The violin is difficult to play. Bowed instruments are sensitive, complex, and intimidating. With dedication and patience, however, you can be good at it, although such will take quite some time. So, how long does it take to learn violin?
It will take at least one year to learn the fundamentals of playing the violin, including the basic techniques. However, you are far from being an expert at such a point. In most cases, you will need at least five years of experience to master higher notes and more complicated techniques.
Read on to learn more about how long it takes to learn violin, as well as some tips on how you can become a master.
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How Long Does It Take to Learn Violin?
Everyone learns at a different pace, so there can be variations in the duration at which people can learn to play the violin. One thing is for sure – it will take time. But when it comes to how long to be specific, many factors will come into play.
When you first grab a violin, you might have imagined yourself playing a concerto, stunning your audience with pieces from Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach! But let’s be realistic!
The learning curve is steep. The violin is not for anyone in a rush. You must pack a lot of patience to be exceptional in this instrument.
On average, it will take at least one year before a person can learn to play the violin. You would have already mastered a few tunes and basic pieces at such a point.
You already have a solid foundation. In the second year, you will advance even more; by the third year, you can be more confident. Nonetheless, it takes a lifetime to master the craft for most musicians.
In the following sections, we will summarize the things you can learn based on a specific timeline.
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How Long Does It Take a Beginner to Learn Violin?
1. In the First Month
Congratulations! You have finally taken the first step and decided to learn to play the violin. The first month is often the most difficult. This is when you will realize that the violin is one of the hardest instruments to play.
At times, you will think of giving up. That should not be the case. Be brave enough to take the challenge; it will be worth it after a few years.
Familiarize Yourself with the Violin
One of the priorities in the first month is learning about your violin. Be comfortable with the instrument. You must feel that it is an extension of your body.
Early lessons in the first month will also include proper posture when playing. Once you know this, you will be more natural. You will need to maintain an upright posture.
Meanwhile, stay flexible and loose as you hold the violin. The instrument must be parallel to the floor. The top of the violin should stay flat like a table.
How to Hold the Bow
Holding the bow is another important lesson in your first month of learning to play the violin. The best way to do this is to hold between the bridge and the fingerboard.
When you are holding the bow too close to the bridge, it will sound scratchy. Meanwhile, if it is too near the fingerboard, there is a lack of focus.
Most of the actual lessons, however, will concentrate on plucking. You can switch to using the bow in the next few months once you already know the fundamentals.
2. On the Sixth Month
At this point, you are already more comfortable with the violin. You must have already spent enough time to be at ease with the instrument.
You already know how to maintain the proper stance while playing and holding the bow. This time, you can already play a song using the bow, advancing from just plucking.
Aside from open strings, you will already know the positioning of the fingers on your left hand. You will have a better understanding of bow directions and the fingerboard.
To add, you already know how to play an etude. If you do not know, an etude is a short violin piece designed to learn a specific technique.
Bowing techniques should demonstrate a significant improvement by the sixth month. Most people will already differentiate between short and detached (staccato) and smooth and connected (legato) bowing.
3. In the First Year
In the case of most people, it takes at least one year to learn the fundamentals of playing the violin. Take note of the word fundamentals. This means that you already know the basics. While you can already play a song at this time, you are not yet ripe as a musician. There are more things to master.
You probably already know how to play some folk, classical, pop, and rock songs in your first year of learning. Many rhythms and notes are already familiar.
If you reached the first year, congratulate yourself for not giving up. This will open doors for opportunities to learn more complex techniques and to advance your skills.
A and D major are some of the first notes that you will learn. But once you make it to one year, you can now be more advanced by playing flat keys and using all your four fingers.
Your sheet might also have new bow markings, such as hooked bows and slurs. Even more complicated rhythms are easier for you to play at this point.
4. On the Second to Third Year
If you reach the second or third year of playing the violin, it just shows that you are dedicated to the craft. Those who are uninterested or are not serious won’t reach this point. There’s no turning back, so the only thing that you can do is to learn more until you can finally master violin techniques.
Shifting your left hand and putting it higher will now be easier. As your hand shifts higher, you can now also play higher notes. The higher the shift is, the farther the range will be.
Another thing that you will learn in your second year is vibrato. It will make your play more expressive. The sound is also more nuanced. The techniques are more complicated than the ones you learned before, but they are now easier for you to execute.
5. On the Third to Fifth Year
It is rare for most people to reach this point of learning the violin unless they are serious about the craft. You are more than confident at this point. You can read musical notation instantly, which is already a part of your second nature.
With your high confidence, you might now be performing a small solo concert for family and friends. Meanwhile, others can already be a part of an orchestra. The positions are now more complex, and the notes are more advanced.
Watch the short video below for insights on some of the things you need to learn to play the violin:
Factors That Affect the Time It Takes to Learn a Violin
The time it takes to learn how to play the violin depends on many factors, including the following:
The younger you are, the easier it is to learn the violin. It is best to start at five years old. This way, kids already have the dexterity to help them master the craft.
However, while age plays a crucial role, do not let this hinder you. No one is too old to learn to play musical instruments. As long as you can hold a violin, you can learn.
Learning the violin can be quicker if you already have experience in playing instruments. This is especially true if you know how to play strings, such as a guitar. This is because you are already familiar with the fretboard and other essentials.
