Pointers for a beginner

February 22, 2017 at 09:21 PM · Hi all,

I recently started violin as a hobby 8 months ago as an adult learner (I'm 27). I have a private teacher, but I find that I'm feeling a bit stuck the last few weeks. I've been working mostly on 2 octave scales, A, D, and G.. and for a song I have Canon in D. I'm trying to do slow practice on the song, but I feel like I'm still making the same mistakes. And I'm not sure if I'm practicing enough variety of techniques, or how much I should be getting done in one practice session. I'm not sure if anyone can give me a basic outline of what they're study schedule is like, or if anyone can recommend other pieces or techniques I should be working on. I have recently tried to start vibrato, but I'm finding that to be a bit of a challenge to get the feel for as well. Just any pointers for a beginner would be helpful.

Thanks a lot!

Replies (60)

February 22, 2017 at 09:39 PM · Canon in D is not appropriate for a beginner. Did your teacher give you that?

You should be working on short, simple pieces to develop technique one step at a time. If your left hand isn't relaxed and in the correct position without effort (which would frankly be unusual in someone playing for less than a year), you won't be able to develop a decent vibrato and trying to do so at this point could do more harm than good.

Two-octave G and A scales are fine; a two-octave D scale requires third position. This isn't necessarily out of the question for a motivated beginner, especially if you're playing the whole thing in third position, but if you're shifting in the middle of the scale you need to make sure you are developing a correct (released) shifting technique.

Either you are extremely ambitious, or your teacher is. I'm still shuddering at the thought of the Pachelbel Canon as a beginner piece.

February 22, 2017 at 10:31 PM · The D scale isn't in 2 octave then my mistake. I'm only practicing in 1st position. Yes, my teacher gave me that as a practice piece. I told her I wanted to focus on scales or whatever fundamentals I need and one song rather than playing through a lot of songs. I want to make sure I'm covering all the appropriate scales, or I've read about etudes, but I don't have any on paper to use for practice. I have no idea what's appropriate for me or not so gaining more insight on that would be really helpful.

February 22, 2017 at 10:56 PM · Kailey,

Another "Late-Starter" like I was 40 years ago. The beginning is daunting but it is doable.

Does your teacher have other adult beginning students? If not that is probably part of the problem - adults learn differently than children. What Method is the teacher using? Suzuki, while a fine method when followed can be a bit much for an adult who can both read and reason. I started with Doeflein and now teach that method to some local students (personally I think it is great but that is just my opinion - if your teacher isn't using a method with you suggest the Doeflein - it is still in print).

As to playing lots of songs as opposed to a single song - is there a song you really want to learn how to play? Personally, I loved, and still love hymnody as it is familiar and fairly easy to play (of course it has to be in a key you have learned). As Mary Ellen noted the Cannon is a bit too much for a beginner.

Finally, what is your practice schedule like? Being an adult it is often hard to squeeze in a lot of time which makes you have to prioritize and concentrate practice.

Take it easy on yourself. If you really love the instrument you can learn how to play it well. Just don't judge yourself against the children their capacity for learning is different from yours but you have the advantage of an adult brain to process and learn on a more conceptual level.

Maybe when you are my age you will also have had a fun life playing the violin with community orchestras and other venues and maybe get to pass along what you will have learned to another generation of violinists. If nothing else you will learn to love music a lot more and even have that pesky Cannon in D well in hand.

February 22, 2017 at 11:05 PM · Thanks George, that was an inspiration to read.

I'm really enjoying the challenge of this instrument, but I definitely wonder at times what more I can be doing to make better progress. I try to practice 1 hour per day.. but sometimes I can only get a half hour with work and other commitments.. sometimes more than 1 hour on the weekends.

I have a few different practice books, but my teacher stopped using it when I said I wanted to focus on scales. So maybe I should go back to my books again and do some more practice with those at home.

As you said it is hard to find a lot of time to practice as an adult.. so it's important to me to learn how to use that time effectively.

February 23, 2017 at 12:31 AM · As a fellow adult beginner, I can only tell you what has been helpful to me in certain areas.

Take a look at www.violinonline.com for good beginner exercises. I'm working on some of the technique builder exercises, and they're great. They have music sheets for scales too.

