Free Video Violin Lesson 2

  1. Thom
  2. January 20, 2008 4:27 pm

Hello and welcome to Violin Lesson #2! Today we will covering some basic theory and then moving on to actually playing our instrument! In our last lesson we talked about clapping and counting to four. When we clapped and counted, each NUMBER was a beat. So 1 2 3 4 was really 4 beats we were counting out. Today we are going to relate that to what you are actually seeing on your pages of Essential Elements.

A Quarter Note is one beat of sound. Each time we have one of these we will be playing a note.

A Quarter Rest is one beat of silence. Each time we have one of these we will play nothing.

The Staff is what hold all of our music and organizes it in an easy to read fashion. There are 4 spaces and 5 lines which I will go over in just a second.

A Barline is what helps us seperate the staff into pieces of easy to read music called Measures while also keeping time.

The Treble clef is basically a symbol that tells us that the music written here is to played in the range of pitches that are available to violin.

Lines and Spaces

Here are the lines of staff, labeled E G B D F. To help us remember we have a fun phrase. Starting from the bottom and moving up, “Every Good Boy Does Fine.” A fellow teacher of mine uses the phrase “Elvis’ Guitar Broke Down Friday.” Any acronym that you come up with on your own is fine to use too!


The spaces of the staff are spelled out D F A C E G. The middle spaces are easy to remember because they spell out “FACE!”

When remembering which mnemonic device goes with which, remember that, “Line is fine, space is face!


Alright, now lets begin learning how to play violin! Going over the string names, E A D G – note that we count from high to low.

  • 1st String – E String (Highest)violinstrings.jpg
  • 2nd String – A String
  • 3rd String – D String
  • 4th String – G String (Lowest)

Remember to pluck using only the side of your thumb and not the pad!


  1. What is subdivision and why is it helpful to use while counting?
  2. What is a phrase you can use to remember the notes on the lines of the staff? The spaces?
  3. What is a quarter rest?
  4. Why should you look at the music while playing?Answers will be posted next week with the next lesson!


  • Memorize notes on lines and spaces
  • Work through pages 4 and 5
    • Pay attention to rests and repeat signs!
  • Practice counting with subdivision i.e., “1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &”
  • Figure out #9,”Essential Elements Quiz”

Back to Lesson Index
Back to Lesson 1
Foward to Lesson 3

Let me know how I am doing! Got a question, praise, comment? Write it in the comment box below!


  1. Alex says:
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi there,

    Your free lesson is amazing and very much helpful to everyone like me, keep up the good work!

    • Thank you, Alex!

  2. Sharon says:
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I just bought a violin from a second hand store and I am trying to learn how to play. I find your presentation easy to learn. I would like to know how to take care of my violin and how to use the rosin for the bow.

    I wish you had sheet music for beginners that I could print off so I could learn to read.

    Anyway, thank you for having free lessons. I really appreciate you.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Sharon! I’ll definitely put together a video on caring for the violin!

      I’ll also look into beginner music to put together!

      If the bow is new you may have to spend some time really working the rosin in-

      Lesson 4 demonstrates the “Rosin Rap” Which will let you practice moving your bow while also helping to rosin it.

  3. Amy E. Macdonald says:
    Posted September 3, 2008 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Hi Thom – just discovered you a day ago. I just started violin lessons – have had 5 so far.
    While practising yesterday, I developed very sore, tired wrists. I had come across a book available on the internet to do with exercising wrists prior to this, but I do not remember where I saw it and unfortunately did not make note of it at the time.
    Can you possible tell me what and where this book is?
    Your videos are great – thank you for sharing! I play piano, trumpet and Fr. Horn – love strings, that’s why I am learning violin now. Reading is no problem.
    Thanks – Amy.

    • Hi Amy! You can find a link to the book I teach out of on the main Lesson Index page! (Click index on the top navigation)

      As far as the wrists becoming sore…make sure you aren’t squeezing down too hard or gripping the violin neck. On a rare occasion when playing too tense I will have to stop to stretch my wrists and relax. I might throw up a video in the near future of stretches to do.

      Don’t be afraid to ask if you come up with more questions! The more people ask, the better this site gets!

