Learn violin by yourself

The first steps and you will immediately be able to play a bit violin

To learn how to play violin it is of course better to have a teacher by your side. Especially to play violin it all starts with listening, with precise hand and finger positions and with the right holding.

It is absolutely NO good idea to let children learn violin by their own without any teacher! All doors are open for children and a good education on the violin can pave their way into a professional life as musician. Nobody ever knows, how a child grows…

Everybody else is invited to do their step by his own. Or to improve his knowledge and/or expand it. Therefore a book is planned, but here you will find the very first steps to try out, what you will find on this website.

The bow

(TOP, bow stick, wrapped with silver, bow leather, pearl eye, screw, FROG,
bow hair of a horse; dark arrow: position of the thumb)

Holding the bow: Do a circle with the thumb and the middle finger of your right hand as in “superb”. Both fingers should connect with their tips. Now you lay the bow into the circle. The thumbs leans with his tip on the stick of the bow shortly before the frog (this is the black block at the end of the bow with the pearl eye). Now he should lean between the frog and the bow leather (this is the leather, wherein the silver wrapping disappears).* With the middle finger you meet the thumb here. Now you make a round hand, similar to a cat’s paw. All joints have to be round; nothing should be straight, all should feel soft and movable. Now place your little finger with its tip on the bow stick. He is indeed carrying all the wight of the bow. All the other fingers are like a rail.
It will take a bit of time, until you will be able to hold the bow right; so don´t mind.

(* There are also other theories about holding the bow. But this is, how I learned it and how it works for me.)

(Thumb and middle finger meet.)

(The thumb leans with his tip at the bow stick. All joints stay round.)

(Holding the bow: the little finger stands on the bow stick, the cuff stays straight, the joints of the thumbs stay round, the forefinger lies with his second part on the bow stick and is responsible for the bow pressure.)

To pull the bow: With this holding or whatever is possible for you in the first moments you pull now the bow on the A string of your violin. The hair of the bow should completely touch the string. Pay attention, that the bow moves absolutely straight at the string (as in a rail). Maybe it will be difficult to see, if the bow really moves straight; a big mirror will be useful for that. Pull and push the bow now (without break, just in changing always the direction of the bow), until you create an evenly tone.
The bow is heavier at the frog than at the tip, so you will have to use a bit more pressure, when you move to the tip and give less, while moving to the frog. How much, you have to try out and will be seen in the tone quality you will reach.

Stroke on one or two strings: To play well you need to develop the feeling, in which angle your bow will touch the string. So play some minutes two strings at the same time and then some minutes only one string.

Practice these items around 10min every day and you will be happy, how fast you develop a feeling for the bow.

The violin

Holding the violin: You need a shoulder rest (maybe you have to buy one). Lean the violin on the neck of the left side of your body. She should be situated in a 45° angle to your body center and a bit below your collarbone. Now turn your head in the direction of your violin and lay it down with the left side of your jawbone. Your chin should be now directly beside the chin rest; not in the rest. So you pinch the violin softly(!) between your jawbone and your body.

Now the left arm goes to the finger board. If you leave your left arm hanging down relaxed it will automatically have the natural right position of the hand and fingers. You lift your arm now to the finger board, that your thumb is on the left and the fingers are on the right side. Now you can move the violin with your left hand or keep it pinched between jawbone and body. You need that flexibility to play.

Put on the fingers: You can keep in mind, that two fingers lying beside each other will create half a tone. Is there space between two fingers that big, that an additional finger could fit in, you will create a whole tone.
Turn your hand now over your fingerboard, that the knuckles are “parallel” to the finger board and you can easily put your fingers down with their tip. Now the basic position: The empty string makes the first tone. Now the forefinger (1st finger) will be placed, that an additional finger would fit between empty string and first finger. Let the first finger lay and place the middle finger (2nd finger) with the same spacing. The ring finger (3rd finger) lies directly beside the second finger. At least the little finger (4th finger) with the space of a whole finger.
Where exactly the fingers will be placed can only be found with hearing the tone height. It needs a bit of time, until your fingers and ear will be connected and you´ll be able to find the tone height securely. So don’t expect too much in the beginning.


Now you might be able to play the first notes.


Leave all your fingers lying, that lay before your actual played finger. That will be necessary for a faster play. If you go down, remove only the finger, that is at the moment “in your way”.