How to learn to play the violin? Here’s our 10 tips

Master the violin with our 10 essential tips! Learn from our online music academy and unlock your musical potential today.

Learning to play a musical instrument can be an exciting and rewarding journey, and the violin, with its rich and expressive sound, is a popular choice for many aspiring musicians. If you are a newcomer with a passion for classical music and wish to embark on your music-playing adventure, you may be wondering just how to learn to play the violin if you are a beginner. 

In this article we are going to explain to you how difficult it is to start learning the violin, what you are going to need and we are going to give you the 10 most important tips you are never gonna need.

Is the violin easy to learn?

Here's the million-dollar question! First of all: learning an instrument (any instrument!) requires time, dedication, and practice, and the violin is no exception. It is important to have realistic expectations about the learning process. 

One aspect that beginners often encounter when learning the violin is the physical demands it places on the body. Holding the violin correctly, positioning the bow, and producing a clear sound can initially feel awkward. However, with proper guidance and consistent practice, these challenges can be overcome. Building strength and dexterity in your fingers, arms, and shoulders is a gradual process, but it becomes more natural over time.

Another aspect that can make learning the violin challenging is the need for precise pitch and intonation. Unlike fretted instruments, such as the guitar, the violin requires the player to create pitches by pressing the strings against the fingerboard with the appropriate finger placement. This requires developing a keen sense of pitch and learning to make small adjustments with your fingers to achieve accurate intonation. Though challenging, this skill can be refined through consistent practice and ear training exercises.

So, learning the violin requires patience and persistence. Progress may seem slow at times, but each small step forward is an accomplishment. Consistent practice, even in short sessions, can yield significant improvements over time. Setting realistic goals, celebrating milestones, and maintaining a positive mindset will help you stay motivated throughout your learning journey.

How long does it take to learn to play the violin?

Since we have already told you that learning the violin requires patience and consistency, you may be curious about the correct amount of time it takes to acquire the skills needed to play this beautiful instrument proficiently. 

Several individual factors influence the time it takes to learn the violin such as:

So, achieving a high level of proficiency in playing the instrument typically requires more time and dedicated practice. And even if you progress through the courses and lessons quickly, it is important to set realistic expectations. 

Within five or six months, you can expect to acquire a foundation of basic skills and play some simple pieces. However, reaching a high level of mastery may take several years of consistent effort and continued learning.


How can I choose the perfect equipment to learn to play the violin?

As a beginner, selecting the right equipment is crucial for your learning and musical development. Investing in suitable instruments and accessories will enhance your playing experience and set the foundation for your musical growth.

The violin itself is the primary instrument you will be playing. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a violin:

The bow is an integral part of violin playing, and selecting the right bow can greatly affect your technique and sound production. Consider the following when choosing a bow:

Then, a shoulder rest or chin rest provides support and stability while playing. Experiment with different models to find the one that suits your physique and playing style (we will tell more in the next chapter!)

You need to pay attention to the strings you choose: they significantly impact the sound and playability of the violin. Consult with a knowledgeable violinist or teacher to determine the best strings for your instrument and musical preferences.

Then, there is the rosin, applied to the bow hair to create friction and produce sound. Choose a high-quality rosin that matches your playing style and climate conditions. Remember that, if you don't rosin your bow, it will not make any sound at all!

Finally, a sturdy and protective case is crucial for safely transporting and storing your violin. Look for a case with a secure lock, sufficient padding, and compartments for accessories.

10 tips to learn how to play the violin

But let’s dive into more specific tips you can find useful to start learning to play the violin. Here you can find our 10 essentials:

1) Buy a shoulder rest

As we already mentioned, investing in the right accessories can significantly improve your comfort and technique while playing the violin. And yes, one of the essential accessories for violinists, especially beginners, is a shoulder rest.

But what is it? A shoulder rest is a detachable accessory that attaches to the back of the violin, providing support and stability while you play. It is typically made of plastic or wood and features adjustable height and angle to suit individual player preferences.

