When you first decide to pick up the violin, you probably picture yourself playing complex concertos in front of a sold-out audience.
However, it can take a lifetime to get to that point.
We will cover how long you can reasonably expect to learn the violin.
How Long Does It Take To Learn The Violin?
Most new violinists show significant progress after one year and advance even more by the second year.
After three to five years, someone can confidently state they know how to play the violin, but musicians continue to learn their entire lives.
Of course, the amount of time varies from person to person based on natural musical abilities, training, resources, and the amount of time spent practicing.
It also depends on the skill set requirements to “learn” the violin.
It is significantly different for someone who wants to become a competent player and someone who wants to become a master violinist.
Popular thinking states that it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft.
If someone practices one hour a day, it will take about 27.5 years to master the violin.
How Many Hours A Day Should I Practice The Violin?
A violinist must practice between one and two hours a day for five to seven days a week with minimal time off.
While some people think they should practice even more to speed up progress, most students aren’t able to develop new skills at the same rate once they practice for more than two hours a day.
Is It Hard To Learn The Violin?
Most people consider the violin relatively hard to learn compared to other popular instruments, such as the guitar or piano.
Violins are sensitive and complex.
Making different sounds isn’t as easy as pushing down on a key.
You need to hit the correct strings in the correct places at the correct angle while also holding down certain strings.
Learning to do this requires a lot of time and practice, especially if you want to play quickly.
Beginning Violin Lessons
The first couple of months of learning the violin will involve learning about the violin, reading music, and caring for your instrument.
Parts Of The Violin
The violin may appear simple at first glance, but the instrument contains a number of different components.
As part of the beginning of your training, you need to learn the different components as you will need to understand them as you proceed throughout your studies.
Body: Usually shaped like an hourglass, this hollow body makes up the largest and most prominent part of the violin.
The average violin is 14” long.
Strings: The four strings make up the G, D, A, and E sounds.
Fingerboard: The fingerboard on the neck of the violin allows the musician to press down to create specific notes.
Pegbox: Violinists tune the strings at the pegbox located above the neck, where they attach to the violin.
F-Holes: F-holes are holes on the front of the body that allow sound to escape from the instrument, and they take the shape of a cursive F.
Bridge: Strings rest on the bridge, which causes the strings to stop vibrating.
Tailpiece: The tailpiece refers to the end connection of the strings at the bottom of the violin.
Chinrest: Most violins come with a chinrest for musicians to place their chin comfortably while playing.
When you play the violin, you have sheet music in front of you that guides you through each song.
The notes fall onto the staff, made up of five lines and four spaces.
Violinists only focus on the notes on the staff with the treble clef on the left-hand side.
Wherever the notes fall on the staff determines the specific note the violinist will play.
The lines represent the musical notes E, G, B, D, F.
The spaces represent the notes F, A, C, and E.
As notes move up in the staff, the higher they get.
Some notes have a sharp or flat sound denoted by special markings.
The notes also have indicators to help the musician know how long to stay on a particular note.
Caring For Your Violin
For you to learn the violin, you need a quality violin to use for practice.
Start by getting a sturdy violin case and keeping the violin in the case when not in use.
Avoid storing your violin in excessively cold or dry temperatures.
You may create rosin dust on the violin strings when you practice.
You need to wipe this dust off of the strings after every practice.
However, you don’t want to use alcohol, chemicals, or hot water when cleaning the strings.
Just use a washcloth.
Songs For The Violin
The number of songs you can play with the violin goes on endlessly.
You will start simple and continue to grow until you have the ability to play any song that comes your way, even the most difficult selections.
Violin Songs For Beginners
Some of the most common songs for beginner violin players include:
- Amazing Grace
- Ode to Joy
- Jingle Bells
- When the Saints Go Marching In
After you develop your skills, you can find more impressive songs that still don’t extend too far outside of your knowledge.
Graduate to the following songs after you learn the basics:
- Another One Bites the Dust
- Hotel California
- All About that Bass
- A Whole New World
- Over the Rainbow
Most Challenging Violin Songs
Some songs require both a quick hand and a quick hand.
They also require expert knowledge of musical notes and how to manipulate your instrument to create the sounds you want to create.
People practice for years and still sometimes don’t manage to learn the most challenging songs.
Some of the most difficult songs for the violin include:
- 24 Caprices—Paganini
- Sonata No. 9 ‘Kreutzer’—Beethoven
- Solo Violin Sonata—Bartók
- Violin Concerto—Ligeti
- God Save the King—Paganini
Violin Lesson Progression
Everyone learns at their own pace.
However, most people hit certain milestones at a certain level of training.
We will cover the lessons most students aspire to learn after one year of practice, two years of practice, three years of practice, and four years of practice (and beyond).
