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Holding the violin and playing pizzicato

After tuning the strings, you are ready to try something on the violin! I will give you some tips.

Stand straight and don’t put your legs next to each other. Make sure your feet are separated.

You hold the violin with your left hand. To put it on your shoulder you hold the neck with a fist. Hold the violin in front of you with the back plate before you. Turn the violin to your shoulder in a way that your chin will be on the chin rest. And then it will look like this:

Holding the violin on your shoulder

Holding the violin on your shoulder

Hold your left hand just like you can see on the picture. For almost everyone I know, it is difficult to hold your bow well in the beginning, therefore I would like to start with plucking the string. This is called: Pizzicato. For the plucking you just need your thumb and your index finger. Hold it like this:

Plucking the A string

Plucking the A string

Plucking the A string close up

Plucking the A string close up

Try once all the strings. It doesn’t sound bad right? Now you can play every string twice and at the same time name the tone you’re playing ( G,D,A or E ) This is a fast way to know all your strings by heart. To make it more difficult you can play this : G, A, D, E or E, G, A, D There are a lot of possibilities. For more information check the violin video instructions.

It is also handy if you can read notes. Not everyone wants to do that, but from my own experience I know it is sometimes very nice if you can. Notes are a way of playing music. It is a language everyone can understand. We use it to read music and play it. You must read the round notes and not the stripes which are on the notes. When you are first starting to learn the notes, it is nice you pluck it first instead of using the bow. Using the bow is, as you will see later, very complex. You have to pay attention to a lot of things then. That’s why I choose to do it like this. With every string there is a note. I will show you.

violin strings in notes

Violin strings in notes

When you see this note:

 open a string of the violin

Open A string of the violin

 you play the A string. When you see this note:


open d string of the violin

Open D string of the violin

you play the D string etc. To make it difficult for you, play this:

exercise playing all the violin strings

Exercise plucking all the violin strings

Every note is one beat. So it goes like: 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 etc. If you clap it first, you know how long the note is. With plucking you can make a difference in sound. You can play loud, soft or something that’s in between. This we call the dynamics. Imagine everyone is playing at the same level of loudness or softness. It would be very boring. That is why we play dynamics in music. The upper line you can try playing soft or maybe loud. Then you hear the difference.

If you want to practise more with the notes, you can write your own exercise on this blanco music sheet.

Reading notes is just like normal reading. If you practise is often, you will read it faster. Therefore it is good to write it down for yourself and practise it without playing the notes on the violin. Just name them.

Here you have one more exercise to practise the notes. You can play them and name them.

exercise naming music notes and playing the notes

Exercise naming music notes and playing the notes


It is necessary to practise because it is all new for you. To make it an automatic thing to do, you’d better play the violin as often as you can. Of course it is not always possible to play or to practise the technical things. That is not a problem.

How much time do you need to study?

Well, it depends. Some people can play for hours and some of them just half an hour. Find for yourself a time in which you think you are able to play everything you want. It is also handy if you write down what you want to practise in that half an hour or hour.

So, it is the best you look to your own schedule and look how much you can do. Important is that you practise at least 4 days a week.

Take your time for every step that is explained. Maybe one week for every step. This is the best way to play every step very well. To be a good violin player: play as much as you can for the best result!

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