15 Minute Violin Practice Routine for Beginners

We all know how important practice is in mastering an instrument, yet so many of us fail to establish an effective routine.

Why is that? More often than not, it’s because we don’t have a decent practice routine to follow.

Until now, that is 🙂

Here we have a great little 15-minute daily violin practice routine for you to follow.

6 Step Violin Practice Routine

Step 1. Warm-Up

girl with good posture playing violin

Start your routine by warming up in proper posture, which helps you play better and prevents bodily injury. Using a music stand may further help you practice the right posture.

Once you have your body in the right position, complete a simple warm-up exercise to get your arms, fingers, and ears ready. Play along with a steady beat for the best results, such as a metronome. You can also challenge your abilities by using a metronome to play varying tempos.

Step 2. Tune the Instrument

woman tuning a violin

Like many instruments, you should make sure your violin is in tune at the beginning of each session.

If you have never tuned a violin, we show you the steps in our previous post How To Tune a Violin. You can use violin tuner apps like Tuner Lite or Cleartune for assistance. There are also helpful instructional videos for beginners if you have never tuned a violin before.

Step 3. Scales

Playing slow scales can benefit your intonation. Choose a position, either shifting the same finger or using the left or right hand.

Complete three-minute scales with long whole bows, keeping frog to tip in mind to create a decent tone. Practice each scale or etude in a specific position before moving on to the next.

To exercise your bow arm before a performance, try playing a scale with a quarter note per each note in the scale. Start with a basic G major scale and move one octave at a time. Next, play the two-eighth notes in each scale before moving on to four 16th notes in each scale.

Make sure to utilize your full arm length. Once you’re done practicing your scales, your bow arm should be fully warmed up.

You can also use violinonline.com to practice both one and two-octave scales. There, you can choose from either major or minor keys, or play a scale duet.

Step 4. Choose a Song to Play

violin on top of sheet music (1)

Now you must pick the song you want to play all the way through.

There are many easy violin songs that beginners can shift through for practice. Or, you can download free classical music online available under the public domain from IMSLP. You’ll also find pop songs from famous artists such as Katy Perry, Adele, Coldplay, and Flo Rida on McCourt’s Violin Studio’s website.

If you want to follow physical sheet music, you can find options available for free online and in any major music store. Free violin sheet music is currently available at:

Try keeping all your sheet music in a single place so you can find the song you want to play faster. Keep a pencil nearby to highlight your violin sheet music with reminders as well.

Step 5. Focus on Trouble Spots

girl having issue playing violin

Find any trouble spots you may struggle with throughout the song, either from listening to your performance or simply marking down the difficult sections as you go.

You can also use quarters (or coins of any description) to keep track of your progress among difficult passages:

  • Keep three quarters on the left side of your sheet music.
  • Each time you make a mistake, move a quarter to the other side of your music stand.
  • If all the quarters reach the right side, stop to practice these passages.
  • Replay the trouble spots to work on them and improve.

Step 6. Play the Piece from Top to Bottom

Finally, play an entire song from top to bottom. Your goal is to play through the entire song correctly three times in a row or play three different songs perfectly back to back.

Tips for Better Practice Sessions

close up woman playing violin

A few other helpful tips can boost your sessions, making your learning process much more fun over time. Use the tips you find appealing to you or try one or two options to improve your performance without feeling overwhelmed. Each week, add a new tip.

Consider Your Goals

Understanding your weaknesses and strengths can help you set goals to address any issues in your performance. Think about your short and long-term goals in playing the violin. Use your goals to determine the amount of time you should spend practicing, whether it’s 15 minutes per day or five hours. Then, consider the amount of work you can realistically accomplish in each of your workouts.

Record Your Session

Recording your sessions allows you to later listen to your performance and target ways you can improve different points of the performance. Don’t worry, you don’t have to let anyone else listen to the recording unless you want.

Simply using a recording device, like your smartphone, can become a valuable learning tool for you. If you want to get fancy, try a multi-track recorder.

Maintain Rosin Balance

You probably already know how important it is to complete regular maintenance to care for your violin bow. However, using rosin with care is one of the most vital pieces of maintenance know-how that beginners miss.

If you don’t know, rosin is a solid type of resin from pine trees and other conifers that create friction on the bow hair and strings of a violin. Essentially, the material helps the bow grip the strings to produce the sound.

Too much rosin can cause your bow to create a scratchy tone, whereas not enough rosin limits the dynamic range.

Work with a Friend

Everything is more fun with a friend! Enlist someone you know to participate in your violin workout. You’ll have a partner to play music with, and you can even tackle fun duets together. Choose music you can both play fairly easy and let yourselves have some fun.

Play with Accompaniment

Don’t know anyone who plays the violin? You can also play along with an accompaniment, or someone who plays another instrument. Playing the violin this way helps you learn new skills like dynamics, rhythm, and coordinating tempo. It also allows you to learn to play the violin faster, naturally, and with much more enjoyment.

Draw for a Song

Not sure what you want to play? Write down all the fun beginner songs you know how to play on scraps of paper. Fold them up and place them in a jar. Later, you can shake the jar and pick out three of five pieces of paper to decide which songs you’ll practice.

Longer Sessions

If you want to dedicate much longer than 15 to 30 minutes,  just increase the above routine. Change the three minutes in which you hold each scale to six minutes and play the song through twice.

Skip the Song

Rather than playing a song altogether, try practicing techniques and elements of songs.

Start using detaché strokes on the full bow to practice your open strings, alternating the speed between fast and slow bows. Apply the three different elements of tone production, such as bow speed, sounding point, and pressure, for the best results.

Then, practice a scale you set aside to work on each week. Scales are the building blocks of music, so there are many arpeggios and modes to choose from, including blues, jazz, whole, minor, and more.

Next, work on etudes, repertoire, and practice a couple of tunes by ear. Find the riffs from varying genres to switch up your routine and practice well-rounded abilities.

Summary

Consistency is vital to improving your performance. Perseverance and practice allow you to get better faster. Make sure to never allow your daily practice to fall below a minimum of 15 minutes per day and never miss one.

Use our step-by-step guide to help you learn how to play the violin. Follow the tips to keep your workouts fun and exciting, while making sure you’re reaching your goals.

There are so many tips, you can use a few each time you play and still have plenty of information to keep you entertained for a few weeks.

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Ged Richardson

Ged is the Founder of Zing and guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band 'Django Mango'. When he's not writing or noodling, he's tinkering with his vintage Campervan.