If you’re learning to play the violin, you already know that it can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, you’ve also likely discovered that it can be a challenging one, too.
Mastering the violin involves a lot of patience. To improve your violin skills, you must dedicate plenty of time to practicing. Sometimes this might mean working on your scales and other times it might involve doing violin practice exercises or playing music games. Looking for some inspiration to make your daily practice sessions more fun? Check out our list of 25 violin practice tips to help you bring your music skills to the next level.
Violin Practice Tips
- Want to learn to play violin fast? Start by creating a violin daily practice routine. Determine a specific time every day to pick up your violin and stick to that schedule. When you have an established violin practice time, you are less likely to skip it. For more tips, check out our guide: How Often Should You Practice Violin to Really Improve?
- Use a violin app to track your practice. Try out Music Journal or Practice Center. Can you challenge yourself to practice more this week than you did last week? Make goals for yourself to keep you on your toes.
- 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.
- Keep all of your violin sheet music together, so that when you practice, you have everything you need. This way, you can spend your window of practice time actually playing and not scrambling around looking for your music.
- Always have a pencil on hand when you practice so you can mark your violin sheet music with helpful reminders. You can write in letter notes or fingerings, but be sure to erase them once you have them committed to memory.
- 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.
- Do a simple warm up at the beginning of each practice session to get your fingers, arms, and ears ready to play.
- 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.
- 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.
- Record yourself at different points during your violin 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.
- 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.
- 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 it’s even better if it’s 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.”
- Learn to play with an 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!)
- Play slow scales to fine-tune your intonation. Be deliberate about placing your fingers in the exact position and draw out the sound to ensure you have hit the right note.
- Gain more bow control by switching between bowing a single string and bowing two strings at once (called a double stop). The more familiar you get with different bowing techniques, the easier it will be to incorporate them when playing sheet music.
- 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. Once you get the hang of this during your violin practice routine, you’ll be able to shift between positions without even giving it a second thought.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check out “Music Magic’s Violin Activity Book.” It has fun games and activities for very young violinists (ages three to five). Also, look into “Games – Workbook for Strings” by Evelyn Avhsharian is great for children ages three to seven.
- Violin practice exercises don’t have to be a bore. Have fun and play some games like the Violin Fingering game at Fiddlerman.com.
- Get inspired by watching violin videos on YouTube. Not sure where to start? Check out Bryson Andres playing “Secrets” by One Republic or Hillary Hahn playing a Bach Sarabande.
- Explore ViolinOnline.com. It has tons of information about basic violin playing techniques and posture. They have instructions with pictures.
- Find free violin sheet music at 8notes.com, violinsheetmusic.org, and violinonline.com. You’ll discover some of the best violin songs through these online platforms.
- Understanding scales is a big part of understanding the violin as a whole. The better you are at scales, the better you will be at playing this instrument. Use this page from violinonline.com to practice your violin scales. They have one- and two-octave violin scale pages in both major and minor keys, as well as scale duets.
- Sick of only playing classical music all the time? Experiment with playing your favorite songs that you hear on the radio. You can find tons of pop songs by artists like Katy Perry, Adele, Flo Rida, and Coldplay at McCourt’s Violin Studio.IMSLP has tons of free music available for download or printing. All of their music is part of the public domain.
If you want even more violin practice tips, turn to private lessons. Here at TakeLessons, we offer both in-person and online violin lessons where you receive one-on-one instruction from a private tutor to help you improve your music skills in no time.