A Beginner’s Guide to Proper Violin Fingering [Instructional Video]

One of the most challenging aspects of learning how to play the violin is finger placement. Below, violin teacher Naomi Cherie S. provides a lesson in proper violin fingering…

So you’ve just started to learn how to play the violin. Before you can start wowing crowds like famous violin players Lindsay Stirling and Joshua Bell, it’s important that you first learn the basics, starting with proper violin fingering.

Learning the proper violin finger placement is a great place to start, as it will serve as the foundation of your violin playing. Below is a beginner’s guide to proper violin fingering and placement.

Let’s get started!

What is First Position?

There are several violin finger positions one must learn. However, as a beginner, the first one you’ll need to learn is called first position.

First position includes the first (or lowest) five notes that you can play on each violin string.

Since violins don’t have frets or marks that show you where to put your fingers the way guitars do, one of the most challenging aspects of learning the instrument is knowing where to place your fingers.

If you don’t have your finger in exactly the right spot (even if it’s just a hair off) the note can come out sounding out of tune.

The most common way to get around this issue is to place finger tapes on the fingerboard that show you the proper violin finger placement.

Over time, your fingers will develop something we call “muscle memory,” and eventually you’ll be able to remove the tapes and play in tune without them.

Most beginners keep their tapes on anywhere from six months to a couple of years depending on the student.

What You’ll Need

  • Finger tape: You can find a roll of violin finger tape online or at your local violin shop. You can also purchase pinstripe tape from an automotive shop.
  • Chromatic tuner or smartphone tuning app: See our list of the top 10 violin tuner apps here.
  • Your violin
  • Pencil

How to Put Finger Tapes on Your Violin

You will first want to make sure your violin is in tune. You can tune it using a chromatic tuner or smartphone violin tuner app, as explained in this instructional video.

It is imperative to get each string exactly in tune before applying your tapes. Therefore, check your tuning a couple of times just to be sure.

Once you’ve tuned your violin, place your first finger about two inches down from the top of the fingerboard on the G string and pluck the string.

Look at your tuner and move your finger around until the tuner reads A and lights up green with the tuner needle in the middle of the dial signifying that your A is in tune.

You can use a pencil to mark the spot and then slide a three-inch long strip of tape under the strings and press down firmly to go across the entire fingerboard and around the neck of the violin. This will be your first finger tape.

Place your first finger (index finger) on the tape and pluck one string at a time, looking at the tuner to make sure it reads A on the G string, E on the D string, B on the A string and F # on the E string.

If the tuner reads each note as in tune, the tape has been placed correctly. You may need to adjust it a few times and double check with the tuner before it is perfectly placed. The same process will follow for the placement of each tape.

The second finger tape will be placed roughly one inch away from the first tape. Adjust your second finger (middle finger) on the G string until the tuner reads B and then place your tape down.

When the second finger is placed on the second finger tape on each string, the tuner should read B on the G string, F # on the D string, C # on the A string and G # on the E string.

The third finger tape will be placed about a half inch or less away from the second finger tape. Adjust your third finger (ring finger) on the G string until the tuner reads C and then place your tape down.

When the third finger is placed on the third finger tape on each string, the tuner should read C on the G string, G on the D string, D on the A string and A on the E string.

The fourth finger tape will go down about an inch away from the third finger tape. Adjust your fourth finger (pinky finger) on the G string until the tuner reads D and then place your tape down.

When the fourth finger is placed on the fourth finger tape each string, the tuner should read D on the G string, A on the D string, E on the A string and B on the E string.

Please note that the rough one-inch etc. measurements I am using for spacing are based on a full size or 4/4 violin.

If you’re putting tape on a smaller violin, everything will be the same except that the tape will be placed closer together.

The main thing to pay attention to is getting the correct readings for the notes on the tuner.

And that’s it! Now that you have all four tapes down, you’ll know the proper violin finger placement while playing in first position.

How to Label Notes

Once you’ve put your tapes on, the next step will be to learn and memorize where each note in first position is and how it corresponds to the tapes.

In music, we use the first seven letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F and G to describe each note.

Once you’ve gotten to the end of the cycle and played G, you’ll start back over with A again and the sequence will repeat.

