From concertos to klezmer, sweet waltzes to street performers, few instruments are as beloved as the ever-versatile violin. With a long history in both orchestral and folk music, playing the violin can be a hugely enriching experience – if you know where to start.
The violin may have a reputation for being a complex instrument, but in reality, there’s plenty of great violin music for beginners out there.
So, whether you’re looking to be a violin virtuoso, a Fiddler on the Roof, or anything in between, let’s get you started with a few easy violin songs.
Beethoven for Beginners
Yes, really! While Beethoven’s immense reputation may seem intimidating, works such as “Ode to Joy” are a joy to play as far as easy violin songs go. What’s more, for as impressive as it sounds, it’s not nearly as hard as it looks. It’s also a great song to learn for improving your fingering and bow work.
Impressive, accessible, and truly joyous, it’s everything you could ever want in violin music for beginners to start learning real classical music.
Sure, Mozart was a child savant, playing and composing from a young age, and pieces such as “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” from later in his career are, like “Ode to Joy,” great for beginners in classical, but maybe your child needs to start a little simpler. If so, you’ll want to look for fun easy violin songs that are accessible to kids, and often take the form of children’s songs.
This early in your child’s musical education, easy songs to play on violin and piano are essentially interchangeable since they’re so common and often children’s songs, holiday tunes, or both. This is where you’ll find songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” They’re incredibly simple, and your child will likely already know the tune by heart. As such, they don’t have to really worry about learning a “new” song and can instead focus on translating the song they “know” into the violin finger movements, bow work, and notation they’re trying to learn.
Some of the best children’s songs that can be used for violin practice of this kind include:
- “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
- “Frère Jacques”
- “Hot Cross Buns”
- “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
- “London Bridges Falling Down”
- “Old McDonald Had a Farm”
- “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”
Common Songs Made Into Violin Starters
In keeping with what we said about taking children’s songs and using them to learn, sometimes the best way for older learners to get into the violin is to use songs that they likewise are likely to already know. As mentioned above, this can allow you to focus on fingering, notation, and the other essentials of the art of violin playing.
Classic songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or “House of the Rising Sun” may not have been composed with violins in mind, but their melodies lend themselves well to practice. The same may be said of the musical scores for many films, from Star Wars to Titanic.
It’s vital to emphasize that finding fun easy violin songs to play should be, well, fun. To have fun playing, you need to play what interests you. Yes, some pieces are harder than others, so you probably won’t want to start off with the most challenging Paganini pieces or Tchaikovsky concertos, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with short basic themes from films you already know and love.
You already have a passion for them – now transfer that into practicing easy violin songs like these that can build your skills and enjoyment alike and focus on new skills such as more complex note sequences and bow dexterity.
Other Easy Violin Songs From the Classical World
Once you have moved past some of the pieces listed above, you might want to look for easy violin songs that are still accessible but are a bit more challenging. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy songs to play on violin by various composers who strike that balance.
For example, the “William Tell Overture” by Rossini is an instantly recognizable piece that’s fast and fun to play. While it’s at a quicker pace than true beginner pieces, however, it’s still easy enough for beginners to learn as they start to take that next step into developing their skills a little more. The same can be said for Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” which is slower but just as recognizable.
You can also play adapted pieces, such as Bach’s “Minuet in G Major.” It’s considerably more difficult, introducing you to new concepts such as playing slurs (two notes played with a single bow stroke) and notes played with a fourth finger. Still, it’s short and basic enough to serve as a transitional piece from simpler easy violin songs toward more challenging material.
With these accessible pieces and others like it, you’ll be making sweet music with your violin in no time.
If you would like to access sheet music to any of these pieces, you can do so through Fresh Sheet Music.