Tag Archives: violin lessons

Switching from violin to viola

violin to violaLearn­ing to play vio­lin or vio­la can be very reward­ing. Once you learn to play one it is actu­al­ly sim­ple to become pro­fi­cient on the oth­er instru­ment as well. There are just a few minor dif­fer­ences one should know when switch­ing from vio­lin to vio­la.

The vio­la is just a bit larg­er than the vio­lin; the notes are a lit­tle far­ther apart on the fin­ger­board, so one has to stretch the hand a tad more. How­ev­er, the fin­ger pat­tern and posi­tions are the same. The bow is slight­ly heav­ier for the vio­la but you still use the same bow hold.

Per­haps the biggest obsta­cle one might face when switch­ing from vio­lin to vio­la is chang­ing the clef. Most peo­ple have some famil­iar­i­ty with the tre­ble (or G) clef, which the vio­lin uses, while the vio­la uses the alto (or C) clef. Some peo­ple claim the alto clef is hard to read; actu­al­ly it is no more dif­fi­cult to read then the G clef. Like any­thing in music, you have to prac­tice to mas­ter it.

I high­ly rec­om­mend that what­ev­er instru­ment you decide to play you learn aspects of the oth­er and become a “switch hit­ter”. The big ben­e­fit is you will always be in demand, espe­cial­ly on the vio­la. Orches­tras and cham­ber ensem­bles always need vio­la play­ers, while find­ing a gig as a vio­lin­ist may be dif­fi­cult from time to time, as there always seems to be a glut of vio­lin play­ers, so if you can play both you will always have a place to play.

Both instru­ments have a rich reper­toire. While there is less vio­la music if you like to play Baroque and Clas­si­cal Peri­od works, the com­posers of the Roman­tic peri­od, such as Berlioz, Dvo­rak, Brahms, Wag­n­er, Mahler, and Richard Strauss wrote won­der­ful parts for the vio­la. Dur­ing the 20th Cen­tu­ry up to the present such com­posers such as Hin­demith, Elgar, Wal­ton, Bar­tok and Pen­derec­ki wrote many beau­ti­ful works for the vio­la. One of the great­est musi­cians today, Pin­chas Zuk­er­man, switch­es back and forth from both instru­ments on a reg­u­lar basis. What­ev­er instru­ment you pick to learn, you will gain years of enjoy­ment, but if you learn both you will more than dou­ble your plea­sure.

Right hand exercises for violin

Right Hand exercises by Yehudi Menuhin

How to get a better sound…Right hand exercises for violin

In this post I would like to sug­gest a very use­ful tuto­r­i­al about right hand ( bow) and left hand made by the leg­endary vio­lin­ist Yehu­di Menuhin. In this tuto­r­i­al you can learn about  the very fun­da­men­tal  prin­ci­ples of vio­lin tech­nique  in explained in detail by the this great mas­ter. If you pay the required atten­tion on these right hand exer­cis­es for vio­lin you will have very soon a love­ly sound which is essen­tial part of vio­lin play­ing

The prodigy Yehudi
The prodi­gy Yehu­di

Yehu­di Menuhin was born in New York of Russ­ian-Jew­ish par­ents. He made his vio­lin debut at the age of sev­en with the San Fran­cis­co Sym­pho­ny in Lalo’s Sym­phonie Espag­nole, and a recital in New York fol­lowed a year lat­er. By the time he was eleven he had made his his­toric debuts in Paris and Carnegie Hall. At twelve he played in Berlin and at thir­teen in Lon­don, launch­ing him­self at an ear­ly age on a life­long career that was to take him all over the world, play­ing with lead­ing con­duc­tors and orches­tras. In addi­tion to his fame as an excep­tion­al musi­cian he has been equal­ly recog­nised as a com­mit­ted human­i­tar­i­an.


Violin Chord charts

Violin Chords Charts


Have you ever won­dered whether it is pos­si­ble to accom­pa­ny melodies in a way that a gui­tar or a piano would do?

Vio­lin is tra­di­tion­al­ly the solo instru­ment play­ing the basic melod­ic lines (replac­ing usu­al­ly the voice or accom­pa­ny­ing it with par­al­lel melod­ic lines). How­ev­er, it is pos­si­ble to take the accom­pa­ny­ing role of gui­tar in pop­u­lar music, Jazz -swing, Gyp­sy, and oth­er styles just by play­ing the chord sequences in which the piece bases.

