Now, this is a question that can only really be answered by you. “How Can I Learn to Play the Violin on My Own?” This is not going to be an easy task, and learning any instrument on your own is difficult. But the violin is something else, simply because of what it is.
What is the Violin?
It is a sophisticated instrument that relies on pure technique and skill. You can’t cover up your mistakes and inadequacies with a bunch of effects pedals.
For starters, if you want to learn how to play the violin, you should know it is an intricate process. Far more than just putting your fingers on the fingerboard. To play the violin well, you will need to learn to coordinate your whole body to the demands of the instrument.
“On My Own”?
Are you going to lock yourself in a room and never come out? Of course not. Even though you are teaching yourself, there are a lot of resources available to help. The internet might be one you choose, but that is fraught with problems. Not all the advice you get on there will be accurate. Most of it won’t be, so pick your options carefully.
How Do I Know What is Good Advice?
Good question and the answer is at this stage; you won’t. Do you know what “left-wrist overextension” is? No, and I wouldn’t expect you to. But I am sure you can find someone who does and can point you in the right direction to ensure you learn the correct technique.
With the violin, there are plenty of techniques to learn, and now is a great time to start. We will look at finding that person to help you soon.
A Long Road
Before you pick up your violin for the first time, be under no illusion, this is going to be a long road. You are not going to sound like Vanessa-Mae or Nigel Kennedy any day soon. But with good advice, discipline, patience, and some determination, you can make a good start.
And So it Begins…
So, you have asked yourself, “How Can I Learn to Play the Violin on My Own?” and decided that you are going to do it. Good for you. Before you can start, though, there is something you will need. A violin. So let’s spend a minute on that.
Rent or Buy?
You can do either, but I personally lean towards buying. It will probably be cheaper in the long run. And familiarity with an instrument is important for development. And somehow, buying it just feels like you have made a commitment.
What to buy?
There are different sizes of violin; that is the first thing to understand. It may depend on your size. The majority of teens and over will go for full-size or what is known as 4/4. There are smaller instruments for younger starters.
How To Buy
You have two options, in-person in a music shop or online. Many people might say that buying online is risky. They can be right, of course. There is nothing like seeing what you are buying.
If you were an experienced musician, I wouldn’t recommend buying online. Go to the shop and try it out. You will know what you are looking for. But if you are starting to learn, online buying has its advantages. Here are a few guidelines:
- Buy a recommended brand.
- Make sure the woods used are of good quality.
- Check the size of the violin is right for the player.
- Set a budget and stick to it.
- Go for a “bundle” that includes plenty of extras.
- Make sure the company you are buying from has a good return policy if you are not happy.
You are not going to get a real quality instrument. Unless you’re willing to pay a fortune, that is. But there are some good budget brands around. I have included two examples at the end of this article.
Where Can You Get Help?
Ok, you’ve got your nice new violin, but you are going to need plenty of help. Where do you find it? The first place to start is at your local music shop. It might not actually be very local. You will need to find a shop that has a good range of stringed instruments. The local guitar shop ‘expert’ probably isn’t the place.
Locate the shop and go there if you can. If not, mail them and tell them what you are doing. Ask them what extras they supply, strings, Rosin for the bow, etc. And ask if they can recommend an online tutorial system. It is likely they are going to be very helpful as they will see you as a future customer.
Sheet Music and Manuscript Paper
Ask your new contact if they sell sheet music and/or manuscript paper. They probably will, and you will need both at some point. Sheet Music to be able to study some simple well-known pieces. Manuscript so you can start to write down the notations, etc., of various things you are learning. If they don’t stock them, they will be able to recommend somewhere or an online outlet.
Let the Fun begin
You have your instrument and your online system. Likewise, you have been shown how to prepare a violin and bow (yes, you will have to do that), so it’s time to start.
You will need to learn how to tune the violin and make adjustments that are common with new strings. Start with basic notes and bow actions and experiment. But, and here is a big “but”… Find yourself a respected violin teacher.
Practice should be an extension of the teaching process
If you only do one lesson a month with someone that knows what they are doing, it will help. They will show you important things for you to practice. They will ensure your bowing arm and fingers, wrist, and your arm shape are technically correct. Get that wrong, and it’s goodnight.
There are many technical issues with the violin. Fail to master them, and you will fail on the instrument. Getting some basic instruction is great. The rest you can do yourself.
Looking for a Great Violin or Violin Accessories?
We can help you with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Electric Violins, the Best Student Violins, the Best Violin For Kids, the Best Violin Cases, the Best Violin Bows, and the Best Electric Cellos you can buy in 2023.
You may also enjoy our detailed articles on What is Considered a String Instrument, Exercises and Tips For Better Finger Dexterity, Tips for Memorizing Music, and the 6 Easiest Musical Instruments for Adults to Learn for more useful information.
And why stop with just the violin? Take a look at our handy guides on Easy Songs to Learn on the Electric Guitar for Beginners, Easy Songs to Learn on Bass, Best Guitar Games to Help You Learn Guitar, and How to Play Drums for more helpful tips and hints.
How Can I Learn to Play the Violin on My Own – Final Thoughts
Self-teaching is not about locking yourself away and hoping for the best. Ignoring all the finer points of the instrument and gaining the correct postures and body shapes.
Self-teaching is about developing your skills at home but with help. It is about developing as a musician independently of your teacher. But taking guidance from them when necessary. Practice is an extension of the lesson. I once read that the best teachers are those that get you to teach yourself and just watch and advise.
The violin is a great instrument. Learn it and love it. It will bring you many hours of pleasure. A good example of an excellent budget range model is this Mendini Full Size 4/4 MV300 Solid Wood Violin with Extras from Cecilio. This instrument is made from good woods and plays well.
A more expensive option would be this Bunnel Pupil Maple wood Violin 4/4 Full Size with Extras. Obviously not the very high-end but good quality.
And if you need some extras, check out the Klvied Sheet Music Stand with Violin Hanger, Portable Folding violin Stand, Foldable Music Stand for Sheet Music.
So, until next time, let the music play.