how to hold a violin bow

How to Hold a Violin Bow: Step-by-Step Guide [Pictures]

how to hold a violin bow

Learning how to hold a violin bow is vital skill. Below, violin teacher Julie P. shares some tips and tricks on how to master this important violin technique…

Oftentimes, the most difficult part of learning how to play the violin is mastering proper bow technique, as it can feel very unnatural for beginner and intermediate students.

While it can be frustrating, learning how to hold a violin bow is extremely important–especially for those who are just starting violin lessons. After all, the movement of the bow is what creates the sound of the violin.

With proper bow technique, you can essentially produce whatever tones, strokes, and dynamics you want. However, if you have trouble controlling the bow, you’ll end up making a squeaky or unsavory sound.

The foundation of a great bow technique is all about how you hold the violin bow. The correct bow grip will give your right hand and arm flexibility, power, and control, all while eliminating tension.

So what’s the secret to gaining the proper bow grip? Below is a step-by-step guide on how to hold a violin bow the right way.

Step One: Make a Bunny

To get an idea of how to hold a violin bow, practice making a bunny with your right hand.

  • Start by making the shape of the letter C, with your fingers and thumb curved.
  • Then, touch your thumb to your middle finger and ring finger to create the chin and nose of the bunny.
  • Next, raise your pointer finger and pinky (keep them curved) to create the bunny ears.

This is the basic shape of the bow grip. Practice making this hand formation until it becomes second nature.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Two: Place Your Thumb

When learning to properly place your right hand, it’s helpful to hold the bow stick with your left hand. Be careful to not touch the bow hair with your fingers.

First, place your thumb on the underside of the bow stick, next to where the frog ends. Usually, there will be a small space between the frog and the leather or wire finger grip. That’s the spot where you want to place your thumb.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Three: Place Your Middle Finger

Next, the middle finger is placed opposite the thumb on the bow stick, with the ring finger placed right next to it.

Let your middle and ring finger relax so that they curve over the top of the bow and rest on the frog. The placement should feel similar to when you made the bunny.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Four: Place Your Pinky Finger

Then, place the tip of your pinky on top of the bow stick, slightly away from the ring finger. It’s very important that the pinky is curved so that it points down onto the top of the bow stick.

Otherwise, if the pinky is held straight, you’ll lose a lot of control of the bow.

how to hold a violin bow

Step Five: Place Your Pointer Finger

Finally, place your pointer finger on the finger grip, contacting the bow close to the middle knuckle. Keep the pointer finger curved and pointing slightly back toward the other fingers on the bow.

If all your fingers are placed properly, you should be able to press down through the tip of your pinky and make the bow go up. This hand position may feel unnatural to you at first, but over time it will become automatic.

how to hold a violin bow

Exercises for Strengthening Your Bowing Hand

When you’re first learning how to hold a violin bow, your wrist and fingers might become sore or tired, as you’re not used to using these particular muscles.

Implement the following exercises into your existing practice routine to help strengthen your bow hand and improve your overall violin playing.

  • Repetition: Repeating a certain motor task helps with muscle memory. Try making 10 bow grips in a row, going through all the steps at once. By the fifth or sixth repetition, chances are you will no longer need the pictures or explanation to guide you.
  • Crawling: Holding the violin bow vertically in your right hand, start to crawl or inch your fingers up to the tip of the bow and back down without the help of your left hand. This exercise will help strengthen and improve flexibility in your fingers.

Having a good bow grip is an excellent step toward becoming a better violinist, so keep working with your violin teacher on your bow grip until you master it.

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches violin, 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!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photo by Luis Hernandez

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

You Know You're a Violin Player When...

You Know You’re a Violin Player When…

You Know You're a Violin Player When...

Let’s face it; not everyone can be a violin player. It takes a certain individual to master such a complex instrument that requires immense dedication and concentration.

From rough finger tips to grueling practice sessions, violin players are challenged both physically and mentally whenever they step onto the stage.

Whether you’ve just started taking violin lessons or you’re a seasoned violin player, chances are you can relate to more than one of the following things…

1. Every piece of clothing you own is black.


You capitalize on every opportunity to wear bright colors because you’re sick of wearing all black ensembles. And don’t even get us started on those bulky blazers and billowy dresses.

2. You have impeccable posture.


Your posture is so good you could run a marathon while balancing books on your head.

3. You’ve lost all sensation in your fingertips.


People think you’re a construction worker judging by your callused fingertips.

4. You did yoga before it was cool.


Before Lululemon came along, you were doing yoga in your living room to relieve tension after a long performance.

