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What you need to study violin

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violinist playing
A violin and bow are must-haves
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Here's what you need to study violin to enjoy yourself and make good progress

Learning to play the violin is not easy, but with practice and commitment it can be done. A lot of people assume if they haven't learned by adulthood it's too late, or if they don't have the money to pay an instructor it's impossible to teach themselves. The truth is the list of necessary equipment is very small.

If you're wondering what you need to study violin, it helps to look at what many students require. This will include the basic violin supplies you'll need as well as a few extras to help you care for the instrument.


No big surprise here. In order to learn the violin you have to have access to the instrument. Many beginners prefer to rent their first violin until they decide if its for them or not. Some places will allow you to rent an instrument to own, so a portion of your monthly payment will count towards purchasing the instrument.

Those on a budget will be happy to learn that fancy instruments take just as long to learn on. Start with a basic model that's in good condition. If you know someone who plays or have an instructor, ask them to inspect the instrument before making a final purchase.

Students over the age of ten should use a full size violin. You can pick it out at a music store to feel out the different models, or order from an online merchant with a good reputation.


Most rentals or purchases would include a bow and a case, but if you don't get the full package you'll need to get a bow. The price range for bows is almost as vast as it is for the instrument itself. The main thing to look for is that the hair is clean (not yellowed or dirty) otherwise you'll have to spend money to re-hair it.


Rosin is applied to the bow to help it grip the strings. Its sold in cakes for about $10 and lasts for years.

Shoulder rest

What you need to study violin begins with what allows you to best wield the instrument – the shoulder rest. While some violinists only use a pad or small sponge, most players prefer the shoulder rest to avoid collar bone and shoulder pain.


So long as it holds the instrument tight to protect it when you travel, a cheap case suffices. Some also include pockets to store rosin, and sheet music so you don't have to lug around a separate carrier.

Extras - As with any instruments, what you need to study violin includes some optional, but nice to have extras.


These are the bane of many students' existence because they show you how off you are. However, they do help you improve your tempo and play with a tight, steady beat consistently. Whether you're doing it for fun summer learning or dream or playing with a band or orchestra, consistency is a goal worth striving for.

Practice mute

To appease parents or neighbors in thin-walled apartments, practice mutes do exactly as they say. They dampen the sound so it's not very loud, while allowing you to apply full pressure and use the full bowing technique.

Cleaning cloth

Keep a thin, soft cloth in your case to wipe off the strings after each practice. This prevents the rosin from building up and protects the finish on the wood.

Notice this list doesn't include an instructor. While having someone to at least show you how to hold the instrument and run through scales is extremely useful, it's not essential. Violin players offer online free tutorials for beginners and students of various skill levels on YouTube and books like “String Builder” by Samuel Applebaum will teach you how to read notes.

The violin is a fun, versatile instrument to study. Enjoy the journey!

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