How to play the violin

What size violin do I need?

Most adults play on full size violins otherwise known as the 4/4 size. If you are unsure of what size you need or are buying for your children, click here: violin sizes
For the best (Fiddlerman Approved) starter violins, click here: beginner violins

How to play the violin

Here are the violins open strings in order. The first string is called E, is the highest open string on the violin and is labeled with the roman numeral I. The next string is the A = II, then D = III and the lowest is the G = IV.

To tune your violin click on Fiddlermans TUNER

Download Fiddlermans FINGERING CHART or THIS ONE and put it in your practice room. You can also put it by your bed to stare at before going to sleep or in the bathroom.

How to play the violin

Notice how the arm and wrist are in a straight line. The thumb in this illustration is all the way back against the curb.

Hold the violin – Begin with your legs comfortably spread at about shoulder width apart. Start by placing the violin on your left shoulder/collar bone, lifting your chin slightly and placing the end pin of the violin towards the center of your neck. Lower your jaw/chin so that it rests comfortably on the chin-rest. Find a good comfort zone. If it is not comfortable you may eventually need to find a more suitable chinrest. Do not over squeeze the violin to hold it, rather gently rest your head on the chinrest.
The violin should point slightly to the left. Not straight in front of you and not way off to the side. Keep the instrument high enough that you will be able to reach the tip of the bow and that it will remain balanced.

How to play the violin

Balance is important to feel like the violin is going to stay in place without having to squeeze. Always try to relax and be as comfortable as possible.

Place thumb in or close to the C in the frog. Middle finger adjacent to thumb. Fingers comfortably together straingt then turn hand counter clockwise (towards the strings). Always keep all fingers and thumb slightly curved.

Hold the bow – Place your thumb in the C of the bow frog and place the other fingers on the other side of the stick with the pointer finger towards the tip of the bow. Keep the all the fingers comfortably together and relaxed. With the pinky curved and the tip on top of the stick, turn your hand counter-clockwise so that the fingers lay at an angle.The bow’s stick makes contact on the first fingers knuckle with each following fingers closer to their tips. Finally the pinky needs to learn to sit on top of the stick and stay there. A proper hold will enable you to make flexible smooth bow changes.

How to play the violin

On the up-bow, notice that the fingers are only slightly bent and are extended. On down bows the fingers are very curved. Keeping the fingers close together enables more finger flexibility which will come in handy when making smooth bow changes.

After learning to correctly hold the violin and bow begin by drawing the bow over the strings while concentrating on keeping a straight bow stroke at a selected contact point between the bridge and fingerboard. Draw long, slow, full bows and don’t be discouraged too soon about the sound. Use mostly elbow and very little shoulder movement. In the beginning use a mirror to learn the feeling of drawing straight bows. Don’t expect perfection right away. Even pros draw crooked bows. If the bow travels up and down the string towards and away from the fingerboard experiment with slight angles to find the right angle for drawing a straight bow.

Find here some of the many free etudes, scales and studies and solos that I have compiled mostlly for beginners up to intermediate.
Begin with the “FIDDLERMANS BEGINNERS ETUDES-STUDIES”

For a PDF with explanations of staffs, measures, time signatures, and repeat signs for reading music click here.

Download and print Fiddlermans RHYTHM CHART to learn how to count.

To learn to recognize intonation problems play the INTONATION GAME
To learn where to place your fingers study the chart and play Fiddlermans FINGERING GAME.
If you need to steady your rhythm use Fiddlermans METRONOME.
To learn to count rhythms use Fiddlermans RHYTHM GAME.

There are some musical instruments that are easier to learn than others and are suitable for beginners. Here are the best instruments for beginners in no particular order.

Violin

How to play the violin

Violins are fairly easy to start learning and are most suitable for children 6 years and older. They come in a variety of sizes, from full size to 1/16, depending on the age of the learner. Violins are very popular and in demand so if you become a professional player it wouldn’t be hard to join an orchestra or any musical group. Remember to opt for non-electric violins as they are more appropriate for beginning students.

