don’t need to spend hours learning music theory. On the other hand, music theory is important for anyone who wants to become a skilled musician. 

Finally, your personal goals and motivation are important as they will help you move forward and make progress. Therefore, we suggest setting realistic, short-term goals. 

And it’s true that the violin is not an easy instrument to learn. But that can also be the reason why you’ll feel so great once you achieve your goals. Trust us – the moment you play your first song smoothly, you’ll be sure it was worth the struggle! 

PART 4: Violin History and Culture

As a violin student, you should also become familiar with your instrument’s background.

Besides being a beautiful instrument to play, the violin also has a rich history and tradition. Of course, you don’t need to know the whole story, but finding out how it all started will help you understand your instrument a little better. 

Chapter 8: Background 

8.1. When Was the Violin Invented?

The violin dates back to the early 16th century. In fact, the violin evolved during the Renaissance from earlier bowed instruments such as the medieval fiddle. 

Surprisingly, the earliest violins were used for popular and dance music. And during the 17th century, the violin replaced the viol as the primary stringed instrument in chamber music. 

8.2. Who Invented the Violin?

The violin first appeared in the Brescia area of Northern Italy. And the oldest known violin was built by an Italian luthier, Andrea Amati.

Amati was a lute builder, but he was commissioned to build one of the first four-string violins by a wealthy Medici family. And that’s how the first violin was born. 

The violin has changed and evolved over the centuries, and the more modern violin (thanks to the innovations of Antonio Stradivari) has a shallower body and a different, more forceful tone. 

Eventually, the violin became an integral part of many modern music genres and styles. 

Chapter 9: Exploring Genres and Styles  

Although it’s mostly associated with classical music, the violin is used in a variety of genres.

As a violin learner, you should explore different styles. The versatility of the songs you have in your repertoire can only help you grow as a musician.

So let’s take a quick look at the most popular violin genres and playing styles.

9.1. Classical

guys playing violin

Every violin student gets introduced to classical music. After all, the violin is one of the most important parts of the orchestra. 

Classical music has a reputation for being too serious and formal though, especially among younger students. And since it does have certain rules and structures, classical music will help you improve your technique. 

But it can also be very enjoyable to play. There are so many beautiful classical pieces for you to explore – from Vivaldi and Bach to lesser-known classical gems. 

Classical Violin Tutorials

9.2. Pop

guy with shades playing violin

Pop music is a wide genre that includes all kinds of sounds. And that’s how the violin found its place in pop songs as well.

Unlike classical violin pieces, pop music usually doesn’t require technical precision – the emphasis is on emotion. 

Either way, pop songs are great for violin beginners because they’re usually fairly easy to learn. 

Pop Violin Tutorials:

9.3. Jazz

black and white violin

When thinking about jazz music, the violin probably isn’t the first instrument that comes to mind. However, violins have played an important role in the development of the jazz genre.

That said, exploring jazz violin playing style is very interesting, and there are many great tunes for you to learn. 

Jazz Violin Tutorials:

9.4. Folk 

man in boat playing violin

Folk is another genre that often incorporates the sound of the violin.

Just like pop, folk tends to be more relaxed and informal, and it emphasizes emotion. However, folk violin requires some experience too, especially because of its use of improvisation.

Nonetheless, it’s a great genre to explore, especially if you want to work on your improvisational skills. 

Folk Violin Tutorials: 

Chapter 10: Exploring Famous Violinists 

Another way to get to know your instrument a little better is to become familiar with famous violinists.

These great violinists made an impact on the music of their era and culture in general, and their dedication and talent keep inspiring violinists around the world.

So let’s take a look at some of the greatest violinists of all time – they might inspire you too.

10.1. Jascha Heifetz

Jascha Heifetz is widely regarded as one of the best violin players in history.

The American-Lithuanian violinist was a virtuoso from childhood, and he had a long and successful performing career.

Heifetz is also remembered as a teacher and innovative musician, and his style of playing heavily influenced the way modern violinists approached the violin.

10.2. David Oistrakh

David Oistrakh was a Ukrainian classical violinist, violist, and conductor known for his virtuosic technique.

Oistrakh performed his debut concert at the age of six, and eventually, he established himself as one of the most prominent violinists in the Soviet Union.

10.3. Niccolò Paganini 

Niccolò Paganini was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time.

