Gamification in Education: It’s Time Education Leveled Up [Infographic]

Explore the exciting world of education through gamification. See how and why it works on kids and adults for improved retention, knowledge, and more in this guest post from our friends at JoyTunes…

How many students have been scolded by parents to put their video game away and get their homework done?

It’s been a common household quarrel for decades, but kids across the globe are finally celebrating the new data that supports gamification as a means of advanced education and learning.

Check out how it’s being applied to students young and old who are learning to play the piano for the first time.

Gamification: What it is & Why it Works

Gamification is the process of utilizing gaming elements outside the standard gaming model to present an idea or achieve a goal. In the field of education, gamification is currently being used to help students learn better.

Jane McGonigal enlightens the world to the benefits of education through gamification in her TED Talk here:

In short, gamification techniques allow students to relate to the material and learning process in a whole new way, a way that is more engaging, interactive, attractive, and quite frankly, fun.

Kids and adults can tackle issues from new angles, relate to the assignment more personally, visualize the problem at hand, organize and compartmentalize tasks, and achieve success based on motivating factors that speak to the individual.

This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain on Gamification

Here are a few facts about gamification that might clue you into the popularity, efficacy, and power of this under-utilized educational tool:

  • By 2015, the gamification industry is projected to exceed $2 billion dollars, while the projected rates are meant to reach $5.5 billion by 2018.
  • Close to 80% of students unilaterally stated that a more game-like atmosphere would increase productivity.
  • 89% of people polled liked the point system for upping their engagement during an eLearning app session. People enjoy the charge that comes from scoring points, out ranking others, and being able to measure their accomplishments with concrete numbers.
  • Skill-based knowledge assessments increased 14%, factual knowledge went up 11%, and retention was even improved by 9% for adults who used eLearning tools with gamification.
  • Of course, not all gamification methods work as well as others. Some less popular techniques for getting the job done (or in this case the lesson learned) included receiving virtual gifts, being part of a story, and avatars.

Gamification in Education

Music Gamified

Learning to play the piano or any instrument is a challenge, no doubt. But mastering this beautiful art is easier, more manageable, and a lot more fun when you combine the strengths and incentives implied by gamification to your music lessons.

Innovative music apps, like JoyTunes, use gamification to help kids and adults learn to play an instrument faster. The principles are simple:

  • Games make learning more fun: The piano lesson is taught in the form of a game.
  • We all like earning points: Points are gained when scales are performed properly.
  • Games require repetition: Repetition makes for good music incorporation and learning. Hence, games equal excellent musical training grounds.

Pretty smart, huh?

Give it a Try!

The infographic above tells the long story of gamification at a glance. The extent of this processing is yet to be discovered, but one thing can be said of gamification for sure: those who tap into this innovative method for teaching, learning, and training are guaranteed to see extraordinary results.

And those that don’t…well, they’ll just be left in the dark.

Guest Post Author: Mya Achidov
This is a guest post from JoyTunes. Mya Achidov is the Blog Editor-in-Chief at JoyTunes, a company that develops award-winning apps to teach you how to play music.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Violin Scales [Video Tutorial]

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One of the most important aspects of learning to play violin is understanding the scale. As a beginner violinist, learning scales will give you a foundation as you launch into your craft and begin to explore exercises and pieces of music. With a little bit of practice, and these tips and videos from Austin, TX violin teacher Naomi Cherie S., you can learn to play violin scales…

Violin Scales for Beginners

Simply put, a scale is a series of notes, ordered by frequency or pitch, that span an octave (a consecutive set of eight notes.) For instance, to play a G scale, start by playing the lowest G on your violin (open G string.) Then, ascend up in pitch and play the notes in consecutive order until you reach the next G on your instrument (third finger on the D string.) Next, descend down the scale and play each note again, but move backwards until you return to the lowest G (open G string) on your violin.

Each scale is accompanied by a set of naturals, sharps, and flats which determine what type of scale it is. There are many different types of scales: major, natural minor, harmonic minor, etc, but as a beginner, the first type of scale to focus on and master is the major scale.


What Makes a Scale Major?

There is an easy way to determine which notes go into a major scale, and if you can memorize this rule, you’ll be able to figure out any major scale based on these two principles:

  1. There are half steps between the third and fourth, and seventh and eighth notes in the scale.
  2. There are whole steps between all of the other notes in the scale.

To play whole steps, leave about an inch between your fingers (for instance E and F# on the D string). To play half steps, squeeze your fingers together so they touch each other (B and C natural on the A string.) If you’re not sure about some of the aspects of violin finger placement, check out this article which includes violin fingering charts.

Once you’ve mastered many of the major scales and have advanced into an intermediate level player, you can delve into other types of scales such as the natural minor. Each type of scale has its own set of principles that determine which notes are used in the scale.


How to Play Violin Scales

The G Major Scale is the easiest scale to learn for beginners, so let’s start there.

G Major Scale

violin scales for beginners

 

Follow the principles above and identify your fingers with these numbers:

  1. Index finger
  2. Middle finger
  3. Ring finger
  4. Pinkie

For the G major scale, use the following finger pattern:

G string: 2 and 3 touching (half steps) with all other fingers spaced apart (whole steps).

 

D string: 2 and 3 touching (half step) with all other fingers spaced apart (whole steps)

 

If you want to go into a two-octave scale and make the exercise a little longer and more challenging (highly recommended), allow the scale to span from the lowest G (Open G string) to the next G (3rd finger on the D string), and then expand and play all the notes leading up to the next G (second finger on the E string). This makes the scale twice as long.

Start over with the counting of the third and seventh notes, and continue the following finger pattern:

A string: 1 and 2 touching (half step) with all other fingers spaced apart (whole steps).

E string: 1 and 2 touching (half step) with all other fingers spaced apart (whole steps).

Once you have this fingering pattern memorized, take note of the set of sharps, naturals, and flats that make up this scale. This set is what we call a key. In the case of the G major scale, follow the principles above, which gives you an F#. Leave all of the other notes natural.

The set sharps, naturals, and flats would then change for each scale you play. For instance, the A major scale would contain C#, F#, and G#, and the D major scale would use F# and C#.

The best approach when learning scales is to memorize both the set of sharps, flats, and naturals, and the fingering pattern for each scale.


Violin Scales Warm Up

Here is a helpful warm-up routine that uses  the two-octave G major scale you just learned. Practice this routine to turn on your musical mind, get your fingers moving, and get  your bow arm flowing before each practice session. This warm up will also help you focus on your intonation and form,  and will explore different areas of the bow.

Follow the outline below as you play your two-octave G major scale:

  1. Half notes (long, slow, smooth bows that span from frog to tip)
  2. Quarter notes (quick, strong bows that span most of the bow)
  3. Four per note eight notes (four quick bow strokes on each note)
  4. Two per note eight notes (two quick bow strokes on each note)
  5. One per note eight notes (one quick bow stroke on note)
  6. Four per note 16th notes (four ultra-quick bow strokes on each note)
  7. Two per note 16th (two ultra-quick bow strokes on each note)
  8. One per note 16th notes (four quick bow strokes on each note)

This video will walk you through this violin scale warm up. Once you get comfortable with the warm up, try playing along with me in the video.

Take some time to grasp the section of the warm up leading up to the eighth notes. Depending on how long you’ve been playing violin, you may need to practice it for a few weeks.

Once you’re ready, try playing along with the 16th-note routine outlined in this video:


Now What?

Now that you’ve learned the G scale and have an excellent warm up routine to go with it, take some time to get comfortable: practice and perfect it! For the next few weeks, play through your warm-up exercise each time you practice.

Learn to play this warm-up proficiently (all notes in tune and you can work smoothly and seamlessly from half notes to 16th notes) before you move on to another scale.

Work your way up gradually and play through your eighth notes and 16th notes slowly, until you can add speed without taking away from the overall quality of your sound and intonation. When you first start learning the scale, you may need to work through the warm up multiple times during your practice sessions.

Once you’ve mastered the two-octave G major scale, try moving on to the A major, the D major, and the C major. Using the scales as your cornerstone, you will become familiar with the different keys and will be able to approach songs and pieces of music with confidence and ease.