Cello

How to play the violin

Another instrument that is fairly easy to start and suitable for kids 6 years and older. It is essentially a large violin but its’ body is thicker. It is played the same way as the violin, by rubbing the bow across the string. But where you can play the violin standing up, the cello is played sitting down while holding it between your legs. It also comes in different sizes from full size to 1/4.

Double Bass

How to play the violin

This instrument is like a huge cello and is played the same way, by rubbing the bow across the strings. Another way of playing it is by plucking or striking the strings. Double bass can be played while standing up or sitting down and is suitable for kids 11 years and older. It also comes in various sizes from full size, 3/4, 1/2 and smaller. The double bass isn’t as popular as other string instruments but is essential in most kinds of ensembles, especially jazz bands.

Flute

How to play the violin

Flutes are very popular and suitable for children to learn at age 10 upwards. Since it is very popular, there will be a lot of competition out there if you do decide to continue professionally. But don’t let this fact dishearten you. The flute is one of the easiest instruments to learn, easy to transport, not hard on the budget and fun to play.

Clarinet

How to play the violin

Another instrument of the woodwind family that is easy to start for kids 10 years and older. Like the flute, the clarinet is very popular and you will find opportunities to play it professionally if you desire. There are students who start off with the clarinet and take another instrument like a saxophone and have no problems with the transition.

Saxophone

How to play the violin

Saxophones come in a variety of sizes and types: like the soprano saxophone, the alto sax, tenor sax and the baritone sax. It is suitable for kids age 12 years and older. The alto saxophone is advisable for beginners. You will have a lot of opportunities to play the saxophone as it is needed in most school orchestras.

Trumpet

How to play the violin

The trumpet belongs to the brass family of instruments and is quite easy to start for students age 10 and older. Trumpets are orchestral instruments mostly used in jazz bands. It is easy to learn, easy to transport, fun to play and not very expensive. Remember to avoid buying a trumpet with a painted finish as the paint will chip.

Guitar

How to play the violin

The guitar is one of the most popular instruments and is suitable for students age 6 years upwards. Folk-style is easier to start with for beginners. Remember to opt for non-electric guitars if you’re just starting out. Guitars come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit any student’s need. Guitars are a mainstay in most music ensembles and you can also play it solo and still sound appealing.

Piano

How to play the violin

Suitable for kids 6 years and older. The piano takes a lot of time and patience to master, but once you do, it is worth it. The piano is one of the most versatile instruments out there and one of the most beautiful sounding. Traditional pianos are more suitable for beginners but there are a lot of electronic pianos out in the market right now that sound and feel like a real piano and cost almost the same.

How to play the violin

The harp is surprisingly easy to start. There are piano students who learn to play the harp with little difficulty because both instruments require reading music pieces in double-stave. Harps come in small sizes for kids age 8 years upwards and bigger harps for students 12 years and older. There are not a lot of people who play the harp and finding a teacher may be difficult. Nevertheless, it is one of the most ancient and beautiful sounding instrument and it’s worth learning if you desire.

One of the most beautiful and melodious musical instruments in the world is the violin, and it is a great deal to want to learn how to play it.

Is it hard to play the violin?

Can you teach yourself how to play the violin?

How long does it take to learn to play?

Read On…

To learn how to play the violin, you should be prepared for a long journey and the hurdles that are on the way. You need patience, enthusiasm, and discipline to start the journey and last long. Once you have those, you can begin!

? TIGHTEN THE BOW

The first thing you do is to tighten the bow. The hair of the bow is limp here, and you would tighten it by turning the screw at the end in a clockwise manner. Make sure the hair of the bow isn’t too tight or limp. The wood part of the bow should curve slightly toward the hair at the center.

? ADD SOME ROSIN

With a tight bow, you need to add some rosin. There are two types of rosin – light and dark rosin. You can use either of the two, and they are both affordable. However, the dark one preferred in areas with a cold climate, while the light one is preferred in areas with a warm climate. Just ensure you have the two types in case your climate is unpredictable and prone to fluctuation.

? TUNE THE VIOLIN

Once your bow hair is tightened, and you have added some rosin, you need to tune your equipment. The four strings of the violin should be tuned in the order G, D, A, and E, from the lowest to the highest string. In case you can’t tell these tones by ear, you should get an electric tuner.