5. You wear turtlenecks in the summer to hide your violin hickeys.


People can’t help but glare and giggle at the violin hickeys on your neck. You’re embarrassed by them, but they secretly give you a sense of pride.

6. Violin stock photos.


Enough said.

7. You have a recital face.


You try your hardest to smile during a violin performance, but you can’t help but put on your stern recital face.

8. Somehow everything you own has rosin on it.


No matter how hard you try, you seem to get that sticky gross stuff–better known as rosin–all over everything.

9. One hand is significantly more dexterous than the other.


You might be right handed, but your left hand is much more dexterous.

10. You can’t help but want to scream when someone mistakes your violin for a viola.


For the last time people, a violin and a viola are NOT the same thing.

Beginner and advanced violin players will all agree that playing the violin is a wonderful and rewarding experience. However, there are bumps along the way to becoming a master of this unique instrument.

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

violin performance

The Ultimate Violin Performance Checklist for Parents [Infographic]

violin performance

Does your child have a violin recital coming up? Below, violin teacher Julie P. shares the ultimate violin recital checklist to help parents ensure their child has the best performance…

Your child’s first violin performance is an exciting time! Your child gets to show off what he or she has learned, while you get to marvel at how far he or she has come since their first violin lesson.

Recitals can be a wonderful family event and a great confidence booster for your child. However, they can also be stressful, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

There are so many things in which to keep track. The best way to ensure that your child’s first violin performance is a positive experience is to make sure you and your child are prepared ahead of time.

There are three main areas in which your child needs to prepare: the violin playing, the performance elements, and the items to bring. Your child’s violin teacher will help him or her with the violin playing, but it’s important that your child also practice at home regularly to reinforce the skills he or she learn in lessons.

The performance elements include playing in front of people, knowing how to bow before and after a performance, entering and exiting the stage, handling sheet music, etc. These are all things you can practice at home with your child to make him or her more at ease the day of the recital.

The items your child needs to bring to his or her performance can also be discussed and prepared ahead of time to reduce any stress the day of.

Follow the steps in the infographic below, and your child will be on his or her way to a great first violin performance. In fact, your child may love it so much he or she won’t be able to wait for his or her next violin recital!

violin performance

 Share this Image On Your Site

Don’t leave all the preparation up to your child’s violin teacher. Use the checklist above to ensure that your child is ready for his or her big debut!

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!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

best violin songs

Best Violin Songs to Practice by Genre: Rock, Pop, and Country

best violin songs

Love it or hate it, practice is a significant part of every musician’s life. This is especially true for those learning the violin, as there are many complex techniques and skills one must learn.

As every musician can attest, finding the time and motivation to practice can be difficult, especially when you’re used to practicing the same songs over and over again.

Rather than bore yourself to death, try switching up your practice plan by adding different genres of music–such as rock, pop, and country–into your routine.

Learning how to play different songs will help keep things interesting and enjoyable. What’s more, it will help you master various violin techniques and make you a well-rounded violinist.

If you’re bored practicing the same old songs, then switch up your routine with this list of the best violin songs to practice by genre.

Best Violin Songs for Pop Genre

“Rolling in the Deep” Adele

This popular song helped propel British artist Adele to stardom in 2010 and received three Grammy Awards. Its beat and rhythm makes it a great song to play on the violin.

“Let it Go” Idina Menzel

Featured in the Disney animated film Frozen, “Let it Go” is a catchy song that’s been played by many different instruments because it’s fairly easy to follow. Channel your inner Elsa with this power ballad.

“All of Me” John Legend

John Legend’s biggest hit to date, “All of Me” was the third best-selling song in 2014. While it’s considered a piano power ballad, it’s the perfect song to play on the violin because of its slow tempo.

Best Violin Songs for Rock Genre

“Brown Eyed Girl” Van Morrison

Released in 1967, “Brown Eyed Girl” quickly became a classic rock hit due to its catchy lyrics. Practice this song solo or accompanied by a piano.

“Maggie May” Rod Stewart

Another great classic rock song, “Maggie May” topped the charts in 1971. Believe it or not, the song featured a number of instruments, including the organ and mandolin.

“Free Bird” Lynyrd Skynyrd

This power ballad by American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is dubbed the most requested song in the history of rock music. Its slow tempo makes it easy to learn and practice.

Best Violin Songs for Country Genre

“Friends in Low Places” Garth Brooks

Performed by Garth Brooks, “Friends in Low Places” is a country music hit, having one both the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Award for Single of the Year in 1990.