Need some help with violin scales? Sign up for lessons with a violin teacher!  

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin in Austin, TX. She is a classically trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

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9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost Romantic

9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost Romantic

9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost RomanticAre you in the mood to listen to typical love songs? If so, you’re in the wrong place! In this article, you’ll get a look at 9 unusual love songs that raise more questions than answers…

 

We’ve all heard conventional love songs before; When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge, Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars, and hundreds of thousands more. But what’s so interesting about someone professing their undying love for someone else? Where’s the interesting twist?

Without giving too much away, this article features a list of unusual love songs, or love songs that defy your expectations and deal with unconventional situations. These selections range from the 1960s to the 2010s. Ready to see what’s so unusual about these? Let’s take a look at 9 unusual love songs!

*This list is in no particular order.


1) Computer Love by Zapp and Roger (1985)

Overview:
The singer seeks a romantic partner through his computer.

Why it’s unusual:
Given the time period, this was quite the unconventional love song. The internet didn’t become a household commodity until the early 90s when the first commercial internet service providers (e.g. AOL) came about. The band, also known as Zapp, was certainly ahead of its time, credited for the inspiration behind the early 90s G-funk sound of hop hop. Finding love through the internet must have seemed like a strange, distant concept when this song was released.

Example lyrics:

You know I’ve been searching for someone
Who can share that special love with me
And your eyes have that glow
Could it be your face I see on my computer screen
Need a special girl, ooh yeah
To share in my computer world, my computer world
I no longer need a strategy
Thanks to modern technology


2) Cupid’s Chokehold by Gym Class Heroes (2005)

Overview:
The lead singer goes through trials and tribulations finding the right girlfriend.

Why it’s unusual:
The ease at which the singer is able to gush about one girlfriend and move on to the next is astounding. In the music video, Cupid attempts to match the singer with a few different girlfriends. What’s most unusual about this concept is the chorus, in which Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy sings, “Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got. Not much of a girlfriend, I never seem to get a lot.” Even though the singer’s verses sound sweet and romantic toward his new love interests, one can’t help but feel cheated by his kind words.

Example lyrics:

It’s been some time since we’ve last spoke
This is gonna sound like a bad joke
But Momma, I fell in love again
It’s safe to say I have a new girlfriend
And I know it sounds so old
But Cupid got me in a chokehold
And I’m afraid I might give in
Towel’s on the mat, my white flag is wavin’


3) What’s New Pussycat by Tom Jones (1965)

Overview:
A man sings relentlessly about the facial features of a woman.

Why it’s unusual:
A catchy melody can’t mask the lyrics of this unusual love song. While many love songs attempt to make the love interest sound appealing in terms of personality or temperament, this one makes no attempt whatsoever. The singer goes on and on about the nose, eyes, and lips of a woman he finds beautiful. By the off-chance a woman DOES finds these lyrics appealing, we’ll be sure to take this off of the “unusual” list.

Example lyrics:

Pussycat, Pussycat
I’ve got flowers
And lots of hours
To spend with you
So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose!
Pussycat, Pussycat
I love you
Yes, I do!
You and your pussycat nose!


4) She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5  (2002)

Overview:
A man sings about his obsession with making a sad girl happy.

Why it’s unusual:
The singer drives miles and miles to wait outside the house of an insecure, vulnerable 18-year-old woman. Regardless of how the woman feels, the singer says he “wouldn’t mind” standing on her street corner in the pouring rain, waiting for her to approach him. Even though the sentiment of sweetness is there, the imagery of a street stalker sours this unusual love song’s mood a bit.

Example lyrics:

I know where you hide
Alone in your car
Know all of the things that make you who you are
I know that goodbye means nothing at all


5) Ben by Michael Jackson (1972)

Overview:
A boy sings about his new friendship and how it makes him feel.

Why it’s unusual:
It’s not a traditional love song, but it exhibits many qualities of one; loneliness, insecurity, and understanding. What makes this love song unusual is the fact that it’s about a boy professing his admiration for… his pet rat. It was originally written for a movie about a rat named Ben, but it eventually sold itself as a single, even ranking #20 on the Billboard Top 100 during its release. While it’s still a nice song about a child’s love for a pet, it’s not as deep as a traditional love song would usually permit.

Example lyrics:

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I’ll never be alone
And you my friend will see
You’ve got a friend in me


6) Mirrors by Justin Timblerlake (2013)

Overview:
The singer professes his love for someone because they remind him of himself.

Why it’s unusual:
While couples usually thrive because they share common interests, the singer here thrives off of dating a carbon copy of himself. It’s nice to admire the qualities of a person who you think reflects your own traits, but calling them a mirror voids them of any individuality. Play this song for someone you love when you’re feeling especially narcissistic.

Example lyrics:

I can’t ever change without you
You reflect me, I love that about you
And if I could, I
Would look at us all the time


7) Sweet Tangerine by The Hush Sound (2006)

Overview:
A desperate ex-boyfriend pleads for his girlfriend to come back to him.

Why it’s unusual:
Upon first listen, you may be too distracted by the upbeat nature of the song to really listen to the lyrics. The lyrics start with the singer trapped outside, freezing in the rain, hoping to be let inside by his ex-girlfriend. He made a mistake in their past relationship and tries to justify it by saying, “Without the sour, the sweet wouldn’t taste as…” In just a couple verses later, the song quickly turns into the tale of a desperate stalker breaking into his ex’s house and waiting under her bed until she wakes up. Can you see how it’s one of the more unusual love songs?

Example lyrics:

Crept through the curtains, as quick as the cold wind
Slowly exploring the room where you sleep
The stare of your portrait, the passing of your scent
Left me no choice but to stay

I will dissolve into the dark beneath your bed
My hands will wait for a taste of your skin


 8) These Foolish Things by Sam Cooke (1962)

Overview:
The singer thinks about his lover every time he experiences certain phenomena.

Why it’s unusual:
It’s a sweet song to sing to your lover… but only after they’ve passed away. In the singer’s everyday life, he sees, hears, and smells things that remind him of his former sweetheart. If you choose to ignore the lyrics about the “ghost”, you can get away with singing this to someone you love!

Example lyrics:

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside dance invitations
Oh how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things
Remind me of you


9) What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction (2011)

Overview:
The singers are infatuated with a girl they deem as insecure and unaware of her beauty.

Why it’s unusual:
No matter how many compliments you give someone on their physical appearance, it won’t change their internalized insecurities. The singers in this song seem to think otherwise, noting that what makes the girl beautiful is the fact that she doesn’t know she’s beautiful. It’s a concept that makes sense if you don’t think about it much.

Example lyrics:

If only you saw what I can see
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe
You don’t know, you don’t know you’re beautiful
That’s what makes you beautiful


BONUS: Every Breath You Take by The Police (1983)

Overview:
A singer vows to look after his love interest in an obsessive way.

Why it’s unusual:
If you listen to this song once, it’ll become immediately apparent that the singer is actually a stalker. No matter what the love interest does in their everyday life, the singer wants to watch them do it. Even Sting, the lead singer of The Police, said that the song was deliberately about a stalker. It’s certainly not the greatest song to sing at a wedding.

Example lyrics:

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you


Conclusion

See what we mean about unusual love songs? Trust us, there are PLENTY more of these out there! If you’re interested in songwriting but aren’t sure how to begin, consider scheduling a private lesson with a songwriting teacher. With some practice, maybe you’ll make the next list of unusual love songs!

 

Were any of these unusual love songs surprising? Know any more? Comment below with your thoughts!

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benefits of listening to classical music

10 Shocking Benefits of Listening to Classical Music [Infographic]

 

benefits of listening to classical music

Chances are you’ve heard that there are several benefits of listening to classical music. But is there any actual truth behind this statement? According to numerous studies, there absolutely is.

There are a ton of brainy benefits one derives from listening to classical music. From pain management to improved sleep quality, listening to classical music has both mental and physical benefits.

In fact, simply listening to classical music as background noise can have a significant impact on your mood, productivity, and creativity.

