Self-Teaching Violin

October 30, 2017, 1:02 AM · Hello everyone,

I'm a fifteen-year-old beginner violinist, I've only been playing about two months or so, and I am trying to teach myself. I've read a couple of other blogs on self-teaching and before you open fire on me for awakening this dragon I have a couple of reasons why I am self-teaching. Firstly I live in a small town in Arua, Uganda, Africa. So not any violinist, like at all. Secondly, we don't always have great wifi and it is really bad over Skype, Facetime etc so video calling is not a great option (although we are looking for ways to fix this, even so, distance and time difference would mean I would still be mostly self-taught). Thirdly since Mom and Dad are missionaries we're not exactly loaded. So if anyone has any extra tips or advice on learning by yourself and things to watch out for when taking this route would be very much appreciated! :)

Replies (11)

October 30, 2017, 1:32 AM · If you are able to record yourself and upload your recording to a file sharing service like Google Drive or YouTube, I'm sure some of us here would be happy to listen and give you feedback, privately.
October 30, 2017, 2:46 AM · It will depend quite much how bad is your internet. If you can watch youtube videos, you have many good tools. To me, the video lessons of Professor V were clear and concise. The reference is here:

Your teacher will be your self criticism and will power. Practice in front of a mirror. If you have a smartphone, no matter how cheap, install a tuner program. I use DaTuner. There are many others. Keep it always at sight when you are practicing and try to stay in the green (in tune) note during your whole practice. You should get a metronome (they are very cheap) or install it in the phone (although you can't tune and keep the metronome at the same time).

As per book, Suzuki and similars are not good for you because they rely on a teacher explaining the jumps from one exercise to another. Although it feels antiquated I think the Maia Bank Violin method is a very good path for self studying. I feel it was written thinking about people without access to a teacher. I believe is out of copyright protection and you can download it from many places. At least one channel in youtube is helping those who use the Maia Bank:

Further on and for dynamics (rythm, enphasis) I found very helpful the free software and webpage MUSESCORE ( . The program will play artificially the partitures you choose (you can also do it online but as your internet is not reliable, it is better to have them downloaded). Don't get crazy with things too advanced and try to stay within what you are currently practicing in the Maia Bank Method. The sound will be very artificial but it will work wonders to play alongside the program to get the rythm, pitch and other dynamics.

And finally, you have this community so any particular problem you may find you can question and lots of people will be assisting you.

Edited: October 30, 2017, 5:23 AM · Freeze in the middle of playing and have someone take the violin and bow out of your hands. Are your shoulders up? Are you swaying back? Are you uncomfortable? Maybe you can ride horses there? - that's the very best posture.


October 30, 2017, 5:38 AM · Do you have any other musical experience?
October 30, 2017, 5:43 AM · Make a goal for the week, something you know you can achieve, and a plan to get there.
October 30, 2017, 8:47 AM · I agree that if you want to use Suzuki, I would supplement it with other exrcises and stuff for reasons mentioned above.
October 30, 2017, 11:08 PM · Thank you, everyone, for all your advice, I do have good enough Internet to watch Youtube and generally use Wifi, its just Skype type of thing that doesn't seem to go well. I messed around with the recorder but thankfully I was in England when I first picked up the violin and I've had a couple "initiation" lessons so that's good. I will definitely try all of your tips.
October 30, 2017, 11:35 PM · Aidan Wright. Type to check your internet speed and if you have facebook page also, write your name and I will search you there, will try also to support you in your way.
Edited: October 31, 2017, 1:49 PM · Aidan,
I'm not quite so remote as you but have had issues with access to lessons etc living in India then rural Australia. Internet can be poor too.

I think the most useful for me has been, yes you do have to pay but there is loads of material, lessons, videos, sheet music, and a discussion forum. The second is virtual sheet music, this site again is subscription but again won't break the bank. Lots of graded sheet music but also accompaniments, recordings of the pieces and at slow tempos. Hopefully, your internet will hold out enough to have a look at those.

Good luck.

October 31, 2017, 2:37 PM · There's a thread in the discussion board on online lessons, or you can search the site for similar threads.
October 31, 2017, 10:18 PM · Lol Ella, your responses crack me up.

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