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violin practice

The Perfect 15-Minute Violin Practice Routine [Video]

violin practice

Think you don’t have enough time to practice violin? Think again! We all have days where we’re short on time, but that doesn’t mean you should skip practice altogether. Here, Austin, TX violin instructor Naomi Cherie S. shows you how to get an effective violin practice session in only 15 minutes…

We’ve all heard it before: “Practice makes perfect!” However, an intelligent five-year-old violin student improved this saying when she told me “Practice makes better!” It’s a nice reminder that while perfection is something we should always strive for, it’s important to be patient and remember that we’re only human.

How you practice is just as important as how much you practice. In this article I will outline the perfect 15-minute violin practice, and also break down important components for any practice that will help you improve.

Good Practice Habits

As a violinist, practice is essential to develop your skills, and it can determine how quickly you will progress on the instrument. Practice can also be one of the biggest challenges we face in our studies.

With the fast paced lifestyles most of us live today, it can be hard to fit in time to practice consistently. For beginners, I recommend that you practice at least five days per week for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.

Building Your Practice

In music (similar to athletic training), it’s a good idea to gradually increase your practice session length while you’re developing muscles, flexibility, finger callouses etc. so that you don’t overdo it and end up with sore hands, wrists or arms.

Aim to work up to one to two hours (or more) of practice per day. The more you practice, the faster you will improve!

Consistency is Key

Remember, it’s important to maintain consistency over time spent (quality over quantity).

For instance, I’d rather you practice for five days a week, even if you could only play for 15-30 minutes on some days, than waiting until the last day before your lesson to do an extra long practice session.

Our brains need time to process what we practice, and repetition is key to perfect your skills. Sometimes, even when you don’t feel like you’re improving during a practice session, you will start to see progress over time, if you keep at it and look at the big picture.

Think of your violin journey as plants in a garden: you can’t see them growing, but eventually, with love and care, they blossom and reach new heights.


The Perfect 15-Minute Violin Practice Session

As a beginner, it’s crucial to keep your momentum going and avoid skipping more than a day or two of practice. For the first several months, your budding skills are very delicate. Without consistency, you can easily backtrack, and you’ll have to re-learn certain concepts if you go too long without practice.

This is where the 15-minute practice session comes in. It can take a lot of self-discipline to practice daily, and with busy work and school schedules, sometimes it just doesn’t seem feasible.


This session is perfect for those days when you’re on the go and just don’t think you have time to practice. Think about what squeezing in 15 minutes of one-on-one time with your violin can do to boost your playing and bridge the gap between longer playing sessions!

Here are the basic goals of this 15- minute session:

  1. Tuning – Tuning is a great way to warm up your ears and “fine tune” your ear training skills. It’s also imperative to have your violin tuned up and ready to go each time you play. You can tune by ear with a keyboard/piano or a pitch pipe or you can use an electronic tuner or a tuning app.
  2. Abridged Scale Warm Up – In this video, I demonstrate a really thorough scale warm up. For your abridged scale warm up, you can skip a couple of the exercises and just stick to the basics. Using your G Major scale, start with half notes, then play quarter notes and eighth notes.
  3. Song Warm Up – Next, choose a song you’ve been working on or have been wanting to learn. Start from the top of the piece and work your way through. Try to move quickly, without stopping to fix mistakes, and play through to the end of the piece while taking mental notes of your problem areas.
  4. Go Back and Fix Mistakes – Take a pencil and write in some notes. Add parenthesis around your problem measures. Pencil in “x5” above the measures that really need some work and then go back and play those spots five times in a row (or more) until they sound smooth.
  5. Take the Song From the Top – Once you feel comfortable about your problem areas, go back and run the piece from start to finish. By this time, your 15 minutes will probably be up, but if you have some extra time, go ahead and go through the piece again, constantly taking notes of your improvements as well as sections that still need work.

And that’s it! Remember, when it comes to your musical journey, every little bit helps and it’s important to remember that a short practice is better than no practice at all!

Ready to get started playing violin? Find a violin teacher near you!

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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violin practice tips

25+ Violin Practice Tips to Help You Improve…Fast!

violin practice

Whether you’re a beginner violinist or you have been playing for years, there are always ways to improve. But here’s the kicker:

If you want to get better, you have to practice! Luckily, we want to help you do just that! Here, music instructor Julie P. shares over 25 violin practice tips for players of any ability…


Violin Practice Routine

violin practice

Setting up a consistent routine can help you stay on track. Here are some violin practice tips that will help you establish a practice routine that works for you.

  1. Practice at the same time every day. When you have a designated practice time, you are less likely to make excuses or skip practice.
  2. Use a violin app to track your practice. Try out Music Journal or Practice Center.
  3. Tune your violin at the beginning of every practice session. There are lots of violin tuner apps, but Cleartune and Tuner Lite are two good ones.If you need help tuning your violin, follow this instructional tuning video for beginners.
  4. Keep all of your violin sheet music together, so that when you practice, you have everything you need.
  5. Always have a pencil on hand when you practice so you can mark your violin sheet music with helpful reminders.
  6. Use a music stand so that you can practice with proper posture. Good posture is not only essential to help you play better, it’s also important to prevent injury. Besides using a music stand, check out these 10 wacky ways to improve your posture.