Your learning speed can also depend on the genre of music you would like to master. Within two years, you can already be good at playing folk.
Meanwhile, if you want to learn classical music, then it will take two to four years. Four to five years can be a good timeline for those who want to be good at jazz.
The more time you have, the easier it is to learn. At the minimum, if possible, you should dedicate at least an hour a day. This way, getting used to the violin is easier, and things will come naturally through the years. If you are busy with work or school, try to dedicate at least a few hours a week.
5. Mode of Learning
Another factor that comes into play is your chosen mode of learning. For instance, most people will do well when taught in person by an experienced teacher. It is easier to learn fundamental techniques when you have someone to guide you.
Meanwhile, while it can be a self-taught skill, it can be challenging, especially if you have no or little music background.
Again, how long does it take to learn violin? You can gain significant progress after a year of learning the violin. But, you will need three to five years to say that you can play the violin confidently. Note that violinists learn all their lives.
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Different Ways to Learn How to Play the Violin
Are you finally ready to take the first step in learning how to play the violin? Below are some of the modes of learning:
1. By Yourself
It is possible to teach yourself how to play the violin. This is good for people on a budget since it is often the cheapest option. You do not need to pay someone to teach you the basics.
You can find thousands of materials available online, such as YouTube videos or free online courses. This is great for those who want to learn at their own pace and cannot commit to specific times.
However, this is often the most difficult. You will probably struggle if you have no background in playing musical instruments. You must stay motivated since the process will be difficult and lengthy. Staying disciplined is a must!
2. Online Lessons
Almost everything is available online these days, and that includes violin lessons. The best thing about learning online is that it is convenient. It is a good choice if no music schools or teachers are near your place.
Plus, many lessons are accessible anytime, so it offers schedule flexibility. Nonetheless, if there is an online tutor, you will probably need to set a pre-determined time.
One of the best resources to check out is Masterclass, which offers a lesson from Itzhak Perlman, a global virtuoso who has already played for presidents and royals. The lessons are divided into tidbits like intonation, vibrato, and posture.
Udemy also has violin lessons for beginners. Meanwhile, if you are looking for free lessons, check out Violinspiration.
3. Personal Instruction
This is the best method if you want to learn violin. Through personal instruction, you will have a dedicated teacher or tutor, usually someone with in-depth experience playing the instrument. That person will also be your mentor.
Nonetheless, this is also often the most expensive. Plus, it requires commitment in terms of time.
Because you will have the lessons face-to-face, your teacher can provide detailed guidelines to help you become better, such as how to stand or hold the bow correctly. This is better than just reading the guide from a book or imitating what you can see in an online video.
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5 Violin Tips and Tricks to Quickly Learn the Violin
There is no shortcut to success. However, there are some things that you can do to practice better, including the following:
1. Take It Slow
By now, you probably know that learning how to play the violin is not a process that happens overnight. It will take at least a year.
Some may instantly give up, but patience is a virtue. If you want to succeed, keep on learning.
Stay motivated despite the difficulties and frustrations that will confront you. More so, do not rush the process. Take it one step at a time, and you can surprise yourself with how far you can reach.
2. Pick the Right Violin
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The options are overwhelming, but not all violins are the same. As a beginner, you must find one designed to your needs. A good starter violin has the right size and weight, making it comfortable to hold.
This is important since lessons will take a long time. It is a good idea to try a violin first, so you will see how it feels when playing.
3. Be Realistic About Your Expectation
Don’t get us wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious. However, you need to have realistic expectations. Sometimes, your violin will be noisy and scratchy, but that is alright.
You will have your ups and downs, but they should not be the reason to give up. You will not instantly become a music virtuoso, but your hard work will pay off.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
It may sound cliché, but this is one of the essential tips. Masters in their crafts were not born overnight. Even the best violinists went through years of training.
Dedicate as much time as possible to learning the instrument. Ensure you allot a portion of your day or week to violin lessons.
5. Learning Never Stops
Even if you reach a point when you are already confident in your playing skills, it does not mean you hit the end of the road. Even the best violinists do not stop learning. Keep on playing and practicing. Push yourself to the limit and discover what else you can do with your violin.
Frequently Asked Questions – Learning to Play the Violin
How Hard Is It to Learn Violin?
Very hard, if we are being honest! This is not for people who easily give up or do not have the luxury of time. It will take at least a year before you have a basic understanding of the fundamental techniques.
Your skills and knowledge will be minimal even at such a point. Some will give up even before they reach the first year of trying to learn.
Can I Teach Myself Violin?
Absolutely! However, this is often challenging, especially for someone without background or experience. Many online classes and tutorials are available, including those requiring premium instruction payment.
In most cases, it will be a slower process compared to having an experienced teacher guide you.
In Closing – How Long Does It Take to Learn Violin
On average, it takes one to five years to learn the violin. In the first year, you will already be familiar with the instrument, posture, and basics of holding a bow.
This is also when you can play basic songs and execute fundamental techniques. Within the next four years, your knowledge and skills will improve.
Many factors will impact the speed at which you learn, such as age, time, and mode of learning. Personal instruction is the best way to learn to play the violin. Find a mentor or tutor with vast experience.
Doing the classes face-to-face is a great way to make the lessons more engaging and efficient. However, you can also learn by yourself, especially since tons of violin lessons are available online.