Paganini played an important role in the development of the modern violin technique.

And he was responsible for some of the most prominent compositions in classical music, including his Violin Concerto No. 1 and 24 Caprices for Solo Violin.

Chapter 11: FAQ and Useful Resources 

11.1. Free Online Resources – Guides, Sheet Music, Lessons 

No matter what your learning source is, it’s always good to get some extra knowledge and use the online tools you have at your disposal. 

And that’s why our final chapter is dedicated to online resources that can help you in your violin learning.

Violin Buying Guides 

Besides our own violin shopping guide, there are several violin-buying guides that can also come in handy.

Free Sheet Music

Once you learn how to read music, you’ll have so many songs at your disposal – you just need to find the appropriate sheet music.

Fortunately, you can easily find printable sheet music online. These are some of the popular websites that provide free sheet music:

  • 8notes website offers free violin sheet music including jazz violin music, world music for violin, film music for violin, and so on. 
  • Violin Sheet Music provides free violin sheet music categorized by genres and artists

Recording Software and Programs 

Recording programs can also be useful. If you’re learning the violin by yourself,  it’s important to hear yourself playing – that’s how you’ll be able to spot your weaknesses and improve your performance.

  • Audacity is a free, open-source, cross-platform audio software that’s easy to use

And if you’re interested in composing, there are also some cool music writing programs you can explore.

  • MuseScore is a popular music notation app that allows you to create your own music

Online Learning

If you’re learning how to play the violin by yourself, it would be a good idea to find additional learning resources.

These e-learning platforms offer useful content for violin beginners:

  • Violinspiration provides articles, tutorials, and video lessons
  • Violin Lab has a section with app and resources recommendation that can come in handy 
  • Youtube – Youtube can also be a great source of information. You can find free song tutorials, pre-recorded violin classes, and so on. 

11.2. Violin Players Community 

If you’re learning how to play violin online, the process can get a bit lonely. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to search for violin learners’ online communities. 

Forums can be a great source of information, but they can also give you a chance to meet fellow learners. Many learning programs and apps also have their own members’ area. 

Exchanging learning experiences can be very helpful, and it can boost your motivation. 

11.3. FAQs

Am I Too Old to Learn How to Play the Violin?

You’re never too old to learn how to play the violin. In fact, adult learners have many advantages,  including focus, working habits, and strong motivation.

Do I Need to Learn How to Read Music?

Learning how to read sheet music isn’t necessary for playing the violin. We encourage you to do it nevertheless. If you’re able to read music, you can learn any song you want very easily. Also, this skill will help you understand how music really works. 

How Can I Improve My Bowing Technique?

To improve your violin bowing, you should pay attention to your posture – keep your elbow at the right angle and have a relaxed bow hold. You should also integrate easy bowing exercises into your daily practice routine.

What’s the Best Violin to Buy for a Beginner?

As a beginner, you should opt for a good-quality entry-level violin and a trusted brand. Some of the best violin brands for students include Stentor, Mendini, Yamaha, and Primavera.

How Long Does It Take To Learn the Violin?

Depends on how much you practice and what your goals are. Master the violin basics, it should take you a couple of months. And if you want to reach advanced levels, you’ll need to practice regularly for years. 

How to Tune a Violin?

The easiest way to tune a violin is to use a clip-on tuner or an online tuner. Alternatively, you can tune a violin by finding a reference note, but that’s tricky for beginners. 

Can I Learn Violin in 3 Months?

Yes, it’s possible to learn violin in 3 months. But that also depends on your practice and focus.

Is Violin Hard to Learn?

The violin has a reputation for being one of the hardest instruments to learn. But with the right learning source and regular practice, you shouldn’t have any problems mastering the basics.

Can I Teach Myself Violin?

Yes, you can teach yourself violin, but you need to find a reliable learning source – well-structured violin online lessons, for example. If you follow the instructions and stick to your schedule, you’ll be able to gain violin skills without using traditional methods.

Is Playing Violin Healthy?

Playing the violin comes with multiple health benefits. It reduces stress levels and anxiety, and it improves memory and brain processing power. Music has also been shown to lower blood pressure and increase immune response.

Does the Violin Boost IQ?

Studies have shown that playing an instrument for a longer period of time can boost IQ. Learning the violin improves cognitive skills, memory, and listening, and it sharpens your concentration and focus. 

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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