“Wide Open Places” Dixie Chicks

This Grammy award winning song, which features the fiddle and mandolin, is the perfect low-tempo song to practice on the violin.

“What Hurts the Most” Rascal Flatts

This contemporary love song off of Rascal Flatts’ album, titled Me and My Gang, earned the band two nominations for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.

These songs vary in difficulty. If you’re in the beginning stages of learning to play the violin, ask your violin teacher to play along with you or ask him or her to choose a part of the song that’s easy to learn. If you’re a more advanced violin student, then try practicing these songs on your own.

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

learn violin

What’s the Total Cost of Learning to Play the Violin?

Do you want to learn violin, but you’re not sure if you can afford it? Below, violin teacher Carol Beth L. shares the total cost of learning to play the violin…

Is “learn violin” on your to-do list for this year? Learning to play any instrument is an investment. Some students or parents may not realize, however, exactly how much investment must be made in order to reach their goals.

The cost of learning the violin can be broken down into a few major categories, which include both monetary investments and time. Below, we breakdown all of the costs associated with learning how to play the violin.

Cost of a Violin

learn violin

What is the cost of a violin? Well, the exact cost will depend on whether you decide to rent or buy. Different options are appropriate for different students. For example, the cost of a new student violin at the lowest level can range from about $100 to $500, with $300 being a good mid-range price to have set aside.

While you don’t need an expensive Stradavarius to begin violin lessons, it’s important to have a functional violin that sounds good and isn’t too difficult to tune. Otherwise, you may become frustrated when you aren’t able to make it sound the way you want it to.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money upfront, you have the option to rent a violin. Violin rental prices may vary slightly depending on where you’re located. However, the typical rate is around $25 to $30 per month.

Many studios will allow you to apply a portion of the money to purchasing the violin later on. This is a good option for those who aren’t quite sure if they want to continue to learn violin. This option is usually a little more expensive than to buy it directly at the beginning, but it can be worth it.

Cost of Violin Accessories

learn violin

There are a lot of accessories that you’ll need to help you learn violin. For beginners, this will likely include a basic violin book of techniques and maybe a book of exercises. As you become more advanced, you will likely need to purchase violin books for scales and perhaps for sight-reading.

Other important supplies include a tuning fork, a metronome, and a stand. Many vendors now offer combined electronic tuner/metronome devices.

If you can’t find one, tuning forks are another good way to tune your violin. This tool will help you develop a good ear, since it will only give you your initial A!

Though you may not use all of these accessories, beginners should be ready to set aside between $50 and $100 for violin supplies.

Cost of Violin Lessons

learn violin

The cost of violin lessons is the most obvious investment people think of, and since it is ongoing, it is probably going to be the largest. The exact cost will be determined by your area and by whether your lessons are 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or a full hour.

For younger, beginner students, a half hour lesson is usually enough. Older and more advanced students may wish to spend 45 minutes or an hour each week.

The hourly cost of lessons in most areas can vary from $30/hr to $80/hr or more depending on the location, studio, and teacher credentials.

Cost of Violin Recitals and Activities

learn violin

Enrichment activities and recitals can help inspire and motivate students to learn violin, but don’t be surprised if these outside activities come with a cost.

While some studios will allow students to participate in their recital for free, others may request a recital fee that is used to cover the cost of the venue or other incidentals.

Your violin teacher may also recommend concert attendance, summer camp, group classes, or orchestra in addition to private lessons. These are often recommendations and not requirements, but they can help the student advance in other ways by providing a variety of musical experiences.

Incidental Costs

learn violin

As lessons progress, there may be some unpredictable costs that come up. Perhaps, for example, your violin rosin breaks or is lost or your strings break.

A full set of average violin strings can cost between $10 and $20; high quality strings can cost more. Inexpensive rosin can cost less than $5, while higher quality rosin might cost closer to $10 or $15.

Such incidentals are usually minimal, but it is good to be prepared when they come up.

The opportunity to learn violin is a rewarding endeavor, and certainly worth the time, effort, and costs associated. While it is difficult to put an exact cost on learning to play the violin, considering these areas should help estimate how much you will need to put aside.

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. 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!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

suzuki violin method

The Pros and Cons of the Suzuki Violin Method

suzuki violin method

Are you trying to decide whether the Suzuki violin method or traditional lessons are right for your budding violinist? Below, violin teacher Julie P. explores the pros and cons of the Suzuki method…

The Suzuki violin method can be a polarizing topic in the music world, as there are many different opinions. While some argue that the method helps children develop a high level of playing ability, others say it doesn’t teach students the proper violin techniques.