I guess those old guys were really onto something, huh.

Below are some surprising benefits of listening to classical music backed by actual science.

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10 Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

1. Decreases blood pressure

Want to keep your heart healthy? According to an Oxford University study, listening to classical music can help reduce one’s blood pressure.

In the study, researchers played participants different styles of music, including rap, pop, techno, and classical.

Classical music was effective at lowering participant’s blood pressure, while rap, pop, and techno actually raised blood pressure.

2. Boosts memory

Did you know that listening to Mozart can actually help improve your memory? According to a study, people who listened to Mozart’s music showed an increase in brain wave activity that’s linked directly to memory.

So next time you have to memorize a big speech or presentation, put on some Mozart while you practice.

3. Sparks creativity

To get your creative juices flowing, listen to some classical music. While listening to classical music won’t instantly make you creative, it will help put into a more creative mindset.

Next time you need to brainstorm, try listening to some Mozart or Bach to get your mind thinking outside the box.

4. Reduces stress levels

If you’re feeling particularly stressed, listen to some classical tunes. A study found that pregnant women who listened to classical music were less likely to feel stressed throughout their pregnancy.

Scientists claim that classical music’s tempo is similar to the human heart, which eases both anxiety and depression.

5. Supercharges brainpower

Do you have a big test or project coming up? Boost your brainpower by listening to some classical music.

In a study, French researchers found that students who listened to a lecture in which classical music was played in the background scored better on a test compared to other students.

6. Fights depression

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, ditch the donuts and opt for some classical music instead.

Several studies have proven that classical music helps relieve depression and melancholy.

In fact, a study from Mexico discovered that listening to classical music can help ease symptoms of depression.

7. Puts you to sleep

Do you toss and turn for hours before finally falling asleep? Rather than squeeze in another episode of Games of Thrones or New Girl, listen to classical music.

According to a study of people with sleep issues, listening to classical music for just 45 minutes prior to bed can help improve sleep quality.

8. Relieves pain

Instead of reaching for another Tylenol, you might want to consider playing a Bach or Beethoven playlist. Multiple studies have shown that listening to classical music can help relieve pain.

According to researchers in London, patients listening to classical music used significantly less pain medication.

9. Makes you happy

Want to get out of that bad mood you’re in? Listening to classical music can help increase dopamine secretion, which activates the brain’s reward and pleasure center.

In fact, a 2013 study found that music can help put people in a better mood.

10. Improves productivity

It’s a Monday morning and you can’t seem to get it together. To help boost productivity, listen to some classical music.

A series of studies have proven that music makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland found that Baroque classical music in the reading room can help improve radiologists’ efficiency and accuracy.

Give it a Try!

While classical music can’t raise your IQ 10 points, there are a ton of benefits of listening to classical music.

Whether you need to cram for an important presentation or you simply want a good night’s sleep, classical music can help.

Don’t just take our word for it. Try it out for yourself and let us know what benefits of listening to classical music you experience! It’s worth a try.

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learn violin online

10 Fantastic Reasons to Learn Violin Online

learn violin online

When it comes to learning violin there are several different options. While in-person lessons are great for some, have you considered learning violin online? From violin tutorials to online lessons, Naomi Cherie S. breaks down 10 reasons you may want to learn violin online…

A lot of non-musicians are surprised when I tell them that I offer violin classes online via video chat. At first, they don’t know what to make of it, but when I explain that violin lessons online offer all the basics and benefits of in-person lessons, they understand that online lessons are a fantastic, convenient teaching method.

With modern technology and a good internet connection, I can connect with my students at the click of a button. I can have them position their camera so that I can see their technique and form, and I can listen for out-of-tune notes and imperfections, just like I can in person. With our fast-paced society and rapidly changing times, it’s no wonder so many students are learning violin online.

Here are 10 reasons why you should take violin lessons online!

1. You Can Learn in Your PJ’s

learn violin online

This is everyone’s favorite work-from-home perk! When you choose to learn violin online, you can take lessons from the comfort of your home, and maybe even in your pajamas (if you so choose).

I encourage students to set up a little corner in their home as their practice zone. Whether it’s a corner of your bedroom, or your living room or study, pick an area where you feel relaxed and can concentrate.

In your practice space, you should always have your violin out and ready to go, a chair (perhaps with a comfy cushion), a music stand, and all of your music books and accessories (metronome, pencil, tuner, etc.)

Make sure your area is well lit, quiet, and distraction free, and consider adding things that make you happy, like artwork, plants, and inspiration.

2. Distance is Not an Obstacle

learn violin online

There are two main ways you can use the Internet to learn violin online. Some prefer to learn through articles, videos, and tutorials, while others work better with an instructor and choose to sign up for lessons. Having a qualified violin instructor can accelerate your progress by leaps and bounds.

One of the biggest advantages of taking violin classes online is that distance is not an obstacle. If you find a teacher you’d like to work with who doesn’t live in your area, you can still work with this teacher through online lessons. Thanks to the internet, you can learn from someone in New York, Los Angeles, or Kalamazoo!

3. Make Your Own Schedule

learn violin online

One of the biggest challenges I face with my in-person students is scheduling. I find that it’s especially hard for my adult students who have full-time careers and families, or my high school students with lots extracurricular activities to consistently make it to their lessons. Learning violin online gives you the freedom to fit music lessons into your busy lifestyle.

Whether it’s squeezing in an online violin lesson on your lunch break or fitting in some late-night tutorials and practice, learning violin online lets you fit lessons around your schedule.

4. Skip Traffic

learn violin online

If you live in a big city like LA or Houston, you know how annoying it can be to sit in traffic for an hour or more after work. Since lessons generally take place after work or school, there’s a good chance you’ll get stuck in traffic on the way to or from your lesson.

Save your time, frustration, and gas money! Use the time you would have spent sitting in traffic to practice and perfect your evolving violin skills!

5. Learn on a Budget

learn violin online

I’ve heard it many times over the years: “I can’t take lessons anymore because I can’t afford it right now.” Whether you’re in-between jobs, are a struggling student, or have a family to take care of, it’s an unfortunate reality that many of us put our passions, hobbies, and dreams aside due to lack of money. I have worked with many students who have put off learning violin since they were children because they’ve simply never been in the financial position to find a teacher.

If you’re passionate about music and have a strong desire to learn an instrument, don’t let not having a teacher stop you. In the age of the internet, there are countless resources for musicians! With a quick search, you can find online violin tutorials, charts, exercises, and more. With lots of practice, motivation, and guidance from these tutorials, you can learn on your own, or at least give yourself a head start until you’re in the position to hire a teacher.

More: Budgeting for Violin Lessons: How Much Do Violins Cost for Kids?

6. Embrace Technology

learn violin online

A few decades ago, learning an instrument online may have been a challenge, but with today’s technology, this type of learning is very accessible.

If you want to learn violin online, you’ll need a violin and a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone with an internet connection. If you don’t have these tools at home, check your local library for some resources, or check a used electronics shop or eBay where you can find deals on refurbished computers.

If you plan on doing lessons online, you’ll need a computer with a webcam that can render decent quality images (most webcams made within the last five years should do the trick) since your violin teacher will need to get a clear look at the way your fingers are going down on the strings, and your posture, bow hold, and overall form.

Set up for your lessons in a well-lit area where you have a stand or a table where you can position your device so that your teacher can give you the best feedback. Your teacher will most likely ask you to sign up for a free chat site such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Sites like these make it super easy to set up your account, and you can get online and chatting with your teacher within a few minutes.

7. Learn at Your Own Pace

learn violin online

Another advantage to learning through online tutorials, videos, and articles is that you can learn at your own pace. Everyone, whether old or young, learns at a different pace. Some people pick up certain concepts quickly, while others take a little more time.

As you get older, you’re more aware of which learning style suits you. As a result, you may want to learn on your own, online, so you can work at your own pace. Maybe you’re busy with work and don’t have much time to practice, but you still want to learn violin on the side. Maybe you don’t want to deal with the pressure of having to report back to a teacher with a new song or concept each week because you simply don’t have the time to practice consistently.