See violin fingering chart below:

Memorizing the Notes in First Position

So looking at your violin, start with your G string and place your first finger on the first finger tape. This note would be A.

Then place your second finger on the second finger tape. This note would be B. Your third finger would be C and so forth and so on.

You can look at the violin finger chart below to see where all of the notes fall on your tapes.

Over time, you will memorize all of these notes and become so familiar with them that you’ll be able to identify them without having to stop to think.

Making flash cards with a drawing of the note on one side and a label of the note on the other side is a really great way to help you memorize the notes.

See violin fingering chart below:

There are a lot of other notes that fall in between the notes on the tapes.

However, the reason why we start with the notes in the above chart is that these are the most commonly used notes and therefore the easiest to learn.

For instance, most beginner violin books will contain songs or exercises that use these notes.

Once you’ve memorized all of the notes on the tapes and where they fall on the violin, you can start to learn the notes that fall in between the tapes as illustrated in the chart below.

You won’t need to put down tapes for all of these other notes because after getting familiarized with the first set of notes on the tapes you’ll be able to rely on the tapes, your fingers, and muscle memory as guide.

See violin fingering chart below:

Understanding Sharp and Flat Notes

Chances are you’ve noticed that there are the standard notes labeled as A, B, C etc. and then there are other notes such as C#, B♭, G#,  and A♭

So what exactly do those funny symbols mean? Below are some basic guidelines to understanding these other notes:

When you see a # symbol it means “sharp.” A sharp note, for instance a C # (C sharp), is a half-step higher than just a regular C.

When you see a ♭ symbol it means “flat.” A flat note, for instance B♭ (B flat), is a half-step lower than just a regular B.

If you look at the violin fingering charts above, you’ll see that some of the sharp notes fall on the tapes, but for many others, such as B♭ or G #, your fingers will need to stray from the tape.

By sliding the nearest finger either above or below the tape, you can accomplish these notes.

For instance, in order to play the B♭ on the A string, take your first finger which is normally positioned to play a B on the first finger tape on A string and slide it a half step below the first finger tape to turn that note into a B.

You can use your tuner to make sure your finger is in the correct spot at first.

Now You’re Ready

Once you’ve memorized all of the notes in both of the violin fingering charts above and mastered playing them fluidly, you’ll know all of the notes in first position.

Most beginners spend the first couple of years studying first position, while they’re developing their violin fingering technique, bow technique, etc.

Once you have a good foundation and grasp on proper violin fingering, you can delve into learning other more advanced positions on the violin, such as third and fifth position.

In the meantime, I hope this information on the proper violin finger placement has helped you and I wish you the best on your musical journeys!

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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Top 10 Violin Tuner Apps Reviewed

violin tuner app

Have you ever showed up to violin lesson or a performance and realized that you completely forgot your violin tuner?

If you answered “yes,” then you’re probably familiar with the feeling of having your stomach drop and your cheeks turn red.

Keeping your violin in tune is extremely important. Not only does it ensure you get the best sound, but it also helps train your ear. 

There are tons of ways in which you can tune a violin. However, many of them require a certain skill set or an actual device.

Thanks to technology, there are dozens of easy-to-use violin tuner apps that can replace your old device that you always seem to forget or that’s taking up unnecessary room in your violin case.

Choosing the best violin tuner app can be difficult when there are so many to choose from. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up the best violin tuners apps.

But first, let’s explore the benefits of using a violin tuner app as well as how they actually work.

How a Violin Tuner App Works

Every violin tuner app works a little differently, but they are all usually pretty easy to work with after a little getting used to.

Generally, there will be a display that tells you what note you’re playing and a needle hovering over a dial in the middle that will show you how in tune your string is.

Ideally, you want the needle to be as close to the center point as possible. Most violin tuners light up green when the string is in tune.

If the needle is hovering over to the right of the dial your string is “sharp,” which means it’s too high or tight. If it’s hovering over to the left of the dial your string is “flat,” which means it’s too low or loose.

Benefits of Using a Violin Tuner App

So what are the benefits of using a violin tuner app? Below are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience when you use a violin tuner app.