The tuning pegs at the small tip of the violin are what you would use in tuning the violin. In case you hear some off tones, you can use the fine tuners at the bottom to make minute adjustments.

? HOW TO HOLD THE BOW

The next thing is to hold the bow the right way. You need to use the balance point to hold the bow properly. Place your index finger at the grip of the bow and place the tip of your last finger near the base at the flat part of the stick. The middle finger and ring finger should rest freely on the bow with their tips at the side of the frog. The thumb should be placed at the front of the frog under the stick.

? HOW TO HOLD THE VIOLIN

Holding the violin is the next step, and you should ensure that you are in a good sitting standing position before you start. Hold the neck of the violin with your left hand and place the butt at your neck. The lower back of the violin should rest on your collar bone and is held in place with your jaw.

? HAND POSITIONING

Now that you have mastered holding the violin, you should master your hand positioning. Here you are to place your hand at the bottom of the top part of the neck with your four fingers curved to the top where the strings are. Hold the violin in place with your thumb, and try not to allow your wrist touch the fingerboard.

? HOW TO PLAY THE VIOLIN

Now it’s time to play! Place the bow on the strings; make sure it is at the body of the violin but a little far from the bridge. Now pull the bow on the strings and make sure you keep the bow as straight as possible.

The bow should be parallel to the bridge, and only a small amount of pressure should be applied. The more you apply pressure, the louder the sound of the violin. However, a lot of pressure makes the sound scratchy and playing close to the bridge also makes the sound scratchy.

So try to tilt the bow toward the scroll to make a focused and professional tone.

? MASTER THE VIOLIN NOTES

Once you have got the hang of stringing the violin, then you can focus on making good sounds. When the play the open strings, you should hear the corresponding notes G, D, A, and E.
You should play these notes without your fingers and ensure that you master them using both short and long strokes. Once you can play each string at a time without touching the other strings, then you have developed control of the violin.

? MAJOR AND MINOR SCALES

Practicing other notes after you have made the four notes from the open strings is the next thing to learn. Learning to play the other notes in the Major scale takes a lot of practice. You would have to master the pressure and positioning required to produce them cleanly.
After that, you should learn the notes on the Minor scale. Both the major and minor scale involves using the fingerboard.

? MASTER THE SCALES

Practicing the scales is essential for the beginner. A scale is a specific series of notes that follow a particular ascending pattern. It starts with one note and ends with the higher version of that note.

One of the easy scales for beginners is the Major scale in D. this scale starts from D and continues with E, F-sharp, G, A, B, C-sharp, and D. you have to practice this as often as possible. It would sound similar to the Doh, Reh, Mi, Fah, Soh, Lah, Ti and Doh, notes.

These notes should be the first thing you learn before even getting a violin. They are the very foundation of music, and they are what would help you throughout your course of play. There are other scales you can learn such as the Minor, Pentatonic, and Harmonic scales.

However, your dexterity is not based on the number of scales you know but the number of scales you can play very well.

? PRACTICE

The most important of all info is that you should practice as often as you can. There is no short cut to success and skill; you have to work hard for it! You don’t even have to spend your whole day on one instrument.

Around 30 minutes every day should do the trick. Those that intend making a career out of the violin would need to practice more than that – you should practice more than 3 hours each day in order to meet up in the game.

The reason for the increased practice time is that no one would pay for a crappy violinist – no matter how rare a violinist is in your area. So you have to practice as much and as efficiently as you can. Besides, it’s very clear that you are building a career to get to the limelight and not for local gigs.

How To Play The Violin Video Tutorial

CONCLUSION
We have covered the very basics of how to play the violin for the beginner violinist, these are the key points that you need to know and practice in order to level up on your playing skills.
So, practice and practice more, as much as you can and start making some great music.

If you want to know more about violin accessories, you can do so in our very comprehensive article, just follow the link.

How to play the violin

how to play the violin for beginners

Table of Contents

Every beginner inquisitive about learning, an instrument is a better choice to explore the intelligence and be a professional. Although here have different types of instruments, but the violin is one of the famous best instruments. In this article explain, learn how to play the violin for beginners level. However, a learner selects a hard standard quality violin, chose a good learning method, and selects the best size. The first time for a beginner, it’s also hard but after practising the sound rise like a professional. We tried to gather all kinds of questions on how to play the violin for beginner level.

