How to Teach Children to Play the Violin

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The melodic tones of the violin can impress, entertain or even sooth. This classic instrument is a popular choice among budding musicians. Although mastering the violin takes a tremendous amount of practice and dedication, learning the basic skills necessary to pluck out a tune or play a rendition of a classic song can be quite simple. With a little violin knowledge and the help of an organized resource, you can give children the gift of music by teaching them how to play the violin.

1 Show the student

Show the student how to hold the violin. Start by demonstrating how to hold the violin yourself, then give the violin to the student and help him position his arms and head so that he is holding the violin in the proper position.

2 Teach the student the string names

Teach the student the string names. The violin has four strings, E, A, D and G. Show the student each string, starting with E, the highest, and moving along to G, the lowest.

3 Show the finger placements

Show the finger placements. To create notes between each string note, you place your fingers on the strings. Show the student where to place his fingers to create each note. To help the student remember the proper placement, put a thin, colored tab or small sticker in each location.

4 Demonstrate the proper bow-holding technique

Demonstrate the proper bow-holding technique. Tell the student to place his thumb on the base of the bow, and allow his other four fingers to rest at the top. Remind the student not to tense up his fingers, or hook his pinkie around the bow, as this is a common mistake. Tell the student to think of his pinkie as “Captain No-Hook” to remind himself to keep the digit relaxed.

5 Discuss how to read music

Discuss how to read music. If the student does not already know how to read music, give him a basic lesson in reading treble clef music, as this is the clef in which violin music is written.

6 Select a method book

Select a method book. Many companies offer method books. These books provide step-by-step courses of study for new violinists. Select a method book to use with your student. The book likely will take you several months to move through, and will provide a set base around which to plan your lessons.

7 Move through the method book

Move through the method book, completing the lessons with the student. If you are teaching the student independently, allow his skill to dictate how quickly you move through the book. If you are working with a group, try to set a pace with which all participants can keep up.

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.