Don’t get me wrong, as a teacher, I always encourage my students to practice as often as they can, and I always stress that consistency is a major factor in learning, but I know it’s not realistic for everyone. Although it takes some self-discipline, learning online gives you the freedom to learn what you want, when you want.

8. Access at Your Fingertips

learn violin online

Maybe you stayed up too late last night, had a rough day at school or work, or you just aren’t feeling it. Let’s face it, music is a feeling and you’re not always in the mood. Just because your lesson is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday doesn’t always mean your brain is on board every single week.

In music, off days or “bad playing days” happen, and just like “bad hair days,” they’re often inexplicable and unavoidable. When you learn violin online, access is key. Maybe you were having one of those “in one ear, out the other ear” moments with your teacher this week. Lucky for you, with the click of a button, you can look up some online tutorials with charts and visuals.

Curious about how your bow hold should look? Click over to another tab and open a separate tutorial. While most lessons take place once a week, the internet is there for you 24-7 and is great tool to help you access information quickly.

9. You’re in Control

(Pause, Fast Forward, Rewind!)

learn violin online

I’m not going to lie to you: learning a musical instrument can be difficult, and I’ve been told by many that they consider the violin one of the harder instruments to master. Without any buttons, keys, or frets to tell you where to put your fingers, you’re relying solely on muscle memory and your ears to get the notes in tune.

It can take a lot of time and finesse to get a stringed/bowed instrument to make sounds that are pleasing to the ears. Sometimes it requires learning a technique or concept several times before it sticks. Often when you’re working with a teacher, there’s a lot of new information to take in, and unless you have a great memory, you may not remember everything you learned that day (or two or three days later when you finally get around to practicing).

Learning online or using online resources as supplemental tools allows you to fast forward and rewind (for those of us who grew up in the VHS/cassette tape era).

“You can replay the lesson over and over,” says Beth Blackerby from violinlab.com. “You can catch all kinds of information you missed the first time around.” You can go over a specific part in a tutorial video 20 times if you need to, and you can read and reference an article again and again until the concepts make sense.

10. Avoid Bad Weather

(and Other Unforeseen Circumstances)

learn violin online

If you live in Seattle where it’s rainy all the time, or get snowed-in on the mountains of Colorado and don’t want to venture out into the cold, online lessons are the perfect alternative. Online lessons are also ideal for people like me who live in very hot states (Texas) and don’t want to trek across town in the hot, humid weather.

Online lessons aren’t just more convenient during times of inclement weather, they’re very beneficial in a lot of different situations. Violin lessons online help those with limited transportation, those that live in rural areas, and families with multiple kids with various extracurricular activities.

I hope this list gets you excited about learning violin online! Music is a life force for many and can inspire and motivate you in ways you never thought possible. Don’t ever let the flame of your musical passion go out, and don’t let a blizzard, rain storm, lack of time, money, or transportation stand in the way of your goals. Best of luck on your musical journey!

Interested in taking violin lessons online? Find a teacher, today! 

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin online in Austin, TX. She’s a classically-trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. She works with all ages and has been teaching for over 14 years. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

Photo by losgofres

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violin practice

25+ Violin Practice Tips to Help You Improve…Fast!

violin practice

Whether you’re a beginner violinist or you have been playing for years, there are always ways to improve. If you want to get better, however, you have to practice! Here, music instructor Julie P. shares over 25 violin practice tips for players of any ability…


Violin Practice Routine

violin practice

Setting up a consistent routine can help you stay on track. Here are some violin practice tips that will help you establish a practice routine that works for you.

  1. Practice at the same time every day. When you have a designated practice time, you are less likely to make excuses or skip practice.
  2. Use a violin app to track your practice. Try out Music Journal or Practice Center.
  3. Tune your violin at the beginning of every practice session. There are lots of violin tuner apps, but Cleartune and Tuner Lite are two good ones.If you need help tuning your violin, follow this instructional tuning video for beginners.
  4. Keep all of your violin sheet music together, so that when you practice, you have everything you need.
  5. Always have a pencil on hand when you practice so you can mark your violin sheet music with helpful reminders.
  6. Use a music stand so that you can practice with proper posture. Good posture is not only essential to help you play better, it’s also important to prevent injury. Besides using a music stand, check out these 10 wacky ways to improve your posture.

Violin Practice Tips

violin practice

These violin practice tips will help you make the most of your time so you can have a more efficient, effective practice session.

    1. Do a simple warm up at the beginning of each practice session to get your fingers, arms, and ears ready to play.
    2. Use a metronome to practice playing with a steady beat. You can also use a metronome to challenge yourself to play at different tempos. Tempo is one of many great metronome apps you can try.
    3. Record yourself at different points during practice. You never have to share the recordings with anyone, unless you want to. You can use them as learning tools; you’ll hear new things about your playing by listening to the recording.
    4. Rosin with care: Using too much rosin on your bow will make your tone scratchy, while not enough rosin will limit your dynamic range. Make sure you check out these maintenance tips for your violin bow.
    5. Enlist a friend! Everything is more fun with a friend, and violin practice is no different. You can play all of your music together and even play some fun duets. “I always seem to make the most progress when I mix in music that is just for fun,” says Todd Markey, founder of TheStringClub.com. “After playing scales, exercises, and pieces assigned by your teacher, it’s good to have some music that you can play fairly easily to enjoy expressing yourself on your instrument.  Too often we are playing at the very edge of our technical capabilities and not just relaxing with something relatively simple.  And its even better if its done with friends!  That’s why I created TheStringClub.com.  I want my students to be able to find music they like and have fun playing right away.”
    6. Learn to play with accompaniment:Playing violin with accompaniment will help you learn different skills such as coordinating tempo, dynamics, and rhythm. According to stringsalong.com, “you can learn faster and with more enjoyment if you practice with accompaniment! It’s the natural way to learn and love music. (Try practicing with the pros at Strings Along to accelerate your learning progress!)”

 

More: How Often Should You Practice Violin to Really Improve? 


Violin Practice Exercises

violin practice

From technique to control, these violin practice exercises will help you focus on the most important aspects of your playing.

  1. Play slow scales to fine tune your intonation.
  2. Try this exercise to warm up your bow arm: Play a scale with a quarter note for each note of the scale, then two-eighth notes on each note, then four 16th notes on each note.
  3. Gain more bow control by switching between bowing a single string anfd bowing two strings at once (called a double stop).
  4. If you’re starting to learn how to shift and play in third position and higher, go back to your beginner violin books and try playing simple melodies in third position or higher.

Violin Practice Games

violin practice

Violin games can break up the monotony and make violin practice more fun! Try adding a couple of these fun activities to your next practice session.

  1. To mix things up, write down all of the things you have to practice (as well as some fun songs you already know how to play) on separate pieces of paper. Put them in a jar and shake them up. Pick out three to five papers for your practice session that day.
  2. For a difficult passage, use quarters to keep track of your progress. Place three on the left side of your music stand. Each time you play the passage correctly, you can move one to the right side of the stand. If you mess up, all the quarters have to be reset on the left side of the stand. Your goal is to move all three to the right side of the stand by playing the passage correctly three times in a row.
  3. Music Magic’s Violin Activity Book” has fun games and activities for very young violinists (ages three to five).
  4. Games – Workbook for Strings” by Evelyn Avhsharian is great for children ages three to seven.

If you’re looking for more ways to make violin practice fun, try these 20+ violin games for kids.


Violin Practice Online

violin practice online

There are lots of great online resources to help you learn violin. From games to videos, here are some sites that will help you practice and improve.

  1. Play the Violin Fingering game at Fiddlerman.com.
  2. Make a video to post on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Vimeo.
  3. Get inspired by watching videos of other people playing the violin on youtube. Not sure where to start? Check out Bryson Andres playing “Secrets” by One Republic or Hillary Hahn playing a Bach Sarabande .
  4. ViolinOnline.com has tons of information about basic violin playing technique and posture. They have instructions with pictures.

Violin Sheet Music

violin practice

Fortunately, there are a lot of places to find violin sheet music online. When you get tired of practicing the same easy violin songs over and over, you can search for violin sheet music and learn some new songs.