  • Convenient: With a violin tuner app, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you remembered to pack your electronic tuner. Because if you’re anything like most people, chances are you’re glued to your smartphone and rarely forget it. Also, a violin tuner app is perfect for those impromptu violin jam sessions.
  • Cost-effective: An electronic tuner or tuning fork can cost you around $30 to $40 dollars. Many violin tuner apps, however, are free or cost a little as $3. You can’t get much better than that!
  • Easy-to-use: Tuning a violin using a different instrument or harmonics can be difficult for beginner violin students. Most violin tuner apps are very straightforward and easy to use. A violin tuning app works very similarly to the electronic tuner in that it can sense and tell exact pitch.

Top 10 Violin Tuner Apps

Now that you’ve reviewed all of the benefits of violin tuning apps, let’s take a look at the best apps available.

Untitled design1. ClearTune-Chromatic Tuner

Talk about star power. This violin tuning app is used by some of today’s biggest musical acts, including The Black Keys and The Killers. The chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe allows users to accurately tune their violin using the built-in mic in their smartphone. The app includes features such as selectable notations, support for transposing instruments, and automatic or manual note section. Cost: $3.99 Learn more about the app here.



tuner lite2. Tuner Lite

Another chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe, this free tuner app is perfect for beginner violin players. With glowing customer reviews, Tuner Lite by plusadd has an LED display that’s easy to understand and features an automatic reference note calibration. Users describe the app as being reliable, easy-to-use, and helpful. Cost: Free Learn more about the app here.



3. Tuner-gStrings

Haven’t mastered tuning your violin by ear yet? No problem. The Tuner-gStrings app is perfect for those who need an extra hand in tuning their violin. The free tuner app is a chromatic tuner application measuring sound pitch and intensity. Features include orchestra tuning, various temperaments, and a variable range nonlinear scale. Cost: Free. Learn more about the app here.



4. Pano Tuner – Chromatic Tuner

With Pano Tuner you can tune your violin in seconds! The violin tuning app listens to the sound you make and shows you the pitch. All you have to do is look at the offset from the pitch that you want to tune to. The app also has a feature that allows you to adjust the concert-A frequency to make your violin in harmony with others. Cost: Free. Learn more about the app here.



5. Violin Multi-Tuner

This violin tuner app was made specifically for violinists so you know you’ll experience fast and accurate pitch detection. Violin Multi-Tuner has an abundance of really great features, including a metronome, playable fingerboard, ear and sight reading exercises, and more. Cost: $0.99 Learn more about the app here.




bop 6. Violin Tools Free

This violin tuning app is perfect for beginners. Not only can you use this app to help you fine tune your violin with a high precision and efficient pitch detection algorithm , but you can also use it while you practice to see if you’re playing the right notes. Using a color scale, the Violin Tools Free app will tell you which direction you need to adjust your finger positions. Cost: Free Learn more about the app here.



7. nTune: Violin Free

If you’re searching for an accurate app to tune your violin, then look no further than NTune: Violin Free. The app uses actual recorded violin notes rather than generated sound effects. What’s more, the violin tuner app contains the basic tuning of G, D, A and E and includes playback options of Arco (bowing) or Pizzicato (plucking). Cost: Free Learn more about the app here.



8. PitchPerfect

Are you sick of playing out of tune? PitchPerfect is the easy-to-use tuning app that you’ve been looking for. All you have to do is play a string to see if you are sharp, flat, or in perfect pitch. Then use the app’s preset tunings to tune the note you want. Cost: Free Learn more about the app here.




mgee9. Tune-O-Rama

This foolproof tuning app features a chromatic tuner that you can access at the touch of a button. Tune-O-Rama uses an impressive 4-tier detection algorithm for near 100% accuracy and sensitivity. Featuring a detection range of 1200+ Hz, Tune-O-Rama is suitable for many instruments, including the violin Cost: $2.99 Learn more about the app here.




10. Tuna Pitch

If you’re a more advanced player that knows how to tune by ear then you might want to consider downloading the Tuna Pitch. This tuning app has a built-in pitch pipe lets you play a reference tone for tuning by ear. Tuna Pitch automatically finds the pitch using the microphone and shows note name, octave, frequency. Cost: $2.99 Learn more about the app here.



Each one of these apps offers something a little different. If you’re still not quite sure which violin tuner app to choose, consult your violin teacher. He or she might suggest an app that they currently use or have used in the past.