Since I also have limited practice time, I try to squeeze in as much as I could in one hour. I generally begin with open strings and two octave scales G, A, C, D,. Recently I've tried playing G and D in thirds (I believe that is what it's called - when you play every note plus the third note above it, all the way up the scale). It's great for honing my intonation skills ;)

Then I do some technique builder exercises (from violinonline, presently working on numbers ONE and TWO ).

Then I work on the song I'm learning. After having the fingering and bowing memorised, I work on different techniques. These weeks, I'm focusing on (no particular order): minimal left-hand finger pressure, quick and clean finger placement, bow speed and equal weight (I tried varying from softer and louder tones, to gain some expression in the song, but for now I'm leaving that aside), right-hand flexible wrist and fingers, intonation, and a little vibrato. (Taken as a given that the following are mastered: proper instrument/right & left hand setup (tension-free, correct posture, shoulders down and back), proper right hand/arm motion/plane when bowing on each string, ... Hhhm, I'm not quite sure what else. I think I'll let the advanced folks take over the list ;))

Do you watch videos from online as well? Which teachers/channels have you found to be insightful? I've found that I've learned certain specific techniques from certain teachers' videos. It's quite interesting to see all the different styles of each one. It also sometimes takes watching five videos from different teachers on one topic, for it to finally click.

For example, after I watched this video, I finally understood what exactly the motion and feel of vibrato is.

I hope you find some of this encouraging! For myself, just discussing ideas with a fellow young adult beginner is motivating and helpful. I feel more motivated to practice now, knowing that there are other beginners out there on this site who are in a similar learning stage as myself. (Not to discredit the invaluable advice and lessons given by some very proficient and highly recommended violinists here on this website. But it's just different.)

February 23, 2017 at 02:46 AM · These days, do beginners go through the Wohlfahrt, Kayser, Sevick sequence to build technique anymore? Just curious

February 23, 2017 at 03:36 AM · I think that one of the reasons that you have a teacher is that you're looking for guidance. If your teacher thinks you should do more than scales, then you should probably be doing more than scales to build your technique.

Trust expertise. If you do not trust your teacher, find one that you do trust.

You should be asking your teacher what they view as the most efficient use of days you have 30 minutes, and days that you have 1 hour. They should be helping you to figure out what to practice and how to practice it, and how to do so efficiently.

February 23, 2017 at 04:03 AM · David, I teach Wohlfahrt and Kayser. I don't usually do much Sevcik though.

I was actually going to post this link for the OP:


February 23, 2017 at 05:47 AM · Mary Ellen, Thanks!

Now and then, I get a sinking feeling that perhaps everyone is now playing "songs" with a marvelous new method through which technique can be acquired effortlessly and I am the only one stuck in the old ways of spending two-third of my practice session on scales and etudes.

February 23, 2017 at 06:04 AM · My teacher has rarely assigned me etudes in my whole life, and I have only had one violin teacher. I am almost certain that's just me. Just a personal thought...

February 23, 2017 at 06:06 AM · My teacher has rarely assigned me etudes in my whole life, and I have only had one violin teacher. I am almost certain that's just me. Definitely don't start vibrato now. It's too early. It's likely too early to start shifting at this point, too. Just a personal thought...

February 23, 2017 at 10:34 AM · Why don't you look at the Suzuki books ? Lots of Bach and other good music in there ; you do not have to be studying the Suzuki method to use the books.

Learn anything but the Canon !

February 23, 2017 at 12:58 PM · Hi kailey! I am also an adult learner for almost exactly 2 years now. My several bits of advice are:

1) Enjoy the instrument. Each time you practice make sure that you play something that you connect with and make sure that you fall into the sound or whatever it is that you love about the violin. I remind myself each time how much I enjoy playing.

2) Find your own path. As an adult learner it is important that you feel like you are on the "right" path ( The one that will let you progress as best as you can given your life situation). This means that you should explore different methods and even different teachers. You will take from each something that you can use even if it is that you will not do well with that method or teacher.

3) You can and should enjoy and even love doing technique exercises. Scales, bow control, double stops, vibrato. Just make them as beautiful as you can. Producing sound from a violin is amazing and it doesn't matter that it is a scale. You build the sound around you and that sound is yours. As you do you can reflect on how to improve it or on what techniques you should be working.

