Welcome Back! As I'm sure you already know I teach violin lessons, which I love! When it comes to my new students, especially those without any music background, it can be hard to know what you need to get started. Not only do you have to decide what is the right violin for you but then there's different violin sizes, music books, rosin, bows and so many other accessories!! Well below I've listed what I use for my students and what I consider to be the Best Violin Music Books, Shoulder Rests and Accessories. Plus I've added some links to where you can purchase them online!
Music Books for Beginner Musicians
Muller Rusch String Method - Book 1
I recommend this book for all of my beginning violin students wither you are 5 or 75. In Muller Rush String Method book 1 you will first start with learning pizzicato (or plucking). Once this is mastered it takes you into learning proper bow hold technique. This is mastered using different songs and exercises given in each lesson of the book.
Though this book has been around a long time it does a great job of teaching technique and theory. The Essential Elements Strings Book is another one I recommend and is quite similar to those is used by most public schools.
Suzuki Violin - Volume 1
The Suzuki method has been around for many years and has become a main staple for music teachers. For every beginner's (child and adult) study of a musical instrument they need to learn Technique, Theory, and Repertoire. The Suzuki books are a great start in each of these areas.
The Suzuki Method focuses on developing a students proficiency in playing through playing by ear. One of the main principles is that we learn to speak before we learn to read. In that same way a student can learn to play their instrument before they learn the notes on a page.
There are 10 Suzuki Books in total and they draw from many well known classical composers like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. It's a great way to get a student playing and enjoying to playing quickly. I love these books and use them as a supplement to my beginner to intermediate students violin learning experience.
Violin Theory book for Beginners Book 1
Violin Theory book for Beginners is a great resource for very young beginning students. I use this for my 4-6 year old students. For young learners repetition is key. This book provides great opportunities for learning theory using a lot of repetition. Theory is an essential part of every musicians learning experience and this is a great book to help them start that process.
Workbook for strings - Book 1
Theory is an essential part of any musicians study. I usually recommend this book to students age 8 to adult. This book moves at a quicker pace through the basics and really helps students understand note values and where the go on the staff. Another thing I love about this book is it shows where the notes from the staff are in relation to the students finger board. I find this can be a difficult concept for new violinists to grasp. This book does an excellent job of helping students make the transition from music on a page to playing music on their instrument.
Beautiful Music for Two String Instruments - Book 1
I have found that students develop musicality much faster as they learn to play with accompaniment or in duets. This book gives easy duets that are simple for beginning violin students. These short songs will enrich your child's learning and make violin lessons even more fun for both students and teacher.
Music Books for Intermediate Musicians
Muller Rusch String Method - Book 2
In Muller Rush String Method Book 2 students start to learn new rhythms as also playing in different key signatures. This is a great enhancement to an intermediate students learning. I also find that this book is a great middle step to help intermediate students advance onto new techniques in bowing and left hand technique.
Muller Rusch String Method - Book 3
This book is all about learning different positions with the left hand. I find it a great resource in teaching third and fourth position. The exercises used in this book with greatly enhance any students technique experience. My copy of this book has been used so much it is falling apart, that's how much I use it for teaching shifting to other positions.
Beautiful Music for Two String Instruments - Book 2
I find duets an invaluable part of a students learning and growth as a musician. While these duets are not extremely challenging they have more difficult rhythms then the first book and will allow the student to feel accomplishment as well as play beautiful music with a friend or instructor. This book is one of my favorites and I enjoy the duets.
Workbook for Strings- Book 2
Continuing to learn theory will help make any intermediate player great. Knowledge is essential and once you understand theory a whole possibility of opportunities in playing open up for you. Much like the first book, Book 2 of Workbook for strings helps students bridge the gap between music on a page and playing music on their instrument. This book will explore different key signatures, rhythms and time signatures. All while helping you see how it relates to the violin. I highly recommend this book.