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Beginner’s Guide on How to Tune a Violin [Instructional Video]

Learning how to tune a violin is essential for beginner violinists. Below, experienced violin teacher Naomi Cherie S. provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to tune a violin properly…

In video above, I’ll be taking you through how to tune a violin. Eventually you’ll want to learn how to tune a violin by ear. Tuning a violin by ear, however, can take years of practice.

So in the beginning stages of your development, it’s nice to learn how to use a violin tuner to help you keep your violin in tune.

What You’ll Need to Tune a Violin

You’ll need a chromatic tuner, which you can find at any local music shop. These tuners usually run anywhere from $30 to $40. There are also free versions online.

If you have access to a smartphone, you can also download a tuning app for free or cheap. Just search for “violin tuner” or “chromatic tuner” in your app store. In the video above, I’ll be using the tuning app on my smartphone.

How a Violin Tuner Works

Every violin tuner is slightly different, but they are all usually pretty easy to work with after a little getting used to.

Generally, there will be a display that tells you what note you’re playing and a needle hovering over a dial in the middle that will show you how in tune your string is.

You want that needle to be as close to the center point as possible. Most violin tuners light up green when the string is in tune.

If the needle is hovering over to the right of the dial your string is “sharp,” which means it’s too high or tight. If it’s hovering over to the left of the dial your string is “flat,” which means it’s too low or loose.

How to Tune a Violin Using Pegs

On the violin we have pegs and fine tuners. The pegs are used for when your instrument is really out of tune and the fine tuners are used for when it’s just slightly out of tune.

When you’re just learning how to tune a violin, it’s easiest to avoid using the pegs, as they can be very hard to work with. It’s best to get a violin teacher or someone at a violin shop to set your pegs for you.

Normally, the pegs should stay in place most of the time unless they get bumped or your violin is exposed to extreme temperatures.

However, if you notice that your pegs are slipping multiple times a week it would be a good idea to take your violin in to a shop to get checked out.

If your pegs slip and unravel and you don’t have a violin teacher or access to someone who can help, you can start by slowing tightening your peg.

You’ll want to do it very slowly and carefully because the string can easily snap while you’re turning with the pegs. The old saying “righty tighty, left loosey” applies to violin tuning.

If you turn the peg to the right, you’ll notice the string is feeling tighter and sounding higher or sharper. If you turn the peg to the left, you’ll notice the string is feeling looser and sounding lower or flatter.

The Names of the Violin Strings

On the violin we have four strings. Starting with the thickest string, they are called G, D, A, and E. An easy way to remember this is to use the mnemonic device below:

G = Good, D = Dogs, A = Always, E = Eat. Good dogs always eat!

When tuning a violin, we always start with the A string. In a sitting position with your violin upright on your knee, use your left had to pluck the string and use your right hand to turn the peg.

Pluck the string as you turn your peg to the right to make it tighter and look at your tuner to see how close to the middle dial it is.

When it’s right in the center, bring your left hand up to the scroll and support it as you press the peg firmly into the hole to make it stay exactly in that spot, being careful not to let it move.

If the peg turns even a hair while you’re pressing in, it can make the string go out of tune. The real trick here is to press the peg into the hole it sits in firmly, and sometimes you will have to use all of your strength to make it stay where you positioned it.

If you can’t get the string perfectly in tune, that’s okay. Just get it as close as you can and we’ll do the rest when we fine tune.

Depending on what kind of condition your violin is in and how recently it’s been played, it may take several tries to get the peg to stay in place.

As I said earlier, if you’re constantly having problems with your pegs it’s best to get help from a violin teacher or violin shop.

For the rest of the pegs, you’ll use the same process, except when you go to tune the G and the D strings you’ll switch hands and use your left hand to turn and your right hand to pluck and support.

How to Tune a Violin Using the Fine Tuners

Now let’s move on to fine tuning. First, hold your violin in your normal playing position with your chin. Bring your left hand under the violin to hoover over the fine tuners so you can turn them as you’re bowing the strings.

We’ll start off with the A string and tune each string until the dial is in the center. The same principles apply here: if you turn to the right, the string will get higher or sharper. If you turn to the left, the string will get looser or flatter.

