7 Violin Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

violin mistakes

Any time you learn a new skill, you will probably make some mistakes when you’re starting out. Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process, but be careful not to let an error become a habit. For violinists, this is especially important, as each skill and new piece of music that you learn will build upon the things you have just learned.

These 7 common violin mistakes might be holding you back from reaching your full potential as a musician. Whether you are a beginner or you have been playing the violin for a while, make a vow to ban these bad habits from your practice.

1. Limp Wrist

Don’t allow your left wrist to collapse or bend. Maintaining the correct wrist position will help your left-hand fingers reach notes easily and without strain.

2. Bow Blunders

Do notes sound choppier than they should? If your violin sounds rough, you might want to look at how you’re bowing. Don’t “attack” the strings with your bow. Instead, place your bow and then draw it evenly across the strings.

This will produce a more fluid, musical tone. Add bowing exercises to your practice time so you can master the motions you need in order to get great tone from your instrument.

3. Tune Up

An instrument that’s out of tune is like a broken clock; it might be right twice a day, but it would work even better if you fixed it.

Each time you practice, make sure your violin is in tune. This will help you train your ear to hear the correct pitch, plus it makes your violin sound much better than allowing it to fall out of tune.

If you need help tuning your violin, check out this step-by-step guide.

4. Elbow Room

Many violinists tend to fatigue as they play, and the left elbow creeps closer to the body. You should be holding your elbow away from you so the violin is the proper position. If your arm gets tired, take a break and focus your practice sessions on building the strength you need to hold your violin correctly.

If your arm gets tired, take a break and focus your practice sessions on building the strength you need to hold your violin correctly.

Also, check out these tips for how you can play violin pain free.

5. First-Finger Blues

Always be sure to place your first finger on the correct note, as if this note is out of tune it will bring the whole song off pitch. Think of your first finger notes as the foundation of the piece you are playing. Get the foundation in the right place, and the rest will come much easier.

Think of your first-finger notes as the foundation of the piece you’re playing. Get the foundation in the right place, and the rest will come much easier.

6. Rosin Up

Master the art of getting just the right amount of rosin on your bow. Not enough rosin and your violin will sound like a whisper, but apply too much and you’ll hear some scratchy, shrill sounds.

7. Size Matters

Are you playing the wrong size violin? Violins come in 9 different sizes. For most adults, a full-size violin should be just fine, but if you’re petite or if you’re looking for a violin for a child, there’s a variety of violin sizes for you to choose from.

Try out several in a local music shop to see what size instrument is most comfortable for you.


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

7 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About the Nutcracker Ballet

7 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About the Nutcracker Ballet

nutcracker balletEvery December, productions of The Nutcracker ballet add to the festivities and joy of the holiday season. You are probably already familiar with the story of a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker on Christmas Eve, but there are a few fun facts most people don’t know about The Nutcracker. Read more

essential easy guitar chords for beginners

Essential Easy Guitar Chords for Beginners

easy guitar chords for beginnersFor many beginners, learning easy guitar chords is a great way to get comfortable with your instrument. Chords are also the building blocks you’ll need to learn to play many of your favorite songs. Grab your guitar and dive into this essential guide to the basic guitar chords you need to know. Read more

Play 10 Christmas Songs Using 4 Easy Chords

Christmas song chordsA wise man once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Wait, that was Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf… But he does have a good point!

One of the most fun ways to celebrate the holiday season is with music! With so much Chrismas music online, it can be hard to know where to start. In the spirit of the season, we’re giving you this guide to our favorite Christmas song chords for guitar.

Whether you’re a beginner just learning guitar chords or a pro brushing up on classic Christmas songs, you can learn how to play 10 Christmas songs right now, using only 4 simple guitar chords. We’ve got everything you need to lead the sing along at a holiday party or at home with your family! In the downloadable guide, you’ll find the guitar chords and song lyrics for:

Read more

test taking strategies your guide to a stress free finals week

Test Taking Strategies: Your Guide to a Stress-Free Finals Week

Test Taking TipsMany students feel stressed and overwhelmed at the end of each term when finals week is upon us. As with many things in life, your attitude will directly affect your ability to succeed in school. If you start to feel stressed with final exams looming, keep these test taking strategies in mind to keep calm, get confident, and make the grades you want. Read more

easy guitar songs fun to play

5 Easy Guitar Songs That are Fun to Play

easy guitar songs fun to playWho says easy guitar songs are boring? There are hundreds of simple songs that are easy to master, which is great news if you’re just beginning to learn how to play the guitar!