  4. Francesca says:
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    thank you so much for posting free video lessons for people who are unable to hire a private tutor! it is very appreciated! my violin has been sitting in its case for several months but now i am able to finally start learning, so thank you!!! please keep making more videos!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you Francesca! More are on the way!

  5. Andrea says:
    Posted December 5, 2008 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Thom! I’ve just started learning how to play the violin through your video tutorials and I was wondering if you’re going to re-post the videos? Btw, you’re doing a great job, thanks for making the video easy to follow for newbies like me in learning how to play the violin.

    • Hey Andrea! I’m glad to hear you’re getting value out of the videos! My main focus in the teaching is doing my best to see they are easy to understand and follow along with. The first couple videos are kind of low quality due to me not knowing what I was doing yet almost a year ago. I may re-record the first few lessons sometime in the future with better video/audio.

      Hope to hear from you some more as you’re learning!

  6. sai says:
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    hey there, i love your site! 🙂
    i dont have the time to hire a private tutor coz im pretty busy with my studies
    i am sooo glad i came across this page!
    keep it up! 😀

  7. Dawn says:
    Posted January 25, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your site, It has helped me tremendously. I am looking for a good instructor locally, so this will help until then… Peace, D

  8. mitra says:
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I just start to learn ,thank you.

    • Thank YOU! Please if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

  9. Gabby says:
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    heyy! thank you for posting these videos! i was just wondering though.. how long should it take for me to move on to one lesson to another. like how long should i practice on each lesson until i should move on.

    • Hello Gabby! I would say its OK to move forward when you feel you have really grasped the concept and feel comfortable with it! 😀

      Great question!

  10. Theresa says:
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Your such an angel!
    These videos are soooo helpful to me
    and from I can see a lot more people

    keep up the good work!

    God Bless

    • Thank you very much Theresa!

  11. Rosie says:
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I’m just a newbie– but alas, the world of violin makes some sense now! Thank you 🙂 You have become my morning friend as I practice daily 😉 Thanks again!

    • Thank YOU Rosie! Don’t ever be afraid to ask if you have questions!

  12. Louise says:
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Hi Thorn This is a great way of learning the violin for me
    I subscribed to your videos a day ago and I find you a brilliant teacher and love this site.
    I would like to work more on theory and would like to ask where is the book on your site your referring to for your lessons?
    I can’t find it.
    I have alreayd learned some useful tips for my violin thankyou

    God bless
    from Louise

    • Hello Louise!
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the lessons! A link to the book can be found on the Lesson Index page, or you can click here: Essential Elements 2000
      Hope that helps!

  13. Mark says:
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much for posting these — it is incredibly helpful to have a video like this when you’re starting from square one. By some chance, I happened to have purchased the book you mentioned at the same time that I acquired my violin, so it’s very easy for me to follow along with your work.

    The violin I’m using is a rental, as I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to pick up an instrument. Thanks to your videos, I’m feeling a lot more confident about playing already, and, provided this feeling lasts, I’ll likely be purchasing my own violin in the future.

    I’m also looking forward to your segment on how to properly tune the instrument, as the store I rented it from freely admitted that they have little to no experience with violins, and tried to tune it like a guitar. As their lack of expertise with violins was offsetting, I doubt I’ll be purchasing a violin from them when the time comes. I presume the link to Amazon list that you provide is a good place to look when I am going to buy a starter violin?

  14. Derek says:
    Posted May 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’ve enjoyed following your videos as they have helped me alot, but when I start picking out some music I like to practice myself, alot of them I come across have the same problem for me.

    If the 4th finger on the E string gives a B note, how would you be able to play higher notes (as in say C)? I ask this because alot of them go as high as the next octave for the open E string. What is the technique to play these higher notes?

    • Hello, Derek!
      The technique you are probably referring to is called “shifting.” An easy way of describing Shifting is moving your hand placement allowing you to play higher/lower parts of the string. Generally beginning shifting exercises will start with either 2nd or 3rd position (which means yours 1st finger is no longer on the first finger spot, but rather the 2nd or 3rd) and it goes up from there. This site has not yet covered shifting, but it is in planned curriculum

  15. sarah says:
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    hi ya,
    ur video was suprb!
    i hav started to play the violin for almost a month now and right now i can actually bow. but i dont know why when i’m bowing the bow always move toward the fingerboard and it is kinda hard to keep it parallel to the bridge, also it keep bumping other strings when i’m not looking..any suggestion n how to correct this??