If you notice that the fine tuner has been turned as tight as it will go you will have to loosen it all the way up (if it starts rattling you’ll know you’ve gone too far) and then re-tune with the pegs followed by some touch up tuning with the fine tuners.

Keep in mind that if your violin is new or hasn’t been played in a long time, it will usually take a few weeks of constant tuning to get it to stay in tune.

You’ll want to tune your violin up every time you play it. Over time you’ll notice that the more your violin is played the better in tune it will stay.

With lots of practice and patience, you can develop ear training skills that will someday allow you to tune your violin by ear without the help of a tuner.

In the meantime, I hope this tutorial on how to tune a violin helps you get started. Thanks for watching and I wish you the best in your musical journeys!

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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10 Different Ways to Tune a Violin

tune a violin

Are you unsure of how to tune a violin? Below, violin teacher Carol Beth L. shares 10 different ways students can tune a violin…

Whenever you take out your violin–or any instrument for that matter– to practice, tuning should be the first thing you do. Learning how to properly tune a violin is important for many reasons.

Not only does it ensure you get the best sound, but it also helps train your earEven as a beginner level student, it’s important that you learn how to tune a violin so that you will be able to adjust it when your violin teacher is not there.

While some violin brands hold their pitch relatively well; others do not. Violins with recently replaced strings, for example, may hold their pitch less easily as the strings stretch to accommodate the new pressure placed upon them.

While every violinist has his or her own process for tuning their instrument, there’s no one right way to do it. In fact, there are several different ways in which you can tune a violin. Below are 10 different ways you can tune a violin as well as some helpful tips to guide you.

Tips on How to Tune a Violin

Learning how to tune a violin is a skill one should acquire early on. Ideally, your violin teacher will review this process. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind, as noted in a previous TakeLessons blog.

New strings: Ask your teacher to show you how to put new strings on your violin, and even do it for you the first few times. New violin strings need a couple of weeks to settle in and need frequent tuning adjustment. Therefore, don’t get discouraged if you sound a little off after putting on new strings.

Know Your Violin: Familiarize yourself with which peg relates to which string.  It’s easier to navigate the fine tuners, as they’re directly related to the string in question. To adjust the pitch with the peg, turn it away from you in normal playing position to raise it, and in the opposite direction to lower it.  Pegs can stick; if this happens, pull it out slightly, and scribble around it with a graphite pencil to make it easier to move.

Careful Does It: Tightening a string too far or too fast will cause it to snap, so be careful when you’re learning to tune a violin for yourself.  If your string is only slightly out of tune, use the fine tuners instead, turning them clockwise to raise the pitch, and counter-clockwise to lower it.

Points of Reference: Unless you have perfect pitch, you will need a reference note to help you out.  Try any one of the 10 options below as a point of reference.

1. Electronic Tuner

Try using an electronic tuner that can sense and tell exact pitch. The machine is calibrated to have “perfect pitch” (so to speak), and can tell what note you are playing, whether it is sharp or flat.

For beginner violin students who aren’t sure of themselves when it comes to tuning their D, G, and E strings based on a tuned A string, this electronic tuner provides one method to double check and properly tune them.

Such tuners will typically base their pitches off of the standard 440 A, but can often provide tuning feedback for a non-standard A.

2. Steady Pitch From an Electronic Tuner

Using steady pitch from an electronic tuner is a great opportunity to train your ear. Good musicians should be able to hear and match any given pitch.

Tuning the violin’s A string to the A given by the electronic tuner is one way to do this. The D, G, and E strings will also need to be tuned to the A string – preferably in fifths (see “tuning in fifths” and “tuning in harmonics” below).

3. Online Violin Tuner

If you have an Internet connection with audio input, then try using an online violin tuner. An online violin tuner works very similarly to the electronic tuner in that it can sense and tell exact pitch.

If you’re looking for a great online violin tuner, check out The website has an online violin tuner that allows you to change the pitch for each string.

4. YouTube

This option for how to tun a violin works similarly to the steady pitch from the electronic tuner, but can be found easily on YouTube. All you have to do is search for “440 A” on Youtube and match the pitch. Here’s an example below:

5. Violin Tuner App

If you’re always on the go, using a violin tuner app on your smartphone is a great option. Violin tuner apps typically work like an electronic tuner.

