Essentials for Beginner Violin & Viola Players

Below are a selection of items I regularly recommend for beginner violin and viola players. I have marked with a ⭐ the items that a brand new beginner will need, while the other items are optional for a brand new player. Note: I do not make a commission on any of these links. I recommend these products and these sites because my experience with them tells me they are quality.

Essential Elements for Violin

1. Essential Elements for Strings Book 1 ⭐

$12

There are many options for beginner musicians on the market. For first-time violin and viola players, I feel this one is the best for a lot of reasons. You can buy it anywhere.

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Violin | Viola

Mach One shoulder rest for violin
Kun shoulder rest for violin

2. Mach One or Kun Shoulder Rest ⭐

$28/$35

For all of the options on the market, these two are solid and reliable, especially as cheaper options often don’t fit the instrument or the player as well. If your student is at a 3/4 size violin or 15″ or larger viola, then this will be their shoulder rest for years to come. I recommend starting with the Mach One and, if that is not comfortable for the student, returning it and buying the Kun. Kun also makes child-sized violin shoulder rests. Note: Child-sized violists (<15″) will need to buy a violin sponge shoulder rest.

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Violin (3/4-4/4) | Viola (15″-17″)

Violin (All Sizes) | Viola (All Sizes)

Peak SMS-20 music stand

3. Peak Music Stand ⭐

$45

This stand is sturdy and collapses down into a sturdy bag. You can get cheaper options if you need to, but they will cost you/your student in terms of ease of use and ability to hold music.

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Music Stand

D'Addario violin and viola rosin

4. Rosin ⭐

$3.70

If, per chance, your instrument didn’t already come with it (or your child has already shattered their rosin block), you will need some rosin. You can buy this brand or something cheaper.

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Rosin

Korg TM-60 tuner-metronome

5. Korg TM-60 Tuner/Metronome ⭐

$30

Better than any app you might put on your phone and better by miles than those little clip-on tuners that are often included in cheap outfits. I have all my students get one of these.

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Korg

RCM Preparatory to Level 2 violin technique and etudes book

6. RCM Preparatory to Level 2 Technique and Etudes

~$20

This book forms the basis of my teaching approach once the student is 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through Essential Elements and will be with the student through many years of growth. Note: You will pay more for it if you buy from Amazon. Instead, use the links below.

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Violin | Viola

Holstein sandalwood violin bow
Meinel pernambucco bow

7. Upgraded Wood Bow

$110-130/$120-150

You have two options for upgraded bows, one from Shar Music and one from Fiddler Shop. Both will sound better and play better than the standard $30-50 bows that come with most outfits and will be light years better than fiberglass bows. Once a student is committed, this is the first upgrade to invest in.

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Holstein Violin Bow (Fiddler Shop, $120) | Holstein Viola Bow (Fiddler Shop, $140)

Meinel Violin Bow (Shar, $110) | Meinel Viola Bow (Shar, $120)

 

Schradieck violin and viola technique book

8. Schradieck School of Technics Book 1

$7

This handy little book is cheap and does wonders for the developing player’s left hand. I’ve been playing a very long time and still haven’t completed it. I usually ask more avid players to pick it up once they start to have their fingers under them.

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Violin | Viola

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