During the summer it can be easy to neglect your violin practice. Sunny warm days seem tailor-made for swimming or going out with friends. And although you know it’s important to keep up a regular schedule of practice, playing the same songs that you played all winter only makes an escape even more attractive. Never fear. You don’t have to get bogged down by boring music. This summer students can get inspiration by learning new music genres and trying out different playing techniques.
All you really need is a play list of possible new songs to learn. These popular tunes will get you excited about practicing your violin this summer, and not just on rainy days, every day.
In the bluegrass music genre, the violin is second only to banjo for creating its well-loved distinctive sound. If you’ve never tried to play bluegrass music before, explore it this summer. You may find inspiration for a life-long pursuit by trying out some of these famous tunes.
- “Uncle Pen” by Bill Monroe. Written by the creator of “Bluegrass” music, this song is about Monroe’s uncle Pendleton Vandiver and it includes some of the most catchy violin riffs and solos you’ll hear. Download the sheet music for $5.50 and watch Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys play it here or Ricky Skaggs and the Boston Pops here (really cool).
- “Orange Blossom Special” by Ervin T. Rouse. Every violinist who wants to play bluegrass music must learn this song with its characteristic bowing. Written about a passenger train of the same name, the violin mimics the sound of a steam engine beautifully. Watch it performed by fiddle master Charlie Daniels or the Del McCoury Band at the Grand Old Opry. The sheet music digital download is $3.99.
- "Arkansas Traveler” by Colonel Sanford C. 'Sandy' Faulkner. This is another bluegrass staple with tons of fun notes to play in an upbeat rhythm. You may have heard it as the “bumble bee song” as a child, or perhaps some of your teachers did. It was once the official state song of Arkansas. Watch Katrina Nicolayeff perform this classic at a camp session. The sheet music download of any key you’d like is free.
Country music is somewhat similar to bluegrass, but not quite. Because of the drums and other accompaniments, it’s rather closer to pop music in style. Either way, here are some great songs to practice for inspiration.
- “Our Song” by Taylor Swift. This is a popular country song with some excellent violin intros and riffs. Learning this type of technique and exploring with different improvisation can help inspire violin students to try new compositions and stretch their skills. Download the sheet music for this song for $5.99 and watch the video here.
- “Long Time Gone” by the Dixie Chicks. This hit from the popular trio features some great riffs for violin. You can see the video here. Download the sheet music for $6.25.
- “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” by Alabama. This ‘80’s hit includes a fun little violin solo to learn. Listen to it here and download the sheet music for $5.99.
Rock and Pop Music
There are a number of rock and pop songs that feature cool violin riffs and solos. And while those are great for inspiration, it’s also energizing to learn some popular tunes and just play them on your violin. Try these titles for summer inspiration.
- “California Dreamin’” by The Mama’s & The Papa’s. This song has excellent harmonics, indeed, the band was known for that, and it sounds incredible when played on violin. The digital download for violin solo will cost $2.99, and you can listen to it here.
- “Baba O’Riley” by the Who. This song, better known as “Teenage Wasteland” features a rockin’ violin solo that is sure to inspire students. If you sign up with Scribd, the violin solo is easy to download, or you can purchase the whole song for $5.50. Watch Lorenza Ponce perform it here.
- “Elements” by Lindsey Stirling. This popular song isn’t too difficult for beginners to learn, and it’s definitely an inspirational tune for students to try. For $8.99 you can get a digital download of this hit, watch the video here.
- “Breathing” by Yellowcard. This rock song will take some time to master, but it’s well worth it. The hard rock sound combined with violin is very popular, and many of the band’s songs include it. Download this tune for $2.99 and listen to the music here.
These songs are just a sample of the different types of musical genres you can explore this summer. So, instead of neglecting your practice, why not try out some new music that will enhance your skills and provide great summer inspiration.