However, take a violin with essential equipment. Initially, beginner chose a violin which size is suitable for the beginner by depends on the age. The violin comes with the bow, case, stand, shoulder rest, and rosin. Chose a good quality violin also difficult, but the teacher’s long research or suggestion is easy to select. The violin and instruments take the best quality with great match up combinations.

Few tips for beginner

  1. Buy a violin: Every beginner knows about the best quality to buy for the beginning and practice. Good quality confirms good practise, and practice is the most important for a beginner.
  2. Violin case: Always violin comes with a full violin set package and there has also good quality violin case. Case safe to remain the violin, and if you haven’t any case for your violin, take a case for rest it safe.
  3. Violin bow: The violin makes a warm sound with the bow, and a bow is the part of a violin. Without a bow never play the violin.
  4. Shoulder rest: Shoulder rest a comfortable way makes it easy to learn. In the beginning, the beginner should choose the easy and comfortable way, and shoulder rest takes to carry the violin easily.
  5. Violin rosin: violin rosin creates fictions with violin and bow which delivered better sound quality.
  6. Violin stand: The violin stand feel you the violin on your hand, and when the player plays the violin and on hanging the stand, it feel more free and comfortable.
  7. Violin chair: Chair makes it more comfortable to a violinist. The beginner should take a chair to carry for a long time easily and seat violin chair to feel comfortable to carry.

How to play the violin

learn how to play the violin for beginners by different methods

Learning method: Good learning method is most important to a learner. Just hold the violin and play by oneself without learning method never be a violinist this way only wastes a beginner valuable time. There are many kinds of method, but most of the people follow traditional methods. In beginner time beginner chose a right-leaning method for being a perfect violinist. Many ways have to learn the method. A beginner can go to a music school with a good violin teacher and learn by a professional violinist and online teaching method. You should take the best method which comfortable for you

Practice a lot: Practice is one of the best ways to grow personal skills fast. A beginner beside the learning has to a lot. Practice likes a habit, so a learner quickly improves the learning period by practice. Fixed time in a day for practice. Daily at least 20-30 munites must practice in a single day most important to prove learning ability. Lerner should follow guidelines by a teacher. First time on practice time follow the practice and play slowly never try to be a professional violinist. The beginner can follow apps, teacher guide; violinist suggests any other method.

Finding a teacher

Although playing violin professionally a hard for a beginner, but after learn not challenging to play. Learners have to reach professional violin teachers and appropriate time to the joint to the teacher. But to find out a teacher or violin classes?

Violin learning resources have a different category; you should expand your knowledge to find your best resource. We suggested the new learner follow our steps, which have great for a new learner. Let’s look at the next paragraph and follow the full post,
It would be best to look out in your local area, who are the best teachers, schools, and organizations at violin teaching. The teachers are very expert and professional to guide in properly through every student. The beginner must follow the instruction with every note, which is the primary material to take every tune on practicing time.
Notes are a big part of growing up the learning every tine parts. Every note is essential to growing up the playing level. Beginner face problem to catch every note with rhythm but not hard to adjust every note properly. Violin has many notes which are not possible to achieve in a short time. If aimed to be a good violinist, one must spend a lot of time to be a good violinist.
Learning on an online platform a significant opportunity to learn with very expert and the world’s best teachers. Online has many courses with very learner and expert level teacher. Lot’s of very famous violinist provides an excellent tutorial and essential tips on online class. Beginner most time faced to properly practice and match the note properly at home after class, but online tutorial helps practice.

violin buying guide for beginners

The intention of this guide is to present a synopsis on purchasing a violin for beginner. It concentrates on basic features of Violin for beginner and factors that need to assess before beginner can buy it. Keeping all aspects into consideration, a beginner’s best deal would be buying a violin with help from expert or who can check sound and easiness of violin for longer time as well as subtle aspects of playing violin.

Chin Rest and Tail Piece are located at one end, Scroll and Tuning Pegs are at other end.