In this guide, we’ll share five easy guitar songs as well as how to play basic chords, and even more tips for learning new music.

5 Easy Guitar Songs

Each song consists of distinct parts such as the intro, the verse, and the chorus. The way these parts are arranged constitutes the song’s structure. Understanding song structure helps you learn new songs quicker because you anticipate the part that’s coming up next.

As you learn new songs, or even as you listen to music, pay attention to how the parts of a song are arranged. A typical pop song might look like this: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus.

Here are five of our favorite YouTube videos of easy guitar songs for beginners. Make sure to tune your guitar before getting started!

1. “Stand By Me”

If you are looking for easy guitar songs to impress your sweetheart, this classic tune should work like a charm. Originally recorded in 1961 by Ben E. King, this classic ballad uses just 4 chords: G, Em, C, and D. In the video below, you’ll learn how to play the chord progression and R&B strum pattern for “Stand By Me.”

2. “Ho Hey”

Looking for something a little more contemporary? This 2012 hit by The Lumineers should be right up your alley. Below, guitar teacher Dustin B. teaches a slight variation on the C chord for the intro, then shows you the simple chord progressions for the verse and chorus.

3. “Close”

“Close” by Nick Jonas has become a new pop favorite, and it’s one of the songs any beginner can play with a capo. In this tutorial, beginning guitarists will learn the chord progression and strum pattern to this catchy beat.

4. “Royals”

This is one of our favorite easy guitar songs. Teen pop queen Lorde’s catchy songs have an effortless cool that have generated a lot of buzz. Her breakthrough hit “Royals”  is sure to be a favorite among beginning guitarists too, since it contains only three easy chords: D, C, and G.

5. “Same Old Love”

This tutorial makes a popular hit by Selena Gomez a breeze to play. You’ll be forming a few common chords in this song, as well as individual notes. Just be sure to have a capo before getting started, as you’ll need one to make this song even easier.

How to Play Easy Guitar Songs

To play any of these easy guitar songs, you must have a solid knowledge of some basic guitar chords. Chords are three or more guitar notes that when played together create a harmony. If you haven’t yet mastered reading sheet music for guitar, chord charts are an easier way to learn how to play chords.

easy guitar chord This chart shows you how to play an A chord. Each of the six vertical lines represents one of the six strings on your guitar. Each horizontal line represents a fret. On chord charts, the line furthest to the left always corresponds to your sixth (or low E) string. The line furthest to the right represents your first (or high E) string. From left to right, the string names are E-A-D-G-B-E.

Your left-hand fingers are numbers one through four, starting with your index finger. According to this chart, you should play the A chord by placing your middle finger on the second fret of the D string, your ring finger on the second fret of the G string, and your pinkie finger on the second fret of the B string.

You’ll notice there are also Xs and Os at the top of the chart. The X represents a string that is not played. So when you strum your A chord, start from the fifth string down. The strings with Os at the top of the chart are played open, which means you should still strum this string but you do not need to hold down a fret with your left hand.

Now that you know how to read a chord chart, here are a few more basic chords you’ll need to learn in order to start playing easy guitar songs:

guitar chords chart

When you’re playing a song, you will need to be able to transition smoothly from one chord to the next. If you would like to practice changing chords before getting started with songs, try playing each chord above for four counts and then transition smoothly to the next chord.

Once you’re comfortable with these basic chords, it’s time to start putting them together and playing some easy guitar songs!

More Tips for Learning Easy Guitar Songs

It’s always best to start slow. Use a metronome and practice playing each part of the song slowly and in time. As your playing improves, pick up the pace until you are playing at the same tempo as the song. If you like, you can even play along with a recording of the song to give you a better feel for the rhythm.

For beginners, it is often very helpful to practice each part of the song separately before putting the whole thing together. Start with the verse, and once you feel comfortable playing that chord progression, move on to the chorus. When you feel confident playing each part separately, it’s time to put the whole song together.

