Violin is one of the most attractive instruments for beginners. It’s no surprise as it’s a pretty expressive instrument. Sure, you can’t play chords on it like you can on the guitar, but it’s more than useful for solo sections.
First, we have a completely fretless neck and an option to do true glissando and true vibrato. Secondly, it’s a bowed string instrument, which also opens up a lot of dynamic possibilities. Anything from smooth and warm tones, up to “screaming” intense sections – an average violin can do it all. While it’s mostly associated with classical music, it found use in almost all genres.
See also: The history of the violin
Whether you’re just starting out or whether you’ve decided to learn how to play yet another instrument, you still need reliable material for learning how to play the violin. So we decided to bring you a list of the best violin books for beginners.
- 1 Violin for Dummies
- 2 Fiddle for Dummies
- 3 Introducing the Positions for Violin: Volume 1
- 4 Mel Bay Technical Studies for Beginning Violin
- 5 A Tune a Day – Violin: A Beginning Scale Book
- 6 Essential Elements for Strings: Book 1
- 7 The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner: Book 1
- 8 My First Violin Fun Book
- 9 Suzuki Violin School: Volume 1
- 10 The Violin Fun Book: For Young Students
- 11 The Pascale Method for Beginning Violin
- 12 The Ultimate Songbook for Beginner Violinists
- 13 Violin Lessons for Beginners: Teach Yourself How to Play Violin
- 14 Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus!
- 15 Fiddle Primer Book for Beginners Deluxe Edition
- 16 Conclusion
Violin for Dummies
We’d like to kick things off with this universal book by Katharine Rapoport. Coming from the legendary “For Dummies” series, this book is intended for all ages above 10. In case you really want to start playing the violin on your own and have never played a note on any instrument in your life, this is the book that you’ll want to get. It’s nothing too flashy, but it’s just the basic stuff that you need. You’ll get all the essential info from the book and will have a solid basis to move on to more advanced stages.
Fiddle for Dummies
Another one from the “Dummies” series, this one is dedicated to all those who would rather refer to the violin as the “fiddle.” Technically, fiddle and violin are the same thing, it’s just that fiddle or “fiddling” refers to playing folk and country music on the instrument.
And that exactly what this book will teach you. Some basics are similar to the “conventional” violin playing. While it’s organized in a similar way as the “Violin for Dummies,” it focuses more on this particular style of playing.
Introducing the Positions for Violin: Volume 1
“Introducing the Positions” is a fairly simple book that comes well for ages over 10. While it’s not intended for those who are completely unfamiliar with basic concepts, the book is still a pretty useful one for some later beginner stages.
As the title suggests, it focuses on basic positions, with the ultimate goal to extend the ranges beyond the basic fingerings. While it’s not as “interactive” or fun compared to some other books here, it’s a pretty useful book for those who are very serious about conquering the instrument.
Mel Bay Technical Studies for Beginning Violin
The violin may be a tricky instrument to learn and master, but author Craig Duncan made it easier for beginners in the “Mel Bay Technical Studies for Beginning Violin.” The whole idea is to teach students through a collection of simple exercises in the keys of A, D, and G. Knowing that the standard violin tuning is G-D-A-E, these keys have easier fingering positions for beginners.
What’s more, you’ll also get a collection of photos of proper fingering positions. There’s a total of 85 exercises, all separated into 18 different lessons.
A Tune a Day – Violin: A Beginning Scale Book
Many are more than satisfied with this book, written and compiled by C. Paul Herfurth. “A Tune a Day – Violin: A Beginning Scale Book” features a collection of lessons and exercises that are organized in a systematic manner and allow gradual progress. Just follow all the examples step by step, go through everything, read it up, and there’s no chance you won’t be ready for more advanced stages.
Aside from the additional lessons, basic fingering charts, and systematized lessons, you’ll also get a collection of daily practice routines, as well as series of questions to test your knowledge. It’s as if you’re taking actual lessons or like you’re going to a music school. Some basic music theory knowledge is required though, but the book still provides all the basic info for playing the violin.
Essential Elements for Strings: Book 1
This on offers some of the best solutions for absolute beginners of younger ages. The team of three authors – Michael Allen, Robert Gillespie, and Pamela Tellejohn Hayes – outdid themselves with “Essential Elements for Strings” where they lead the student through basic exercises, techniques, and even songs where all this new knowledge can be applied.
However, this book is also intended for violin teachers looking for a hands-on approach in delivering all the lessons to their students. Of course, it’s also a very solid resource for any beginner violinist.
The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner: Book 1
As its name suggests, “The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner” does indeed bring all the basics in one book. In particular, we’re including the first one in the series of these books written by Janice Tucker Rhoda. Intended for all ages, it covers some basic exercises that come in handy not just for classical music but other genres as well.
There’s a detailed guide of some basic music terms and notation elements, along with the collection of exercises and very detailed fingering charts and other graphs and illustrations.
