Do you have a child who just started learning the violin? Do you teach beginner pianists? One of the very best ways to get a young student excited about learning a musical instrument is to get them playing songs that they like, know, or can at least recognize. Even adults enjoy playing along to violin songs that they know. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of best violin books for beginners and advanced students so that regardless of the level your violinist, there is a violin book for them.
We’ll cover the following types of violin books:
- Best Violin Books for Beginners
- Best Play-Along Violin Books
- Violin Books for Intermediate Violin Students
- Violin Books for Advanced Violin Students
If you are their parent, you already know what music they like! You can ask their music teacher if they have any suggestions for books, look something up online, or visit a local music store. Make sure you take into account how advanced they are so that you aren’t getting them a book that will be too hard – nothing is more frustrating than seeing a song that you really like and not being able to play it!
If you haven’t done so already, make sure to get a great violin as well.
What kind of violin book should you get?
A growing number of beginner violin books include simple, recognizable songs that teach the child how to play. These books are especially great and tend to be the ones that the school or private teacher will recommend to their beginning students. Beyond that, there are a ton of books of sheet music available at music stores with the music of Harry Potter, Disney, Lord of the Rings, and more. While many of these books are on the easier side, some of them will require the beginner violin player to have a year or two of playing under their belt before being able to play them.
Intermediate and advanced students should have technique books, such as for scales and etudes. They should also have pieces in their repertoire that they can perform for solos.
Best Violin Books for Beginners
Essential Elements for Strings by Hal Leonard
Essential Elements is the classic beginner violin book. It contains great lessons on how to play the violin and simple songs that many young violinists will recognize. The first two Essential Elements books include access to Essential Elements Interactive (EEi), a great online education resource.
All for Strings – Violin
All for Strings is a comprehensive violin book that is great for beginners. It explains how scales work (including whole-and-half-step systems), how to place your fingers for positions, and other music fundamentals. It also goes through the various parts of a violin so that students learn all about the violin including the parts of the violin bow and how to hold the violin bow.
Suzuki Violin School Volume 1 by Shinichi Suzuki
The Suzuki method is a world-famous technique for teaching beginner violinists how to play. The Suzuki method was conceived by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki in the mid-20th century. It is modeled after the Mother Tongue Method which models the process of how a child learns the language spoken in his home.
The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner
The ABCs of Violin book that teaches the basics of playing violin. The best-selling book teaches violin technique through melodies, folk songs, classical music, and fiddle music.
It includes warm-ups, worksheets, and exercises that are easy and enjoyable for beginners.
Best Play-Along Violin Books
Play-along songbooks are books that have fun and recognizable songs. When you want to take a break from standard beginner violin lesson books, play-along books are a great way. Sometimes playing along to recognizable melodies actually makes learning violin easier.
A growing number of violin music books and violin sheet music for beginners include simple, recognizable songs that teach children how to play. These books are frequently recommended by teachers to their beginning students since they are both fun to play and teach important music skills.
These days, there is a lot of violin sheet music available with the music of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Disney movies, and more. The music is generally on the easier side, intended for beginner violin players, but some of them will require the player to be a bit more advanced (1-2 years of playing).
What follows is a list of music books from various genres. It is by no means an exhaustive list, there are plenty more. If there is a certain movie or genre not included on this list, give it a search on Amazon – it’s very likely that something is out there! You can also learn more about how to get free violin sheet music.
Star Wars – A Musical Journey
Music from Episodes I-VI
This book is a must-have for Star Wars fans! While it doesn’t contain music from the most recent movies (since Disney acquired the franchise), this holds some of the most popular songs from the original trilogy and the prequels, all written by John Williams and arranged for the level 2-3 player. Each book comes with a free CD that has a version of each song played by your instrument, and a second track with just the accompaniment so you can play along! There is also a book available with the accompaniment written for piano so that you can play with a pianist – but make sure you know which book to get. There are different accompaniment books for string and wind players.
Included are such hits as “The Imperial March” (the famous Darth Vader’s Theme), the royal “The Throne Room”, Anakin and Padme’s love theme “Across The Stars”, and, of course, the Star Wars main theme!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Instrumental Play Along
For Star Wars fans that were bummed that the first book did not include music from the Disney era of Star Wars, never fear! This beginner violin book features music from The Force Awakens. For players level 2-3 and above, this books also contains access to an online audio demonstration of every track included, like many of the other books on this list, and features such hits as “Rey’s Theme”, “March of the Resistance”, “The Jedi Steps and Finale”, and much more!
Harry Potter – Instrumental Solos
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series took the world by storm, and when the movies came out, John Williams wrote the perfect music to capture the magical world and make you feel like you’re right there with Harry and friends at Hogwarts! Many people don’t know that John Williams actually isn’t the only composer to write music for the Harry Potter movies.
This beginner violin book features music from all 4 composers that wrote for the films. John Williams wrote the music for movies 1-3, Patrick Doyle wrote the music for 4, Nicholas Hooper wrote the soundtrack to 5 and 6, and Alexandre Desplat wrote the music to 7 parts 1 and 2. A CD is included that has a sample “it sounds like this” version as well as an accompaniment track to play along with. Another level 2-3 book that may not be perfect for a first-year player, but the reviews rave that this book really gets kids excited about practicing and playing their instrument!
Included are John William’s signature and magical Harry Potter tunes, “Hedwig’s Theme”, “Fawkes the Phoenix”, “Leaving Hogwarts”, Patrick Doyle’s beautiful “Hogwarts Hymn”, Nicholas Hooper’s electrifying “Wizard Wheezes”, and Alexandre Desplat’s haunting “Lily’s Theme”, and more!