If you’re considering the Suzuki violin method for your child, it’s best to thoroughly research the basic principals of the method to help determine if it’s a good fit for your child.

To ensure you have all the necessary information, below are the pros and cons of the Suzuki violin method from my (a teacher’s) point of view.

1. Structure

Suzuki violin programs are a mix of group and private violin lessons.

  • Pros: Students receive frequent reinforcement of skills because they are attending at least two lessons per week. The varied lesson plans provide a well-rounded approach, covering many different learning styles. Group lessons are also a great environment for children to be encouraged and challenged by their peers.
  • Cons: The lesson commitment for the Suzuki violin method is more than that of traditional private lessons, which can be too much for today’s busy families. Additionally, the Suzuki structure is pretty regimented with not much flexibility for missed lessons.

2. Listening

Students are encouraged to listen to music daily, especially recordings of the songs they are learning in lessons.

  • Pro: Listening to music daily is a fantastic way for children to develop an ear for the violin and other instruments. The more they listen to the songs they are learning, the faster and better they will learn those songs.
  • Con: The commitment to listen to music daily typically falls on the child’s parents. Not only is this a burden on busy families, but some parents will quickly grow tired of listening to same Suzuki songs day in and day out.

3. Performances

Recitals play an important role in the Suzuki violin method.

  • Pro: Preparing for a recital gives students a goal for which they can aim. Students are often proud of their accomplishments after a recital, which is a great self-esteem builder. Suzuki recitals with group performances also provide a safe performance environment for new violinists.
  • Con: Children who are very shy may have a hard time with this aspect of the Suzuki violin program. It can be awhile before a student feels comfortable enough to go on stage and showcase his or her skills.

4. Rote Learning

Beginner students learn songs by rote (or memory), with note reading introduced several years later into the program.

  • Pro: Students develop excellent ears, meaning that they can hear whether or not they are playing in tune. Songs become very strongly ingrained in their minds because everything is played by memory. Students who struggle with note reading will find great freedom in being able to play music without reading notes.
  • Con: Because note reading is not introduced until later in the program, it can often be a struggle for students. By the time they learn how to properly read music, their violin techniques are much more advanced. Going back to the basics can be frustrating, not to mention difficult for students who might have already developed bad habits.

5. Practice Commitment

Daily practice is expected.

  • Pro: Any student who practices an instrument daily, even for 10 minutes a day, will make significant progress.  After all, daily practice is one of the best ways to improve upon one’s skills.
  • Con: As parents are well aware, most children will not practice daily unless they are told to. A lot of responsibility for the daily practice sessions will fall on the parents, which can quickly become a burden.

6. Parental Involvement

Parents are expected to learn the violin alongside their child, attend all lessons and classes, and direct practice sessions at home.

  • Pro: Young children benefit greatly from having such strong parental involvement. This is especially clear with the parent-directed practice sessions at home. The focus and assistance that parents provide during these sessions ensures that students are reinforcing the skills they learned during their violin lessons.
  • Con: The Suzuki violin program is a sizable commitment for parents. In addition to attending lessons and directing daily practice, parents must carve out significant time in their schedule to learn the instrument themselves. Not only does learning an instrument take time and patience, but it can also be difficult to do as an adult.

As you can see, there are many great aspects of the Suzuki violin method. The cons are largely circumstantial and depend on the lifestyle of each individual family.

The Suzuki method is great for some families and very difficult to adhere to for others. If you have further questions, you might want to take a lesson with teacher who has Suzuki experience, as this individual will be able to give you solid advice.

 

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!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

violin books

Top 5 Instructional Violin Books for Kids

violin books

Do you need to purchase a violin book for your child, but you’re not sure where to start? Below, violin teacher Julie P. shares her top five violin books for kids…

There is an unbelievably large amount of music books available to kids who want to learn the violin. While there are many great options to choose from, sifting through all of them to find the best one can be daunting.

Most students start with a method book, but activity and solo books can be great supplemental materials to aid a student’s progress. To help guide your selection process, below are my top 5 violin books for kids.

1. Adventures in Violinland

This charming series engages beginners with a unique approach that’s geared toward children. It is full of pictures (some even for coloring!), recurring characters, and familiar songs.

violin books

The series starts with book 1A and includes 24 books that follow a very systematic approach. What’s more, it includes a scorecard and points system that helps kids see their progress as they move through the books.