Since iPhones are super handy, using a violin tuner app saves you from carrying around an extra device in your case or bag. It also has audio input that is usually set up and working.

6. Nearby Violin

Use another violin to provide an A. This is a great method for when you are playing with your violin teacher or with a fellow student.

Ideally, one of you will already be tuned to a reliable A. If you are not, use a tuner, app, or tuning fork to tune one violin before tuning the other.

7. Another Instrument

Oftentimes, a violin may be tuned to a pitch provided by an different instrument. In symphony orchestras, for example, the principal oboe typically provides an A. If a piano or keyboard instrument is available, this instrument should be used to provide the base pitch.

A typical pianist cannot and does not tune his or her instrument as regularly as a violinist. Instead, specialists are typically called in every so often to tune the piano. Therefore, it’s a reliable way to tune an instrument.

8. Tuning Fork

Using a tuning fork is simple. First hit it on a table or another hard surface to help it start vibrating. Then touch the round ball at its base to the body of your violin. The resulting pitch is the A to which you should tune. Placing the vibrating tuning fork close to the bridge will generally help obtain a louder pitch, since that’s where the sound post is inside the violin.

Unlike an electronic tuner or violin tuner app, a tuning fork can only stay at the standard (or non-standard) A to which it was originally tuned, and cannot alternate between them. However, like the previous two methods, tuning forks don’t require batteries.

9. Tune in 5ths

Violin strings are tuned in perfect fifths. That is, the distance between two strings is five notes (or eight half-notes), including the first and last note. This interval (or distance between two notes) is harmonically important, and when two adjacent strings are played together, a good violinist will be able to hear the more perfect resonance of the two notes when they “click” in tune.

Thus, you will often hear violinists playing their strings two at a time as they tune them up. Once the A string is in tune, this is a good way to tune your other strings to that A. If you cannot do it at first, gradually train your ear to hear the interval correctly. You might try playing them together first, trying to tell which way to tune your next string, then separately, then together again.

Finally, verify and correct the pitch as necessary by comparing it to the correct pitch from another instrument, or by using an electronic tuner or violin tuner app. Then play them both separately and together again. By doing this repeatedly, your ear will gradually learn to recognize the correct interval and tell you when and by how much your strings are out of tune.

10. Harmonics

This violin tuning method can also help you tune your E, D, and G strings to an A that has already been tuned. It is not usually used by experienced violinists, however, it can help you tune acceptably well for many situations.

For this method, you will use two harmonics on each string. Harmonics are created by touching the string lightly in exactly the right place, and result in both halves of the string vibrating. When a player divides the string exactly in half, the resulting note is exactly one octave above the open string. When the player places the division 2/3 of the way up toward the bridge, the resulting note is a fifth higher than the first harmonic.

To tune each string, use the lower harmonic on the higher string, and the higher harmonic on the lower string. To tune the E string, for example, use the first harmonic (one octave above open E) on the E string, and the second harmonic (one octave plus a fifth above open A) on the A string. If your strings are in tune, the two notes should be the same.

Between an electronic tuner and harmonics, there are many options for tuning a violin. Different options are more suitable to different situations and people, but there are appropriate options to cover almost any situation. So don’t trap yourself in a situation where you cannot tune your violin!

Photo by Loreen72

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!

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10 More Helpful Apps for Violinists

apps for violinists

There are mobile apps for just about everything these days–even playing the violin. Below, violin teacher Julie P. shares 10 helpful apps for violinists…

The world of music apps is ever expanding. More and more apps are available to help musicians with everything from music theory to sight reading to organizing practice time.

Specifically, there are many helpful apps for violinists. Whether you’re a seasoned violin players or you’re just starting to take violin lessons, there are tons of apps that can help take your skills to the next level.

Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best apps for violinists below.

1. Violin Notes Flash Cards

Price: $0.99

The Violin Notes Flash Cards app features flash cards to help users memorize notes and beef up their reading skills.

One side of the card displays the note on the music staff, while the other side depicts what note it is and where to play it on the fingerboard.