4) You should have a regular teacher that can help you with all of this. They should also be able to reflect the sound that you produce back to you in some way so that you can truly understand what sounds you are producing. Many times the sound you are hearing is a product of your expectations and what you have in your head. They should give you something specific to work on technique-wise without giving you too much. They should provide a source of focus for your practice. Too many things are a source of dispersion for focus. Your teacher should be able to direct you to things you love to play and that excite you.

5) Again, if elements of the above are missing you should search them out yourself and then find a teacher that can help you with the above. There are also surely many things I did not write that you should be finding but those things are also a part of you and what helps you learn the best. You have to figure out those things.

6) Learning theory is an enormous help to an adult learner. I was lucky enough to have been involved enough with music that I have a decent grasp of theory basics. I know what keys are what and that is a huge help for scales and sightreading. If you don't know theory it will be very helpful to learn.

Two years in and I still have an absurd amount of things to work on. I have barely touched vibrato. I have to stop moving my upper arm so much, I have to keep even bow pressure over the entirety of the bow, I have to work on my shifting, I have to learn 3rd position better, I have to work on my 3 octave scales. There is so much more but those are things I work on most days and that is enough that I sometimes lose my own focus.

Joining a group of some sort is very motivational but be careful that you don't let that be the end of your work on technique. Many people get involved in an orchestra and then just practice that music. You will improve at playing in an orchestra in this way but you will not improve technique or your skill with a violin very much.

Anyway, enough rambling! I hope this helps!! Congratulations on making it 8 months! Many never even get that far!


February 23, 2017 at 01:28 PM · I too shudder at the thought of the Pachelbel Canon, but for a different reason. Anyone who is, or has been, a cellist and has had the misfortune to play the bass line will understand. There, I've got that off my chest at last.

February 23, 2017 at 01:48 PM · I should have asked earlier : what sort of music do you want to play on the violin and what do you like to listen to ?

February 23, 2017 at 03:21 PM · A recommendation to try out the book series 'The Doflein Method'

I have been practicing book 1 'the beginning' and a little in book 2 and 3.

I think the excersises are very thourough and the books are very good for the money. lots and lots of different excercises.

I bought them here: fast and free delivery


February 23, 2017 at 04:02 PM · David, I am using Wohlfahrt and Kayser. I'm also on Suzuki 2. Love them. I need to get Sevcic. I also spend most of my time on scales and etudes. I love the "old ways." I find it improves my accuracy, rather than a fast end to a means by way of method book songs exclusively.

I am 28 with a degree in music and started last year in March with the violin. Keep on going. I also wanted to start vibrato, but you WILL compromise your pitch. Be careful. Your brain learns in certain ways and in sequence with your muscles - "methodologies" - and most of the books capitalize on that.

February 23, 2017 at 04:03 PM · Another great book is "How Muscles Learn." Check it out.

February 23, 2017 at 04:11 PM · Pachelbel Canon is definitely a little too hard for you. Definitely don't start vibrato anytime soon, and it's likely too early to start shifting. Quite honestly, my teacher has rarely assigned etudes to me for odd reason, but that could just be me. After all, she values the importance of a good technique and does assign me exercises.

February 23, 2017 at 06:22 PM · Thanks everyone for the responses. I bought the doflein method, and printed out exercises from the website G.A. suggested, as well as the PDF Mary shared - thank you very much for the additional resources!

February 23, 2017 at 06:33 PM · First and formost, ask your teacher to show you HOW TO PRACTICE. Your practice time will be largely wasted if you don't start with building a sensible practice habit. You can read all the books about practice you can find and read the threads here at v.com to see various opinions, including the recent one called "How to practice like a pro", but there's no better way than getting your teacher to demonstrate to you how to practice the particular piece you are currently working on.

Remember, each practice session is a self-taught lesson + drilling. And lesson a teacher gives us is a special kind of practice session in that we are learning how to teach ourselves when our teacher is not around. Eventually we don't need lessons any more. Make sense?

I also echo what Lydia said. You need to trust your teacher and you should feel comfortable asking any questions you have to your teacher. If you feel you can't do that, then you are much better off to find a different one. I know this might not be easy or possible.

February 23, 2017 at 06:39 PM · Just remember the main thing is to learn how to play *properly* because if you take short cuts or learn bad posture or hand positions, you could end up hurting yourself or limiting your progress.

