Is it hard to learn to play the violin? And how long does does it take to get reasonably good? We’ll answer these questions and more in this article!
Common Questions About Learning Violin
The violin is often ranked as one of the most difficult instruments to learn, for good reason. The violin may only have four strings, but it requires much more precision and accuracy than many other instruments.
But is it impossible? How hard is it to learn to play the violin? Let’s find out!
Can Adults Learn Violin?
Yes, adults can learn to play the violin! In many ways, learning to play a musical instrument is very similar to learning a second language, and the natural adaptability of a child’s brain makes both new languages and new instruments easier.
However, it is never too late to start learning how to play the violin, and in fact, studies show that adults can gain important social, motor, and even cognitive skills when they take up an instrument.
Is Violin Harder to Learn Than Guitar?
Generally speaking, yes, the violin is more difficult to learn than the guitar. The violin has several factors that make it a difficult instrument to learn.
The guitar has a more relaxed, less structured playing posture than the violin.
The guitar has frets, so it’s easier to learn where to place your fingers.
It’s fairly easy to play a simple song that sounds good on the guitar with very little practice. The violin can sound terrible when played without a lot of study.
Choice of Music
The guitar lends itself to a huge range of music, from simple camp and folk songs to rock, classical, blues, jazz, and everything in between.
The violin is usually used in fewer styles of music, and a lot of the music written for the violin is extremely difficult and complex.
However, the violin has smaller strings that are easier to press, and it’s a more compact, portable instrument, so it’s not all bad news.
Can the Violin Be Self-Taught?
Well, that depends on what you mean by “self-taught.” A person can often sit down at a piano for the first time and tap out a simple tune by ear, but this cannot be done with the violin.
The beginner needs to understand the correct posture and hand positions, and how to use the instrument correctly: it’s not simple and intuitive.
But if you mean “self-taught” with the use of online lessons, video tutorials, and books, then the answer is yes. There are a number of online resources that help a beginner learn to play the violin, and they can be helpful for teaching yourself.
However, professional and personalized instruction, even if it’s online, is much faster and more effective.
Having a violin teacher or tutor can help a beginner make progress more quickly and avoid frustration, which can improve motivation and help you stick with the instrument and learn it better.
How Many Hours a Day Should I Practice Violin?
To make real progress in learning the violin, it’s best to practice for 90-120 minutes a day. There is no instrument that anyone can learn well without practice, and you never outgrow practice. Even professional violin players practice every day.
The need to invest so much time in practice is most adult’s biggest barrier toward learning the violin.
Many people simply don’t have two hours a day for practice on top of all the other things they need to do in a day. There are some ways to modify violin practice and make it more efficient so it can fit into a busy schedule.
Here are some suggestions for optimizing violin practice:
- Set aside 30-60 minutes at least three times a week, but set aside 90-120 minutes twice a week
- Shorten some of your practice sessions by omitting automatic, repeated activities like scales and basic exercises
- During shorter sessions, choose a narrow focus and concentrate on it. Go slowly, concentrate, and listen to your playing. Go back and repeat it with your attention
- Set specific, written goals for your shorter practice sessions. You may decide to perfect a piece of music, master a particular technique, or craft your own expression of a known piece
Keeping your mind and body focused and engaged for the entire duration of shorter practice sessions, rather than simply filling time with repetition, makes shorter sessions more productive and help you learn more efficiently.
There are several online videos that can guide you through shorter practices, like this step by step method below:
How Long Does it Take to Learn to Play the Violin?
The amount of time it takes to learn to play the violin is different for everyone. It depends on how easily you learn, how good your instruction is, how much you practice, and what your musical goals are.
If you want to learn some fun and simple songs to play around a campfire with your friends and dedicate a lot of time and energy toward learning, you can achieve that in less than a year.
If you want to join a band and play professionally, it may take three to five years. If you want to play in an orchestra, it may take decades.
Recommended online service for learning violin:
If you’re looking for a traditional teaching approach from a down-to-earth instructor, then Lora Staples from Red Desert Violin is your best choice.