Whether you’re a beginner violinist or you have been playing for years, there are always ways to improve. But here’s the kicker:
Violin Practice Routine
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.
- Practice at the same time every day. When you have a designated practice time, you are less likely to make excuses or skip practice.
- Use a violin app to track your practice. Try out Music Journal or Practice Center.
- 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.
- Always have a pencil on hand when you practice so you can mark your violin sheet music with helpful reminders.
- 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.
Don’t have much time for a lengthy practice session? Try using a quick, 15-minute routine such as the one in the video below. Some practice is better than no practice at all!
Violin Practice Tips
These violin practice tips will help you make the most of your time so you can have a more efficient, effective practice session.
- Do a simple warm up at the beginning of each practice session to get your fingers, arms, and ears ready to play.
- 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 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 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.”
- 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!)”
Violin Practice Exercises
From technique to control, these violin practice exercises will help you focus on the most important aspects of your playing.
- Play slow scales to fine tune your intonation. [Here’s a great video tutorial on violin scales for beginners.]
- 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.
- Gain more bow control by switching between bowing a single string anfd bowing two strings at once (called a double stop).
- 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 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.
- 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.
- “Music Magic’s Violin Activity Book” has fun games and activities for very young violinists (ages three to five).
- “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
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.
- Play the Violin Fingering game at Fiddlerman.com.
- Make a video to post on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Vimeo.
- 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.
- ViolinOnline.com has tons of information about basic violin playing technique and posture. They have instructions with pictures.
Violin Sheet Music
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.
- Find free violin sheet music at 8notes.com, violinsheetmusic.org, and violinonline.com.
- 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.
- 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 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!