The Best Violin Blogs
Ask any violinist why they got started on the violin, and the most common answer is likely that a parent had them take lessons when they were children. But ask why a player who is still actively playing the violin today, “What keeps you going?” The answers are endless.
The rich tones that enter both the ear, your head, neck, chest—the sheer physical intimacy—of a violin is something quite special. Soothing, exciting, fulfilling, and oftentimes challenging, there is a kind of rapture that sets it apart from the guitar and other stringed instruments. Perhaps it is exactly that—the physical engagement of the violin to your chin, the tones and vibrations throughout both arms, through your fingers and the box…simply intoxicating.
Now, some equate the violin as a “classical music” instrument. But any player worth their salt will tell you how they have had fun, dabbling in Asian, Middle Eastern, as well as classical music. Quickly reflect and you can probably name half a dozen rock, pop, Americana, and jazz tunes that feature a violin. Bands and artists like The Eagles, Kansas, Michael Bublé, R.E.M., Alicia Keys, and on and on, have incorporated violins to lead or back their compositions, contributing mightily to a tune’s timelessness.
Regardless of genre or era, a violin can elevate popular music, preventing a Top 40 ditty from becoming so much “Dust in the Wind.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
The point is, be it rock, folk, Persian, Arabic, or klezmer, you’ll find violins a-plenty!
Top 10 Blogs & Websites for Violin
For enthusiasts, let’s look at some online resources where you may learn, engage, and enjoy with fellow violinists. We’re aiming here for active blogs and websites where commercial interruptions (pop-up ads and incessant demands for you to login and share your email) are less intrusive while spending time on the sites.
Explore and enjoy these top ten violin blogs and websites for violin players, teachers, and those thinking of picking up or returning to this beautiful, unique instrument…
While its founder, Camila Rabin, has steadily grown www.musicaroo.com into a site covering a wide range of instruments and musical topics, two things hold true.
First, this site is active with recent posts that remain aligned with her passion for music appreciation. It is not overrun with aggressive advertising. And, clicking on the navigation dedicated to violins, you’ll find the second reason we like this site so much. The content is fresh, interesting, and truly global in perspective.
One recent post explores two unusual, violin-like instruments: the Japanese kokyu and the Chinese erhu. Not just any blog includes photos and histories that expand our knowledge of violins beyond our traditional perceptions of the classically-styled, Western 4-stringed instrument.
OK, this site has a lot of ads in the sidebars. But that’s okay. And, the site is old school in terms of its forum format. You must scroll and hunt-and-peck a bit. But it is a lively forum and violinists invest time in writing lively, interesting, and downright funny content. There are comments about products and so forth, but aside from the ads, www.violinist.com/blog is truly an enthusiast’s forum.
One post playfully lists compositions to play as your soundtrack to the August 2017 total eclipse of the sun. Editor Laurie Niles gets some hilarious replies to the article—this blog is alive and well.
This is a warm, nicely designed blog by a mother of five children, Steph. How a mother of five kids who also is an elementary school teacher manages to keep a blog going—well, that’s what coffee can do for you.
Steph is a gifted writer. It would be wonderful if there were some way to get folks locally to volunteer and help with her children, so she could author more passages like this one:
“Staying relaxed I turn my focus towards clean light shifts. Arpeggios give variety to scale practice, I can almost feel my moods change with every new arpeggio.”
The site has numerous navigations where Steph and others review products, recommend sheet music, and provide tips for instructors.
Claire Allen, Violin
While more of a website than a blog, this site has well-made videos of performances and tips for parents who are getting their children started on the violin. Claire Allen, a Washington, D.C.-based professional violinist and instructor, also has a blog within the site.
The blog seems to have lost steam recently, but has quite an archive along with links to outside resources. In her blogging, Ms. Allen freely shares thoughts and step-by-step ideas on the Suzuki method, working with young students, and documenting the recitals of her own students in some truly beautiful photographs that capture the rapture, and the pride, of the performers.
TED is widely known nowadays. But it still came as a surprise that there are numerous video TED talks about the violin. They range from remarkable performances by child prodigies to the story of a famed violinist suffering from schizophrenia, found on Skid Row but re-engaged via his love of playing. It is a truly inspirational story.
But not all is serious—or about skill levels of an 11-year-old you can never hope to match. Worth watching is the TED installment featuring a poet, backed by a violinist, doing an amazing and chilling performance-art piece. Check it out at http://www.ted.com/talks/shane_koyczan_to_this_day_for_the_bullied_and_beautiful.html.
Plucky Violin Teacher
The URL alone is worth the visit. You cannot help but love this blogger, Brecklyn Ferrin, a.k.a., The Plucky Violinist. Inspired by both her love for playing and teaching, as well as her husband’s undertaking of a doctorate, Ms. Ferrin’s fun and informative blog is above all, practical.
The blog features free downloads for instructors using the Suzuki method. And, Ms. Ferrin shares some honest, insightful experiences about operating her studio. In one entry, she relates how she had to come to terms with raising her rates—and what happened.
Yes, she’s doing some marketing on here, too. Like she says in her About section—she has children and a husband earning an advanced degree. So, she earns any commercial plugs by her content. This is a well-crafted blog and she is never pushy about things she’s encouraging you to consider downloading or buying. Frankly, based on her real-life experiences, what she offers to other instructors is probably worth every penny!
Paula Bird, a teacher of violin and piano for more than 35 years, has a lot to share on www.teachsuzuki.blogspot.com. The blog has sections for kids and parents, cute photos from little and big guests at her studio, and a lot of resources—many of them links to free information, guides and other helpful ideas for parents and teachers.
That said, the blog seems to have lost steam in recent times. Given the wonderful insights and commentary Ms. Bird had been sharing—including the integration of business guru Stephen Covey into her worldview of teaching violin—it would be nice if she returned.
But, boy oh boy, if she’s been teaching all those little tykes how to play violin and piano for 35+ years, who can blame her for taking a break from a blog!
Being very honest, dear readers, your writer is a male. And this site has photos taken by luthier and author, Michael Darnton, that depict saws, clamps, glue, and wood shavings.
So, in full disclosure, this is a blogsite that one cannot put down, as it were. Mr. Darnton shares detailed stories about van’s running over a rental cello—and how he repaired it. Close-ups of disassembled violins and their step-by-step re-gluing…who can resist? Story upon story, photo after photo, one just wishes he’d start a cable show, something like “Vince the Violin Man” in place of “Tim the Toolman.”
We know we’d watch it…
This very active blog covers violins, viola, cello, and music education. Delightful contributions include photos. One April 2017 entry by Neil Fong Gilfillan features a cute drawing by a child with his violin, and Mr. Gilfillan talks about infusing his teaching methods with gamification—how to engage young students using activities beyond holding and playing the instrument the entire time.
The blog has more than 110 articles on violin alone and dozens more about other stringed instruments and education. Well-written and organized, this is really a great site for instructors to hear from one another and share ideas.
Author and host Stuart Mason runs this blog. Off the beaten path, we end here with a site that explores the non-classical territories of the violin. www.fiddlefreak.com covers a wide range of bluegrass, country, and crossover artists. Mr. Mason reviews new albums and singles with straight talk about their accomplishments, virtues, and some pratfalls.
This site is a joy. Just meander, read about some artists you’ve never heard of, and click to hunt down samples of their music. You will be amazed by the artistry that’s out there—and is not classical, yet still demonstrates virtuosity. Then, you consider that many are unsigned artists, hobbyists, and writing their own compositions…mind-blowing!