With its beautiful sound and versatile repertoire, the violin is a staple in most orchestras. And the popularity of the instrument also means new people want to learn to play it every day. But how long does it take to learn the violin? Although the answer isn’t universal, anyone can pick up the basics with some practice.
For most people, learning scales and basic songs will take approximately 8-12 months. It can take anywhere from 3-5 years to become a skilled violinist, but it takes a lifetime to master any instrument. But before anyone could play professionally, they all had to start with the basics.
The violin isn’t considered the hardest instrument to play; however, getting started with any new skill can be challenging at first. Learning the correct posture is an essential first step, and understanding how to hold the instrument closely follows. Once you have the stance down, you’ll want to learn how to make a sound. This can be done either by bowing (arco) or plucking (pizzicato).
Taking violin lessons with an instructor may be the preferred method for many new violinists. An instructor can show you the correct posture, how to play notes, and give you basic exercises to improve. However, there are many successful violinists who are self-taught as well.
A violin has four strings, each of which needs to be tuned in order to play correctly. Using the tuning pegs, adjust each string, from lowest to highest, to G, D, A, and E, respectively. If desired, use a tuner or a piano to ensure you’re not sharp or flat.
Violins are balanced between the collarbone and the chin, with the neck held out to the left side. The fingerings are done using the left hand, while the strings are either bowed or plucked with the right. While playing, the position should feel natural and the violin should be stable.
Once you have the positioning down, you can begin to learn simple violin tunes. Start with basic scales to practice the different finger positions and moving between notes. Once scales can be played comfortably, begin learning basic songs such as “Hot Cross Buns”. This song is only three notes, but mastering it will make learning other songs much easier. Other songs to try to include “Jingle Bells”, “Amazing Grace”, and “Ode to Joy”.
Once you’ve mastered basic songs on the violin, you may be ready to move on to more complex tunes. Keep in mind that longer or more complicated music will take some time to learn and even longer to master, so continue to practice daily.
Now that you have a good grasp on fingerings and maneuvering the different notes, you can also work on skills such as vibrato or switching between arco and pizzicato. In addition to playing the correct notes, also pay attention to how you’re playing them and the mood they create.
Even once you feel you’ve mastered the instrument, there is always more to learn. Learning to play the violin will require daily practice. Try to spend at least 20-30 minutes each day practicing both scales and songs.
As a violinist, it can also be beneficial to listen to violin music and watch other violinists play. This can help teach you new techniques and give you new ideas for your own playing. Playing with others in a group will also help fine-tune your skills. After all, learning an instrument is a lifelong journey, but the only way to improve is to keep playing.