The violin is a notoriously difficult instrument to master.
Most believe it takes years and an excellent teaching system to become a professional violinist.
But that isn’t necessarily true.
While a good teacher can certainly help, you don’t need one.
It is very possible to learn to play the violin on your own. In fact, some people actually learn better that way.
But you need to go about it the right way.
Keep reading to for everything you need to know about how to learn violin by yourself.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Learn The Violin By Yourself
- 1.1 Tips To Help You Progress
- 1.2 Different Methods For Teaching Yourself Violin
- 2 Benefits Of Learning The Violin By Yourself
- 3 How Long Will It Take To Learn The Violin By Myself?
- 4 From What Age Can You Learn To Play The Violin?
- 5 How To Learn Violin By Yourself: Final Thoughts
How To Learn The Violin By Yourself
Before you start playing the violin, it is important that you follow some basic rules to the letter to start on the right foot. And get yourself the best violin you can.
Tips To Help You Progress
The following tips can help ensure that you make good progress when teaching yourself to play the violin.
The first (and most important) tip is to practice as much as you can. And more, even. We all want to go faster and learn everything perfectly in just a couple of days.
But it doesn’t work that way. “Practice makes perfect” is a common adage for a reason. There are no miracle recipes, just time and dedication. Enough of that and you can add your name to the list of famous modern violinists.
This is true whether you are just starting out with the very basics or whether you are learning an advanced technique, like double stopping on the violin.
If you look at some famous people who play the violin, especially actors who had to learn for a role, the one thing that they have in common is that they practiced consistently and often over an extended period of time. Meryl Streep, for example, took 8 months to learn to play well.
Set Goals For Yourself
Set goals to better perceive your progress. A goal calendar will help you stay motivated. Your objectives can serve as goals to define your growth stages and thus maintain motivation.
This technique is commonly used to help maintain the desire to continue playing. The challenges attract many people to the violin. But the initial attraction and excitement soon fades. Doing your best to set achievable goals based on your level can keep you from losing motivation.
Establish A Program Adapted To Your Needs
Organizing your learning is a good idea in order to know where to go, so that you do not move forward in the dark. Try to progress step by step.
At times, you may notice a problem, but not know how to fix it. Then you find yourself asking “Why does my violin squeak?” or something like that. In cases like this, it could make sense to hire a teacher for a single lesson, just to address such an issue.
This does not mean you are learning from a teacher. You are simply using an instructor to help you out a little on your journey of learning the violin on your own.
The violin is a difficult instrument to learn, especially by yourself. Do not abandon learning at the first difficulty. We assure you that you will find more than one. The key is to learn to overcome them.
Explore The Material
To benefit from other tips and advice from violinists, feel free to visit popular forums and blogs. You’ll find other musicians who share the tips and tricks that helped them become true violin virtuosos.
But you should know that learning on your own can lead to many difficulties and inconveniences. To begin with, you will not have any teacher to correct you and help you with suitable material specially designed for your level and your needs.
That said, if you need to start from scratch, there are many videos and tutorials to help you out.
Different Methods For Teaching Yourself Violin
Where should you start when you decide that you want to learn to play the violin without a teacher?
Some decide to start with music theory, while others prefer to skip this stage. It is not necessarily essential. Whatever your decision, there are many ways to start your learning.
Learn To Play The Violin When You Are Already A Musician
This depends mainly on your profile as a musician.
If you dare to play the violin and you already know how to play other instruments (piano, guitar, cello, flute, clarinet, harmonica, trumpet, saxophone, accordion, etc.), you should bear in mind that learning will not necessarily be easier.
You may already have the necessary knowledge when it comes to music theory, and your ear may already be used to analyzing certain sounds. However, you will have to learn to adopt the correct posture, achieve a certain technique, and work on the dexterity of your fingers.
In the opposite case, it is also possible to learn basic things such as reading scores or rhythm with online classes or textbooks.
Teaching Yourself Violin Using Digital Resources
Do you know that you can learn with your computer?
If you are lucky enough to have perfect pitch, learning to play will surely be easier for you, since you will be able to perfectly reproduce any melody just by listening to it.
But keep in mind that very few people have this gift.
Learn To Play The Violin On YouTube
If you do not want to be left behind because you do not know music theory, keep in mind that there are many methods that will allow you to learn to play without suffering the torture of learning violin for beginners.
On the YouTube platform, some channels offer you the possibility of playing a specific song on the violin just by seeing which finger to place where and when.
As if it were a game in pure Guitar Hero style, you can learn to play by following the steps of the musician on the screen, as well as the rhythm of the music.