This post is cre­at­ed in response to many requests for a brief cat­a­log of vio­lin chords charts arranged in pho­to dia­gram forms for max­i­mum under­stand­ing and play­ing.

The fol­low­ing dia­grams are designed for the left hand. The bow­ing tech­niques with which you can play the chords will fol­low in the com­ing posts.

Let us start with clear­ing what the num­bers in the fin­ger­ings rep­re­sent.

The fin­gers of the left hand are num­bered with fol­low­ing way.

 Finger numbers

violin, finger numbers, fingering chart
Fin­ger­ing — vio­lin.


It is also very use­ful to know all the notes in the first posi­tion. The fol­low­ing chart gives you a brief pic­ture. How­ev­er, the vio­lin has no frets. It is thus essen­tial to hear the notes and tune them cor­rect­ly using your ears.

violin fingering chart
Vio­lin Fin­ger­ing chart in first posi­tion


Based on that we can see now how we can play few of the basic Chords.

Basic Violin Chords Charts

A Major

A major
A (g string) and E with first fin­ger C with 2nd and A with 3r
A Major. A & E on the G and D string with 1st finger C sharp with 2nd and A with the 3rd
A Major. A & E on the G and D string with 1st fin­ger C sharp with 2nd and A with the 3rd













 D Major

Violin Chord chart
D Major Chord with A (on g string 1st fin­ger) F sharp 2nd and D&A with the 3rd fin­ge.
D major accord on the Violin
D Major accord on the vio­lin. A with 1st fin­ger F sharp with 2 and D& A (on A & E string respec­tive­ly) with 3rd fin­ger

G Major

Violin chord chart
G major chord. 1st fin­ger on B (A string) and 2nd on G (E string) G and D open strings
Violin chord chart
G major chord. B with 1st fin­ger and G ( on E string) with the sec­ond

F Major

F major. £rd finger on C( G string) 2nd on F ( D string )and 1st on F ( E string) A open string)
F major. £rd fin­ger on C( G string) 2nd on F ( D string )and 1st on F ( E string) A open string)
F major
A major. 3rd fin­ger on C 2nd on F and 1st on F ( E string). Open string A

A minor

A minor - Chord on the violin
A minor chord. Sim­i­lar to A major with on C ( 2nd fin­ger) nat­ur­al.
Violin chords in simple charts
A minor. A and E ( G and D string respec­tive­ly) with !st fin­ger, 2nd on C and 3rd on A.



E minor (Violin Chord Charts)

E minor
1st fin­ger on E and B ( on D string and A respec­tive­ly and 2nd fin­ger on g (e string)


violin chord charts. Violin viola lessons
Vio­lin chord charts. E minor


B minor


B minor
B minor chord (2nd fin­ger on B and F sharp and 3rd on D. We avoid to play e open string)
Violin chords charts
B minor chord. 2nd fin­ger on B and F sharp on G and D string.3rd fin­ger on d




Different sizes of violins

Finding the right size of violin

Got your first violin…? But the right size?

Find­ing the right size of vio­lin for their child is always a mat­ter that pre­oc­cu­pies par­ents once they meet the deci­sion to start vio­lin lessons. In the major­i­ty of the cas­es of par­ents usu­al­ly buy the instru­ment ahead the first meet­ing with the teacher and usu­al­ly 2 sizes big­ger than the appro­pri­ate (the log­ic behind that is obvi­ous). Why to buy four of five vio­lins with small­er sizes instead of buy­ing just one in the end size. The truth how­ev­er is that an instru­ment which is too small or large is dif­fi­cult to play and more dif­fi­cult to lis­ten to for par­ents. Ill-fit­ting instru­ments can­not be played in tune and can harm the young player’s grow­ing mus­cles and ten­dons. More­over chil­dren avoid instinc­tive­ly tir­ing activ­i­ties that push­es their mus­cu­lar sys­tem into its lim­its. As result they avoid to prac­tice quit­ting the music lessons.
It is thus essen­tial from the very begin­ning to have the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion in mind to make the right deci­sion about the vio­lin size. The fol­low­ing table will give a gen­er­al idea about the appro­pri­ate size in regard to age and arm length with­out though being “panacea”.