  1. Find free violin sheet music at 8notes.com, violinsheetmusic.org, and violinonline.com.
  2. Use this page from violinonline.com to practice your scales. They have one- and two-octave violin scale pages in both major and minor keys, as well as scale duets.
  3. You can find tons of pop songs by artists like Katy Perry, Adele, Flo Rida and Coldplay at McCourt’s Violin Studio.
  4. IMSLP has tons of free classical music available for download or printing. All of their music is part of the public domain.

While all of these tips are helpful, it’s nearly impossible to use them all in just a couple weeks. Try one or two tips at a time to improve your playing without getting overwhelmed. Each week, try out a few additional tips. With perseverance and consistent practice, you can get better, fast!

What are your favorite practice tips? Share them with us in the comments below! 

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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100+ Online Tools and Resources for Musicians

Are you ready to take the music scene by storm? As a musician, you’re well aware of how difficult it is to make a name for yourself or your band.

Practicing until the wee hours of the night, juggling several odd jobs, and traveling to play multiple gigs are just a few of the sacrifices you make as a musician.

Luckily, there are a ton of online music resources that can help make your life easier, including platforms that help you find gigs and websites that assist in promoting your band.

Since we know you’re busy being a rock star, we’ve rounded up over 100 of the best online music resources that will help take your career to the next level.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the game for some time, these music resources are sure to help you.


 

Sick of rehearsing in your studio apartment? Or is your current space too expensive? Here’s a list of online resources that you can use to find the perfect rehearsal space that fits within your budget.

  • Fractured Atlas: Through their SpaceFinder program, Fractured Atlas helps artists find the space they need, while helping venues promote and rent their spaces. It’s a win-win.
  • Musicnomad: Musicnomad does all the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is type in your zip code, specify the mile radius, and choose your perfect space.
  • Rehearsal space finder: Rehearsal Space Finder is another easy-to-use service. Just enter your location and what you’re looking for and you will be presented with a list of nearby venues.
  • Craigslist: If you’re looking for a low-cost option, browse Craigslist for a rehearsal space near you. Oftentimes, rates are more negotiable.

Booking gigs on a consistent basis is extremely important for both promotional and monetary reasons. Here’s a list of online tools that will help you book more music gigs.

  • Gigsalad: Gigsalad, a platform in which party planners can find and book talent, is great for local musicians. Signing up is easy; all you have to do is create a profile and wait to get booked.
  • ReverbNation: ReverbNation is dedicated to helping emerging artists build their careers. The platform’s “Gig Finder” tool helps artists connect with different venues, festivals, publishers, and labels.
  • Gigmasters: Similar to Gigsalad, Gigmasters is a platform where people can book various vendors, including DJ’s, singers, and live bands. The website allows you to create a customized profile and choose from a range of memberships.
  • Splitgigs: Splitgigs is a unique social network that allows artists to “split” their gigs with other artists. This website is great for those who are just getting their feet wet. You can also find music gigs uploaded by venues and organizers.

Additional tools:

Need some help promoting your band? Below are some great websites for getting your name out there and generating fans. Don’t forget social media too!

  • CDbaby: CDbaby has a number of different partnerships with brands that can help promote your band. For example, FanBridge, PledgeMusic, and Merch.ly.
  • Dizzyjam: Dizzyjam is a free online service in which musicians can create and sell branded merchandise. To get started, create your personalized shop, and then develop products for sale.
  • BandPage: BandPage is another easy-to-use platform. Upload your profile, bio, pictures, videos, tracks, and tour dates and BandPage will update that information across the Web for you.
  • BandApp: Perfect for musicians who have a solid fan base, BandApp allows users to share music, tour dates, and news directly with fans—for free!
  • Music Gorilla: Music Gorilla connects artists with industry professionals. Artists can sign up, upload music, and create a profile page. What’s more, the company does live, label showcases and provides artists with film and television placement opportunities.

Additional tools:

Whether you want to share one song or an entire album, there are a variety of websites in which you can share your music with fans around the world.  Check out the ones below!

  • Radio Airplay: With Radio Airplay, musicians’ music plays on stations featuring the popular artists they choose. What’s more, artists have access to reports and data about their fan base.
  • Stageit: With Stagit, artists perform live online shows via their mobile device. Fans can ask questions or request songs. Fans can also monetarily support their favorite artists.
  • On SoundCloud: On SoundCloud is SoundCloud’s newest partner program for musicians. It allows artists to upload music, build a profile, and manage stats.
  • Melody Fusion: Melody Fusion is a website in which artists can share their music for free. Musicians can also get feedback from their peers, take master classes, and find a mentor.

Additional tools:

Keeping track of your finances, tour dates, and more can be exhausting, especially if you’re doing it all yourself. Here’s a list of online tools that will help you better manage everything.

  • Bandbook: Bandbook makes your life easier. Within the platform, you can manage your schedule, track your expenses, and send private messages to anyone with a Bandbook account.
  • Artist Growth: Great for both managers and musicians, Artist Growth helps individuals schedule events, create reports, track finances, and manage tour merch all from one place.
  • TeamSnap: With TeamSnap, you can manage member’s contact information, coordinate upcoming events, track group fees, and share files within the group.
  • BandHelper: BandHelper takes care of all the annoying logistical details—such as expense reports, set lists, and more—so you can concentrate on making music.

Additional tools:

Entering music competitions is a great way to get exposure, connect with industry folks, and earn some much-needed cash. Check out the music competitions below.

  • Unsigned Only: Unsigned Only was produced by the same team that created the International Songwriting Competition. Solo artists, bands, and singers can enter a wide range of categories, including rock, pop, country, and vocal performance.
  • OurStage: Artists can enter original music into any of OurStage’s genre-based channels for a chance to win. Winners are featured on Amazing Radio, which boasts an international listening audience of thousands.
  • Hal Leonard Vocal Competition: The Hal Leonard Vocal Competition is a music competition for voice students comprised entirely of YouTube video entries.
  • International Songwriting Competition: The International Songwriting Competition is an annual song contest for amateur and established songwriters. The contest is judged by an impressive panel of judges, offering great exposure for artists.

Additional tools

Brush up on industry trends and get expert advice from peers by browsing through these awesome online music resources. Don’t forget to bookmark your favorite ones!

  • Passive Promotion: Created by Brian Hazard, a music veteran with 20 years of experience, Passive Promotion gives artists applicable advice about music promotion. He also regularly features reviews about new platforms.
  • Hypebot: Hypebot features a variety of useful articles for artists. For example, the website features dedicated pages on social media use and music technology.
  • Music Industry Inside Out: Music Industry Inside Out is a music industry knowledge hub filled with expert advice from music industry professionals. The website offers different course topics, such as funding your music, book keeping, and applying for festivals.
  • Make it in Music: Make it in Music is a great website for emerging artists. It has a ton of advice about how to make it big, including how to build your fan base and how to approach a record label.
  • New Artist Model: New Artist Model, an online music business school for artists, has an amazing blog, which regularly features strategies and advice for independent musicians.

Additional tools:

Do you need a branded website or flyers for your next show? Here’s a list of online resources that can help you develop and organize different kinds of marketing materials.

  • BandZoogle: Bandzoogle describes itself as a website builder created by musicians for musicians. The website will help you create a customized website where you can sell merch, tickets, videos, and more.
  • CASH Music: This nonprofit organization helps musicians manage their mailing list, sell music, and organize their digital world—free of charge!
  • Haulix: Haulix is a one-stop-shop for musicians. Using the platform, you can create promos, manage contacts, track progress, and more.
  • Bandcamp: This free service does just about everything. Not only can artists share music with fans, but they can also get stats on who’s linking to them, where their music is embedded, and which tracks are most and least popular.

Additional tools:

Are you looking to join or start a band? Or maybe you just want to network with other musicians? Here are some music resources that can help you do just that.