Learn To Play The Violin With Tablature
Tabs can be used to replace sheet music. The tablatures have four lines (which represent the four strings of the violin) with numbers placed on them. These serve to indicate at what level of the neck you should place your fingers.
Tabs designed for violin are a bit more complicated than those for guitar because the violin has no frets. Therefore, if you start from scratch, we advise you to use only reputable online tablatures.
Learn With Your Smartphone
Another of the jewels of new technologies: applications for smartphones! Many apps can help you out in various ways. Many others are useless.
Learn Violin By Yourself With Books
If technology is not your strong suit, don’t worry You can also turn to textbooks and manuals. Methods for learning to play the violin designed for students will help you learn things like:
- How to hold the bow
- How to place your fingers
- Training exercises
- Memorization work
- Reading of notes and scores
In the manuals, you can find all the necessary information to learn music theory or to learn to play any instrument. Books (with a good deal of effort and motivation) can sometimes serve as a replacement for a teacher. And they help you advance your way! You set your own standards.
Benefits Of Learning The Violin By Yourself
There are plenty of philosophies for learning to play the violin, like the Suzuki Method. But most depend on the presence of a teacher and formalized lessons and practice settings.
Learning by yourself can be a great alternative. It definitely has its drawbacks when compared with learning from a teacher, but it also has some significant advantages.
Often The Only Viable Option
There are many reasons students cannot always learn to play the violin from a private teacher or music school.
In many rural places, especially those furthest from the great metropolises, there are no music schools or municipal conservatories. You can always discover the art of the violin in a self-taught way and develop your artistic style by playing the violin.
Even if some want to learn to play the violin, very few have the motivation to travel many kilometers every day to receive violin lessons.
The price of the classes is another element that you must take into account. Not everyone can afford to pay the amount necessary to receive good musical training.
In fact, the fees for music schools or conservatories can be very high (especially if you also take into account the additional costs of material and travel, for example).
Also, not all schools offer basic classes to adult beginners, forcing many to look for an alternative to learning the basics of violin and music.
Others are afraid of commitment. Following a weekly violin course can greatly limit you when you have a hectic pace of life. In these cases, learning to play the violin in a self-taught way can be the perfect solution.
Freedom To Explore
Learning to play the violin in a self-taught way can also give you more freedom in your musical practice.
You are the one who chooses what you want to play and you do it with passion and desire, something essential in musical practice. As we said, passion is a real engine.
When you take classes, you often feel compelled to play. Consequently, you could lose the desire to enjoy music.
You can also learn things that they might not teach you in a formal class, like how a violin makes sound. Not everyone cares about that, but if you do and you study on your own, you can learn all about it.
Allows You To Have Your Own Style
Learning how to play the violin by yourself can allow you to further develop your style, and even a better ability to improvise.
This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage: you develop your artistic style, but you may fall into bad habits or not acquire certain basics.
How Long Will It Take To Learn The Violin By Myself?
It is very difficult to calculate the time it might take you to learn to play the violin. Without music or music theory classes, you will have to go at their own pace. This is generally an advantage, but can also be a major drawback.
People who go to classes follow a certain rhythm that does not vary. They have a totally regular musical training and practice and progress step by step every week.
When you learn to play an instrument in a self-taught way, it is often difficult to set a rhythm. It all depends on your motivation and your availability.
This can also vary based on your age. The youngest tend to have a better learning curve, be it a language or an instrument. Also, adults often have a harder time finding free time during the week to practice or study.
From What Age Can You Learn To Play The Violin?
Although children tend to learn more easily, the truth is that there is no age limit to learning to play an instrument. Learning the violin as an adult is certainly possible.
In fact, it is actually easier for an adult to learn to play the violin in a self-taught way than it is for children. Children need guidance. If they get that, they can learn to play the violin with great ease.
In general, it is very difficult for children under 12 to learn to play the violin on their own. If they don’t have a teacher to help them, they won’t have anyone to correct their bad habits or bad postures.
As a loose rule, we could say that it is possible to teach yourself to play the violin from the age of 13. Of course, this assumes that the 13 year old (or student of any age) has the motivation and autonomy necessary to follow the classes at their own pace.
How To Learn Violin By Yourself: Final Thoughts
Most people will make better progress and enjoy better results learning from a teacher. But that is not always possible. And some people actually learn better on their own.
Whatever the reason for wanting to teach yourself the violin, know that it is certainly possible. To achieve the best results, follow the tips we outlined toward the beginning of this article.