As for scales:

Slow but not unbearably slow, say, quarter notes at 40. Demand good intonation from yourself. At your level you can check yourself against the piano. Nice smooth, straight bow strokes, back and forth, in lane No. 3. Make sure string changes are not noisy. Once you accomplish all that, go to quarter = 48, or try a new scale such as A minor or B major.

I love playing studies!! Kayser is too advanced for you yet. You want something that's just a little bit challenging, not hard enough to be frustrating. You want stuff that will have you playing notes in first position, sometimes with your bow moving back and forth a lot, sometimes with longer slower bows to develop evenness in your tone along the length of your bow.

About your teacher:

Is she an excellent violinist? Does she play professionally? You might think that a beginner is better off with someone who is maybe not such a well-trained, practicing/performing violinist but "better as a teacher." You'd be wrong. Yixi is correct: 1 good teacher > 1000 books.

About your repertoire:

One or two pieces at a time is fine. Divide your practice time in thirds -- one third for scales, one third for a study, and one third for a piece. If you have half an hour for practice, do one of each. if you have an hour, do two scales, two studies, and two pieces, each of the above for ten minutes. Focus on listening to yourself. Once in a while make a video and check your posture and your setup.

About your progress:

Once a week pull out something that you finished working on a couple of months ago. Try it again. Does it sound better? Does it feel easier?

February 23, 2017 at 07:42 PM · I think for a beginner, buying a bunch of books and trying to work on stuff that your teacher hasn't assigned to you is the wrong way to go. You just don't know what you don't know, and there are so many subtleties that watching a bunch of YouTube videos is mostly going to give you the illusion of knowing what you're doing. Becoming impatient just leads to bad habits.

For a beginner, the most important thing you can do is to master every technique that you learn. Lots of people instinctively want to get it more-or-less right and then move on to more exciting things (shifting! vibrato! tougher pieces!) but it is immensely critical that the foundation be super-duper solid.

Think of it this way: Ask violinists at different stage of their development to play Twinkle, entirely in first position with no vibrato, and the differences in their most fundamental technique will be immediately apparent both audibly and visibly.

February 23, 2017 at 08:00 PM · I agree. Follow your teacher.

February 23, 2017 at 08:06 PM · What Lydia said, mastering every technique that you learn. I'd go further, no matter which level you are at, it always goes back to the basics: intonation, tone production, rhythm, musicality, etc. There are different levels of mastering. The better you are, the harder it gets because there are so many more things you must consider, master and integrate so that you be clean, be beautiful and interesting while look effortless.

February 23, 2017 at 08:17 PM · Oh yes. Even advanced students continue to develop their technique, and their teachers still tweak minor bad habits.

February 23, 2017 at 10:09 PM · Wow, trying to do vibrato after 8 months is crazy, forget about it, really, unless you're Mozart descendant. I started with the third position way before I started to TRY to do vibrato.

Everyone seems to be "shocked" at the Pachelbel's Canon for a beginner. I don't find it that shocking at all, it's really useful THE BEGINNING to work on the D major scale. You know the melody, and it can make you practice the D major and have fun at it.

OF course, may be I'm talking about the first 8 bars or so, then you start with legato and a less constant scale jumps, and other things that definitely are something not for a beginner.

Something a you could try instead of the Canon is Bach's minuets, the 2 famous ones (actually none of them are composed by Bach).

February 23, 2017 at 10:17 PM · Kailey,

I understand your situation. As an adult you like to have some control of the process, or at least input to the process. Your teacher is trying to accommodate your wishes.

While scales are great training in the basics is essential and that is what you are missing. I'm going to suggest, one more time, that you get volume-1 of Doeflein (perhaps two copies, one for your teacher) and use that as a place to start. Why? Doeflein has an adult logical approach to the fundamentals and you learn both the basics and music theory at the same time. Also, as an added bonus each turn of the page has at least one duet for student and teacher - you will be playing duets from the beginning and I found that very ego-gratifying and it made it possible for me to play with other more-experienced violinists (fellow students) outside of lessons. Finally, Doeflein is also great in explaining the bio-mechanics of playing the instrument.

If you live in/near Morris County NJ I'd be happy to meet you and maybe even teach you some material. I'd even be wiling to take you on as a student.

As to your practice time - if all you have is 15 minutes that is fine if you really focus for that 15 minutes.

February 24, 2017 at 12:19 AM · I have to agree with tim. depending on the adaptation you pick, canon is a perfect song for beginners. 8 months should be more than enough for you to play it decently.