2. Fiddle Companion

Price: Free

The perfect app for both fiddlers and violin players, the Fiddle Companion provides users with a wealth of chord charts and scale fingering.

What’s more, it comes with a variety of helpful tools, such as a metronome and a tuner.

3. iReal Pro

Price: $12.99

Don’t have a band to practice with? No problem. The iReal Pro app is like having a band with you at all times.

Download chord charts for thousands of songs or create your own chord chart for a song. Then use the playback feature to pick the style you want your “virtual” band to play and you’ll be off!

4. Voice Recorder

Price: Free

Don’t be fooled by the word “voice” in this app’s title. The Voice Recorder app is great for recording your practice sessions, violin lessons, or even performances.

Use the sophisticated folder system to keep your recordings organized, and access them anytime you want.

5. Baxters Database of Violin Makers

Price: $16.99

If you need to reference a particular violin or it’s maker, then look no further than the Baxters Database of Violin Makers app.

The app is a huge database that includes more than 21,500 violin makers with basic information about each, text from over 2,700 violin labels, and more than 865 pictures of violins.

6. Sight Reader

Price: Free

Are you having trouble learning how to read music? The Sight Reader app, which includes a specialized study course for the violin, boasts several exercises to help you learn how to read music.

Violin students can strengthen your music reading through lessons, flashcards, songs, intervals, rhythms, scales and more.

7. Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer

Price: $2.99

Practice and/or test your rhythm accuracy with real time feedback using the Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer app.

The app has basic to advanced rhythms, a tempo slider, and a learning mode in which you can practice new rhythms by playing right along.

8. Music Journal

Price: Free

Whether you’re practicing with your violin teacher or on your own, the Musical Journal app is a wonderful tool to track your practice sessions and measure your results.

This app has a great folder system for organizing the songs and exercises you practice, and also keeps track of metronome tempos and other notes about your practice sessions.

9. Tempo

Price: $2.99

Tempo, featured in the App Store as a “Staff Favorite,” is a powerful app that has just about every option you could want from a metronome app

Users can create and share set lists with specific tempos for each song, and choose from over 14 sound sets.

10. PlayAlong Violin

Price: Free

The perfect app for violinists, PlayAlong Violin listens to users play and knows whether or not they’re playing the right notes. The music only advances if users play the correct notes and rhythms.

What’s more, learning features, such as fingering charts and note names, help beginners learn new songs.

These are just some of the apps for violinists available. There are a ton more apps that you can leverage to help you practice, learn, and master new violin skills.

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!

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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

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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!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Photos by Eden, Janine and Jim and Nathan Russell

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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!

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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

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!

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Violin Mistakes

Are You Making These 5 Common Violin Mistakes When Practicing?

Violin Mistakes

Do you want to get more out of your violin practice? Below, violin teacher Montserrat P. shares some common violin mistakes students often make when practicing and how to fix them…

You don’t think Lindsey Stirling or Jascha Heifetz got to where they are without practicing the violin, right? In order to prefect your violin skills and progress further, you must frequently practice. After all, practice does make perfect.

Unfortunately, many students don’t know how to properly practice on their own, without their violin instructor to help guide them. They either end up not practicing enough or working on the wrong techniques.

To ensure that you get the most out of your practice sessions, avoid these five common violin mistakes.

1. Over-Practice

We all know that feeling when we finally start to get a passage right. Although your fingers are learning it, and your brain understands it; it’s not quite solid. So you think to yourself, “Just five more minutes; that’s all that I need to get it right.”

Well, as long as it is just five minutes, then go for it.  But if after that time the passage is still not there, stop playing.  Your body and mind have a limit, and if you push them too far, there will be no improvement. You will be playing in what I like to call “automatic mode.”  In other words, you will not be thinking nor paying attention, and you will run the risk of getting an injury.

Avoid this all too common violin mistake by listening to your body and your mind. Don’t overwork yourself; once you get to the point when your practice is no longer productive, stop.

2. Poor Posture

Your hands and arms are not the only parts of your body that are involved in your playing; your back plays a very important role, too. Your back muscles provide the support and strength your arms need to play. You depend on those muscles to pick up your violin and do what you love.