Body: The major part of Violin is a wooden empty body. Based on wood’s quality, this section escalates sound of the string. Beginner who needs to buy violin for better sound quality, they need to put on more attention for wood’s quality, because sound grade depends on body.

Neck: It is tied up to body with wooden long section.

Stings: There are 4 cords and termed as G, D, A and E.

Fingerboard: this section is affixed to neck section. This is wooden plain section where singer pushes on the string to make sound.

Pegbox: It is near to Scroll and on top of Neck. Strings are affix with Pegbox.

Scroll: It is basically decorated part at end of Chin rest: This section needs to keep balance with chin of Singer. We can call this as Chin support.

Bow: The bow of a violin is made up of stick and hair. Stick ensures strength horse of bow and horse hair. Friction between horse hair and string generates sound.

The size of violin depends on distance between left palm and the neck. Violins has few diverse sizes 1/8(smallest size), 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/10, 1/16, and 1/32, 4/4 (size for adult). Majority adults utilize a full size 4/4 violin

7 Violin Chord Chart Diagrams for Beginners (with Photos)

Last Updated: 1st December 2020

How to play the violin

How to play the violin

Although the violin is traditionally a solo, melodic instrument, you might wonder whether it’s possible to play accompanying, chordal patterns in the same way you play chords on guitar or piano.

The answer is, of course, absolutely yes.

Chord shapes on violins can be highly effective and exactly what you might need to take an accompanying role in a gypsy-jazz, jazz-swing, or folk music.

In this article, we show you how to play the 7 most popular violin chords.

Table of Contents

How to Play Violin Chords

Violin chords are three or more notes simultaneously, as you see below.

However, you can play each note separately to create arpeggios, or play strings in pairs as ‘double stops’. What you’ll achieve will still be a chord-based, rhythmic accompaniment.

As you can see, each finger is given a number (we’ve labeled the thumb, but it isn’t used in violin playing).

How to play the violin

Note: in some of the diagrams, you’ll see we mention ‘low 1’ and ‘1’. This simply refers to how stretched out your finger is.

  • If it’s a ‘low 1’ your finger should hardly be stretched at all
  • If you’re asked to use ‘1’, it should be a little further down, achieving a whole tone higher than your open string.

If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, check out our violin fingering guide.

Violin Chord Chart Diagrams

A Major

How to play the violin

For the A Major shape, use your first finger on the G and D string to play A and E, then use your middle finger for the C# on the A string and your third finger for the high A on the E string.

How to play the violin

D Major

D Major has finger 1 on the G string to play an A, finger 2 playing F# on the D string, and your third finger playing D on the A string and A on the E string. You could choose to use your third finger for the D and your pinky for the A; whichever suits you best.

How to play the violin

D Major has finger 1 on the G string to play an A, finger 2 playing F# on the D string and your third finger playing D on the A string and A on the E string. You could choose to use your third finger for the D and your pinky for the A; whichever suits you best.

How to play the violin

G Major

How to play the violin

G Major sees just two fingers: your first finger on B on the A string and your second finger on G on the E string. You can play the G and D strings openly, making this one of the easier shapes to manage.

How to play the violin

F Major

How to play the violin

F Major has finger 1 on the E string in the low 1, finger 2 playing F on the D string and finger 3 playing C on the G string. You play the A string open, so make sure none of your other fingers are accidentally touching it.

How to play the violin

A Minor

How to play the violin

The A Minor shape is very similar to A Major. All that’s changed is the C# has been flattened to a C. So, finger 1 plays both A on the G string and E on the D string. Your middle finger plays C on the A string, and your third finger plays A on the E string.

How to play the violin

E Minor

How to play the violin

E Minor is another quite simple shape. Finger 1 plays E on the D string and B on the A string, whilst your middle finger holds down G on the E string. The G string can be played openly.

How to play the violin

B Minor

How to play the violin

Finally, B Minor has finger 2 on B on the G string and F# on the D string, whilst your third finger plays D on the A string. Don’t play the E string.

These chords where you cover more than one string with one finger can feel a bit odd to begin with, but it’s worth persevering as it ensures your fingers stay in the correct position, which makes it easier to move to the next chord.

How to play the violin

Summary

So, there are have 7 violin chords to work into your practice routine.