 2. Essential Elements 2000 — Violin Book 1

This is a great beginners method book most appropriate for students ages seven and up; although I have used it successfully with students as young as five. It is full of classical, folk, and holiday melodies that children already know.

violin books

It also includes rhythm and technique exercises, as well as theory and music history information that provide a well-rounded approach to learning the violin. Students will benefit from the MP3 play-along tracks as well.

3. Harry Potter, Solos for Violin

Students who are Harry Potter fans will love learning how to play the theme songs from the movies. The book of 10 songs includes parts for both the violin and piano accompaniment.

violin books

It also includes a CD, featuring demo tracks with orchestral accompaniments that sound just like the movie versions. This book is for kids who have been playing the violin for at least two years, although the recognizable theme songs will make it easier for beginners to play along and learn.

4. Early Start on the Violin — Volume 1

This fun method book features large print music and text that’s easy for young children to read. Additionally, it takes a unique method toward teaching notes, as it focuses on one finger at a time. This is an ideal approach for children who struggle with finger coordination.

violin books

By the end of the book, students will be able to play popular folk songs and will become more familiar with reading violin notes. This book is best suited for younger students, ages four to six.

5. Freddie Fiddle and Betty Bow

This imaginative violin activity book is a great supplement to the other books kids use during their violin lessons. The book covers everything from the various different parts of the violin to right and left hand techniques to the names of the notes on the violin.

violin books

Activities within the book include drawing and coloring, using stickers, and flash cards. This book is great for further engaging small children in learning the violin.

With so many violin books available, there is something for every child. If you’re not sure which book to choose, you might want to consider asking your violin teacher, as they probably have a few favorite violin books that they recommend to students.

 

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!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

violin brands

Top Five Violin Brands for Beginner and Intermediate Students

violin brands

Is your child just starting to take violin lessons? Below, violin teacher Delilah B. shares her top five violin brands for beginner and intermediate students…

Are you thinking about purchasing a violin for your child? Choosing the right violin brand for your child can be difficult, as there are many options available.

While you want to stay within a certain budget, you also don’t want to compromise on quality. What’s more, you want a violin that’s going to last and retain its value.

So, what do you do?

To help guide you through this complicated process, we’ve rounded up the top five violin brands for beginner and intermediate students along with some tips and tricks on how to successfully purchase a violin.

Things to Consider When Buying a New Violin

From price to quality, there are a few important things one must consider before purchasing a violin. Below is a short list of things to keep in mind while you search.

  • Price range: Before you start searching for a violin, it’s a good idea to set a budget. Quality violins usually start at around $500, then go up from there depending on the violin brand you choose. Remember, you will most likely have to buy a violin bow and case separately, so be sure to factor that into your budget, as well. By setting a budget, you’ll be able to narrow down your search by weeding out instruments that are not within your price range.
  • Quality: In addition to setting a budget, it’s important that you know what to look for in terms of quality. After all, you don’t want to get coaxed into purchasing a low-quality violin at a high price. Make sure that you check the instrument’s construction and structure. A high-quality violin shouldn’t look warped or creak when you apply pressure.
  • New or used: When purchasing a violin, you have two options: You can either purchase a brand-new violin or a used violin. If you’re on a tight budget, buying a used violin may be in your best interest. Just make sure that you do your research to ensure that the instrument is in good working condition and that you’re getting the most value.
  • Size: Violins come in different sizes. For children, there are sizes 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16 and 1/32 violins. There are two ways to properly measure a child for a violin. With the student’s left arm fully extended away from his or her body, measure from the base of the neck to either the wrist or the center of the palm. The neck-to-wrist measurement will indicate the most comfortable size for the student.

Difference Between Student, Intermediate, and Professional Violin Brands

Student Violins

In general, a student violin is made from lower-quality wood and involves less hand work. These violins usually have some parts made of plastic, such as the pegs and chin rest. Student violins are great for children who are interested in learning, but are not yet sure if they will play for very long. Prices for student violins can vary from about $100–$400.

Intermediate Violins

Violins classified as intermediate are a good compromise between student and professional instruments. The price range can vary from $400 to $1,000. Intermediate violins are great for musicians who want something better than a beginner instrument, but are not quite ready to invest thousands of dollars in a professional violin.

Professional Violins

Professional violins are usually constructed from highly-quality wood, hand-built and assembled by a luthier, and finished with high-quality components, such as an ebony fingerboard. These instruments, which are only appropriate for professional and advanced musicians, can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.

Buying a Violin Online vs. In-Store

If you’re debating whether you should purchase a violin online or in-store, below are some pros and cons to help you make your decision.