But the exciting feature comes with the download code for the access to mp3 and PDF files for piano accompaniments. It’s one of the best ways to get a grasp of how it feels like to perform with another instrument.
My First Violin Fun Book
Now going over to something for the youngest ones, “My First Violin Fun Book” is one of the best violin books for beginners aged between 4 and 7. We’re all familiar with the benefits that come with learning music at the earliest of ages. And it’s this book by Larry E. Newman that provides a very accessible approach to teaching the youngest ones.
Aside from the large notation and easy examples, all focused on A and E strings, it also comes with activity pages and additional video tutorials. It’s a very useful and fun little book.
Suzuki Violin School: Volume 1
Written and compiled by Shinichi Suzuki, renowned and well-respected violin teacher and a performer, the first volume of “Suzuki Violin School” is another example of a useful book for both teachers and students. It features a collection of some basic exercise examples and the repertoire of some simpler classical pieces where the student can implement some of the techniques.
Of course, there’s also the basic theory and notation guide that can help any student in learning all the essentials. Overall, this is a great choice for adult beginners, possibly those who are already familiar with basic music theory. If we’re talking about younger students, this one could work better if the student is showing great potential straight away and is taking lessons.
The Violin Fun Book: For Young Students
Something for the youngest ones again, “The Violin Fun Book” is another collection of exercises and interactive lessons written and compiled by Larry E. Newman. Once again, we have a book with larger-sized notation for super easy reading, letter names within note heads, kid-friendly illustrations and explanations, and even play-along tracks. It’s fairly simple yet effective for ages up to 10.
Once this one is successfully covered, the child can move on to Newman’s next work in the series, “The Intermediate FUNdamental Violin Book.”
The Pascale Method for Beginning Violin
Very detailed and super-easy-to-understand book written by Susan Pascale, we have “The Pascale Method for Beginning Violin” as one of the essential works on this list. The whole thing revolves around a simple 12-week program that will take the student from a complete beginner up to the starting stages of the intermediate phase. While it’s aimed at the youngest ones, it’s a bit more of a serious (and effective) approach compared to a couple of other kids’ books we mentioned on the list.
The Ultimate Songbook for Beginner Violinists
If you want something song-based, but that also features a very balanced level system, then “The Ultimate Songbook for Beginner Violinists” by Julia Teermer would definitely come in handy. With over fifty songs in this collection, every piece is presented with very easy to read violin tabs.
The whole book is designed to work with the author’s YouTube channel, cleverly named Violinspiration. On its own, the book might not be as clear to an absolute beginner, so we would point this out as something that would come as a possible downside. On the other hand, this makes it a good choice for those who are somewhat familiar with music theory, possibly musicians who are looking to learn how to play the violin as their second instrument.
Violin Lessons for Beginners: Teach Yourself How to Play Violin
Of course, in most cases, you’ll need more than just a book if you’re a complete beginner. After all, as we said – the violin is a complicated instrument to learn for absolute beginners. This is why Peter Gelling came up with “Violin Lessons for Beginners: Teach Yourself How to Play Violin” and added a bunch of audio examples for the full violin lesson experience. These examples are available through an online platform.
Along with basic principles, the author also adds different techniques, including pizzicato. There’s also an abundance of music theory lessons, all applied to the violin. Since the book requires at least some additional knowledge, yet features very useful systematized lessons, we would argue that this is a good solution for those who play other instruments but also want to learn violin.
Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus!
Is there anything that even comes close to the joy of hearing the classic fiddle tunes? If you’re feeling this way but have never played violin before, “Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus!” by Wayne Erbsen can be a great addition to your beginner literature.
This one offers a very accessible method of learning classic fiddle tunes, with 37 different pieces all written with notation and tablatures, as well as humorous commentary. It also comes with a link to instructional material. Pretty useful for those who are looking to learn stuff like “Amazing Grace,” Cotton-Eyed Joe,” “Joy to the World,” and other simple songs fast.
Fiddle Primer Book for Beginners Deluxe Edition
The “Fiddle Primer – Deluxe Edition” by Jim Tolles is designed to bring an absolute beginner to a level from which they’ll be able to excel further into the world of violin. It covers all the essentials needed for stable technique, positions, and reading music notation. To put it simply – it’s a full package bringing the basics for every beginner.
What’s more, the book also has a few interesting arrangements of bluegrass songs that come after these basics. It’s all accompanied by instructional video and audio files.
Talking about the best violin books for beginners, the best choice depends on the student’s age. Those up to 7 years of age need a very brief yet detailed guide for notation and techniques. That’s exactly what “My First Violin Fun Book” offers, and this would be our recommendation for the youngest ones.
As for a bit older kids, ages between 7 and 12, something more demanding would come in handy. Our suggestion here is “The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner” as it provides some more advanced exercises in addition to the detailed explanations of basic concepts.
Finally, our third best choice if for the adult beginners and the young ones who are showing big potential straight away, we’d go with “Suzuki Violin School” While it is a bit more demanding literature, this is the most “advanced” way to go for new violinists.