Every Violinist has his or her preference of which strings they like best. (Trust me you CAN tell a difference if they are a cheap set of strings verse a nicer set of strings. Quality is key... but that is a blog post for another time.) How do you know which strings you'll like best? Well, you'll never know until you try. Here are a few of my favorite/ go to strings.
Thomastik Dominant 4/4 Violin String Set (all Dominant Brand)
Dominant strings are my Go to strings for any instrument. They are great quality and have a nice tone. A full set ( meaning one of every string, G, D, A, E) will normally cost anywhere between $50-60 dollars. Well worth the investment! Do yourself a favor and get these strings.
Dominant G, D, A strings + Pirastro Gold E string (Ball end)
You already know how much I love Dominant strings... These are currently the strings I have on my instrument. For my G, D and A strings I have Dominant strings. (Medium gadge with a synthetic core) For my E string I use a Pirastro Gold E string. I find that with my Bow and on the instrument I am playing now that this E sounds best with my instrument. Love love these strings.
D'Addario Prelude Violin String Set
If you're looking for a less expensive option, I recommend these strings. They don't have quite the same high quality sound as the dominants so I would still suggest those as my go to string. Another consideration for the Prelude strings is to have a back up set of strings in your case. Normally I recommend having on hand the strings you normally use for your violin but you never know when your string break will and you don't want to out of commission for too long. This is a quick way to get back to practicing and isn't too big of a hit to your wallet.
Rosin, Should Rests and Other Accessories
Pirastro Goldflex Rosin For Violin
Depending on what kind of bow you have you will want either light or dark rosin. Currently for the bow I have this is my favorite rosin! While on the slightly more expensive side of rosin, it is well worth the investment as you will have it for a long time. For a less expensive option you can also try the RDM Violin Rosin.
Hill Violin Polish Cleaner
While most violin polishes will do just fine, here is my current favorite Violin Polish.
Everest Collapsible Shoulder Rest for 3/4 & 4/4 Violin
I used to be a huge fan of Kun Shoulder rests until I tried the Everest Should rest. Both are similar, but I love the feel of this one! I recommend that with any shoulder rest that you buy that you get a collapsible one. Collapsible shoulder rests fit into most violin cases, making it less likely to leave behind and forget. (Depending on your build and bone structure this may be the right shoulder rest for you) Be sure before you buy any shoulder rest, and most violin accessories, to check that the size matches the size of your instrument.
Glaesel Violin Ultra Practice Mute
Growing up this mute saved my life on multiple occasions! I would always get home late when people in my house were sleeping, which was a bummer because I still needed to practice my violin. This mute muffles your sound just enough that your practice is still effective, but without waking up any sleeping people in your house! Definitely a favorite purchase of mine. 🙂
Manhasset Sheet Music Stand & Stand Extenders
If you know most of your practicing will be taking place in one designated area then this is the stand for you. Stands are an essential part of a musicians practicing. It can be a pain to try to set up your music inside your case or tape it to the wall (Speaking from experience.) Do your self a favor and invest in your practicing by purchasing a stand. You'll be glad you did!
Did I mention this stand has extenders you can get? For those extra long pieces you have to play...you'll thank me later! Pick yours up here!
Yamaha YT250 Chromatic Tuner
Practicing at home without your teacher there to tune your instrument can be a challenge enough if you are unsure of if your violin string is too high or too low (Too sharp or too Flat). This tuner and other tuners like it are my favorite because they help you tune your instrument. Also these tuners are electronic and are much more reliable then your tuning fork. (As fun to use as those are.) Trust me you will not regret getting a tuner. Note: Make sure you purchase a Chromatic tuner.
Part of becoming a great player is developing great sense of time and rhythm. This tuner is one of my favorites because it is loud enough to hear the beat when you are playing. Sounds silly, but most metronomes that are a tuner and Metronome in one just aren't loud enough for my taste. This one is loud enough and gives you an A4 tone for tuning. (I use it as a companion to my favorite tuner) If it were up to me this would be an essential part of every Violinists bag of goodies.