    • Hello there, Sarah!

      I’m glad you’re doing trekking well in the violin! There are a couple of reasons the bow could be moving. Hopefully by this point you have already watched lesson 6 and lesson 7 on how to use the bow.

      One common mistake with bowing is people forget to move their wrist to keep a fluid movement. As a result their whole bow moves outward with their arm movements.

      Another thing that could be pulling your bow away is gravity! Make sure you aren’t letting your violin sag down due to laziness in your left arm. Hold the violin parallel or slightly higher to allow gravity to work in your favor!

      Hope that helps!

  16. Siva says:
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Thanks a ton…. May god bless u with all the happiness in life….Truly blessed one to share the common feeling “The Music”

    • Thank you very much, Siva!

  17. Hey Alex do you have the for Godfather if you do can you send them to me on my email thanks for the free lessons alex. Have a nice day playing your violin.

    • I’ll put together an arrangement in my free time 😛

  18. Upasana says:
    Posted July 8, 2009 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the helpful free information, guidance and encouragement in your videos and God bless your website.

    • Thank you, Upasana, for the kind words!

  19. lady rio says:
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 4:49 am | Permalink the way..I just luv u playin violin…more powers to ur site..kipsafe

  20. nvsnmurthy says:
    Posted January 3, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    thank you sir for the lessons uploaded for free usage taking out time…learning violin lessons discontinued due to job now @nights hours..god bless you sir wiht health& wealth for doing more good deeds like this…thank you once again sir..

  21. Haripriya says:
    Posted March 5, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink


    I play the Violing in the Hindustani Classical style and I want to learn playing the Violin in the Western Classical style. Your lessons are nice..I’ve just watched these two videos for now..I have a question: For the Lesson 2 here, am I to have a certain book to refer to, while you’re teaching through the video?? If so, please tell me which book that is..

  22. Haripriya says:
    Posted March 6, 2010 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    Can I ask another question, please?? Now that I’m into the Hindustani Classical style, won’t my violin’s bridge be different?? I mean, is the bridge different for both the styles (Hindustani and Western)?? Or can I learn from your videos with just the way my bridge is?? And if I want the Elements2000 book, its not going to be easy to convince my parents to buy one for myself. So I just made a little research ad found this book selling website which delivers books to place only in my country. I just want to make sure whether THIS book is the one which you’ll use for all the lessons?? The links below are the pages for that book:

    I want these doubts cleared, please:)

    Thanks, again 🙂 And may God bless you, sir 🙂

    • Yes, that is the correct book 🙂

      I am only familiar with the Hindustani violin style from the point of view of knowing what it looks like. I don’t know any actual specifications or if they are different for the set up. From watching a couple videos on Youtube the bridge appears to be same, however, I could be wrong.

      According to Wikipedia the tuning is different. I don’t know if that would have any effect on the strings you are using.

      I wish you all the best!

  23. vizha says:
    Posted August 28, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Hello there, I do not have a clue whatsoever of the Western Classical Music’s notes and well..anything else. but I absolutely adore it and have resolved to learn it. I own a Violin and I play it in the Hindustani Classical Style. I noticed what you told Haripriya above about the bridge…but supposing the tuning is different between the Hindustani Classical and the Western Classical, would I be required to buy a new violin, whose tuning is totally different??
    I thought of buying the book which you mentioned above And can you please tell me how much–basics..or I don’t know what–I might be able to learn in the Western Classical on the Violin by referring to all your videos which you have posted up here??

    Am eagerly awaiting your reply.
    And may god shower his blessings on you for doing such a great and wonderful job, Mr. Thom^^

  24. Jackie says:
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I just bought my violin, and found your free lessons. I love them, and i happen to have the very book you use on here. I was wondering if you have any podcast, or was thinking about doing any because it would be really great to be able to listen to your instructions from anywhere with my ipod or iphone.

    thank you!

  25. cheryl says:
    Posted March 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    hi your website is very helpful,i;m new violin player, can’t wait to see more.keep up the good work.

    • Thank you Cheryl!

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