  • Bandlink: Using Bandlink, users can hook up with other local musicians. Just create a profile including the instruments and styles you play and search for bands/musicians in your area.
  • Kompoz: Kompoz is the ultimate collaboration tool for artists. The website allows you to upload your song idea and collaborate with other musicians from around the world.
  • Indaba Music: Indaba is a place where musicians can collaborate with some of the biggest artists and bands in the world to create new music.
  • Bandmix: Bandmix is the largest musicians wanted and musician classifieds website. Users can search through thousands of musicians in their area.

Additional tools:

As a musician, you’re always working on your craft. Here’s a list of educational music resources that will help you sharpen your musical skills so you can perform at your best.

  • Musictheory.net: Musictheory.net is a great online resource if you want to learn more about music theory. It has tons of free exercises and tools.
  • TakeLessons: TakeLessons is an online marketplace boasting hundreds of high-quality music teachers who specialize in everything from flute to guitar. Take music lessons in the comfort of your own home or tour bus with its mobile app.
  • Free-scores.com: If you’re looking for sheet music, look no further than free-scores.com. The website has tons of free sheet music in a wide range of musical styles, such as blues, classic rock, contemporary, and country.
  • Berklee Online: Berklee Online’s video library has a number of educational videos, including in-depth lessons, exclusive clinics, and course overviews that artists are sure to find helpful.

Additional tools:

Looking for some top-notch gear to help sound your best? Here’s a list of online music equipment stores that offer high-quality instruments and gear at great prices.

  • Music Go Round: Music Go Around sells used musical instruments, such as guitars, amps, drums, and violins, at competitive prices. As an added bonus, you can sell or trade-in your old gear.
  • Music123: From lighting and stage effects to orchestra, Music123 offers over 65,000 products. The website boasts in-depth product information and reviews.
  • Musician’s Friend: Musician’s Friend has a great selection of music instruments and equipment. Don’t forget to check out their blog, called The HUB, for artist interviews, product reviews, buying guides, and more.
  • Sweetwater: Sweetwater is dedicated to keeping its customers satisfied, which is why the company offers a wide range of gear at great prices and free shipping to lower 48 states.

Additional tools:

  • SongTrust: SongTrust ensures that musicians and songwriters are able to confidently manage their music publishing. The website simplifies everything from the administration of music publishing assets to digital licensing.
  • SonicAngel: SonicAngel offers several different options for artists. For example, musicians can crowdfund their campaigns on the platform of its partner, angel.me.
  • CoPromote: CoPromote is a network of artists dedicated to helping one another grow their fan base by cross-promoting social posts.
  • Radar Music Videos: Need a music video? Through Radar, artists can reach out to up and coming filmmakers to get their music video developed.

Additional tools:

Get Out There!

Let’s face it; making it in the music industry is hard–but not impossible. Take advantage of these 100+ online music resources and tools to help manage, promote, and distribute your music. Good luck!

Did we miss your favorite online music tool or resource? Tell us about it in the comments below and we will add it to the list!

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14 Popular Violin Solo Pieces for Beginners

14 Popular Violin Solo Pieces for Beginners

14 Popular Violin Solo Pieces for Beginners

Just starting out on violin and not sure where to begin with violin solos? Here, violin teacher Naomi Cherie S.  has outlined 14 popular violin solo pieces to help you build your beginner repertoire. Whether you’re brand new to the violin or you’ve been playing for a year or two, this list has some great songs for you to tackle…

Note: We’ve included videos, violin tutorials, and violin solo sheet music to help you master these songs!

About Violin Solos

As a musician, solo pieces are great to develop skills outside of beginner exercises and scales. Solo pieces can also give you a great excuse to test your playing abilities beyond your studio or bedroom. Even if you’re not too keen on performing in front of an audience, the ability to perform in front of people is very important in your journey to becoming a well-rounded musician, especially if you plan to perform in an orchestra, band, duo, or quartet. By starting small, with a group of friends or family, you’ll learn to control your nerves and perfect your stage presence and presentation, and eventually, you’ll have no problem performing in front of large crowds!

It’s important to have a violin solo collection, made up of comfortable, familiar songs to build your confidence to perform in front of an audience. These violin solos will help you prepare for a planned recital, family holiday, or an impromptu request.

Where to Find Violin Solo Pieces

This outline of songs uses the internationally known “Suzuki Violin School: Violin Part, Vol. 1” as a base. Since it’s one of the most popular beginner violin books in the world, it’s easy to find at music stores and does a great job of slowly introducing concepts. Keep in mind: you don’t need to be learning in official Suzuki Method style (Suzuki method is a teaching style developed by Shinichi Suzuki in the mid 20th century) in order to use this book. It’s just a good, affordable series of song books with a lot of great beginner material.

Many of these are folk songs or are adapted from classical pieces by well-known composers and can be found online or in other books, however, Suzuki lays it out in a neat, easy-to-follow package. We’ve also thrown in a couple of party favorites and crowd pleasers.

Time Frame and Experience

The songs below are organized by experience level. Please note, the time frames are estimates and can vary from student to student. You can enhance your results by with violin lessons and consistent practice.


Violin Solos

 

 

1. “Lightly Row” 

“Lightly Row” is a simple four-line song found in many beginner books since it’s a popular German folk song. It’s a great solo piece for beginners. With lots of practice, you can learn it within a month or less after starting violin.

The rhythms are very basic and the song uses quarter notes and half notes and focuses on using two strings at a time. You won’t have many string changes, which can be very challenging when you first start playing the violin.

Get the violin solo sheet music to play “Lightly Row“.

2. “May Song”

“May Song” is another old folk song that’s fairly easy to learn within the first few months of playing. It takes things up a notch by introducing different types of notes: eighth notes and dotted quarter notes.

It also ventures on to some of the higher notes on the E string. “May Song” keeps it short and simple at only three lines long, so you won’t get overwhelmed when adding more challenging rhythms.

“May Song” sheet music


 

1. “Allegro” 

“Allegro” is a great song to learn because it introduces dynamic markings.

Dynamics give the song variety and excitement by changing volume levels and the style or attack of your bowing. “Allegro” introduces the terms staccato (short and sticky bowing), legato (long and smooth bowing), decrescendo (play softer gradually), fermata (hold the note out and then cut off suddenly), dolce (play sweetly), and forte (play loudly.)

You may want to add a music dictionary to your violin sheet music and violin book collection to help you understand new terms and markings.

If you were too shy to perform in front of an audience with the previous songs, by the time you’ve mastered this one you’ll be more than ready to show off your newly enhanced performing “chops” (as we like to say in musician speak) with the dynamics, drama, and suspense of “Allegro”.

Get the violin sheet music here.

2. “Happy Birthday” 

Now that you have some of the basics down, take a night off from your regular studies and learn to play “Happy Birthday”. Every musician should know this song for special occasions and surprise parties. It may not be a traditional “solo piece,” but all eyes will definitely be on you when you surprise dad or grandma at the next family birthday gathering. It’s also a handy talent to be able to leave a violin voicemail or text a quick video for friends and loved ones who live far away on their special day.

“Happy Birthday” may not be readily available in most solo books, however, a quick Internet search will bring up many different options, or if you’re feeling adventurous, test out your skills and see if you can learn to play this song by ear.

“Happy Birthday” violin sheet music.

3. “Perpetual Motion” 

“Perpetual Motion” is a good stamina test for beginners. At five lines, it’s a little longer than most of the other pieces you’ve played at this point. It’s also free of any rests or breaks, which makes it really challenging to play since you’ll literally be in “perpetual motion” the whole time.

Think of violin playing like running a marathon: As a beginner, you get tired easily, so you have to gradually work up to playing longer pieces. This song is part of the endurance training that’ll help get you to the finish line, and eventually, propel you into an advanced musician who’ll someday perform pieces that are several pages long!

Get the sheet music here!

4. “Cotton Eyed Joe” 

Even if you’re learning through classical training, it’s nice to throw in a fun, old time fiddle song every now and then. “Cotton Eyed Joe” is a classic fiddle tune.

It’s snappy and short and sure to start a hoe-down in any social setting! You can find this piece in most beginner fiddle books or with an easy search online.

“Cotton Eyed Joe’ violin sheet music.