In-store:

Pros:

  • Try it out: One of the great things about buying a violin in-store is that you can try it before you buy it! It’s common for buyers to request to try out a violin brand at the shop. In fact, many shops have practice rooms for that exact purpose. Also, most violin shops are open to letting students borrow a violin for up to two weeks.
  • Knowledgeable staff members: If you’re a first-time buyer and don’t feel comfortable purchasing online, then you might want to opt for buying in-store. Most music shops have knowledgeable staff members on the floor who can match you up with the best violin brand.

Cons:

  • Limited inventory: Do you have a specific violin brand in mind? Music stores usually only carry a limited number of violin brands in-store. The last thing that you want to do is drive around town searching for a specific instrument that isn’t in stock.
  • High prices: Because they have less inventory, violin shops tend to have higher prices and less frequent sales. If you’re on a budget, you may want to shop around online for the best price.

Online:

Pros:

  • Shop independently: When shopping online, you aren’t bombarded by pushy salespeople trying to sell you the most expensive violin in the store. You can gather recommendations, read reviews, and shop peacefully and independently.
  • Larger inventory: Typically, online violin stores will have a larger inventory of violin brands to choose from. If one site doesn’t have what you want, chances are you can find another site that does.

Cons: 

  • Higher risk: When purchasing goods online, there’s always a certain amount of risk involved. Some websites will try to coax unknowing buyers into purchasing a violin that they think is of a much better quality than what it actually is. If you decide to go the online route, make sure you purchase from a certified violin dealer.
  • Uncertainty: If you’re stuck deciding between two violin brands, there’s no way that you can “try them out” online without having to purchase both and then return the one you don’t want.

Top Five Violin Brands for Intermediate and Beginner Students

As previously mentioned, violins vary by type. Some are designed for beginner and intermediate students, while others are customized for professional violinists. Most of the major violin brands carry a variety of different styles, each designed to best suit a customer’s specific playing needs.

So, what are the best violin brands? While the question is slightly subjective, we’ve rounded up the top five violin brands based on peer reviews and recommendations.

1. Stentor

When looking for a student-grade violin, Stentor violins are at the top of the list. Ranging anywhere from $150 to $180, these violins are reliable and well-built. For true beginner students, the Stentor Student I Violin is the most popular option and features a quality fingerboard and pegs. For intermediate students, the Stentor Student II Violin is a great option, as it offers better quality and tone due to its ebony pegs and fingerboard.

2. Knilling 

Knilling violins are well known among violin teachers and students. In addition to it’s high-quality craftsmanship, the company’s student violins have unique pegs for optimal tuning. Unlike regular friction pegs, Knilling violins feature Perfection Pegs, a 4:1 gear reduction inside the peg that makes for quick and precise tuning. Beginner Knilling violins are priced at around $500.

3. Cremona

Cremona is another great and affordable violin brand. Cremona violins are designed to meet the specific needs of both beginner and intermediate students. Besides using the highest-quality woods, the company takes quality very seriously and has 22 staff members in charge of quality control. The company’s student violin, the Cremona SV-175 Premier Student Violin, starts at around $300.

4. Cecilo

Cecilio is another teacher-approved violin brand. The instrument comes strung with the bridge attached so students won’t have to assemble it on their own. Also, you’ll be happy to know that the company puts their violins through rigorous tests to ensure they are fit for purpose. They also pride themselves on using quality wood, mainly maple and spruce, and top notch ebony. Student violins come in at a low cost of $200.

5. Mendini

Mendini is another brand ideal for beginner and intermediate students. Almost all factory made, the instruments offer good value at the low price of $199. Additionally, although the violins are low in price, they are durable. However, you’ll most likely have to replace the strings at some point, as the quality is not as great when compared to other brands.

 

Purchasing a violin is a very exciting, yet personal experience. What one person may see as a must-have feature, others are not so keen. Therefore, it’s important that you take into consideration the tips above. You may want to get advice from your violin teacher or somebody who is experienced in buying musical instruments.

Delilah BPost Author: Delilah B.
Delilah B. graduated from the University Federico II Napoli with an associate degree in Italian Literature. She is an Italian and violin instructor living in Culver City, CA. Learn more about Delilah here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

Violin YouTube

Top 5 Violin YouTube Tutorials for Beginners

Violin YouTube

Learning how to play the violin has never been easier, thanks to the wide variety of online resources available today. Whether you’re looking to teach yourself the violin or you simply want to supplement your current violin lessons, YouTube has a great selection of violin tutorials to choose from.

