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How Can I Learn to Play the Violin on My Own?

There is no reason COVID sheltering-in-place should stymie your dream of learning to play the violin. In fact, there’s never been a better time to start playing a string instrument. Sheltering-in-place means more time to practice and learn the basic postural, fingering, and playing techniques. And, thanks to the digital world, there are a plethora of online resources available to you.

While in-person opportunities, including summer camps and master classes, are put on hold for most areas, we’ve put together a list of resources and options for learning the violin on your own.

1. Contact your local music schools

Many music schools have created their own distance learning protocols, using platforms such as TeacherZone, Zoom, Skype, or Google video hangouts, for students to continue their lessons. Now that the teachers have progressed through their own learning curves, you’ll benefit from the perfected “video model,” enrolling for weekly or bi-monthly lessons from the comfort of your own home.

Even after we return to the new normal, where in-person lessons are allowed, we suspect busy adult learners will continue to capitalize on distance-learning models. Read our post, What to Look For in a Violin Teacher as an Adult Learner, before “interviewing” prospective violin teachers.

2. Choose your violin wisely

It’s important to purchase or rent the right violin for you. Typically, this would take place in a music store, with close interaction with personnel as you find a violin that is the right size, quality, and price for an adult beginner. That said, reputable violin brands such as Revelle provide the opportunity to confidently purchase violins online or in store from a dealer.

We also recommend learning all you can about how to choose a violin, which will help you to make a more informed decision. Review articles about violin accessories - what’s essential and what’s not - so you have everything you need without going overboard.

3. Visit StringPedagogy and other vetted online resources

There are so many YouTube videos dedicated to learning to play the violin. However, be cautious when learning from “any ol’ teacher” as not all instructors are created equal. Beginners should focus on developing healthy posture and playing habits as it can be difficult to retrain bad habits later on.

If you aren’t taking distance learning lessons from a bona fidé music school (and, even if you are), we highly recommend visiting StringPedadogy. Mimi Zweig is a renowned violin master who hosts master classes for violin players and instructors at universities and music centers around the world. 

As one of the most effective, compassionate, and brilliant teachers today, wouldn’t you love FREE access to Mimi’s treasure trove of online video tutorials, lessons, and other learning resources? Well thanks to Connolly Music, you can — head over to her StringPedagogy site for the deal of a lifetime. Serious violinists and instructors pay hundreds of dollars for master classes with Mimi. Click here to learn more about Mimi, whom we’ve dubbed, “The Petite Giant of String Pedagogy.”

Also, read 17 Sources for Learning Music Online for more examples of vetted online learning websites.

4. Learn where to find great sheet music

Adults deserve the support of a teacher who will respect their life experience and tailor beginning music lessons to an adult’s palate. Once you learn the basics, you’ll be inspired to learn favorite and familiar songs.

You’ll be delighted to learn that almost any song you can name has been arranged for beginning violinists, but you need to know where to find them. Get started by reading Great Sources for Sheet Music to find beginning arrangements of your own favorites. And then continue with Great Sources for Sheet Music to find beginning arrangements of your own favorites.

5. Take advantage of apps

Digital apps already served as major players before sheltering-in-place. Now, they are even more invaluable for new strings players. There are apps for tuning, recording, composing, and learning to read music. Our post, Best Apps for Learning to Play the Violin, will take you directly to the best ones.

Brava! Bravo!

We applaud your efforts to learn the violin! Learning a new instrument as an adult is extra challenging, yet so rewarding. We’re confident your new musicianship will bring you (and your loved ones) much joy in the years ahead.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to StringOvation for regular, timely posts about all things strings and violins.