In the first year of lessons, you will only use three fingers.
At the one-year mark, many students aim to start incorporating the fourth finger.
This will allow the student to learn notes on the G and E strings and create new notes with the second finger.
At this point, the student will learn hooked bowing as well as legato bowing.
Even more doors open at about two years of practice, allowing you to learn music you like as opposed to the music in the lesson books.
By this time, you feel comfortable with using your fourth finger and the different notes this allows you to hit.
Some things you want to learn by around two years of lessons include:
- Dotted quarter notes
- Sixth notes
- Dotted eighth notes
At year three, you will feel comfortable with all flat keys.
You will also learn double stops and triplets.
Since violins don’t have frets to help the player identify the correct note, violinists must develop the skill of placing their fingers in the right place and hearing nuances in their playing.
At four years, you can learn higher notes by learning how to shift into the third position.
You can also study vibrato to enhance your sound.
At this point, you have a strong grasp of the different skills related to the violin.
It’s up to you to practice them over and over again until you can play anything that comes in front of you.
Best Violin Practice Techniques
If you decide to learn the violin, it’s best to utilize your practice time wisely.
Here are some of the best violin practice techniques.
When you decide to take up the violin, you need to commit to practicing consistently.
If you take an extended break from practice, you will set yourself back.
When you get back to practice, you will need to spend time relearning anything you forgot during your hiatus.
Violin practice needs to become a regular part of life, even when work and family demand more attention from you than usual.
To set yourself up to practice regularly, fit violin practice into your schedule at the beginning of each day.
You may need to wake up an hour earlier in order to fit the practice in, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Hire A Professional Teacher
While you can potentially learn how to play the violin yourself, a professional music teacher can give you the structure and feedback you need to progress as quickly as you can.
The expense will save you from developing bad habits while playing the violin.
Plus, a good teacher will push you, encouraging you to constantly practice more and get better.
If possible, it’s best to start at a young age.
The lessons will become ingrained into the child’s cognitive development.
The child will eventually understand the violin as second nature, similar to walking or breathing.
Most students can understand the basics starting at five years old.
You do not want to start a child before the age of three years old as they may not yet possess the physical or mental skills to grasp the lessons.
Of course, anyone can start to learn the violin at any age.
Teenagers and adults learn the violin successfully.
Plus, many people at this age get to choose the violin instead of having a parent choose the instrument.
This additional passion can make it easier to get through lessons and practice.
Benefits Of Learning The Violin
Why learn the violin in the first place?
Well, violinists encounter a number of benefits to their training, including improved social skills, improved mental faculties, improved physical health, and improved mental health.
While these skills apply to the violin, they also apply to a wide range of additional scenarios outside of music.
Improved Social Skills
Playing the violin forces students to interact with their instructor.
The instructor develops patience and learns how to communicate complicated topics and feedback in effective ways while the student learns active listening.
They will also need to learn how to play as part of a large orchestra.
This will put them in situations where they must practice with other violin players as well as people who play other instruments to come together to create a great performance.
Team activities in school and at work will not seem as intimidating to someone who acts as part of a school band or orchestra.
Improved Mental Faculties
You need a sharp mind to play the violin.
Violinists tend to have higher levels of focus and longer attention spans thanks to years of detailed attentiveness to sounds and music.
Improved Physical Health
Playing the violin requires physical strength.
Children who play the violin increase their upper body strength through regular practice since they need to hold the violin up as they play.
Violinists also have better posture, which can reduce the likelihood of back problems later in life.
Improved Mental Health
People feel more confident when they learn a skill, such as playing the violin.
When a violinist feels sad or angry, they can use the violin as an outlet to release their emotions.
After playing a particularly emotional song, it can make the musician feel better.
Finally, not everyone gets the chance to play an instrument for a crowd of people.
People who do get that opportunity will remember those moments fondly for the rest of their lives.
To improve your own skills, it can help to study the masters.
Here are just two of the expert violists that you can use as a model and inspiration.
At five years old, Chang performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto #1 and got accepted into Julliard.
She continued to make a career for herself as a musician, playing for esteemed orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony.
Hilary Hahn performed her first solo at Carnegie Hall at the tender age of 16.
s a professional violinist, she aims to contribute to the community through free concerts and support of child arts programs.
Final Thoughts On How Long Does Takes To Learn The Violin
It will take a lifetime to fully learn everything to learn about the violin.
However, most students make significant progress by the first year and make enough progress between three and five years to claim they know how to play the violin.
Violin generally requires more work than other non-bowed instruments, so it’s best to study with a music teacher if possible.
The time and effort not only create beautiful music for people to enjoy, but the violinists may even experience some benefits thanks to the skill.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to learn the violin but how much you learn and how much you enjoy yourself throughout the process.