Violin YouTube tutorials are a great alternative learning tool. Students can try out tutorials from many different violin instructors until they find the one that best fits their needs and skill level. What’s more, violin YouTube tutorials are archived, meaning students are able to access them whenever they want.

There are tons of violin YouTube tutorials that teach students everything from bow maintenance, violin techniques, and practice exercises. With so many YouTube channels available, however, it can be difficult to find the best one to suit your needs.

Below are our favorite violin YouTube tutorials for beginner students who want to work on their musical skills.

1. Violin Tutor Pro

Why we like it: Practicing the violin doesn’t have to be boring. Violin Tutor Pro has a wide range of tutorials covering topics like playing basic cords, improving violin slurs, and learning to read violin sheet music. It’s host, Michael Sanchez, shares his expertise in easy-to-follow lessons that are instructional, yet entertaining.

“Our YouTube channel is a great place for violin players to improve their skills, whether they’re just starting out or have been playing for years. Michael is an effective and engaging teacher, and–most importantly–he knows how to make learning fun,” said Loren Alldrin, owner of Violin Tutor Pro.

Check out this video of Michael teaching students how to properly hold a bow:

2. Violin Lab Channel

Why we like it: With close to 30,000 subscribers, Violin Lab Channel is one of the more popular violin YouTube channels. The site features in-depth, studio-quality videos that offer actionable tips to those who are serious about learning how to play the violin.

“There are many qualified teachers out in the world, but there was very little accessible instruction on the Internet that demystified the complexities of violin playing and presented the information in an organized sequential system. At the heart of my teaching is the desire to quantify the ‘unquantifiable'; the subtleties and nuances of great playing that many people assume is out of their reach,” said Beth Blackerb, founder of ViolinLab.com.

Students can browse through various different categories—including bow technique and left hand technique—to find exactly what they want. They even provide Spanish subtitles for many of their lessons.

Check out this awesome tutorial on the do’s and don’ts of violin vibrato:

3. TheStringClub

Why we like it: TheStringClub is a perfect resource for beginner students who want to put their skills to the test and learn how to play popular songs like “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Twinkle Little Star.”

What’s great about these videos is that they are easy to follow, as the videos feature numbers that slide down the strings so users can easily play along to the notes on the screen.

Check out this great tutorial on how to play the “Mission Impossible” theme song on the violin:

4. Fiddlerman

Why we like it: Besides covering a wide range of violin techniques, Fiddlerman has helpful tips and tricks for maintaining your violin. For example, the channel has various tutorials on removing and setting a soundpost, restructuring a fallen bridge, and learning to properly rosin your bow.

Are you thinking about purchasing a new violin? If you need some expert advice, the channel also has a review section in which the host evaluates different violin brands.

Check out this video on how to master double stops on the violin:

5. Heather Broadbent

Why we like it: Another great resource for beginners, Heather Broadbent features tons of engaging tutorials. As both the creator and a professional violinist, Heather shares her expertise and tips on topics like solos for young violinists, how to read violin sheet music, and how to improve finer coordination.

Heather takes what she calls a “holistic” approach to instructing students in order to help them fully connect with playing the violin.

Check out this video on various violin stretches that help to reduce tension:

So there you have it! Whether you’re looking for tips to help teach yourself or you want to supplement your existing lessons, be sure to check out these five violin YouTube tutorials!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

Best Violin Strings

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Violin Strings

Best Violin Strings

Are you a beginner violinist who needs some guidance on what type of violin strings to purchase? Below, violin teacher Montserrat P. shares some expert tips on how to choose the best violin strings…

Choosing the best violin strings for your instrument is extremely important. Finding the proper strings guarantees you’ll be able to play your violin to its full potential, which leads you to achieve more efficient development as a musician.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have the right guidance, selecting your strings can turn into a rather complicated and confusing process. It is not a matter of what type of violin strings you want, but instead the type of strings your instrument needs in order to produce the sound you want.

If you’re a classical violinist, for example, you wouldn’t want to choose violin strings that are better suited for a country fiddler or vice versa.

There are several different types of strings available. Lucky for you, we’ve created a mini guide that will help you to find the best violin strings to suit your instrument and desired sound.

Let’s get started!

Violin Strings Review: Three Main Types

Before you can choose the best violin strings, you need to know your options. There are several different types of strings you can choose from, and getting familiar with each and every one of them is the very first step toward making a sound decision.

1. Gut core strings

Gut core strings were the very first type of violin strings made. While many claim that they are made from cat gut, these strings are typically made with sheep intestines.