It helps distribute the weight of the violin across your shoulder and collarbone, reducing strain on your neck and allowing for a more relaxed playing position.

With this, you can maintain a consistent position and angle while playing, allowing for better control over your bowing technique. This stability contributes to improved sound production and intonation.

2) Start listening to music everyday, everywhere

Always remember: by cultivating a listening habit, you can enhance your musical ear, gain inspiration, and expand your musical horizons.

Regularly listening to music, especially violin performances and classical compositions, helps train your ear to recognize melodies, harmonies, and musical structures. By immersing yourself in the sounds of the violin, you become more attuned to nuances in tone, phrasing, and expression. This increased musical sensitivity will positively impact your own playing and interpretation as a violinist.

Listening to a wide range of musical styles and genres exposes you to diverse musical ideas and interpretations. As a beginner, draw inspiration from accomplished violinists and explore a variety of violin repertoire. Listen to different interpretations of the same piece, observing how different musicians approach the music. This exposure will help you develop your own musical ideas and style as you progress on the violin.

If you want to listen to music, join our Spotify playlist now.

3) Separate the right and left hands

Separating the right and left hands is a fundamental skill for violin beginners. By developing independent hand function, you can achieve precision, control, and reduced tension in your playing.

Here are some practice strategies to help you develop this skill:

4) Be patient during your trainings

As we already said, learning the violin is a gradual process that requires time and consistent effort. It is natural to encounter challenges and setbacks along the way. Embrace the learning process in this way: 

5) Be constant and consistent

Consistency is key when learning to play the violin. Establishing a regular practice routine and maintaining consistency in your training sessions is essential for progress and improvement. 

You can create a practice schedule and sticking to it is crucial for consistent progress. Then, begin with shorter practice sessions, such as 20 to 30 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as your endurance improves. It's better to have consistent shorter practice sessions than sporadic, lengthy ones.

And, to maintain consistency, break down your practice tasks into smaller, manageable segments. Focus on specific techniques, scales, or pieces during each practice session. By dividing your practice time into targeted tasks, you can give adequate attention to different aspects of your playing and make steady progress.

Remember: it's not just about the amount of time you spend practicing but also the quality of your practice. Be fully engaged in the process, paying attention to your technique, intonation, and musical expression. Practice with intention and strive for accuracy and clarity in your playing. A focused and mindful practice, even for a shorter duration, can yield better results than a longer, unfocused practice session.

6) Set up a routine

As we mentioned, setting up a practice routine is essential for beginners like you. But how to do it? Here’s how:

  1. Determine Your Practice Goals: determine what you want to achieve with your violin playing. It could be mastering a specific technique, learning a new piece, improving intonation, or enhancing your overall musicality. Having clear goals will help you structure your practice routine more effectively.
  2. Allocate Dedicated Practice Time: choose a time of day when you can concentrate and have minimal interruptions. Consider your personal schedule and commitments, and allocate a specific duration for practice sessions. Consistency is key, so try to practice at the same time each day to develop a routine.
  3. Divide Practice Time into Segments: to maximize the effectiveness of your practice routine, divide your practice time into segments. Allocate time for warm-up exercises, scales and arpeggios, technical exercises, repertoire practice, and sight-reading. By incorporating a variety of practice elements, you can work on different aspects of your playing and maintain a balanced approach.
  4. Prioritize Challenging Areas: identify the challenging areas or passages in your repertoire or technique and allocate dedicated time to work on them. These sections may require extra attention and repetition to master. By giving them focused practice within your routine, you can make significant progress and overcome difficulties more efficiently.
  5. Include Breaks and Rest: while practicing regularly is important, it is equally crucial to include breaks and rest periods in your routine. Playing the violin requires physical and mental stamina, and overexertion can lead to fatigue and potential injury. Schedule short breaks between practice segments to relax, stretch, and recharge. This will help maintain your focus and prevent burnout.
  6. Adapt and Modify as Needed: as you progress in your violin journey, your practice needs may change. Be flexible with your routine and adapt it accordingly. Adjust the duration of practice segments, revise your goals, or incorporate new techniques or pieces into your routine. Regularly assess your progress and make modifications to keep your practice routine fresh and challenging.