As for vibrato, i guess it depends on how you learn. I play for a few years now and I can make a decent vibrato, but i cant go up to third position reliably (its always off).

If you are looking for some interesting pieces for beginners, i suggest american civil war songs (like yankee doodle, or when johnny comes marching home). They are easy to play and everyone knows the tune.

Particulary, I like irish songs. Some of them are fairly easy - and if you want to play anywhere near OK, you will need to memorize them anyway (so no problems with the sight reading).

February 24, 2017 at 01:26 AM · I really appreciate all those important reminders here, to master well every technique that I learn, to focus on basics before getting too excited about advanced things (that's totally me), to use lessons as a way to know how to teach yourself, to split up practising sessions, to repeat old pieces and compare progress, etc...

I don't think vibrato has to wait so long to start the learning process. I don't have much experience obviously, but I believe that there are certain preparatory exercises (for vibrato) that can be done very early on in violin playing. It is extremely helpful to become aware of - and to get used to - how your left fingers (& knuckles) should be placed, should act, should feel etc. Even before shifting.

I know teachers will disagree with me.

I'll throw this out and say that I learned the basics for vibrato and shifting from... well, online videos. No lessons. I haven't mastered them fully yet, but I know what to work on and my current teacher believes in me. ("I want you to vibrate on that G" - Wow, I can actually do what she's telling me. It's invigorating and it motivates me to practice other basic techniques that could get boring.)

February 24, 2017 at 01:46 AM · The thing about mastering every technique is that you cannot do them exactly sequentially, because there are too many techniques that you'll never get anywhere. I wouldn't advise a student to delay vibrato, for example, until their intonation is perfect.

February 24, 2017 at 02:28 AM · Paul I agree...for me I find an improvement in one area will lead to another areas' improvement which will in turn lead to another and on until suddenly I realize that I have to again improve that first area in order to continue advancing and improving. I just have to keep myself within a specific skill range and when and if I stray from it I will know ( also with the aid of my teacher) that I either am or am not ready for that advancement.


February 24, 2017 at 04:05 AM · Pachelbel Canon has shifting, string crossings, varied bowings, and passagework, all beyond a beginner. If you are talking about only the first eight bars, then that isn't the Canon. Why play a tiny bit of something when there are many other pieces that can be learned well in their entirety?

I agree with Lydia's post also.

February 24, 2017 at 04:11 AM · I think vibrato's overrated and overdone. I can hardly listen to some professional recordings these days due to the warbling never ending vibrato. Thank goodness for period practices to correct some of these sins.

February 24, 2017 at 05:44 AM · Sometimes vibrato is overdone. I have to agree that the full-fledged Pachelbel Canon is too hard for a beginner, but there is definite mention of adapted versions that should be doable.

February 24, 2017 at 01:37 PM · kailey, here are a couple of resources which might help.

RCM Violin Syllabus

RCM is a widely used standard in Canada, even among some Suzuki teachers as much of the Suzuki syllabus is also referenced in the RCM. It can give you an idea of the expectations at each grade level (and each grade level nominally corresponds to a year of learning), including the development of specific technical skills. It can also be used as a guide to judge the difficulty of pieces or etudes you might study.

Wohlfahrt Op. 74 appears for example, but not until grade 5, and then only studies no. 21 and 29. This doesn't mean that the earlier pieces in that set are as difficult, but that it can be hard to judge the expected difficulty and suitability of pieces without specific guidance. Op. 45 appears earlier, and later, to emphasize the point.

Scales are also mentioned with patterns, speed and bowing.

Another resource is Smart Music. It's a subscription based music and accompaniment service, which includes the entire Suzuki syllabus. Unfortunately it doesn't cover the RCM syllabus. Playing with accompaniment at a speed you can control is a huge help to learning the notes, pitch, and maintaining the tempo. It's also more fun that way.

Smart Music Classic

February 24, 2017 at 01:54 PM · One of the blessings of Suzuki Book 1 is that the pieces are SHORT. For a small child, just playing through a whole page of VoleFart may be too much at one standing (i.e., sitting). However, once you learn "perpetual motion" there is a lot you can do with it to practice different bowings much later in your development. I agree with Mary Ellen about the Taco Bell Canon. After all you could say La Folia is a beginner piece too ... just don't go past the first double bar.