Once you have memorized the shapes and have got used to playing them as arpeggios, why not experiment with double-stops and even triple-stops?

Playing multiple strings simultaneously can really bring these shapes to life. Remember, as it’s an accompanying part, focus on the rhythm. If you’re in time, and your fingers are in the right shapes, you can’t go wrong.

How to play the violin

If you’ve made the decision to learn how to play the violin, you’re in very good company. Whether you prefer the symphonic sounds of virtuosos like Paganini and Vivaldi, or dig the contemporary genius of artists such as Justin Branum, Charlie Daniels, or Joshua Bell, you know that the violin offers an array of musical genres to explore.

Indeed, as an instrument that can be enjoyed without additional musical support, the violin gives you an opportunity for a lifetime of personal enjoyment and an escape into melodious worlds of your own creation anytime, day or night.

But first, you have to learn how to play it.

Professional instruction and the right equipment are, of course, necessary, but finding good tools to assist your endeavors can help make your learning experience easier, and more enjoyable. Although the options are limited concerning the amount and diversity of apps for learning to play the violin, there are some excellent support tools available.

This list of the best apps for learning to play the violin can help get you started.

Android Apps

Violin Notes by BrainMelody. This app is an excellent tool for learning and recognizing where the notes are located on the violin. With interactive note positions that indicate treble clef note placement, students can learn fingering positions quickly and easily. When the note is held, the sound is played, which helps reinforce the finger placement. Cost is $0.99.

Violin Lesson Tutor from AMS Music. A bit more complicated, this app features step-by-step, online video instruction and links to Alison M. Sparrow’s YouTube channel. Techniques, printable sheet music, and other basic mechanics, this is one of the best apps for learning to play the violin. Cost: Free.

Violin by Egert. Although the sound is slightly synthetic, this app has many of the same features as Violin Notes. Fingering positions are detailed and easy to see. Cost: Free.

Music Tutor Sight Read by VirtualCode.es. This app game is designed for music students who are learning to read and write music. It features games and quizzes for Treble, Bass, and Grand clef tablature. Cost: $2.39 for this version, but the maker also offers a free “Lite” version with similar features.

Smart Chords and Tools by Schüle Martin. Just released, this app calculates and plays almost any chord imaginable on practically any stringed instrument, including the violin. Other features include a reverse chord finder, scales, all fingering positions, predefined and custom tuning, chromatic tuner, metronome, fun ear training quizzes and many more cool features. It also has modes for proficiency levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Cost: Free.

iPhone Apps

Classical Violinist. This app game offers a fun way to practice violin techniques. Play along with classical compositions and earn points by making the correct bow actions on the virtual strings. It’s quite a workout for your fingers. Cost: Free. Compatible with iPhone and iPad

Learn Violin by Inside.com Inc. Splendid for beginners, among apps for learning to play the violin, this one is excellent. It features tuning and stringing instructions, and insights on correcting bad habits in form. Instructor Paul Dateh focuses on the key things every beginner should know including basic notes and chords, and proper instrument maintenance for getting the best sound. Cost: $4.99. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and iPhone 5.

nTune: Violin Free. This app combines learning and tuning in one place. One of the best features is that it actually used recorded sound, rather than cyber-generated tones. It allows beginners to tune basic G, D, A, and E strings and includes playback options for plucking and bowing. Cost:Free. Compatible with iPhone and iPad.

Violin Flash Cards. Great for visual learners or new students, this app employs a series of flash cards that help reinforce how to read music and recognize finger placement. The front side of each card features some type of note and the back side displays the name of the note and the correct fingerboard position. It also includes an audio reference chart with fingering location to help improve reading and response times. Cost: $0.99. Available for iPhone and iPad.

A brief Word about Tuning

There are many tuning apps for learning to play the violin, but one of the best products available for tuning stringed instruments doesn’t come through your smart phone. The Snark SN-5 clip on tuner is one of the best tuning products available. Extremely easy to use, the accuracy of this inexpensive tool (Less than $10) makes tuning your violin a snap for beginners.