Violin Practice Tips

violin practice

These violin practice tips will help you make the most of your time so you can have a more efficient, effective practice session.

    1. Do a simple warm up at the beginning of each practice session to get your fingers, arms, and ears ready to play.
    2. Use a metronome to practice playing with a steady beat. You can also use a metronome to challenge yourself to play at different tempos. Tempo is one of many great metronome apps you can try.
    3. Record yourself at different points during practice. You never have to share the recordings with anyone, unless you want to. You can use them as learning tools; you’ll hear new things about your playing by listening to the recording.
    4. Rosin with care: Using too much rosin on your bow will make your tone scratchy, while not enough rosin will limit your dynamic range. Make sure you check out these maintenance tips for your violin bow.
    5. Enlist a friend! Everything is more fun with a friend, and violin practice is no different. You can play all of your music together and even play some fun duets. “I always seem to make the most progress when I mix in music that is just for fun,” says Todd Markey, founder of TheStringClub.com. “After playing scales, exercises, and pieces assigned by your teacher, it’s good to have some music that you can play fairly easily to enjoy expressing yourself on your instrument.  Too often we are playing at the very edge of our technical capabilities and not just relaxing with something relatively simple.  And its even better if its done with friends!  That’s why I created TheStringClub.com.  I want my students to be able to find music they like and have fun playing right away.”
    6. Learn to play with accompaniment:Playing violin with accompaniment will help you learn different skills such as coordinating tempo, dynamics, and rhythm. According to stringsalong.com, “you can learn faster and with more enjoyment if you practice with accompaniment! It’s the natural way to learn and love music. (Try practicing with the pros at Strings Along to accelerate your learning progress!)”

 

More: How Often Should You Practice Violin to Really Improve? 


Violin Practice Exercises

violin practice

From technique to control, these violin practice exercises will help you focus on the most important aspects of your playing.

  1. Play slow scales to fine tune your intonation. [Here’s a great video tutorial on violin scales for beginners.]
  2. Try this exercise to warm up your bow arm: Play a scale with a quarter note for each note of the scale, then two-eighth notes on each note, then four 16th notes on each note.
  3. Gain more bow control by switching between bowing a single string anfd bowing two strings at once (called a double stop).
  4. If you’re starting to learn how to shift and play in third position and higher, go back to your beginner violin books and try playing simple melodies in third position or higher.

Violin Practice Games

violin practice

Violin games can break up the monotony and make violin practice more fun! Try adding a couple of these fun activities to your next practice session.

  1. To mix things up, write down all of the things you have to practice (as well as some fun songs you already know how to play) on separate pieces of paper. Put them in a jar and shake them up. Pick out three to five papers for your practice session that day.
  2. For a difficult passage, use quarters to keep track of your progress. Place three on the left side of your music stand. Each time you play the passage correctly, you can move one to the right side of the stand. If you mess up, all the quarters have to be reset on the left side of the stand. Your goal is to move all three to the right side of the stand by playing the passage correctly three times in a row.
  3. Music Magic’s Violin Activity Book” has fun games and activities for very young violinists (ages three to five).
  4. Games – Workbook for Strings” by Evelyn Avhsharian is great for children ages three to seven.

If you’re looking for more ways to make violin practice fun, try these 20+ violin games for kids.


Violin Practice Online

violin practice online

There are lots of great online resources to help you learn violin. From games to videos, here are some sites that will help you practice and improve.

  1. Play the Violin Fingering game at Fiddlerman.com.
  2. Make a video to post on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Vimeo.
  3. Get inspired by watching videos of other people playing the violin on youtube. Not sure where to start? Check out Bryson Andres playing “Secrets” by One Republic or Hillary Hahn playing a Bach Sarabande .
  4. ViolinOnline.com has tons of information about basic violin playing technique and posture. They have instructions with pictures.

Violin Sheet Music

violin practice

Fortunately, there are a lot of places to find violin sheet music online. When you get tired of practicing the same easy violin songs over and over, you can search for violin sheet music and learn some new songs.

  1. Find free violin sheet music at 8notes.com, violinsheetmusic.org, and violinonline.com.
  2. Use this page from violinonline.com to practice your scales. They have one- and two-octave violin scale pages in both major and minor keys, as well as scale duets.
  3. You can find tons of pop songs by artists like Katy Perry, Adele, Flo Rida and Coldplay at McCourt’s Violin Studio.
  4. IMSLP has tons of free classical music available for download or printing. All of their music is part of the public domain.

While all of these tips will help you learn how to play the violin, it’s nearly impossible to use them all in just a couple weeks. Try one or two tips at a time to improve your playing without getting overwhelmed. Each week, try out a few additional tips. With perseverance and consistent practice, you can get better, fast!

What are your favorite practice tips? Share them with us in the comments below! 

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!

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