February 24, 2017 at 02:53 PM · I actually started with two teachers, the first one has about 13 years experience and the second is a concert master in the symphony. I liked the idea of lessons with the concert master, but the commute was awful.. And honestly I felt like I was getting the same amount of guidance. She would ask me what I worked on and listen to me play pieces of it then correct some things, but I still didn't feel like I was getting instruction like do A B and C when you go home so I ended up sticking with the other tutor less expensive, shorter commute, and we get along really well. I'm not sure why I feel so lost with how to practice, maybe that there is so much, and I'm not sure how much I'm really progressing because I have no one to compare myself to.. So I wonder am I even sounding ok for the 8 month mark? I'll take a look at the additional resources posted.. You guys are so helpful thank you!

February 24, 2017 at 02:57 PM · I would say talk to your teacher and tell her that you feel you are not progressing. She probably has many ideas/suggestions for you to try. It sounds like she accommodated your request, but maybe you are discovering that you would rather go back to the method books, etc you were dong before. There are many ways to teach and learn. I generally stick with just pieces (generally Suzuki books and a few supplemental pieces) and scales for the first year or so, and start incorporating more etudes, etc later on. Others like to use wolfhart etc.. as soon as possible or work through a method with more bite-sized pieces like Essential Elements. All can work when used carefully and well.

I'm also a little surprised by everyone jumping on Pachelbel Cannon as a sign that the teacher is assigning inappropriate material. I would bet that the version the original poster is talking about is an arrangement all in first position. There is an arrangement that the local school orchestras here use in 4th/5th grade (after about 1 1/2 years of school only instruction) that could easily be appropriate for an adult student after 8 months of private lessons (1/2, 1/4, and 1/8th notes all in first position) and I'm sure that there are probably hundreds of simplified arrangements.

I agree that vibrato is probably a little pre-mature at this stage, but I have had child students ready for it after a year of playing, so it is not inconceivable that a motivated adult could get there in 8 months. (I usually introduce vibrato and simple shifting when students start Suzuki book 2 (sometimes I'll wait a bit if they are younger or have posture issues)).

February 24, 2017 at 04:00 PM · I agree with Ingrid to a fair degree. Every teacher is different. My teacher rarely taught me etudes, though she did assign exercises and scales. I like her a lot, though. I started vibrato quite early compared to others in my group, but that was okay. After all, each student takes a different path, even when they share the same teacher.

February 24, 2017 at 10:48 PM · What makes a "good teacher?" For me, I prefer the person who had to struggle/work hard to develop the skills/knowledge over the "natural" who simply got-it the first time out. Ok, my background is science and engineering, and I hated the Graduate TA's who responded to almost every question was: "It's obvious!" The could not explain because they never-ever had to struggle to "get-it."

I guess there are a lot of highly talented musicians who were child prodigies that teach, but how do they handle explaining how to play a particular piece, perform a particular bow technique, et cetera when their view is that "It's obvious!"

Kailey, I took the time to Google your name and discovered that you are a technical person in medical science. You will love Doeflien because it doesn't assume that anything is obvious and it approaches playing from bio-mechanics as well as music theory and practice.

Playing any instrument is difficult, but if you really want to play you will find the right teacher and method and you will learn. Personally, I was lucky to find a teacher that did struggle to develop his skills and technique and to him, nothing was obvious it was the result of learning by doing and recognizing how it all works together.

If we don't enjoy the journey there really isn't any reason to follow the path.

February 24, 2017 at 11:32 PM · I disagree with the statement that you don't have anyone else to compare yourself to. You have yourself. You can go back and play something you learned 4 months ago. Now, if you started with the Canon and you're still playing the Canon after 8 months, then I'd say you should move on.

February 25, 2017 at 12:30 AM · For the record, I never loved scales and etudes. I did them but I never loved them.

February 25, 2017 at 12:40 AM · I'm curious as to why you feel you need to buy books. I would expect that a music teacher would already have all the material that you need.

February 25, 2017 at 01:52 AM · I agree with many of you. Teachers need to know how to teach each and every technique. Knowing how to do a technique doesn't mean you can teach it. I have noticed this when I'm involved in tutoring. I notice a technical problem, but don't know how to solve it.