When learning any instrument, it’s very important to make sure that the sounds you’re creating match the actual pitch and tone of the note, and that you are reinforcing the proper techniques. These apps for learning to play the violin can make your instruction easier to understand and apply.

How to play the violin

Playing the violin with accompaniment can be difficult, as it requires different skills. Below, violin teacher Julie P. shares some expert tips on how to play the violin with accompaniment…

If you want to play the violin with an accompaniment, you might find that there are a few new skills you need to develop.

When you play the violin by yourself there’s no one you need to coordinate with for tempo, dynamics, and rhythm. But as soon as you add someone else to the mix, things can start to get complicated.

Not only do you have to listen to what you’re playing, but you also have to be cognizant of what your partner is playing. Sometimes it’s tricky to line up both parts and make it sound like one cohesive song.

Below are eight songs that demonstrate the different styles and skills used in playing the violin with accompaniment.

1. Setting the Tempo

I’m Yours — Jason Mraz

The first thing you need to determine with your partner is tempo. Oftentimes, the accompanist will begin the song alone with a short intro.

However, if you’re planning to start the song together, you must communicate your tempo beforehand.

The musicians playing this fun Jason Mraz cover demonstrate one straight-forward way of counting off a tune.

Some people count off quietly, while others are so used to playing with each other that a simple breath before the downbeat is enough.

2. Playing to Strummed Chords

Shake It Off — Taylor Swift

One of the most difficult things to learn how to do is play along with the rhythm of strummed chords. Guitarists have different strumming patterns that create different rhythms.

Each song gets its own strumming pattern, which helps create the atmosphere for the music. It can be difficult to know where your violin fits within the strumming rhythm.

To practice this, have your accompanist play his or her part along with a recording of the actual song. This way, you can hear how it fits with your melody line.

You can also ask your accompanist to make a recording of his or her part so that you can practice with it and get used to hearing the two parts meshed together.

3. Using Guitar as a Percussion Instrument

Royals — Lorde

Guitarists can create rhythmic accompaniment by using their instrument as a drum.

In this cover of Lorde’s song Royals, the guitarist uses the heel of his hand to hit his guitar as part of his strumming pattern, which creates a different texture from the times when he’s just strumming.

As a violinist, make sure you lock into the rhythm of this percussive strumming pattern. If you’re having trouble with this kind of pattern, ask your accompanist to make a recording of it for you so you can listen to it and get it in your head.

4. Strumming Without a Chord

Happy — Pharrell Williams

Guitarists can also create rhythmic interest by strumming without fingering any specific chord.

They simply rest the fingers of their left hand on the strings without pushing the strings down. This keeps the strings from vibrating, giving them a metallic sound when strummed.

The guitarist in this video uses a few different patterns with this kind of playing. As a violinist you may feel that there is less harmonic support for your playing when a guitarist isn’t playing a chord, so make sure you’re confident on your part.

5. Broken Chords

Dust In the Wind — Kansas

Sometimes your accompanist will not play strummed chords, but will break up the chords into individual notes plucked one at a time.

There is less rhythmic intensity with this kind of playing, which is perfect for the above cover of Dust in the Wind.

6. Trading the Melody

Stay With Me — Sam Smith

When playing with an accompanist, it’s often effective to step out for a while and let the accompanist take the melody.

For example, pianists can easily play melody in one hand and accompaniment with the other.

A talented guitarist can also do this effectively. The above video shows the pianist taking a turn at the melody in the middle of the song.

7. Creating an Interesting Arrangement

Game of Thrones Theme Song

If you’re covering a recording made by a large group, you won’t be able to recreate all of the musical colors and textures with just two instruments.

However, there are a number of things you can do to make your arrangement interesting and true to the spirit of the original.

The two sisters in the video above do a great job of this. The violinist plays the initial melody first in her low octave, and then on the repeat she plays it up an octave.

In the middle section, the guitarist changes to a broken chord accompaniment pattern to lessen the rhythmic drive, which also brings down the dynamic level. Later on in the song, the violinist uses double stops to create more interest and a thicker texture.

8. End Together

Yellow — Coldplay

There’s nothing worse than hearing a great duo give a fantastic performance and then watching them fall apart at the end because they never decided on an ending!