In terms of sound, gut core strings have a warmer, more complex sound than others and a very low tension. They are usually preferred by professional musicians who specialize in baroque music. These strings do have their disadvantages—specifically, they are more expensive and less durable.

Gut core strings are very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, which make them prone to getting out of tune and/or breaking. Let’s just say that there’s a reason why they are mainly used by professional violinists.Best Violin Strings

2. Synthetic core strings

Synthetic core strings are the most popular choice among musicians. This type is much more stable in pitch, deals better with temperature and humidity changes, and costs less than gut core strings.

Besides the previously mentioned benefits, many professional musicians and students prefer synthetic core strings, because they are also more flexible when it comes to playing different music genres.

Even though the warmth and complexity of the gut core string is still present, the sound of a synthetic string is less complex and a little bit harsher. Nonetheless, synthetic core strings are still a very good option for both experts and beginners.

Best Violin Strings

3. Steel core strings

Steel core strings were introduced as an alternative to gut core strings. The string’s core is covered by metals, such as silver or steel, which makes them much easier to work with when it comes to tuning, for they are not affected by changes in the atmosphere.

This feature, along with their extremely low price, is why steel core strings are widely used by beginner students. Tuning your instrument is not something you learn in your first private lesson, and steel core strings offer the stability needed for the student to be able to practice without having to worry about tuning his or her violin.

However, these strings do not have any warmth in their sound. They are often described as loud and bright, which is not particularly liked among classical music circles. However, this sound is perfect for jazz, bluegrass, and folk music.

Best Violin Strings

Tips for Choosing the Best Violin Strings

Now that you’re familiar with the three main types of violin strings, you’re one step closer to finding the best violin strings for you and your instrument. Here are some other tips to consider.

  • Weigh the pros and cons: Take some time to really think about the advantages and disadvantages of each type to help you decide which one best matches your level and aspirations. The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision and end up regretting it later.
  • Ask the right questions: Are you an intermediate student exploring different styles? Or do you consider yourself a hardcore baroque player? Ask yourself these types of questions before making a decision; you do not want to end up with the wrong strings.
  • Seek a second opinion: Even though you know your musical self pretty well, it’s never a bad idea to ask for a second opinion. Ask your violin teacher or your fellow students what strings they use or if they have any suggestions.

Choosing the Right String Gauge

Once you’ve determined which type of string you want, the next step is to start thinking about the string gauge, which is just a fancy way to refer to its width.

Most players stay in the middle gauge because it offers the best of both worlds: the volume of the thicker gauge without its massive tension and slow response, and the precision of the thin gauge without its low projection.

So, which string gauge should you choose? Well, that depends on your instrument and what type of sound you want to make. If your violin is already loud enough, for example, you might want to turn to a thinner gauge. If your instrument has a hard time projecting its sound, a thicker gauge might be better.

At this point in the process, you will really want to ask somebody with more experience for some help. An experienced violin instructor will be able to tell you what your instrument needs in order for you to achieve what you want.

Where to Buy Violin Strings

Now that you have gone through the process of figuring out which strings you need, you’re ready to buy them and start working your way toward the peak of your artistic development. Below is a list of websites where you can find awesome brands that carry the best violin strings.

  • Shar Music: This online violin store has a wide variety of violin strings to choose from as well as other accessories. The site gives you all of the information you need to make a confident decision, including information about the brand, warranty data, and helpful ratings and reviews from actual customers.
  • Johnson String Instrument: Serving as New England’s largest violin shop, Johnson String Instrument carries all of the top violin string brands at great prices. Don’t live in New England? Don’t worry, you can purchase items online through the company’s website.
  • JustStrings.com: With a name like JustStrings.com, you know this online musical instrument strings and accessories store has an impressive selection of violin strings.

Other Helpful Resources

  • Violin String Review: If you want to find some honest reviews of violin strings, visit Violin String Review, a website dedicated to supporting and promoting strings.
  • Violin Information: Authored by a professional violin maker, this website has tons on great information about the ins and outs of purchasing strings and other accessories.
  • Consordini.com: This informative website has a ton of great reviews on a wide varitey of violin accessories. Check out this post on the 10 best violin strings.

Now that you have this information, go and start the process of finding the best violin strings for your instrument. Hang in there, ask for help when it gets confusing, and remember how amazing it will be once your strings are ready and you can start playing!

Montserrat P.Post Author: Montserrat P.
Montserrat P. teaches violin and music theory lessons with TakeLessons. Originally from Costa Rica, she is now completing her studies at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, and has been teaching music lessons since 2012. Learn more about Montserrat here!

By Steve Snodgrass

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource