Getting Started on Violin Video Exercises and Tips Violin Lessons for Kids

The “Guitarra” exercise

Except from: Master Sequence for young beginner students.

1. Violin “setup” correctly and comfortable on the collar bone. This will be more fully described in the Master Sequence.

2. Learn to properly position the left “violin” hand around the neck and fingerboard.

This is probably the source of more “screw ups” than any other element of early violin technique. If  you focus on mastering the left hand early in the game, everything that follows is relatively simple.

I created this exercise because this hand-violin relationship is much easier to learn when broken down in steps. When (and only when) your student can perform this simple movement in good form, do you move to the next step.

This “umbrella” of fingers over the fingerboard and hand astride the neck is simple to perform with the violin in a guitar like position. Note the elevated angle of the scroll.

3. Finally, move the violin with (hand and arm already in perfect position) into playing position. Once in position, our Master Sequence Practice Angel will test for correct posture and freedom of movement.

If you find this information helpful, please share or tweet this page or post, using the buttons below. Thanks!

Suzuki Violin Violinist Profiles

Jessica Chao performs at the Southern California Suzuki Institute Honors Recital

Invincible Violinist Jessica Chao, student of The Alpert Studio of Voice and Violin

If you enjoyed this, please share or tweet this page or post, using the buttons below. Thanks!

Getting Started on Violin Practicing the Violin Suzuki Violin

How much money are you wasting on violin lessons?

It’s a fair question.

When I was a young student, I wasted my share of family funds in the violin studio. I was unprepared. I didn’t fully understand what the teacher was saying. The subject matter was over my head. The teacher couldn’t explain it in a way I could understand. It could be 1000 things. And over the years, it probably *was* 1000 things..

And it’s not all on the student side; teachers are human… they make mistakes too. They miss things that should be fixed. Or they don’t know how to correct problems that the students brings into the studio.

Enter the real world; distracted parent, exhausted student and frustrated teacher. This is not a recipe for making progress on the violin.

It gets me when people worry about the high cost of private lessons, then turn around and barely put any effort into making good use of the invested time and money. It just doesn’t make any kind of sense.

That’s why Invincible Violinists are always fully prepared. They value their time and money. They want to use their teacher’s expertise in the best possible way. Whether in the studio or at home, they’re embracing the best practices.

The most expensive violin lessons you can ever take, are the ones you have to take over. And over, and over.

If you find this information helpful, please share or tweet this page or post, using the buttons below. Thanks!

Violin for Fun

What is my violin worth?

STRADIVARI portrait by Alton s. Tobey, 1971
The king of all violin makers, Antonio Stradavarius in a portrait by Alton Tobey

Is your violin a Strad?


Could that violin you’ve been storing in the closet be a Strad worth millions?

There are literally millions of violins in existence that bear the label Antonius Stradivarius; they’re almost all copies of the classic “Strad” model made famous by the master from Cremona, Italy. Antonio Stradivari handcrafted about 700 instruments during his lifetime. All but 100 are accounted for.

Even though your instrument may not be a real Strad, it still may have considerable value. Strad copies range from junk level factory made instruments to very fine handmade violins worth thousands of dollars. The maker, construction and condition of your instrument all go into determining its value.

The best way to determine the value of a violin is to get an appraisal from a violin shop (luthier.) He or she will be able to determine the authenticity of your instrument, the cost of needed repairs and an approximate market value. A more formal written appraisal might be warranted if you own a fine instrument. You should expect to pay a fee for such an appraisal.

The greatest value your violin might hold is the joy it can bring you when you play it. Fix it up; get some lessons and make some music!

If you find this information helpful, please share or tweet this page or post, using the buttons below. Thanks!

Getting Started on Violin Violin Lessons for Kids

Violin: Buy or Rent? and What Size?

An Invincible Violinist knows that beginning the journey with the right instrument is important. The “I’ll get a Suzy a good violin if and when she sticks with it” approach in not doing your young student any favor.

Before you buy a violin, answer these questions:

  1. If you are just starting, do you need a violin right away? Many teachers of young students will start their pupils using a lightweight “mock violin” instead of the real thing. In this case, the teacher will likely be your best source of information on size, budget.
  2. Do you have access to a speciality violin shop in your area that rents instruments? If so, you’ll generally get a much better instrument in a ready to play condition. Many off-the-shelf violins bought at generalist music stores and online will be of marginal quality. Again, an experienced teacher or player is a great resource.

Rent a Violin, Don’t Buy

There are plenty of reasons to rent. A five year old will quickly outgrow the fractional size “kiddie size” instruments, and will probably need a larger instrument every year or two.

When you are ready for your “forever” instrument, chances are you’ll want to select it from among many sources. Sometimes, a rent-to-buy program might save you some cost on that final purchase. Just be sure to rent from a dedicated violin shop that offers high quality student and artist level instruments.

When It’s Time to Buy Your Violin

Violin shopping (online or in person) is an exciting time for any student. It can also be very confusing. Here are some tips to simplify the process:

  • Always buy where you have a trial period with a return privilege.
  • Take an experienced violinist friend along to the shop. You’ll get added feedback about how an instrument sounds across the room. Or, your friend can play the instrument for you to hear.

What Size Violin is Correct

Playing a violin that’s too large can be crippling at worst, and will slow down your progress, at best. Beyond the size, the excessive weight is a burden on the player. By the same token, a tiny fractional size instrument won’t be playable by a player who has outgrown it. Her fingers and arms will be hopelessly “mashed” together.

Small instruments also come with a small tone. They force the player to work harder, which is not a good thing!

Still, when in doubt it’s best to err on the side of too small, rather than too large.

Sizing is accomplished using one of these methods:

  1. A size chart based on age. Not accurate at all.
  2. Violin Size Chart matching an actual instrument to a player’s arm length.
  3. Using Method 2, tempered by the experience of a teacher.

Obviously, an experienced teacher should be your guide whenever possible.

If all of this hasn’t convinced you to buy or rent a perfectly sized instrument consider this:

If you are trying to save money by playing a full size instrument before you are ready for it, you’ll like spend what you’ve saved on the instrument on lessons to fix the technical problems that will result.

A wrong size violin costs you time, money and bad playing habits.

Bottom line here: rent or buy the best instrument you can afford. Always be sure it is sized correctly. Seek out impartial advice.

Don’t forget the Bow

Many students and families overlook the importance of a quality bow. That’s a serious mistake; bow selection is equally important as choosing the right instrument.

Just as with the violin, be sure to ask for an approval period. Avoid shopping for violin and bow at the same time. You’ll want to select a bow based on how it feels on your permanent instrument. It’s amazing how a bow can enhance the sound of your violin!

Often bows are included with an instrument purchase; the quality varies widely. Generally speaking, it’s best to select the bow on its own merits. Keep the “freebie” bow in your case. It’s always great to have a spare bow.

If you find this information helpful, please share or tweet this page or post, using the buttons below. Thanks!