A table comparing the size of violin in relation to age and arm length:

Age of play­er Player’s arm length Vio­lin Size Vio­lin mea­sure­ments (Length: body & Total)
11 to adult 23 “ 4/4 or full size 14 – 23, 5 “
9 – 12 years 21,5 – 22, 00 “ 3/4 13 – 21 “
7 – 9 years 20” 2/4 or 1/2 12, 5 – 20, 5 “
5 — 7 years 18 – 18, 5” 1/4 11 – 19 “
4 — 6 years 16, 5” 1/8 10 – 17 “
4 – 5 years 15 “ 1/10 9 – 16 “
3 – 5 years 14 “ 1/16 8 – 14, 5


Alter­na­tive­ly you can always size a vio­lin against the play­er. Have the young child  hold the vio­lin up on the left shoul­der and extend­ing out 45 degrees from their side (not in the front, not to the side.) Next, ask the play­er to reach from under the vio­lin to the scroll (curly end) of the vio­lin with their out­stretched left hand, curv­ing the fin­gers around the scroll from below. If the scroll ends up in the wrist (begin­ning of the palm) then you have the appro­pri­ate size (see the pho­to below).


When the scroll end on the wrist ( beginning of the palm) then you have the right size.
When the scroll end on the wrist ( begin­ning of the palm) then you have the right size.



How to hold the violin bow

Simple Violin lessons :

The bow­ing tech­nique (and hold) has gone through many evo­lu­tion­ary stages over the cen­turies. The way in which the bow was hold was depend­ing on the posi­tion of the main body of the instru­ments the weight of the bow and the curve of the bow, and final­ly on each indi­vid­ual play­er and his tech­ni­cal abilities.The last cen­tu­ry the vio­lin bow hold has been man­i­fes­tat­ed into a spe­cif­ic hold, accept­ed by all mod­ern vio­lin schools, that allows a wide spec­trum bow­ing tech­nicks and sound colours

How to hold the violin bow, demonstrated in pictures.

Step 1

Hold pen­cil in you left hand. Place pen­cil on the first crease (knuck­le) of the mid­dle and ring fin­gers on the right hand

holding the violin bow 8
Step 1



Step 2

Touch the tip of the thump to the pen­cil oppo­site the the mid­dle and ring fin­gers.

Holding the violin bow 1thump and to fingers
step 2


Step 3

Turn had over and make sure that the thump stays bent.

step 3
Step 3


Step 4

Rest the point­er fin­ger on its side, between the first and sec­ond knuck­le.

holding the violin bow 2
Step 4


Step 5

Touch the tip of the last fin­ger on the top of the pen­cil

holding the violin bow last
Step 5

 Step 6

Always remem­ber NEVER bent the thump in the oppo­site direc­tion.

step 5
How to hold the vio­lin bow. step 6

Practise Tips for violin

Prac­tice on the vio­lin can get eas­i­er by fol­low­ing few of the prac­tice tips in this arti­cle.

Practice tips for Violin beginners

Prac­tice makes per­fect…” How suit­able is this for the case of vio­lin where the way you are prac­tic­ing real­ly makes the dif­fer­ence. So try from the very begin­ning to estab­lish the right habits by fol­low­ing some of the sim­ple prac­tice tips for vio­lin that you will read below:

- It is always bet­ter to prac­tice every­day in short­er ses­sions instead of once a week (before the les­son) sum­ming up the time for the whole week.
— Make fre­quent breaks. It is sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly proven that we can be in aver­age 25 min­utes absolute­ly con­cen­trat­ed. So be effi­cient for 25 min­utes and then take a 10 minute break.
— Always try to analyse your prac­tice goal in small­er sep­a­rate tasks. I n oth­er words, focus on one ele­ment at a time either it is the left hand posi­tion, cor­rect bow­ing, vibra­to, into­na­tion etc.
— Always make a nice warm up. This could be prac­tic­ing scales, or some of the tech­ni­cal exer­cis­es sug­gest­ed by your teacher, or some of your own exer­cise (be inven­tive) or just lis­ten to some of your favorite music and try to repro­duce it on you vio­lin.
— Always learn from your mis­takes. Iso­late them and cor­rect them in slow­er tem­po being aware of the slight­est detail. Avoid to repeat mis­takes. “Prac­tice is about rep­e­ti­tion and if you repeat wrong…” I.Perlman
— Always try to get some­body lis­ten to the piece you have worked on at the end of your prac­tice ses­sion. If not just make a record­ing and lis­ten to your prac­tice results.
— Play in front of the mir­ror. “What looks nice is usu­al­ly also cor­rect…” I. Galami­an
— “ rep­e­ti­tio est mater stu­dio­rum”. At the end or begin­ning of you prac­tice always play one of your old­er pieces.