That is why proper posture is so important.  Back problems can quickly go from a temporary injury (such as pulling a muscle) to a permanent problem (like scoliosis or other deformations).  If you develop these conditions it can – and probably will – keep you from playing the violin. Therefore, take care of yourself in order to be the artist you want to be!

3. Unbalanced Practice Time

Do you spend three quarters of your pre-determined practice time in your scales?  Do you usually find yourself overplaying in order to practice your études?  What about your solo piece?

When practicing, it very often seems as though there is a lot to be done and too little time to do it.  That is why it is very important to start practicing with a time distribution on your mind.  As a general rule, you should spend half your time practicing scales and études, and half your time on your solo repertoire.

By doing this, not only will your practice session be more productive, it will also allow you to get a proper warm-up in. What’s more, your technique will be settled by the time you get to your piece, giving you the time and freedom to start working in musicality and expression.

That being said, feel free to adjust your practice time according to your needs.  If your arpeggios don’t sound great but your scales do, cut some time from the scales to work on the arpeggios.  If you have a recital coming up, spend some more time practicing your repertoire.

The important thing is for you to have a plan in mind before you start playing.  Believe me; you will be able to hear the results.

4. Not Warming Up

Would you run six miles right after you got out of bed without any type of warm-up? Every person knows that this is a terrible idea, as your body hasn’t had time to prepare for that activity, and there is good chance that you will get hurt.

Well, there is no reason for you to treat violin practice any differently. If you don’t do proper warm-up exercises before playing, your muscles will not be prepared, and your practice session will not be as productive.

For example, without a proper warm-up, your hand will be warming itself up with the complicated parts of your practice, which means that it will not be learning what it is playing. This will lead you to waste time, and chances are, you will end up overplaying and probably injuring your muscles.

Once again, your body is your most immediate instrument; your violin is just an extension of it.  You need to take care of your body if you want to be able to successfully play and practice.

5. Not Taking Breaks

This is one of the most important, yet less widely-known rules of violin practice. The rule of thumb is to play 20 minutes and rest for two or three. By doing so, you will ensure your body rests enough to be able to continue, but not too long so as to cool off. Also, your mind has enough time to internalize the progress you just made, but not too long to get completely distracted from your practice.

Of course, breaks will be different for everybody.  You might want to play for an extra 10 minutes and then take a longer break; or maybe you will want to take a long break at the end of an hour (in addition to your smaller breaks).  Whatever method you choose, the important thing is that you pace yourself and give your body and mind the time they need to assimilate the work they’ve just completed.

Are you committing any of these common violin mistakes? If not, good job!  Keep doing what you are doing.  If you happen to be guilty of these violin mistakes, don’t worry.  Now you have the tools to fix your errors and start learning. Good luck!

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!



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Photo by Tony Alter

3 Straightforward Steps for Violin Tuning

Violin tuningFor beautiful tone, understanding how to tune your violin is one of the most important things for students to learn. The tuning process will support your ear training, as well as help beginner musicians recognize the connection between strings, pegs and the sounds produced by the violin.

Without an in-tune instrument, any techniques you try to learn will be offset – not to mention your neighbors might complain! Check out these 3 straightforward steps that go into violin tuning, as originally published by Lumuel Violins:

Step One:
Comparing the sound difference between a reference tone and the sound of your violin.
First, you’ll typically need a source for generating reference tones for each of your violin strings. Reference tones can come from a number of sources such as a piano or a tuning fork.

Step Two:
Using the violin pegs to tune the sound of each string most of the way close to the reference tones.
Many problems can happen at this stage. Sometimes the pegs are really hard to turn. They appear stuck or when they actually move, the pegs feel like they are turning through sticky gum or tar. Yet another problem occurs when the peg is easy to turn, but as soon as you let go, the pegs won’t stay in place, but loosen up again. (Your violin teacher can help you combat these issues!)

Step Three:
Fine tuning each violin string to match the reference tone (or at least very close to matching).
To fine tune a violin, you need to hear minor pitch differences between the reference tone and the sound of your violin. This is not easy for many beginners. To put things in perspective, it can take years of ear training to discern very small pitch differences.

With proper training, you can hone your ability to tune your violin by ear.  Once you’ve mastered this skill, the sky’s the limit!

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5 Tips to Instantly Improve Violin Tone
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Photo by Bob Jagendorf.