If you’re interested in violin lessons or you’re just starting to play, you’re probably wondering how long does it take to learn violin? Brooklyn, NY music instructor Julie P. is here to help you answer that question…
A common question for violin students is how long does it take to learn violin? The truth is, everyone learns at a different speed, so there’s no way to tell you exactly how long it will take you to learn how to play the violin. Of course, your learning speed also depends on how much you practice!
If you would like to play violin professionally, you’ll have to commit to many years of hard work. On the other hand, If you’re just looking to play for fun, or to join in at church or in a band with your friends, you can make a lot of progress towards your goal in three to five years.
If you take violin lessons and practice four to five days a week, here is an estimated timeline to illustrate how long it takes to learn violin.
In your first month, you’ll start with the basics. You’ll learn the parts of your violin and proper care. If you need to invest in a violin, here are our picks for the best violin brands for beginners.
Your early lessons will focus on posture, bow hold, and plucking techniques. In your first month, you will be introduced to basic note reading, violin scales, and music theory. You’ll also learn how to pluck and bow open strings, and learn about quarter notes and quarter rests.
This month, you’ll continue to develop basic skills, and you’ll become more comfortable holding your violin and bow.
At this time, you should start using your left-hand fingers (1-3) to play notes other than open strings. You’ll develop the ability to pluck simple melodies, and gain greater control bowing open strings.
You’ll also learn about bow directions and markings (up bows and down bows), and learn about half notes and half rests.
New rhythms: Half notes and half rests.
Month Three to Six
These months are exciting because you’ll start to play some simple songs you recognize.
You’ll learn lots of new notes, including the notes on the D and A strings using fingers one, two, and three.
Gradually, you’ll switch to using your bow to play songs instead of just plucking them.
Month Seven to 12
At this point, the range of songs you can play really opens up because you know so many notes and rhythms!
You’ll learn to use your fourth finger and some notes on the G and E strings. You’ll also learn to use your second finger to play F natural and C natural on the D and A strings.
You will continue developing your bowing technique. Your violin tone starts to improve, and you’ll learn about slurs and hooked bowing, as well as how to cross strings more proficiently. You’ll also learn the difference between staccato and legato bowing.
New Rhythms: ties and dotted half notes.
Month 13 to 18
By this time, you’ve probably finished your first beginner lesson book and have moved on to the next book in the series. At this point, you can play many pop, classical, folk, and holiday songs. You may still need help figuring them out, but with some practice, you can play lots of different songs.
You’ll learn about more natural and flat notes with all four of your fingers, which allows you to play in keys other than D and A major.
Slurs and hooked bows are common in your music, and you’re able to coordinate the bow with your fingers. You can play faster music without losing your tone quality.
New Rhythms: Dotted quarter notes and syncopation.
Month 19 to 24
At this point, you can really branch out into music you like to play. You might start learning basic classical solos meant to be performed with piano accompaniment, or get a book of music from your favorite movie or pop singer.
You’ll learn all of the notes that you can play, in first position, including sharps, naturals, and flats, and you’ll learn how to bounce the bow and play faster with more accuracy.
Rhythms: sixth notes and dotted eighth notes.
This might be the time you start to feel like you can really play the violin!
In your third year, you’ll solidify all the notes in first position, and become comfortable playing in flat keys. Your bowing will become more complex and varied, and you’ll learn about double stops.
New Rhythms: Triplets.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you’re pretty dedicated to the violin, and by now, you’re pretty good!
Now it’s time to learn about shifting into third position, which opens up the range of the violin, so you can play higher notes.
You might also learn how to play with vibrato, which will give you a more sophisticated sound and greater range of musical expression.
You probably don’t need a beginner lesson book series anymore, and you can further your learning by working in scale, etude and solo repertoire books.
Year Five and Beyond
The sky’s the limit for what you can learn and where you can go. The more time you dedicate to practicing the violin, the faster you can increase your skills and learn more music you love to play. If you practice hard and stay dedicated to learning the violin, you can make a lot of progress in just a few years.
So, how long does it take to learn violin? That depends on your individual goals and how far you want to go. To stay motivated, keep this map where you can see it, so you can always keep your goals in sight. Good luck!
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The best way to learn the violin is through private lessons with a qualified instructor. Find a violin teacher near you!