 

1. “Amazing Grace”

“Amazing Grace” is a must-learn song for any violinist – it’s a classic, old time fiddle-style song with a calming feel. It’s beautiful, poignant, and great for family gatherings around the holidays. It also makes a great duet if you have another violinist or instrumentalist of any kind to harmonize with you.

Click here for the violin solo sheet music.

2. “Minuet” in G

If you’re ready for this song, congratulations! This piece is a big step toward graduating from the easier three to five-line folk songs to playing real, semi-full length pieces. Also, note the composer of this song: Johann Sebastian Bach! You’re officially playing an adapted version of a song from one of the most respected composers of all time, and that’s a big achievement!

It may look like a short song, but it has repeat signs, meaning you’ll be repeating some parts and thus turning it into a full one-page song. It also introduces some new concepts that you likely haven’t seen at this point, such as using your fourth finger (pinky) to play notes, slurs (two notes connected within the same bow stroke), and complex note sequences on three of the violin strings (rather than just two).

This song keeps a great balance, because although it’s longer and more challenging, a lot of the parts that make it longer will be repeats of what you just played; in other words, you won’t be overwhelmed by new information.

3. “Let it Go” 

By now, you’re advanced enough to play music that combines rhythms using quarter notes and eighth notes and introduces slurs and dotted quarter notes. You’re ready to venture out of your beginner book and into some pop music.

If you or your child love Disney movies, now would be a good time to throw in a movie favorite, such as “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. This song is always a crowd pleaser; everyone knows it and it’s very catchy. It’s also easy to learn and easy to find at any music shop with contemporary sheet music.

If Frozen isn’t your cup of tea, you can search for pop or rock violin sheet music in beginner book format at your local music shop or online.


 

1. “Minuet No. 2” 

“Minuet No. 2” is one of the last songs in Suzuki Book I, so once you finish this one, you’ll be very close to a major milestone in your studies. “Minuet No. 2” is a great song to follow up with after “Minuet No. 1” because Bach wrote it as part of a three-part series.

At this point, you’re definitely ready to perform in front of an audience outside of your friends and family. If you’re working with a teacher, ask him or her to organize a recital so that you can show off your progress. You’ll recognize many of the same themes in this song as “Minuet No.1” that’ll make it easier to learn and will work nicely as a companion piece if you choose to do a double solo performance for your audience.

This song definitely takes it up a notch and although it’s written as a one-page song, by the time you add all of the repeats, you’ll officially be performing your first two-page song – that’ll be great progress for developing your playing stamina!

Get the violin sheet music here!

2. “Gavotte” (by F.J. Gossec)

When you’re ready to learn “Gavotte”, you’re officially at the end of Suzuki Book I, which is a major achievement in your studies! By this point, you’ve made it through one of the biggest rough patches of learning a new instrument – the first year. “Gavotte” adds new, complex rhythms by adding sixteenth notes, which really take things to the next level in the speed department.

Do some simple finger exercises and scales, without looking at your sheet music, to develop the fast finger motion you’ll need to make these notes happen. “Gavotte” combines all the skills you’ve learned, and adds a lot of dynamic markings and repeat signs to make this song a challenging grand finale for the book.

Want to learn to play “Gavotte”? Get the sheet music here!


 

1. “Bourrée”

“Bourrée” is a great introduction to “Suzuki Violin School, Vol 2“, as it  eases you into more difficult material. A delicate and beautiful piece, the tempo can be adjusted to be performed slowly and calmly. A common misconception is that slower pieces are easy or boring – however, playing pieces slowly brings out some of the more emotive and poignant tones that allow your instrument to shine.

Performing a slow piece is a great way to exercise patience, letting the notes ring out and breathe, and it’s a nice opportunity to test out any newly-budding vibrato skills.

“Bourrée” violin sheet music.

2. “Gavotte” (by J.B. Lully)

This “Gavotte” (a type of 19th-century French dance – hence the repetition in song titles) is challenging, but not as difficult as the one below, so I recommended you learn this one first.

In this song, you’ll see the extended fourth finger. This requires you to stretch your little finger up extra high to hit a note that you’ll eventually learn to play in third position (a higher hand position you’ll learn as an intermediate player). This song has a great upbeat, a playful feel, and it’s fun to play fast once you’ve mastered it at a slower pace.

3. “Gavotte” from Mignon (by A. Thomas)

This “Gavotte” is a tricky piece that presents many twists and turns and lots of new challenges, such as 32nd notes (double the speed of sixteenth notes), lots of accidentals (notes outside of your written key signature), and complex rhythms. It’s also a lengthy piece, coming in at almost two-pages long.

This may seem difficult at first, but don’t get discouraged. Learn this song in sections. Go line by line, note by note, and perform it very, very slowly until you’re ready to increase your tempo.

For these more advanced violin solos, I recommend using a metronome, to help you ease into the faster tempos. If you’re having difficulty, try stripping the song down and playing it without slurs or dynamic markings. This allows you to focus on the notes. Once you’ve mastered this piece, you should be really be proud of your accomplishments. As a violinist, you’re on your way to becoming an intermediate-beginner level player!

Now you have a nice collection of violin solo pieces that you can learn as you advance in your lessons. If you need help with any of these violin solos, make sure to ask your violin teacher!

As you work through these inspiring, timeless pieces, have fun, practice hard, and enjoy the music!

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin online in Austin, TX. She’s a classically-trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. She works with all ages and has been teaching for over 14 years. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

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easy violin songs

50 Easy Violin Songs for Beginners [Video Tutorials]


easy violin songs for beginners

When you’re taking violin lessons, it’s important to find some easy violin songs to help you practice, boost your confidence, and improve your skills. With this list from San Francisco, CA violin teacher Carol Beth L., you will never run out of songs to play! 

Whether you’re playing violin for yourself or for your family and friends, it’s helpful to have some relatively simple, familiar songs on hand. Perhaps those around you will even want to sing along.

Whatever the occasion, here are 50 easy violin songs for beginners.


Easy Violin Songs for Beginners

 


Easy Fiddle Songs and Irish Violin Tunes

easy violin songs

 

There are quite a few violin books with traditional (and often easy) Irish songs and fiddling songs. “Fiddler’s Philharmonic“, for instance, provides three basic parts in every volume and includes volumes for violin, viola, cello, and bass.

The parts in all four volumes can be mixed and matched to fit the group, or the songs can be played as solos. Some of the songs below can be found in “Fiddler’s Philharmonic”; most can also be found elsewhere.

Have fun learning some new songs that you can play on the violin!

1. “Bile ‘Em Cabbage Down”

2. “Cripple Creek”
3. “Old Joe Clark”
4. “Arkansas Traveler” This is the same tune as “Baby Bumblebee.” When sung with the right words, it can therefore also qualify as a children’s song (see the next list).

5. Swallowtail Jig”
6. “Si Bheag, Si Mhor”
7. “Scarborough Fair”
8. “St. Anne’s Reel”
9. “Ashokan Farewell”
10. “Oh Susanna”

Find the violin sheet music for these songs here.

More: The 5 Best Violin Songs of All Time


Easy Violin Songs For Kids

easy violin songs

 

Do you have a young violinist at home? Help your son or daughter learn violin basics with these easy violin songs for kids!

Most of these songs are available in many forms and from many sources, but you may not need music for all of them. See if you can play some of these songs by ear.

Note: The songs marked as rounds are particularly fun when you have more than one player or singer, and they allow you to create some relatively simple, beautiful harmonies.

1. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

2. “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
3. “Hot Cross Buns (round)”
4. “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”
5. “Frère Jacques” (Brother John – round)
6. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (round)”
7. “Have You Seen the Ghost of John” (round)
8. “London Bridge is Falling Down”
9. “Old McDonald Had a Farm”

10. “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”
11. “Des Colores” (The Colors)
12. “Los Pollitos Dicen” (The Chicks Say…)

More: 20+ Fun Violin Games for Kids


Popular Violin Songs

easy violin songs

If you plan to play for other people, here are some songs you can play that will make your friends and family sing along!