The Big Book of Disney Songs
Just as the Star Wars book is perfect for fans of that franchise, The Big Book of Disney Songs is ideal for beginner violinists that love the music of Disney. To note, this book has received several reviews stating that it is not for the first-year beginner player. It has some slightly more advanced key signatures and tricky rhythms (often found in popular music). It’s possible that the talented and advanced player might be able to play a few songs in their first year, but it’s probably best to hold off a year to make sure nobody is getting frustrated, unable to play their favorite songs.
One other thing to note is that this book is of pre-2012 Disney movies – there won’t be music from Frozen, Moana, or other more recent movies inside this particular book. Included in this are such hits as “Under the Sea” (The Little Mermaid), “Trashin’ the Camp” (Tarzan), “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” (The Lion King), “Beauty and the Beast” (Beauty and the Beast), “Scales and Arpeggios” (The Aristocats) “The Bare Necessities” (The Jungle Book), and so much more!
The Big Book of Christmas Songs
Sure, it can only be played during one season of the year, but who doesn’t love Christmas music? The difficulty of the songs included ranges from beginner to intermediate and advanced, so it’s a great beginner violin book for anyone – they can pull it out each year and see how much more they can play out of it! According to a review, buying the hard copy book (rather than the Kindle version) is recommended because many of the songs span multiple pages, making Kindle use harder (but the user that brought that up still really loved the book).
The Big Book of Christmas Songs includes both traditional and contemporary songs, such as: “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “Blue Christmas”, “Away In A Manger”, “Frosty The Snowman”, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”, “Feliz Navidad”, “Go Tell It On The Mountain”, and much more!
Easy Pop Melodies for Violin Book
This beginner violin book has a perfect selection of tunes for beginners! It has a bit of music that everyone can enjoy – from famous pop tunes to hits from the most acclaimed musicals. Included with each tune are lyrics and chord symbols. A sampling of what you will find in this book includes: Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida”, Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, “My Favorite Things” and the title track from The Sound of Music, The Beatles’ “In My Life”, and many, many more! There are 50 tunes in total, follow the link and click the preview to see a list of all the music that is included in this fantastic book.
Songs from Frozen, Tangled, and Enchanted
For those Disney fans looking for music from some of the more recent movies, this might be the book for you! This book includes music from Enchanted, Frozen, and Tangled. Rather than a CD, this book includes digital audio demonstrations of each song in the book that can be accessed online. Some of the hits included are: “Do You Want to Build A Snowman”, “Happy Working Song”, “When Will My Life Begin”, and, of course, “Let it Go”.
Moana Instrumental Solos
This beginner violin book includes some of the top tracks from one of Disney’s latest hits, Moana! Like the other recent book of Disney music, it comes with online access to audio demonstrations of the songs included. “How Far I’ll Go”, “You’re Welcome”, and “Shiny” are all included in this book, along with several others. A sure way to get a child who loves Moana excited about practicing the violin!
The Lord of the Rings Instrumental Solos
This book includes music from all 3 Lord of the Rings movies and a demo CD with performance tracks and play-along tracks as well as piano accompaniment. The music is arranged for the level 2-3 player, though a number of reviews tout that a more beginner player – even people in their first year could play some of the selections in this book. This book includes 12 songs, including the iconic “Concerning Hobbits”, “The Black Rider”, “Gollum’s Song”, and more.
Violin Books for Intermediate Violin Students
Suzuki Violin School, Vol 2 and Vol 3
The next two books in the Suzuki series are tailored for intermediate students. Volume 2 primarily builds on the fundamentals taught in the first volume and focuses on more refined classical music that helps to build technique. Volume 3 focuses on more advanced techniques like developing tone and vibrato. As with the first volume, the student listens to the recordings and works with their Suzuki violin teacher to develop their potential as a musician and as a person.
Franz Wohlfahrt – 60 Studies, Op. 45 Complete
This 2-in-1 combination includes all 60 studies (both books) by Franz Wohlfahrt. The etudes in this book are fun to play and build core skills. This was one of the core books I used when I was learning to play.
Introducing the Positions for Violin
Used widely in classrooms and studios, this book teaches the basics of shifting to third and fifth positions. The etudes in the book gradually progress in difficulty so students learn how to shift before being thrown into hard pieces.
Schradieck – The School For Violin Technics (Complete Books 1-3 And Complete Scale Studies)
Schradieck is another core etude collection that builds flexibility in the fingers to build endurance, speed, and shifting abilities. I still use the very first exercise as a warmup every time I took my violin out. The added collection of scales makes this book collection really valuable and a timeless investment that will be used by you or your violin player time and time again.
The Heifetz Scale Book for Violin
If you’re just looking for a scale book, the Heifetz scale book is a great option. It includes all of the scale routines that Jascha Heifetz’s developed over his lifetime.
Violin Books for Advanced Violin Students
Suzuki Violin School, Vol 4-6
The final books in the Suzuki series focus on developing advanced technique and building repertoire.
42 Studies for Violin by Rodolphe Kreutzer
Another book of etudes that are made for the advanced violin player. I only ever made through about 10 of these etudes, but the ones I did play definitely built up my stamina. Each etude builds up a different technique including double stops, trills, and staccato.
Paganini – 24 Caprices
Another challenging set of etudes designed to test the abilities of your technique. It’s fair to say if you can master these, you have mastered the violin.
We hope that this list of the best violin books will help you in your journey to learn the violin. The violin books on this list are taken from our personal experiences learning violin and what helped us along the way. We hope that they will help you as well.