February 25, 2017 at 01:52 AM · I agree with many of you. Teachers need to know how to teach each and every technique step by step. Knowing how to do a technique doesn't mean you can teach it. I have noticed this when I'm involved in tutoring. I notice a technical problem, but don't know how to solve it.

February 25, 2017 at 02:01 AM · Step by step. not so much. Understanding how to convey an idea or concept in a way that each different student can understand depending on their learning styles, ability, life style, intelligence, education and many other factors. Thus means that teaching us fluid and dynamic and is both a learned skill and takes experience and a large portion of inate ability of teaching.


February 25, 2017 at 04:04 AM · Yes. That's what I actually meant by "step by step."

February 25, 2017 at 04:40 AM · Probably the poster pushing the teacher to learn Canon in D right away. Lots of newbs just want to jump into this piece.

February 25, 2017 at 05:14 AM · There are variations of Pachelbel's Canon that can be played in first position on the D thru E strings. That is two comfortable hand shapes and just a measure or two where the 4th finger is needed. Really not any more difficult than many of the initial etudes in Wohlfahrt.

February 25, 2017 at 01:17 PM · Does anyone have a link to a good collection of etudes for beginners :) ?

Covering some basics like legato, staccato etc.

Thank you in advance

Edit: I have been playing for only 4 months, but quite alot. Been trying Kreutzer no. 4 for staccato but its a bit too difficult i think. Kayser no. 1 is ok but some good beginner etudes for legato, slurring and staccato would be appreciated

Edit: Found this 100 etudes (book1) by Hans Sitt. Looks like some of the first ones could be good for a beginner


February 25, 2017 at 05:25 PM · I posted a link to Wohlfahrt etudes above.

February 25, 2017 at 10:03 PM · By the way, kailey, Smart Music has an 'arrangement' of the Canon combined with a Christmas melody titled 'Christmas Canon'. It's terrible from the point of view of the real Canon, but it's hard to entirely destroy the Canon without intention, and playing with accompaniment can be helpful and enjoyable. The version in Smart Music is not designed for violin alone, and is in the non-beginner key of Bb major. I guess the level of difficulty is somewhere around RCM Grade 2-3 -- not for a real beginner, but much easier than the real Canon. (I don't believe Smart Music's own difficulty levels as they have everything in Suzuki book 1 as 'easy', which I think is wrong.) Your teacher might not have given you the real Canon to study yet, but a simplified arrangement -- can you check one of the versions in IMSLP for comparison? E.g. IMSLP Canon violin 1.

Playing Smart Music's version probably won't help you with that as it's in a different key, but might be fun if you enjoy the piece. Automatic transposition would have been a nice feature, which is a part of Smart Music's scale exercises. Oddly their piano arrangement is in D, which makes it incompatible with their other instrument versions. Could be smarter.

February 27, 2017 at 12:12 AM · I have to agree with all the posts about the importance of basics. I am also a student and have been playing for 7 years. Last yet I got a new a teacher and at our third lesson or so, she had me play twinkle and I was very confused. After that, she immediately noticed things I needed to improve on (bowing perfect parallel, bow placement and my tendeninces for my first finger F# on E to be flat). I was amazed! Just listen to your teacher Bc they know best. Even when you're 16 and playing twinkle for 45mins, it all has a good reason.

February 27, 2017 at 12:14 AM · Also don't try to add vibrato if you're not ready. That's something you can always add later after you've mastered a piece. When you're just starting, it's one more thing to have to do correct, and I wouldn't worry about it.

March 2, 2017 at 12:14 AM · Thanks everyone for your input. It's been really helpful to see things from a different perspective. I appreciate all the links and feedback! I hope I can put it to good use.

March 2, 2017 at 07:08 PM · Kailey, interested to hear if you'll stop practicing Canon in D and move on to something in your skill range? Seems like that's the first stop for all the advice.

March 8, 2017 at 04:26 PM · I told my tutor everything I was concerned about and some of the responses on here. She seems to believe that I can play this song. So I guess I'll continue to work on it as well as scales and etudes.

March 8, 2017 at 09:05 PM · Are you playing a simplified version or the original?

March 11, 2017 at 02:05 PM · It would be very much better for you if you started on 60 etudes by wohlfahrt, which my teacher introduced to me when i was starting violin and my sister is currently learning. The first few etudes are quite simple and easy to play for a beginner since most of them only have 0-2 sharps. Ill provide a link below.


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