When someone says, “Wow!” You’re a multi-instrumentalist! “How did you learn?” says the narrator. “I largely taught myself!” I often exclaim. So how did I learn to play the violin?
Sure, I had many amazing musicians to talk to and learn from, but I’ve never had any consistent official tuition on any of the instruments I play, with the exception of the violin.
I basically taught myself how to play most instruments on my own
I’ve taught myself to play the piano, guitar, and a variety of other instruments over the years so that I as part of my training to become and orchestra conductor, though one thing I won’t do is repair the violin myself!
When you combine that with the fact that I’ve been a violin instructor and player for over 30 years, I believe I have a lot of useful information to provide about how to learn the violin on your own.
So, what exactly were my tricks? How did I manage to learn so many instruments all by myself? And how can you learn to play the violin on your own?
There’s no avoiding the truth that it takes a long time and a great deal of personal commitment.
Anyone who claims to be able to learn the violin in a few months is lying.
After a crash course with a violin teacher, you might be able to play a simple tune, but it won’t be enough to join a jam session, play in an orchestra, or even play along with a play-along without scratching and squeaking.
The key to learning to play any instrument properly, including the violin, is to jump right in.
I practiced every day during the period when I made the most progress, practically all of my friends were musicians, and music was, for a while, the center of my entire life.
I used to keep track of how much I practiced each instrument in my diary as a child to motivate myself to practice more.
It was challenging at times to learn new instruments and compare myself to all of the talented musicians I was surrounded by. But I feel it was also crucial to my achievement since it served as a continual reminder to me that I needed to practice.
One thing that was really beneficial in learning new instruments was that I gradually established practicing methods that worked for me and helped me learn a new instrument faster.
So, this is my own recommendation for learning the violin on your own, which contains all of the tactics I employed and found to be really beneficial.
How to Teach Yourself Violin in 6 (Simple?) Steps
1. Practice scales and fundamental violin exercises for at least 30 minutes each day.
Wait! Please don’t abandon the article just yet. I understand that practicing scales isn’t your favorite pastime. When they first start playing the violin, most of my students dread scales.
Isn’t it a waste of time to rehearse tedious scales?
Surprisingly, most of my violin students enjoy practicing their scales after a while.
The problem is, practicing scales is THE WAY TO GO if you want to learn the violin effectively (and not take 20+ years to play a melody well).
Scale practice could be viewed as THE path to better intonation.
When you practice songs, you will, of course, learn intonation. You will learn it three times faster if you practice your scales and arpeggios.
Scales are the most effective approach to focus on all of the fundamentals of your playing: intonation, violin hold, bow hold, tone generation, and so on.
And once you see how quickly your violin playing improves, you won’t want to stop practicing scales
If you’re going to practice scales and exercises, make sure you pick ones that will get harder as time goes on. As a result, with each scale and ecercise you practice, you will discover new techniques.
So, to ensure that you learn as well as possible, start practicing scales right away.
2. Practice pieces, choose the most difficult parts and start practicing only those.
If there’s one key to learning to play the violin beautifully on your own, it’s this:
LISTEN TO YOURSELF PLAYING!
This is especially crucial if you don’t have access to a teacher. You WILL NOT make any improvement if you practice for hours a day but don’t listen to yourself and analyze your playing for errors.
When you’re practicing your pieces, be sure to pay close attention to how you are playing the violin.
Do you like the sound of it? Is it well-balanced? Do you use correct bowing and proper technique to make it sound nice?
And, if not, how could you make it better?
Then concentrate focus entirely on the aspects of your playing that you want to improve.
Listening to yourself and playing at the same time might be tough at times. There are a lot of things to check for when studying the violin, especially when you’re just getting started: proper bow grip, violin position, and if your fingers are in the right spot.
It’s even more difficult when you have to evaluate yourself at the same time.
So, what’s the best way to go about it?
The answer is simple: record yourself playing the violin on your phone!
While you’re training, take a video yourself and review it afterwards to assess your performance.
Some students will submit their personal videos for their teacher’s assessment as part of their I’ve also discovered something amusing!
My students have frequently learnt a great deal by recording the video, even before sending it in! They become aware of mistakes they hadn’t noticed before just by watching themselves play.
Learn the Violin by Yourself – Recording Your Own Violin Playing (image)
3. Listen to Violin Music as Much As Possible
One of the most challenging aspects of violin playing is maintaining proper intonation, which requires a good, trained ear.
LISTENING TO MUSIC is one of the best ways to develop your ear.
Violin music, in particular.
I used to listen to violin music every day, nearly nonstop, when I first started playing.
I listened to all of the classic violin concertos, Bach, orchestral compositions, and every piece of music that contained violin playing.
If you want to make the most of your time, listen to violin music as much as possible. This will help you develop your ear and improve your sense of musicality, rhythm, and intonation.
4. Listen to other violinists who are more experienced.
And don’t just watch them; try to understand them as well. What kind of bowing techniques do they use? What part of the string are they playing in order to get their tone?
You can learn a lot just watching other violinists playing, even if you aren’t aware of it.
Go to local concerts if you have the opportunity. If you live in a city, there are typically many options to attend fairly cheap violin concerts. Many music schools may even invite you to attend one of their students’ concerts for free so that they can gain experience performing in front of an audience.
Immerse yourself in a setting where you may hear and see other violinists perform.
5. Become friends with other violinists and violin players
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are the average of the five people closest friends?” Yes, it is true!
In a supportive atmosphere with people who appreciate your passion for music and why you are practicing for hours a day to learn an instrument, learning the violin is much easier.
The violin is a challenging instrument to master. If you’re going to do it well, you’ll need a supportive group of people to support you.
Your violin buddies will sympathize with your difficulties and encourage you to keep going. They’ll tell you that it’s normal to sound like a wailing cat for a few months and that it’s all part of the learning process. They will truly appreciate the complexity of the pieces you play and the amount of practice you have put in to get there.
Your violinist friends will encourage you to keep practicing.
One of the most important factors in my ability to play a variety of instruments is having a supportive friend group and family who encouraged me to practice and encouraged me to keep going.
6. Give your practice’s mission a greater purpose.
Consider why you want to learn to play the violin…
- Do you wish to make greater connections with other people in your life?
- Would you hope to be able to express yourself creatively?
- Do you want to join your town’s jam session or orchestra?
- Do you want to study something fantastic to remind yourself of your abilities?
- Do you wish to be a part of a family tradition of playing an instrument that has been passed down for generations?
- Is there something you’ve wanted to do since you were a kid that you’ve always wanted to do?
If you have a clear understanding of why you want to learn the violin, you will find the drive to keep practicing, even when it appears impossible to learn the violin.
So there you have it: six stages to learn the violin by yourself. Looking to pick up a student violin? Check the previous link out.
If you follow these steps in a similar path, eventually someone will complement your violin playing and ask as to how you learned to play the violin so beautifully.
Then you can say with pride, “I taught myself!”