No matter what song you’d like to play, odds are someone has already posted a YouTube video or a chord chart online. One of our favorite sites for free chord charts and guitar tabs is Ultimate Guitar. All of their arrangements are user-submitted, however, so be warned that you might sometimes come across a transcription of a song that doesn’t sound quite right.

Always remember to keep a positive attitude and have fun with your guitar! Learning to play these easy guitar songs might take some time at first, but you will only get better the more you practice. For more help learning how to play the guitar, sign up for lessons with a private guitar teacher. Your guitar teacher will help you avoid poor technique and bad playing habits. Search for a guitar teacher now!

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

 Photo thumbnail by Rebekka

learn guitar now how to read guitar tabs

Learn Guitar Now: How to Read Tabs

how to read guitar tabsAlthough learning to read sheet music is a valuable skill for any musician, most guitarists prefer to use a different type of notation known as guitar tablature or guitar tabs. Guitar tabs give a basic visual representation of the neck of your guitar and use numbers to indicate which notes are to be played. Learning how to read tabs is pretty simple, and, once you get the hang of it, you can easily learn new songs or write down compositions of your own. Read more

How much are piano lessons

How Much Are Piano Lessons? You Might be Surprised…

How much are piano lessons

Are you ready to start learning piano and wondering “how much are piano lessons”? In this article, we’ll outline the factors that affect the cost of piano lesson prices, as well as how to save money on lessons!

The benefits of working with a private music teacher are clear: you get one-on-one guidance from a professional, a customized lesson plan, and someone to hold you accountable to your musical goals.

But for budget-conscious beginners, the cost of piano lessons can seem daunting. What supplies or expenses should you expect when taking piano lessons? Will you need to spend hundreds of dollars just to play a few songs?

Instead of letting the price of piano lessons hold you back, take these questions into consideration as you’re looking at your options.

How Much Are Piano Lessons?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, which is why you’ll see a variety of prices as you start your search for piano teachers.

The average cost of piano lessons is between $15 and $40 for a 30-minute lesson. While this may be the average, keep in the mind that the price of piano lessons can vary depending on things like where you live and your teacher’s expertise.

Here’s a deeper look into the factors that can affect piano lesson prices…

Your Location

As with many other services, piano lesson prices will vary depending on where you live. If you live in a rural area, your choice of teachers may be limited, but you may find very low rates.

In a more urban area, prices may be slightly higher, but you may find more options for qualified teachers.

Here are some examples of how the cost of piano lessons varies based on location:

marjoriePiano Teacher: Marjorie K.
Location: New York, NY
Price: $60 for a 30-minute lesson
danaPiano Teacher: Dana S.
Location: Muncie, IN
Price: $25 for a 30-minute lesson

Lesson Location

Beyond the city you’re in, the price of piano lessons can also vary depending on where exactly you’re taking the lessons. You have three options for lesson location:

• You can travel to your teacher for lessons
• Your teacher can come to your home
• You can use video chat for live, online lessons

Traveling to your teacher’s studio is usually more affordable than having your teacher come to you. Some teachers may charge for travel time and/or mileage. Online lessons are typically priced on the lower end of the scale, but can vary depending on a teacher’s level of expertise.

Here are some examples of piano teacher pricing based on lesson location:

marjoriePiano Teacher: Lily A.
Location: Columbia, MD
Price: $45 for a 30-minute lesson at teacher’s studio
$50 for a 30-minute lesson in your home
$45 for a 30-minute online lesson

Lesson Length

For most new students, a 30-minute weekly lesson is a great starting point. As your playing progresses however, most students benefit from longer lessons, such as 45 minutes to an hour.

Your teacher will recommend a good length for you, and of course, as you increase your lesson length your price will increase.

Here is an example of piano lesson pricing based on lesson length:

brianPiano Teacher: Brian P.
Location: Culver City, CA
Price: $40 for a 30-minute lesson
$45 for a 45-minute lesson
$55 for a 60-minute lesson

Teacher Expertise

Another factor that can affect piano lesson rates is your teacher’s level of expertise or experience. Younger teachers or teachers who specialize in beginning students will often charge less.