7) Be careful with your posture

Maintaining proper posture while playing the violin is crucial for both technical advancement and preventing injuries

Begin by standing or sitting with a balanced stance. Distribute your weight evenly between both feet, keeping them shoulder-width apart. Avoid leaning to one side or slouching, as this can negatively affect your alignment and hinder your playing technique.

Maintain relaxed shoulders while playing the violin. Tension in the shoulders can restrict your range of motion and lead to discomfort or strain. Before you start playing, take a moment to roll your shoulders back and down, allowing them to rest in a natural and relaxed position.

A straight spine is essential for optimal posture. Whether you are sitting or standing, imagine a string gently pulling your head upward, aligning your spine from your tailbone to the top of your head. Avoid excessive arching or rounding of your back, as it can cause tension and affect your breathing and playing.

When holding the violin, align your left shoulder with the center of the violin body. This promotes a balanced distribution of weight and facilitates smoother bowing and finger movement. Keep your right arm relaxed and curved, allowing the bow to move freely across the strings (and always use a shoulder rest!)

8) Get feedback and record yourself

Engaging with a music community can provide additional opportunities for feedback and support. Participate in workshops, masterclasses, or ensemble rehearsals where you can perform in front of others and receive feedback from fellow musicians and instructors. The collective input and diverse perspectives can contribute to your growth as a violinist.

And here’s another suggestion: recording yourself during practice sessions is a powerful self-assessment tool. Use your smartphone or a dedicated recording device to capture your playing. Listen to the recordings with a critical ear, focusing on aspects such as intonation, tone, phrasing, and articulation. Take note of areas that need improvement and compare your recordings over time to track your progress.

After recording yourself, take the time to analyze and reflect on your playing. Identify strengths and areas that need improvement. Be objective and open to constructive criticism. Pay attention to technical aspects, musical expression, and overall performance quality. Use this self-assessment as a guide for setting practice goals and focusing your efforts.

9) Find your community

Finding a supportive and engaging community is invaluable when learning to play any instrument. Surrounding yourself with fellow musicians, mentors, and music enthusiasts creates an environment of inspiration, motivation, and collaboration. 

Explore local and online music organizations and associations dedicated to violin playing or classical music. These communities often offer workshops, events, and opportunities for collaboration. Joining such organizations allows you to connect with fellow violinists, share experiences, and learn from seasoned professionals.

Music festivals, concerts and workshops provide immersive experiences where you can learn from renowned artists, attend masterclasses, and participate in ensemble performances. Look for violin-specific events or broader classical music gatherings in your area or online. These gatherings foster connections with fellow musicians and offer valuable learning opportunities.

Another option is to join our academy: becoming a M-Future’s member you have access to our online community and you can meet people from all over the world. People that, like you, want to improve their technique and be part of something magic and bigger.

10) Find the perfect course for you

An effective and tailored learning program can provide you with the necessary guidance, structure, and resources to develop your skills and musicality. 

Are you learning for personal enjoyment, aiming to join an orchestra, or aspiring to become a professional musician? What do you want to learn? Different courses cater to different objectives, so it's essential to find one that aligns with your specific goals. Consider whether you want to focus on classical repertoire, explore various genres, or develop a well-rounded skill set.

Thoroughly read course descriptions and reviews to gain insights into the curriculum, teaching approach, and overall student satisfaction. Look for courses that cover essential violin techniques, music theory, ear training, and performance skills. Pay attention to the credentials and experience of the instructors, as well as the feedback from previous students. This information will help you assess the quality and relevance of the course.

So what are you waiting for? Throw yourself into this new musical world and become the violinist you've always dreamt of. 

Review the courses in our online academy to see if you find the right one for you or write to M-Future if you have any questions about it.

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