Learn how to play the violin

Learning how to play the violin is an exciting but long journey so lets first look at what we want to cover.

  • The single best piece of advice I can give.
  • What to look for in a good violin teacher
  • Practice tips
  • Getting started - the bow, rosin and shoulder rests
  • Violin fingering charts
  • Free violin lessons online
  • Violin Tuning
  • Other useful resources

Got all that? okay, lets get this show on the road.

The single best piece of advice I can give

Get a teacher. Make that a violin teacher. Uhh, actually, make that the best violin teacher you can get access to.

The thing that will make the single biggest difference in how fast and how well you learn how to play the violin is getting the best teacher you can. A good teacher will get you places much faster than an average teacher.

Yes, you can try and teach yourself how to play the violin and get lessons online for free (I'll show you where on another page), but there is nothing like having someone who knows exactly what you should be aiming for, can look at your individual problems and tailor solutions for your needs.

So folks, promise me this - if you seriously want to learn how to play the violin, do your very best to get a good teacher, not just rely on online materials - right?

'But wait!' I hear you say. 'I want to learn how to play the violin, but how do I know a good teacher when I meet one?' No problem - have a look at my take on what to look for in a great violin teacher .

Getting started - the bow, rosin and shoulder rests

I well remember the first violin my parents bought me when I started to learn how to play the violin. It was a 3/4 size, brand new. I took the violin out of the case, tightened the bow (I at least knew to do that much) and drew the bow across one of the strings. My parents were serenaded by the most beautiful noise I made on the instrument for months - total silence.


My first piece of advice then for you, my intrepid visitor, is to rosin your brand new bow before you try to play! Yup, you guessed it - if you don't have rosin on your bow, it has very little friction on the string and makes very little noise.

When you tighten the bow, aim for a gap between the hair and the stick of about 1cm at the middle

Shoulder rests
make it far easier to hold the violin with only the chin/jaw and shoulder, leaving the left hand completely free from supporting the instrument.

Fingering Charts

Get fingering charts for some of the common beginning scales

Violin Tuning

There is nothing more frustrating than only being able to get your instrument tuned once a week at you (or your childs) lesson. Get some helpful hints here.

Practice tips

First up, lets dispel a popular myth with the following advice:

Practice does NOT make perfect.

Yes, you read that correctly. Let me explain.It would be more accurate to say 'Practice makes permanent'. Whatever you repeat you will become more fluent at. The issue with practice is to ensure that you are repeating what you want to learn correctly, NOT your mistakes

If you simply play your current piece through three times this is not practice or at least not effective practice. You are simply repeating what you can already do. If you are not playing it perfectly already, you are simply drumming in your imperfections in your playing.

'Okay' I hear you say, 'so how should I practice? The number one requirement is..


Focus as in, knowing exactly what you are trying to achieve. Focus as in, having no distactions and concentrating on what you are doing. Focus as in, working on small chunks at a time.

To get a head start in not only learning how to play the violin, but doing it efficiently and effectively, visit the ' good practice tips page'.

Free violin lessons online

Okay you read my instructions about getting a good teacher didn't you? You really want to learn how to play the violin properly so you have already started looking haven't you? Good! I knew I could count on you ;-).

With that out of the way, if there is only one site you visit for free online violin lessons get it here.. www.violinmasterclass.com This is simply by far the best site out there for learning how to play the violin. 1.2 gigs of freely downloadable video clips on playing the violin. There is simply nothing else I have seen that comes close. (Maybe it has something to do with the $900,000 production budget and the highly talented teachers and players involved :-) )

Get more details on the free online violin lessons page

Other useful resources for playing the violin

First up - If you don't have a metronome, but have internet access, this site is a must; www.metronomeonline.com Next up is music theory. The London royal school of music require you to pass a grade 5 theory exam before sitting higher level practical exams. Trinity college for example do not. However, even in the trinity college exams, it is impossible to answer all the ear test questions without learning some theory.

The bottom line: Learn some music theory too. Its nice to have some clue what is going on in what you are playing, and the structure of the music will make a lot more sense to you.

'Great idea!' I hear you say, 'uhh, so where do I do that?'

Right here - at Ricci Adams musictheory.net What sets this site apart? It not only explains the theory, it has a great selection of online trainers so you can really drum in what you have learned.

Thats all for now folks - time to get out those instruments and start practicing!