My top 5 violin books for beginners

If you’re a teacher exploring books for lessons or a violin student looking for books to support your learning, then you have come to the right place.

In this blog I will be sharing my top 5 violin books that I use with children and adult beginners.

Most of the books I recommend are aimed at children, but they also work for adults, as long as adult students don’t mind colourful pictures and funny names for the pieces!

I have struggled to find violin books specifically for adult beginners that work at the same pace as the books aimed for children. However, I would love to be proved wrong so please do get in touch if you’re a violin teacher who has been successful in finding good adult beginners’ books.

Before I dive into my recommendations, I should explain that some of these books are specific to working towards the ABRSM exams as some are ABRSM publications. However, I still use these books for students who are not working towards exams as I find these are structured well for any beginner.

1. Violin Star

The Violin Star series is an ABRSM publication and useful when the aim is working towards exams. Even though the books are for children, I use the series with adult beginners. This is the main book my students work from during lessons.

It starts with open string pieces and then introduces one finger on the left hand at a time, rather than introducing all the fingers at once which I’ve found to be overwhelming for some students. Some pieces are created to focus on a specific skill, but you will also recognise well known pieces adapted for beginner level.

2. Fiddle Time

The Fiddle Time series is another option if you want to venture out of the Violin Star series. I pick pieces from these books that complement the Violin Star series.

The great thing about the Fiddle Time series is that it includes duets which some students enjoy as it gives them a chance to play with their teacher or peers if they learn in a group. I personally enjoy playing ensemble music with my students and so I make use of the duets featured in the books. The solo pieces within the Fiddle Time books are also useful if the student needs extra support with one specific skill.

3. Fiddle Time Scales

The Fiddle Time Scales series is part of the Fiddle Time series. I use these books with my younger students when learning scales and arpeggios. Even though they are part of the Fiddle Time series, I find the Fiddle Time Scales books work well with the Violin Star series.

The great thing about the Fiddle Time Scales series is that it doesn’t just demonstrate the scales and arpeggios, it also features exercises and repertoire for each scales and arpeggio. So, if you want to teach or learn a scale but want a bit more support, these books are brilliant.

4. Improve Your Sight-reading

The Improve Your Sight-reading series supports students to develop their sight-reading skills. I’m a firm believer in sight-reading and I feel it is important skill to have as a musician. It allows students to become confident and quicker in learning new repertoire.

Alongside the Violin Star and Fiddle Time Scales series, I use the Improve Your Sight-reading books in lessons when we need fresh material to work from. These books can be used in lessons or independently by the student. Each section breaks down the skills the student needs to focus on to become confident in sight-reading.

5. Joining the Dots

The Joining the Dots series is another set of books that helps a student develop their sight-reading skills. It’s an ABRSM publication so supports the ABRSM exams but again, can be used even if the student isn’t working towards exams.

Compared to the Improve Your Sight-reading series, I find Joining the Dots allows the student to be more imaginative with their playing as there are exercises where the student can improvise and create their own parts for duets. This is a good series if the student enjoys being creative.

There are many other beginner violin books out there and the choice can be overwhelming so I hope my recommended list has helped narrow down your choices.

I am always looking for further violin books, so if you're a student or teacher working from another set of books, please do share your thoughts with me.

If you have any questions about the books I have recommended, feel free to email me.

Rachel K-M.

Cheltenham Violin Teacher

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