In-Person, Online, or DIY: What’s the Best Way to Learn Violin?

violin for kidsBefore you begin your violin lessons, you’ll need to make a decision about the type and location of the lessons. Here are some helpful tips from Brooklyn, NY teacher Julie P...

So you or your child wants to learn how to play the violin, but you’re not sure if you want to work with a teacher in-person, online, or maybe just go the DIY route? This article will help you think through the pros and cons of each option. By the end, you should have a better idea of which way is the best way for you to learn violin.

Teach Yourself Violin

Learning the violin on your own is definitely the cheapest option. There is no weekly or monthly payment for lessons and in addition to the thousands of tutorials available for sale, there are tons of free books and videos available. This option allows you to progress at your own pace and requires no regular schedule or commitment.

This option is best for someone who is self-motivated and who already has at least a basic musical background. If you’ve played guitar or some other stringed instrument before, you’ll probably be able to figure out how to tune the violin, and where to place your fingers on the strings for proper intonation. If you’ve never studied a musical instrument before, these tasks could be very challenging for you and you would probably do much better with a teacher. Either way, if you want to get serious about playing — or if you find yourself struggling or losing motivation — it’s time to commit to private lessons.

Online Violin Lessons

Online lessons are great because they let you study with anyone in the country from the comfort of your own home. Lessons can occur at any time of day because of the access to teachers from all different time zones. Online lessons are also very useful for when a teacher or student travels out of town, or if one of you feels sick and doesn’t want to pass the illness on to others, yet still feels well enough to take or teach the lesson.

However, there are a number of significant drawbacks to online violin lessons. While the sound quality is usually good enough to conduct the lesson, it’s definitely not as good as in-person lessons, and there can be connectivity issues as well. The teacher cannot play your violin to tune it or assess it for mechanical issues. Teachers also cannot assess and correct postural issues as easily, nor can they play along with you due to the way sound is transmitted through the online format.

Online lessons are best for people who live in remote areas where teachers aren’t readily available, and for people who need a higher calibre of teacher than is available in their area. This option could also be good for people who don’t have easy access to transportation.

In-Person Lessons

In-person lessons are the best way to learn the violin. If you have the ability to take violin lessons from a teacher in your area, try to make this option work first. A teacher who meets with you for lessons can help you purchase a quality violin, and then periodically assess your instrument for any mechanical issues. He or she can also show you how to tune and take care of your violin, which is very important to your progress as a violinist.

Teachers who meet with you in person will help you establish a healthy and effective playing posture, as well as quickly identify any bad habits that need to be corrected. In-person lessons do not suffer from any sound quality issues and teachers are able to easily play along with you to help you train your ear. Additionally, it’s easy for teachers to quickly write down practice reminders or exercises for you to take home.


As you think through the three options for violin lessons, consider what your musical goals are. If you want to learn how to play advanced classical violin music, you’re going to need a teacher to lead you through that process. If you want to play on a casual level just for fun, the online option might work out for you. If you’re really not sure what the best way to learn violin is for you, try taking a few lessons just to see how it goes. Regardless of how you decide to learn the violin, having the help of a teacher as you get started will greatly speed up your progress.

Ready to get started? Check out the great violin teachers in your area at!

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



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