1. “America the Beautiful”

2. “House of the Rising Sun”
3. “Drink to me Only With Thine Eyes”
4. “Titanic Theme: Wherever you Go”
5. “Little Brown Jug”
6. “Do a Deer”
7. “A Thousand Years”
8. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

 

More: 15 Easy Violin Songs That Make You Sound Impressive


Classical Violin Songs

easy violin songs

While the list here attempts to target those pieces that have become more common as solos or were originally intended to be possible solos, there are also many other famous classical melodies from larger works that are easily easy to play on the violin.

Examples include the final theme of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.

1. “Greensleeves / What Child is This”

2. “Ode to Joy”
3. “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”
4. “Bach’s Minuets 1, 2, and 3 in G from the Anna Magdelena Notebook”
5. “Schubert’s Ave Maria”
6. “Amazing Grace”

More: 5 Famous Violin Players You’ve Got to Know


Christmas Violin Songs and Holiday Favorites

easy violin songs

 

If you’re looking for easy Christmas duets specifically, Christmas Duets for Violin and Other C Instruments by the Hal Leonard Corporation is a great place to look. Like “Fiddler’s Philharmonic” (mentioned above), there are also editions for cello and viola that can be used to mix and match parts depending on the group.

If you’re playing alone, you can also play the melody part as a solo. Some of the songs from this book, along with some other suggestions, can be found in the list below.

1. “Hava Naguila”
2. “Oh Hannukah”
3. “Feliz Navidad”

4. “Happy Birthday to You”
5. “We Three Kings”
6. “Silent Night”
7. “Joy To the World”
8. “Jingle Bells”

9. “Deck the Halls”
10. “Oh Holy Night”
11. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
12. “Frosty the Snowman”

13. “Little Drummer Boy”
14. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

 


Violin Sheet Music

In order to play these songs, you need the sheet music! Here are some of the best online resources for violin sheet music:

There are also several helpful violin YouTube tutorials that will not only give you the sheet music, but also demonstrate how to play various songs.

If you’re looking for more videos, check out this guide to the best violin YouTube tutorials.


So there you have it, a huge list of easy violin songs that you can play! Whether you just started taking lessons or  you’ve been playing for a while, these songs will help you learn, practice, and improve!

Have fun!

Carol BPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth teaches viola and violin in San Francisco, CA. She currently plays viola in the San Francisco Civic Orchestra and has been teaching students since 2012. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

Image courtesy Alex Sanz

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Vibrato Violin Tutorial for Beginners [Video]

vibrato violin

Have you always wanted to learn the vibrato violin? Below, violin teacher Naomi Cherie S.  provides a detailed tutorial on how to do vibrato on the violin…

Playing vibrato on the violin can greatly enhance your sound by infusing your notes with emotion, beauty, and intensity. It’s the icing on the cake that really makes your playing shine!

The standard for an advanced player or professional, vibrato violin comes from moving the arm and/or wrist back slightly toward the scroll, and then back up toward the bridge.

While you might be eager to learn vibrato violin, it’s a very complex skill to master. Below is a tutorial on how to play vibrato on the violin as well as some tips to help determine if you’re ready.

Am I Ready for Vibrato Violin? 

You may have heard famous violin players using violin vibrato in movies, at the symphony, or at live concerts, and thought to yourself, “Hey! I’m ready to add vibrato to my playing!”

Prior to embarking on this new journey, however, please note that it is incredibly important to make sure you have a very strong foundation so you don’t become overwhelmed and frustrated.

Before learning vibrato violin, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have good form, proper left hand technique, and a strong bow hold?
  • Can I play through songs and read music fluidly with very little mistakes?
  • Do I have a decent amount of hand strength built up and can I get through songs without my hand and arm muscles becoming easily fatigued?
  • Have I developed a good ear for intonation and enough muscle memory in my fingers to get the notes in tune most of the time?

If you confidently answered “yes” to all of these questions, congratulations! You’re ready to move to the next level and start adding vibrato violin to your skill set.

While professionals make vibrato look easy and effortless, it can actually take some time to master– anywhere from a couple months to a couple years depending on the player.

So the main thing to remember is to be patient and not give up.

How to Set Up Your Left Hand For Vibrato Violin Exercise

Having correct left hand technique is imperative to making the vibrato mechanism physically possible. Below are various steps to ensure your left hand it properly set up.

Step One:

Looking at your left hand while in playing position, the thumb should rest against the side of the neck in a straight or slightly bent pose, as if you were giving a thumbs up sign.

Your fingers should be curved and hovering over the fingerboard. Think of the fingers as arches or “little rainbows” sitting on top of the fingerboard.

A common issue for students is that they allow the palm of their hand to rest on the violin neck. The only parts of your hand that should really touch the violin are the fingertips, the thumb, and a bit of the side of your first finger.

Step Two:

If you find the palm of your hand touching the neck, straighten your wrist and remember that your wrist position should remain in a neutral straight pose most of the time.

When you place your fingers on the string, they should be standing up nice and tall so that only a small point on your fingertips make contact with the string (not the entire pad of your finger.)

Step Three:

If you find that you cannot easily get your fingers to stand up on the fingertips, it may be necessary to permanently adjust your overall left arm/hand form.

You may need to bring your elbow in toward your chest and let your thumb slide from the side of the neck more toward the underside of the neck to allow yourself to hoist your fingers up and get off of the finger pads and onto the fingertips.

Special Vibrato Violin Exercise For Beginners

Once your left hand technique is in order, you’re ready to start your daily vibrato exercise!

Keep in mind that it is important to do this exercise every day so that you can build momentum and develop the hand strength and muscle memory that you will need.

At first your hand may feel weak and tired, but with time it will become easier. Make sure you only do this exercise for 5-10 minutes in one sitting, so that you don’t overdo it and strain your hand.

Let’s get started…

Start with your left hand in normal playing position– good form, fingers hovering over the fingerboard and your first finger (index finger) standing tall on the fingertip.

Place your first finger on the D string where you’d normally place your first finger in first position.

With your bow, play this note for four counts. Then pivot on the ball of your finger and go into the “back” position with your finger and entire hand making a shift toward the scroll.

Although the motion is driven by your wrist, you should feel your whole hand putting momentum into the movement. Play for four counts.

Then begin alternating and counting like an aerobics instructor would in whole notes; for example, up 2, 3, 4 — back 2, 3, 4…

You should hear a shift in tone with each movement from “up” to “back.” That’s because your finger is changing what part of the string it is placed on  to create the vibrato violin effect.

  • Next go to half notes: up 2– back 2…
  • Then quarter notes: up, back, up, back…
  • Then eight notes: up, back, up, back (double time!)

And finally, double that last speed and go into sixteenth notes: at this point you’re just switching back and forth as fast as physically possible.

Your hand should look like it is waving at yourself. If you’re able to do this then you’re officially playing vibrato violin.

Most likely it will take a few weeks or months to work up to doing this successfully, but with lots of patience your fingers will build up the muscle memory and flexibility.

After a while, give your hand a rest and shake it out and let your fingers stretch. Then go to the second finger and do it all over again on each finger.

Most people find the second finger the easiest finger, while the pinkie finger is more challenging since it is weaker and shorter than all the other fingers.

Give lots of extra time for your little finger to adjust. Once you’ve completed the violin vibrato exercise, move on to the next string and go through the whole thing on all four fingers on all four strings.

Remember…

The big key here is to start off slow. While you’re learning, always start with whole notes and work your way up to sixteenth note speed.

That will give your hand some time to get warmed up and get used to the motions gradually.

Once you’ve become comfortable with your basic wrist vibrato, you can explore other violin vibrato styles; for example, arm vibrato which is the same, but with more momentum driven from the entire arm to give you really wide slow poignant vibrato.

Eventually you can develop a hand vibrato too, which focuses on a more delicate and controlled approach.

You can also experiment with the speed of your vibrato, such as fast intense motions for an upbeat, energetic song or strong slow weepy vibrato for a sad, slow or emotional song.

It all just depends on what type of mood you’re trying to convey and what sort of personal preferences you develop over your years of practice.

Photo by _dChris

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin in Austin, TX. She is a classically trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

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