The violin can be one of the most difficult of all the string instruments to learn how to play and you may need all the help you can get. Of course, a violin teacher is the most important investment on your journey to becoming a virtuoso, but violin exercise books are an imperative adjunct when it comes to how to learn to play the violin.
But with so many choices out there when it comes to violin technique books as well as violin exercise books, one of the most frequently asked questions regarding the violin is which ones are the most appropriate?
For the experienced violin teacher, there are a variety of methods that are used to supplement their teaching and some of these include violin technique books and violin exercise books. These, of course, can also be used by the student who is endeavoring to self-teach by taking violin lessons online.
When it comes to how long it takes to learn violin, it all depends on the student and the amount of time and resources they have.
Violin technique books, which are often accompanied by CDs of violin music can provide invaluable input for supplementing lessons with a private violin teacher who can also advise which violin exercise books are most appropriate.
All of this can depend on when you want to begin your violin lessons.
So with so many books around which are the best ones to help you to progress in violin quickly?
Let’s have a look.
Reasons for Learning Violin Using Books
Today, the most popular resource for both learning and learning is, without a doubt, the smartphone. Having said this, even with a wealth of online resources, violin technique books, and violin exercise books are still the most useful supplement to the lessons provided by an experienced violin teacher.
You may agree that even though they are less interactive than apps on smartphones and tablets, books have stood the test of time when it comes to learning anything. For the violinist who recognises the importance of extensive practice in between lessons, practising violin using books is an extremely wise choice.
While smartphone apps are able to interact with musicians and are beneficial to the overall learning process, there is no doubt that the content contained in books provides a more academic approach and therefore good foundations for becoming an intermediate or advanced player.
Violin technique books can be read over and over and passed on to colleagues and friends. Also, bigger pages mean that information can be seen more easily while trying to hold a violin at the same time!
In certain cases, methods can certainly replace a music teacher, and of course is this useful for musicians who are self-teaching.
Where to Buy the Best Violin Exercise Books?
Buying books seems simple right, but if you intend to learn violin using books, where can you find those rare gems to ensure that you are able to learn how to learn to play the violin? You could shop online or head into one of South Africa’s leading music retailers like Marshall Music.
One disadvantage to buying books online is that you are not able to flick through the pages, assess how it is structured, whether it catches your eye, or will end up simply collecting dust. Also, by flicking through a book, you will be able to see if it contains nuances for your particular needs. For instance, perhaps you are looking for techniques for left-handed violin players, or want to know more about how to use accessories like a chin rest.
In a retail store, in a similar way, that you would glean the kind of extra advice from your violin teacher, a sales assistant is able to offer a lot of advice with regards to learning violin using books that are appropriate for your particular level of ability.
In fact, sales assistants are better at dispensing advice than strangers on the internet who review books because they won’t know where you are in your journey of how to learn to play the violin.
Once you are a regular customer in a music shop, it’s possible that you will build trust with the sales assistant and a relationship like this can go a long way when it comes to how to learn to play the violin.
How Do You Choose the Best Violin Books for You?
Before working out which violin exercise books you need, you need to know what type of violinist you are, there are two types:
- Those who are self-teaching and need excellent stand-alone resources.
- Those who have the help of a violin teacher but still require extra help to learn violin using books.
Bear in mind that there are some violin technique books that you will use forever and others you will be able to pass on as you progress. As you begin to learn how to learn to play the violin, you can expect to find chapters that typically cover the following topics:
- The different parts of a violin
- Tuning your violin
- Adopting the right posture
- Holding the bow
- Hand positioning for right-handed players
- Finger placement
All of these chapters may even include music theory lessons, however, this will probably not be enough to gain proper knowledge of music theory. If you’re going to be using violin exercise books to deepen your music theory, keep these factors in mind:
- Both violin technique books and music theory notes need to be balanced with the right amount of illustrations and text. Assess how pages are arranged and if the layout makes sense to you.
- Violin exercise books are essential for any ambitious violinist. If you are self-teaching, you will need a series of comprehensive exercises that ensure you are reaching your musical milestones.
- Check out books that include a CD. While not essential, it can certainly help to train your ear.
In addition, it may be worth investing in a few classical pieces like the works of:
- Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 5th Symphony
- Beethoven’s Für Elise
- Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
- Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski’s Swan Lake
Is Learning Violin Using Books Enough?
Whether you choose to learn violin using books, attend a music school or find a one-on-one violin teacher, there is no doubt that individual tuition is the fastest way to learn anything new.
Violin technique books can also act as a motivating tutor and guide towards becoming a virtuoso, however, being guided by a violin teacher on how best to use these books is truly the most powerful combination when it comes to how to learn to play the violin.
After a while you will notice that your ability might begin to outgrow the violin exercise books that you are using, which is when you can sell them, pass them on and invest in others.
Once you reach a certain level, some books and pieces just won’t cut it and you’ll need to invest in more books. The rest is up to you.
Your journey to learning the violin should also include complimentary lessons like:
- Music theory
- Music training
- Introductions to music
These methods, often accompanied by personalised tutoring can teach you important skills like:
- Left-hand technique
- Reading tablature
- Note value
- Using a metronome
The Best Violin Exercise Books for Beginners
There are plenty of violin technique books available.
Whether used in combination with private tutorials, or for self-teaching, there are a few books we recommend that are aimed at absolute beginners who have never played an instrument before.
Violin for Dummies
In particular, you could check out the Dummies series which covers important topics like:
- The different parts of a violin
- How to hold a violin
- Bowing techniques
- How to clean violin strings
There is often also the benefit of an included CD which can provide the assistance of audio and video clips.
How to Play the Violin
This book which was written by British violinist Max Jaffa and is aimed at beginners will show you scales, how to read sheet music, arpeggios, as well as how to play several popular violin pieces.
The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner
As you can imagine, this book for beginners includes everything you need to know to simply start playing. Included are plenty of exercises to help beginners get used to their instrument too. This one also includes a helpful CD.
Regardless of whether you are learning to play the electric or acoustic violin, investing in good violin technique books to help you study in between your lessons is essential.
Finally, remember that learning anything new is complicated, especially violin for beginners. If you are serious about how to learn to play the violin, the road to your success is paved with one important ingredient – practice! Practice makes perfect as they say, but so does your perseverance and determination.
Our advice is simple, find a good private violin teacher, invest in the right violin technique books, and practise.
Oh, and whatever you do, while you are practising remember to use your violin mute so that you don’t annoy your greatest fans.
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