As your playing level advances and you need a teacher with higher level experience, you can expect to pay more per lesson.

As you improve, you might also become interested in a specific area of study, such as classical music or jazz improvisation. Teachers who specialize in certain genres or techniques can charge a much higher price.

How Much Are Piano Lessons for Kids?

While the cost of piano lessons for kids is sometimes lower than lessons for adults or more advanced players, it’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t choose the least expensive option on principle.

The concepts learned might seem simple, but it takes a certain personality (and level of patience) to get through to kids, especially those who have trouble focusing.

To help you find the right teacher for a child, consider the following as you narrow down your options:

  • Have they had success with similarly aged children?
  • What is their experience like, and how long have they been teaching?
  • Do they use any particular method, such as the Suzuki Method, for working with beginners?
  • What level of involvement are you able to commit to your child’s lessons, and what do they expect from you?

You may also want to chat with your child’s teacher before the first lesson to get on the same page: discuss your expectations and what level of involvement you can commit to.

Finding the right teacher is particularly important for young learners, and will ensure you don’t waste time or money with a teacher that doesn’t mesh well with your child.

How to Save Money on Piano Lessons

Most teachers and studios will require payment in advance, often on a month-to-month basis. Some even offer discounts for lesson packages, if you’re able to commit for a longer time frame.

Students booking piano lessons through TakeLessons.com, for example, can sign up for Monthly, Quarterly, Semester, or Annual Plans. TakeLessons often runs promos and discounts for piano lessons if you sign up with your email address.

You can also look into taking online piano classes to save even more money on piano instruction. Group classes are a great way to get your feet wet with the piano, and try out a few different teachers before choosing the one you’d like to continue with individually.

Whether you’re working with a music studio or an individual private teacher, make sure you’re aware of the payment policies from the beginning so nothing comes as a surprise.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rescheduling or cancellation policy. Some teachers require a 24-hour notice to be eligible for a reschedule, so knowing this beforehand will save you some money in the long run!

Another great way to save money when learning the piano is to invest in a quality keyboard. Keyboards are much more affordable than pianos and are just as efficient when starting out as a beginner.

What About Books & Other Materials?

As you progress through your lessons, keep in mind that you may come across incidental costs along the way. Piano books and materials are the obvious ones, since you’ll always need new music and workbooks.

Some teachers provide these for students or have copies available to borrow, but most will give you a list of certain books and ask you to purchase them on your own. There are also several websites for finding free sheet music online. Additional materials may include:

  • Journal or composition pad for taking notes
  • Pencil (this is a must!)
  • Metronome
  • Piano tuning services (recommended at least twice a year)

As you can see, there are several factors that can affect the price of piano lessons. Do your research and take some time to think about which options are best for you – and what will keep you motivated to learn!

With the right set-up and an amazing teacher by your side, you’ll be prepared for a great experience.

Interested in Private Lessons?

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

Photo by ragingtornado

Teacher Spotlight: Jessica D. Collaborates with Glamour for Women of the Year Event

jessica delfinoNot to brag, but have we mentioned lately that TakeLessons Teachers totally rock? Every day, with each lesson that they teach, our teachers make a positive, lasting impact on countless lives.

Our teachers also lead vibrant lives outside of teaching by performing, recording, and sharing their love of music with their communities. We’ve featured New York guitar, ukulele, and voice teacher Jessica D. on the blog before, and we wanted to share an update on the opportunity she recently received to be a part of Glamour‘s Women of the Year Awards. Here’s what Jessica has to say… Read more

Angels and Airwaves Exclusive: The Best Guitar Accessories

Fender StratocasterA few weeks ago, we featured an exclusive interview with Angels and Airwaves guitarist David Kennedy. If you’re aiming for that AVA sound, we sat down with David again to find out exactly what gear he uses with the band. Read on to check out his recommendations for the best guitar and best guitar accessories…



Best Guitar
“There are two basic guitar styles to consider. The Epiphone Les Paul covers one side of guitar playing, and the Fender Stratocaster covers the other. The Les Paul is very clean, warm, and heavier-sounding, so that’s good if you’re playing a lot of power chords. The Strat is a more bright and vibrant sound, like U2 for example. So it just depends on the sound you’re going after.”

Read more