How you end the song is just as important as how you begin. Oftentimes, a simple ritard at the end of the song is all you need, as shown in the video above.

If you want to get creative, write your own ending or have your accompanist finish with a vamp of the strumming pattern.

Now that you’ve seen what’s possible, go find an accompanist and try one of the above songs. If there’s some other songs that you’ve had on repeat for a while, try your hand at making your own arrangement.

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How to play the violin

Boy, did I have a tough time my first few years of learning violin.

I thought parents encouraged their kids to practice their instruments, right? Because of the screeching sounds I was making back when I first started, my parents frequently told me to stop practicing! Thankfully those days are long gone and after 10 years my parents finally admit to enjoying my playing. Nevertheless, there are a few things I wish I had known before I started learning violin. (Violin for beginners doesn’t have to be so difficult!).

1. You won’t sound like the violins in movie soundtracks for a long time.

My friend once wrote, “the sound of an airy violin,” in one of her poems for a school assignment. It’s nice imagery, but the truth is – your violin will most definitely not sound airy when you’re first starting out. For one thing, the way you hold the bow is probably one of the most unnatural positions to get comfortable with, although it later will become second nature.

So when you play with that awkward bow hold for the first few days or weeks, all you will hear is scratch, pause, and once you get the hang of that – it will sound like some inconsistent buzzing noise, like the way a mosquito buzzes near your ear.

How to play the violin

2. Your violin will always be noisy in some cases.

Even professional violinists sometimes find their violin playing sounds scratchy and noisy, but there is a bright side to this! Think about the way a violin is held. The f holes, where the sound is produced, are merely a few inches from your left year. Because of this, some say violinists lose hearing in their left ear after a long time because the sound is simply too close to the ear.

Violinists, especially when working on solo pieces, aim to articulate their sounds to the last seat of the concert hall. So just because you hear that scratch and creak, with the dampening effect of a concert hall the audience will only hear the beautiful music.

3. Your violin needs care.

If you have a violin, you need to understand that some work will go into maintaining it. Don’t worry, though – this will become a habit over time. When a violinist prepares to play, you see them first tightening the bow, then applying a small object over the bow hair. A bow is shaped with a little bit of a curve. To maintain the curve shape, it has to be loosened each time it is not in use. You simply turn the knob at the end of the bow and then turn it the other way the next time you use it.

The object that violinists apply over the hair of the bow is called the rosin. Bow hair is naturally slippery and does not make a sound on its own. It needs friction and sticky rosin triggers the friction. The rosin leaves a residue on the strings and it has to be cleaned off. You will also want to wipe down the rest of the violin after use to ensure all rosin is off of your instrument. It is important to never use alcohol to clean your violin, instead using a lint-free, soft cloth to wipe off the rosin dust. Most violin stores will sell you a violin cleaning kit which features a proper cloth.

These are only a few of the things that go into maintaining the instrument. On top of learning how to clean a violin, you will also want to learn how to change violin strings and bow hair, amongst others.

4. Many people around the world already play the violin better than you, they may even be 4 years old.

While it’s true that there are many amazing young violin prodigies, it shouldn’t make you discouraged. That’s the case in many other instruments too. Rock guitarist and ArtistWorks instructor Paul Gilbert discovered an 8 year old girl who could play a song that he wrote which is at an extremely advanced level ( check out our blog about Li-Sa X here ).

Many people will be better than you, but this will always be the case – so best not to let it bother you. It may be a while before you perfect techniques like violin vibrato and violin scales, however that’s no reason to get discouraged. It’s not a competition after all, the objective when playing violin is to express yourself through the music.

5. You are not alone. Welcome to the violin community!

Violin is a community. I have made my closest friends from playing violin. Once you start taking violin lessons, you’ll also meet fellow violinists as you attend local concerts or join a local ensemble. We violinists love talking about what we’re working on or what inspires us. So reach out to the community and make your voice heard, we want to get to know you!

Check out the links below for more tips for learning violin for beginners. These are just a few of the things I wish I had known before I started learning violin. But even still, I survived the first few years of playing violin so with these tips in mind I know you will do just fine.

Did you know you can learn violin online at ArtistWorks? Click here for free sample violin lessons!