The violin is a beautiful string instrument perfect for musicians of all ages to learn. Along with having a qualified violin teacher to instruct you, the right violin books are your most valuable tool for learning to play the violin. Which ones are the most useful and informative for beginner students? Which ones take you beyond the basics to a more advanced skill level? Here’s a look at eight of our favorites:
The Essential Elements series is very useful for beginners. It includes engaging, familiar songs and instrument-specific exercises that let you focus on the unique characteristics of the violin. The book also includes specially designed exercises that translate well in the classroom. That means if you’re in an orchestra and the teacher uses this book, practicing with it at home can speed up the learning process.
“Essential Elements for Strings” comes with digital resources as well. The included CD features a start-up video, play-along tracks with tempo adjustment, a music library, and access to duet and trio sheet music you can print.
This best-selling instruction book features many beginner-level melodies, short warm-up exercises, and study pieces designed to help you improve your violin skills. Other features include a glossary, a note-reading worksheet, a practice chart, simple duets, and scales exercises.
The included CD consists of 34 songs with violin and piano accompaniments, piano-only tracks for playing along, and printable PDF files of the piano accompaniments. “The ABCs of Violin” books are a truly valuable resource for students in the early stages of violin exploration.
Whether you’re preparing for your first violin lesson or you want to give your studies a little boost, “Violin for Dummies” could be one of the most important violin books in your collection. It begins by introducing music fundamentals, including reading musical notation and understanding harmony. Then it focuses on violin specifics, such as tuning your instrument, holding the bow correctly, and cleaning the strings.
The accompanying CD includes audio and video clips and tutorials to help you get started. It also features mp3 files of every song and exercise in the book.
This 10-book series takes violinists from near-beginning stages to a moderately advanced level. The Suzuki Method is based on the principle that all children have the capability to excel at music and that a nurturing environment can help develop and enhance that capability. Whether you’re a young child or well into your adult years, the Suzuki Method is appropriate for harnessing your ability to play the violin.
The Suzuki Violin School book contains limited information regarding note reading and musical theory, so it’s not ideal for students teaching themselves. However, it’s exceptionally useful if your violin teacher uses the Suzuki Method in your lessons.
This is one of the most popular violin books, both for individual instruction and same-instrument groups. It employs an all-encompassing approach to teaching the violin, including scales and arpeggios, articulation and technical studies, solos and duets, and studies for musicianship. Well-known songs make it fun to progress through each section. The book does not come with a CD.
Classrooms and private studios alike use violin books from this series to help students progress beyond the basics into intermediate and advanced violin playing. The most-used positions are introduced in Volume 1 (third and fifth), followed up by the next most important positions in Volume 2 (second, fourth, sixth and seventh). If you’re eager to hone your skills, this is an irreplaceable component in your training. The book does not come with a CD.
The violin is a well-rounded instrument with the ability to showcase everything from classical to bluegrass. If you’re ready to learn fiddling techniques, “Fiddle Primer” is one of those violin books you can’t be without. It begins with introductory information regarding good bowing techniques and playing in tune. Then it progresses to specific fiddling techniques with recognizable songs, including “You are My Sunshine”, “Old Joe Clark”, “Cripple Creek” and more.
The included CD features all the songs played at two different speeds, one for practice and one up to tempo when you’re ready to perform. An accompanying DVD shows precise technique and hand positioning for several of the songs featured in the book. On-screen notation and close-ups of both hands ensure you can exactly imitate what you see on the screen. “Fiddle Primer” is a great place to start if you want to learn the foundation required to play rewarding fiddle music.
Violin Play-Along Series
The Play-Along violin books cover a huge variety of songs and genres with more than 40 volumes, including Classical Favorites, Country Hits, Christmas Songs, Jazz, Classic Rock, Popular Hits, and much more. The series is designed for intermediate to advanced students who want to learn more of their favorite violin pieces. The violin books feature notations for many of your favorite songs. Lyrics are also included, as are chord symbols if you wish to elaborate on the melody.
As the name of the series suggests, each book comes with a CD you can play along with. One set of tracks features an accomplished violinist playing each song so you can get a feel for how it should sound. Then, separate backing tracks accompany you as you play. The CD works in any CD player, but pop it into your computer to enjoy enhanced features, such as custom tempo adjustment without changing the pitch.
If you’re still not sure which one of these violin books will suit your learning style best, a good place to start could be finding a qualified teacher. Your teacher can offer recommendations based on your age, current skill level, and specific goals. Good luck!
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